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 contributes 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.
The following statistical highlights based on the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture and analysis by Spencer Parkinson of Decision Innovation and Iowa State University underline just how major a factor pork production is to Iowa's prosperity:
Nearly 40,000 workers are employed directly in raising or caring for hogs in Iowa;
The industry's Iowa payroll is nearly $1 billion;
The overall annual economic impact on Iowa of pork production is estimated to be $2.5 billion.
ISU data indicate that hogs consume 27 percent of Iowa's corn and 30 percent of the state's soybeans.
As of 2008, Iowa had 8,300 hog farms. Nationally, the pork industry marketed 121 million hogs in 2008 - 37 million of them were raised on Iowa farms.
This statistical overview of pork production in Iowa illustrates the magnitude of this critical industry. It should leave 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.