By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Bacon lovers will be happier when they check out at the grocery store.

Prices are going down.

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They had skyrocketed about a year and a half ago when a virus hit the hog population hard, killing millions nationwide. The Minnesota Pork Producers Association said farmers lost 7 percent to 8 percent of their herd.

Now, that’s turning around. Bacon that cost $6.10 a pound last June dropped about 60 cents to $5.53 a pound last month.

Pork products line the shelves at the grocery store.

“Bacon, I like bacon,” Deborah Upchurch said.

And while people partial to pork typically have a favorite, many go for the lowest price point.

“We usually go for the bargain wherever we can,” Chris Walsh said. “Lunds has the ‘buy one get one free’ on pork tenderloin, and I’m going to get one.”

Pork prices hit record highs over the last year when a virus wiped out a portion of the population.

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Demand was high, but supply was low. That’s now under control. And with the herds built back up, Dave Preisler, executive director of the Minnesota Pork Board, said farmers are on track to produce about 5 percent more pork.

“We are going to have more product coming into the marketplace,” Preisler said. “We’re already starting to see some price relief. That’s starting to happen, and I would expect that will continue to happen for the next 12 months.”

Minnesota is the second largest pork-producing state in the country, home to 3,000 hog farms.

And while Preisler said farmers aren’t getting as much for their pigs, they’re still doing okay.

“The prices of pigs are down, but our costs are down too, so really, from an impact standpoint, it’s not devastating,” Preisler said.

He said when their price goes down, that trickles down to the consumer. And that means your money will stretch a little farther.

“If it goes down, it’s more appealing to people,” Ashley Cox said. “I can see it on the dinner table more often.”

Preisler said in a perfect world, farmers will make money and the consumer will buy a quality product at a good price.

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The lower price points are already in the stores.

Jennifer Mayerle