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When pigs fly: Pork prices set to skyrocket in 2022

Many pork farmers are not in compliance with a California law that will come into effect in the new year.

SAN DIEGO — Sausage, steaks and of course bacon are the crowd favorites here at La Jolla Gourmet Meats. Jeff Lefstein, the owner has been worried that the price of his product has skyrocketed the last few years. 

"I don't think it can go any higher," said Lefstein. "It's going to hurt the business owners all the way across the board."

While most California butcher shops get their pork and beef from the Midwest, Lefstein gets his product from a farm in Brawley, California. Over the last few years and especially during the pandemic the price of meat has shot up. 

Pork at its lowest in July of last year was $46 a pound, by August of this year it’s up to $106.

"I also use the Berkshire pork, which has gone up," he said. "I have to pass it on to the customers, but I don't really want to do that."

But Lefstein could certainly see higher prices from his California meat distributor. Proposition 12, passed by 62% of California voters in the 2018 election requires farmers who raise veal, pigs and egg-laying chickens to be given more humane conditions. 

The bill, which will go into effect in the new year, will require meat manufacturers to give each breeding pigs at least 24 square feet of space. 

This means fewer pigs on the farm and millions of dollars spent upgrading the pens.

With the new year around the corner, many pork farmers in California won’t be ready to make the necessary changes to be compliant with state law. 

According to the Associated Press: “Only 4% of hog operations now comply with the state’s rules.” 

The National Pork Producers Council has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Prop 12, but right now the bill will go into effect January 1st, 2022.

 When it does, we could see pork prices skyrocket in California and beyond.

WATCH: Restaurants feeling the impact of rising costs of food (June 2021)