There is a crisis, right?
There must be. Every news report on NPR this week, and I mean every one, morning and evening, has featured a very long feature about the plight of poor pig farmers. They are in crisis. Their profits are down, prices are down, their outlook is down. The poor, poor hog farmers are sorely oppressed.
They are being oppressed by President Trump. He is mean; he is brutal. He is waging war against the downtrodden stalwart hog farmers.
This week on NPR was all hog farmer all the time.
Now, I am sympathetic to the hog farmer, but you had to go elsewhere to learn that the U.S. is second to Germany in pork exports to China, and that per capita consumption of pork products has been growing at over six percent per year in China this decade.
And perhaps it informs any conversation on the topic of the economics of pork to recall that the price of corn (a common foodstuff for pig farmers) is inflated by government subsidies of ethanol. And NPR has a reputation for diving into the details of complexities, and so they have, if you listened very carefully. They did advise that pork exports to China amount to nearly 11 % of pork exports, but they did not report that this is a recent high mark.
The casual listener would be excused for coming away from this series with only one lesson. “President Trump has been callous to his agricultural base and is being mean to American farmers with his stupid tariffs on aluminum and steel, which cause American producers of swine products to suffer.”