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October is National Pork Month

The industry makes a huge contribution to the Iowa economy

October has been designated National Pork Month. That makes it an especially good time to reflect on the importance of the pork industry to this state.

It’s unlikely that anyone who lives in Iowa does not already know that pork production continues mightily to the economic vitality of the Hawkeye State. It may come as a surprise, however, that hogs raised in Iowa account for more than 30 percent of U.S. hog production. Iowa ranks as the nation’s top hog-producing state. It’s also the top state for pork exports.

According to the Iowa Pork Producers Association:

• Exports of pork from Iowa totaled more than $2.1 billion in 2018.

• Iowa’s 5,418 pig farms generate work not only in pig production, but also in hog harvesting and pork processing. In all, there are 147,105 Iowa jobs created by the pork industry through direct, indirect and induced jobs.

• There are pig farmers in every Iowa county. The top five Iowa counties for pig production are Washington, Sioux, Lyon, Hamilton and Plymouth. Each of these counties has more than 1 million pigs.

• Iowa producers marketed almost 48 million hogs in 2018.

• The number of pigs in Iowa in December, 2019 was 24.8 million hogs.

• Livestock production in Iowa supplies about 25 percent of Iowa’s cropland fertilizer needs.

This statistical overview of pork production in Iowa illustrates the magnitude of this critical industry. It should leave a little doubt that pork producers help keep Iowa prosperous and are key players in the state’s economy. There’s good reason not only for those people who work in the pork industry, but also everyone else who resides in Iowa to join in celebrating National Pork Month.

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