Iowans’ interest in hog farming on the increase

Iowans’ interest in hog farming on the increase

Posted Jan. 11, 2012

Anticipated profitability in 2012 is apparently prompting farmers to consider starting a pork enterprise or adding to an existing business.

Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt recently forecast a profitable year in 2012 for the nation’s hog farmers. “Profits in 2012 are currently forecast to be near $17 per head, which would be the highest since 2006,” Hurt said.

Hurt’s forecast is prompting more swine-related calls into the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers.

“CSIF has seen a definite uptick in the number of calls over the past six months from farmers wanting to grow their hog farms or start raising hogs for the first time,” says CSIF Executive Director Brian Waddingham. “I expected the calls to slow down this fall and winter, but have seen just the opposite.”

A majority of the calls are from beginning farmers looking to return to the family farm. With the significant amount of capital required to purchase land, many of these young people are finding that raising livestock and poultry provides an opportunity for them to return to the family farm.

“We see several families trying to determine the best way to bring their son or daughter back into their family business,” Waddingham said. “Our primary goal is to keep farm families on the farm, but it’s increasingly difficult to do that. Farmers that come to us can get assistance in interpreting rules and regulations, siting good locations for barns while protecting air, soil and water quality, and managing relationships with their neighbors – all at no cost to them.”

“When I had the opportunity to return to the family farm, I relied on the coalition’s expertise to properly locate my new hog barn and help communicate with my neighbors,” says third generation farmer Ben Bader from Jesup. “I definitely recommend that farmers looking to put up a new livestock or poultry barn contact the coalition for help – they understand the importance of being a good neighbor and caretaker of the land and livestock.”

To learn more about the coalition, visit the CSIF booth at the Iowa Pork Congress, which will be held in Des Moines at the Iowa Events Center January 25-26. The CSIF staff will be available at booth 1210 to answer questions and provide guidance at no cost.

For more information, call (800) 932-2436 or visit