MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota pork producers have had to adjust after a deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus killed seven million piglets.

David Preisler, executive director at Minnesota Pork Board, says last year’s virus preferred colder weather and small pigs.

“The pigs are born normal, but what happens is when the virus actually makes it to them, when they nurse on the sow, they can’t absorb nutrients from that. So, they end up dehydrating and dying,” Preisler said.

Preisler said while they had a bad experience with the virus, pork producers are more prepared going into the next month or so.

To ward off the disease, farmers have boosted the animals’ diets, resulting in hogs that weigh about 215 pounds.

However, there have been reports that the pigs are too big and consumers don’t want them.

“They are heavier, but not fatter.” he said.

Preisler said the price of pork is higher because an increase in demand worldwide and a decrease in the number of pigs.

Minnesota is the No. 2 pork producer in the nation, producing roughly 14 million pigs in the state per year.

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