New survey: Hogs outnumber people in Iowa by over 7:1

Source: The Gazette

Iowa continues to lead the nation in hog production

Iowa continues to be the top producer of hogs in the United States by a landslide, outnumbering people by over seven to one.

There are 23.6 million hogs in Iowa, compared with the state’s 3.2 million people. Although this is a decrease in hogs of 1.3 percent in the last year, Iowa still is the top producer of swine in the country, according to a new Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The second largest producer is Minnesota with about 8.6 million hogs, followed by North Carolina with 8.20 million, according to the report.

To obtain an accurate measurement of the U.S. swine industry, the National Agricultural Statistics Service surveyed roughly 6,300 operators across the nation during the first half of December. The data collected were received by electronic data recording, mail, telephone and through face-to-face interviews.

As of Dec. 1, there were 73.1 million hogs and pigs on U.S. farms, down 2 percent from the same time last year and down 1 percent from September, according to the report. Of those hogs and pigs, 67 million were market hogs intended as food, while 6.15 million were kept for breeding.

There are about 66,000 pork producer facilities in the United States, according to the National Pork Producers Council. More than 610,000 jobs are supported by the pork industry and $57 billion in gross domestic product added to the U.S. economy.

Here are five other facts about hogs:

  1. Pigs are smarter than any other domestic animal, according to PBS, and considered to be more trainable than dogs or cats. In fact, pigs are smarter than 3-year-old children and can learn to play video games, fetch balls, match shapes and follow simple commands, according to National Geographic.
  2. Because pigs’ skin, organs and anatomy are very similar to humans, doctors can practice new surgical techniques on them, according to National Geographic. Faulty human heart valves can be replaced with chemically-treated pig heart valves.
  3. Pigs traditionally have been used to hunt truffles — or mushrooms — because of their excellent sense of smell. However, pigs have been banned from truffle hunting in some parts of the world — such as Italy — because they can damage the root of the truffles while digging and reduce the production rate for future years, according to the Associated Press.
  4. Pigs raised for market last about six to seven months. At birth, they weigh only 2 to 3 pounds and grow to be up to 280 pounds during that time. Between September and November this year, 33.7 million pigs were weaned on U.S. farms, down 1 percent from the same time last year. At this stage, pigs are six to eight weeks old, weigh about 60 pounds and eat up to four pounds of food a day.
  5. U.S. hog producers intend to have 2.95 million sows give birth to a litter of pigs between December 2022 and February 2023, and 2.98 million between March and May 2023.