Lancaster County farmer says certain lifestyle keeps his pigs from contracting deadly virus

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The price you pay for your bacon fix is on the rise.  A deadly virus in piglets is creating a conflict in supply and demand.

Farmer Nate Thomas, of Breakaway Farms, in Mount Joy Township, keeps his hogs happy.

He says, “They are in a pasture rotation system and outdoors, access to fresh water, feed and a shelter, but we want to let them express themselves.”

It’s this lifestyle that keeps his pigs free of a deadly virus, called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the virus has killed millions of pigs in nearly 30 states.

Farmer Nate says, “It’s pretty widespread and there’s no known cure for it, so it’s got a lot of people scared.”

At Black Gryphon, in Elizabethtown, owner and chef Anthony Morgan says he’s against factory farming where pigs are more likely to contract the virus.

He says, “Making sure we get a nice collaboration with the local farmers so we can bring in some of the best meats that are the freshest, grass-fed, free-range, humanely treated.”

A $2.95 a pig, Morgan’s paying more at Breakaway Farms than he would from a confined farm…a healthy price to pay.

Morgan says, “You go out and see how many animals are in a field, you see where they go at night, what they do.”

Farmer Nate says, “We’re not bringing in outside animals, everything we produce here is bred and born on the farm.”

The Virus only affects pigs and does not pose a risk to people.

The USDA is enhancing its efforts to better the health of the swine herd while maintaining movement of pigs in the U.S.  To slow the spread, the USDA will require farmers to report the virus.



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