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Iowa Pork facts

Thursday, March 11, 2010

* At the end of 2008, Iowa had 8,300 hog operations.

* At any one time, there are approximately 19 million pigs being raised in Iowa.

* Approximately 30 million hogs are raised in Iowa each year.

* Iowa producers marketed more than 37 million hogs in 2008.

* The U.S. pork industry marketed more than 121 million hogs in 2008.

* Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the U.S. and the top state for pork exports.

Iowa Pork production economic contributions

* The Iowa pork industry generates nearly $950 million in household income for pork producers.

* More than 39,000 jobs are directly related to raising and caring for hogs in Iowa.

* Iowa pork production alone contributes nearly $5 billion to the Iowa economy.

* Several billion dollars are generated in the state each year from pork processing activities.

* The total value added by Iowa pork producers to the state is more than $2.5 billion.

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Iowa and for that matter U.S. pork producers are some of the finest managers in the world. Yet in recent months the median cost to raise a hog was at or near $155.00 a head. To date the loss per head is still a fact of life to many producers. In November 09 when the income per head was close to $140 and the average cost of production was at $165.00 producers were losing $25.00 per animal.

The loss of 20-30 dollars an animal pulls owner's equity down to approximately 30% of assets when in 2007 producers realized equities near the 70 per level. The results for owners then were bills paid and indebtedness decreased. Unfortunately today that is no longer the case.

Many producers are trying to reduce production but to decrease the number by 7-10 million hogs as some suggest will result in loss of employment in rural communities. The need for the Farm Service Agency to increase loan limits is a no brainer. The present limit is not adequate to service the challenges facing pork producers. With Russia resuming pork imports from the U.S. more capital to help production increases will be required.

Although the nation is debating investment in infrastructure and Wall Street enterprises, the rural pork producer is one of our safest havens. The government should be at the forefront in insisting that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchase more pork for various government food efforts and federal programs. We simply cannot afford to lose the finest pork producers in the world. They are doing their best, as a nation are we doing the same?

Dr. Alan Phillips

Bloomington, IL

-- Posted by Dr.AlanPhillips on Thu, Mar 11, 2010, at 2:28 PM

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