Widespread fears of a 2013 bacon shortage could be all sizzle and no substance, experts in the pork industry say.
Bacon lovers everywhere went hog wild after Great Britain's National Pig Association said earlier this week that drought could double the price of European pork and cut the European pig population by 10 percent in 2013. But Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says those fears are unfounded.
"The deal about a shortage of bacon is a bunch of baloney," he says. "There's going to be bacon available and there's going to be enough corn to meet both our livestock and ethanol needs."
This summer's midwestern drought sent prices for corn and soybean—pigs' main food supply—through the roof, but they have been dropping lately, according to Branstad.
"I think these things have a way of correcting themselves, and farmers are busy harvesting and they're pleasantly surprised that things aren't as bad as they thought they would be," he says.
Others who aren't worried? The National Pork Board, which says pork prices are among the lowest they've ever been.
"I don't think anyone in our industry believes there will be a shortage," says Mike Wegner, a spokesperson for the group. "The amount of pork in storage is higher than it was even a year ago," when there was a surplus.
While bacon lovers won't be left without their fix, they might have to pay a bit more for it later this year and into 2013. The drought did devastate crops, but not enough to cause a serious shortage.
"Farmers are losing money because of the higher cost of corn and soybeans," he says. "Prices now are as good as they're going to be for quite some time."
Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org