With assets of corn, soybeans, farmers and packing capacity, Iowa is the ideal location for pork production. The “Tall Corn” state also needs plenty of fertilizer to produce the bushels of corn and soybeans fed to pigs. Approximately 10 finishing pigs from weaning to market provide the nutrient needs of an acre of Iowa cropland on a semi-annual basis. Nutrients from one 2,400-head pig barn benefits a half-section of land (320 acres). One hog consumes approximately 9 to 10 bushels of corn and 100 pounds of soybean meal from birth to a market weight of 275 pounds!

Iowa Pork Industry Facts:

  • At the end of 2012, Iowa had 6,266 hog operations.
  • 94 percent of Iowa’s hog farms are family owned enterprises.
  • A total of 40,290 Iowans are employed in day-to-day production of hogs.
  • Of the Iowa hog farms, 39 percent (2,451 farms) have 1,000 pigs or less.
  • At any one time, there are approximately 20 million pigs being raised in Iowa.
  • Iowa producers marketed more than 49 million hogs in 2012.
  • Nearly one-third of the nation’s hogs are raised in Iowa.
  • Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the U.S. and the top state for pork exports.
  • Exports of pork from Iowa totaled more than $1 billion in 2016.
  • Japan, Canada, Mexico and South Korea are the leading customers for Iowa pork.

Iowa Pork Production Economic Contributions:

  • Hog farming alone represents $7.5 billion in total economic activity for Iowa.
  • Total cash receipts for hog production in Iowa topped $7.5 billion in 2013.
  • Total production value for Iowa hog farming exceeded $6.5 billion in 2013.
  • Several billion dollars are generated in the state each year from pork processing activities.

Statistics based on 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture and analysis by Spencer Parkinson of Decision Innovation and Iowa State University.

2017 Iowa pork industry economic impact study infographic