Hog and Pig Farming - A $22.5 billion industry, up 25 percent since 2007.

June 2014 | ACH12-4 | Download pdf Version

In 2012, the U.S. hog and pig industry had sales of $22.5 billion, accounting for 6 percent of total U.S. agriculture sales. Although some hog production takes place in all states across the country, it is heavily concentrated in a few states and counties. The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides a comprehensive picture of the industry, including overall size, value, and location; production costs; and farm and producer characteristics.

Figure 1 - Value of US Crop and Livestock sales, 1974-2012

Industry Size, Value, and Location

Hog and pig sales were $4.4 billion, or 24.6 percent, higher in 2012 than 2007, when the agriculture census was last conducted. Iowa had the largest increase in sales (up $1.9 billion), followed by Minnesota (up $0.6 billion) and Illinois (up $0.4 billion). North Carolina experienced a decline of $231 million in sales, but remained the second largest producer.

The top three producers – Iowa, North Carolina, and Minnesota – together accounted for 55 percent of the value of U.S. hog and pig sales and 56 percent of the 66 million hog and pig end-of-year inventory in 2012.

Even as the value of sales went up, the number of farms with hog and pig sales declined by 25 percent from 74,789 in 2007 to 55,882 in 2012. Farms specializing in hog production (that is, farms with more than 50 percent of their income coming from hog and pig farming) declined even more, going from 30,546 farms in 2007 to 21,687 farms in 2012 (a 29 percent decline).

At the county level, nine of the top ten hog and pig producing counties were in the top three states. Duplin County, North Carolina, ranked first in the nation in 2012 hog and pig sales, with $614 million or 3 percent of the U.S. total.

Production Costs

The 21,687 farms that are primarily hog and pig operations accounted for 89 percent of all hog and pig sales ($19.9 billion). Their production costs were $18.4 billion (19 percent higher than in 2007). Per farm average costs were $850,146, which is more than five times as much as the average for all farms. It is also a 68 percent increase over 2007 hog and pig farm average costs.

Farm Characteristics

Family and individually owned farms were 83 percent of hog and pig operations and accounted for 41 percent of sales. In contrast, corporations were 8 percent of hog and pig farms and accounted for 34 percent of sales. (Table 1)

Snapshot of Top Crop Commodities by 2012 Sales Value, 2007 and 2012

Three types of producers operate hog and pig farms: independent growers raising hogs and pigs for themselves, contract growers raising hogs and pigs for someone else, and contractors using contract growers to raise some or all of their hogs and pigs. In 2012, independent growers operated 85 percent of hog and pig farms, accounting for 46 percent (91.4 million) of the 199.1 million hogs and pigs sold. Contract growers accounted for 44 percent (88.1 million), and contractors for 10 percent (19.6 million).

Producer Characteristics

The 2012 Census of Agriculture identified characteristics of those responsible for the day-to-day operation of farms specializing in hog and pig sales. These farmers on average were younger (51 years old) than principal operators overall (58 years old). Ten percent were women; this is an increase over 2007, but hog and pig farming had a smaller proportion of female principal operators than farms did overall in 2012.

Hog and pig producers were more likely to consider farming their primary occupation in 2012 than 2007, as well as more likely to do so than farmers overall. At the same time, 60 percent of hog and pig producers earned less than 25 percent of their income from farming. Eleven percent derived all of their income from the farm. (Table 2)

Snapshot of Top Crop Commodities by 2012 Sales Value, 2007 and 2012

Table 1 - Value of Agriculture Sales, 2007 and 2012
Top States
About the Census of Agriculture

The Census of Agriculture is the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. The 2012 Census results provide information at national, state, and county levels about what agricultural products were raised in the United States in 2012, as well as where, how, and by whom.

For easy-to-use tools that help both professional and casual users find and use the data, go to www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus .

Last Modified: 10/12/2018