Consumer demand for all meats continues to take a nosedive. The period from January-June was below last year with the exception of turkey. Pork demand for these six months was down 5.3 percent, beef down 4.4 percent and broiler down 5.9 percent, according to RonPlain, agricultural economist at the University of Missouri. Turkey demand for this period was up 1.3 percent but turkey demand for the 4 years ending in 2005 was down nearly 20 percent.

The decline in demand for meats is partly due to record high supplies of total meats, the problems with bird flu and the growth in demand in recent years for most meats.

“Pork demand at the consumer level has grown a little in the last 10 years,” says Plain. “The good news for the pork industry continues to be live hog demand, which in 2005 was up 16 percent from 1995.”

Most of the live hog demand growth is due to larger exports and population growth. Net pork exports in 2005 were up 7.3 percentage points of pork production from 1995. During this 10-year period, pork export growth has added about 2.4 billion dollars to producer's income. The pork industry was 16 percent larger in 2005 than 1995 based on pounds of pork produced.