Pa. agriculture expert predicts strong meat supply, stable prices in 2021

Cows grazing
Cows grazing Photo credit iStock/Getty Images Plus

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Supplies of meat in the Philadelphia region are expected to be robust, and prices stable, going into the new year.

"USDA is not predicting any increase in price at the farm level for eggs, broilers, pork, beef in the coming year," said David Swartz, a Penn State Extension Service representative from University Park. "There will be great supplies, and consumers will not need to worry about any shortages in this part of the food system."

Swartz, who tracks the animal agriculture industry in Pennsylvania, said the disruptions early on in the pandemic that left empty some meat cases at stores were related to adjustments in packaging and distributing the food, not the amount available.

"Farmers in America are producing more pork, beef, milk, eggs, chicken, turkeys for about the last decade," he said.

Swartz said, despite some recent global market analysts' concerns about rising animal feed prices, Pennsylvanians shouldn’t be worried about shortages.

"As our outlook for 2021 firms up here, we will continue to see robust supplies coming from our farms," he said.

And, as for prices, Swartz said the supply-chain adjustments and renovations at processing plants caused by COVID-19 and transportation costs already have been factored into what consumers are paying at the grocery store now.

Meanwhile, some market analysts predict U.S. farm exports could fall as China’s pork industry tries to mount a recovery after being decimated by a swine virus.

However, Swartz said he believes Pennsylvania farms are well-positioned with their global trading partners, and exports of pork, beef, chicken, eggs and dairy will remain strong in the coming months.​