Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) continues to spread like wildfire through the nation, reaching across 30 states with more than 6,000 confirmed cases. According to Meatingplace, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Howard Hill told reporters the virus has the potential to push U.S. hog prices – and consumer pork prices – even higher.

Hill explained PEDv could send hog prices skyrocketting between 15 percent and 25 percent. Consumer pork prices may increase by as much as 12 percent. In addition, this summer’s hog slaughter could fall by more than 10 percent from 2013, and third quarter pork production could drop by more than 6 percent.

Hill testified before a House agricultural subcommittee on Wednesday.

Economist Steve Meyer estimates around 7 million pigs have been killed by PEDv since it was first identified one year ago. However, higher prices could offer an economic boost thanks to continued consumer demand, especially for producers not affected by the virus.

 “When combined with lower costs of production, the pork industry could enjoy perhaps its best year ever financially, and producers — even those who lose pigs to PEDv —likely would see their best individual years ever, as well,” Hill said.

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Hill also suggested reduced hog numbers would mean less feed, less medicine, fewer veterinary services and shortened hours at packing and processing plant.

In a news release, the NPPC noted it wanted the USDA to conduct a thorough investigation on the pathway of PEDv, more research on the viral propagation of the virus and to commit more resources to determining the pathogenesis of and ways to control it. Click here for the news release.