Production and Marketing Characteristics of U.S. Pork Producers - 2003

By Christian Boessen, Extension Associate, Dept. of Agr. Economics, University of Missouri, John D. Lawrence, Associate Professor, Dept. of Economics, Iowa State University and Glenn Grimes, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Agr. Economics, University of Missouri. This report highlights the results of the most recent survey conducted as part of research by the University of Missouri and Iowa State University into the structure of the U.S. pork industry.
calendar icon 24 October 2004
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Bertold Brecht once said, “Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.” Because things in the U.S. pork industry never seem to “stay the way they are,” researchers at the University of Missouri and Iowa State University have documented and analyzed changes in the U.S. pork industry for three decades.

Thirty years ago, a pork producer could get a fairly good perspective on changes in the industry by looking out the window on a drive to the county seat. Today, hogs have moved indoors. Fewer neighbors are raising hogs, and those that are may have specialized in different methods have chosen to become very large, or have chosen to contract, thereby making what is happening in one region bear little resemblance to what is happening elsewhere.

As always, we are very appreciative of the hundreds of producers who responded to the survey. Outstanding participation by producers and assistance from Vance Publishing and the National Pork Board have once again made it possible for the University of Missouri and Iowa State University to chronicle the evolution of the swine industry.

In February and March of 2004, two surveys were conducted regarding pork production and marketing practices in 2004. Questions centered on production, practices, and results for 2003 and production plans for 2004 through 2006. One survey was mailed to 5,040 pork producing operations marketing between 3,000 and 50,000 hogs annually.

This sample was based on PORK Magazine’s mailing list, with a random sample drawn from five sized categories of producers according to their reported annual market volume. The survey was also mailed to approximately 1,200 producers on the National Pork Board’s (NPB) mailing list who were classified as marketing between one and three thousand hogs per year. Approximately 21 percent of the mail surveys were returned.

In total, there were 1,196 usable responses from the combined PORK Magazine and NPB lists. Of the usable responses, 970 were owner-operators and 326 were contract growers. Producers on a third survey list of 159 operations marketing 50,000 or more hogs a year were contacted by telephone. The list was obtained from earlier surveys, personal contacts, and input suppliers to these large firms. If the producers confirmed marketing over 50,000 hogs annually, they were faxed a survey and returned it by fax.

Twenty-three of the twenty-five operations marketing 500,000 hogs a year or more participated in the study, as did 70 of the 134 operations marketing between 50,000 and 499,999 head annually. It should be noted that the tables and figures created from this data were separated by owner-operator and contract grower responses. The contract grower data was used to create the tables and figures in the “Production Contracts” section.

To read the full article, including tables, please click here (PDF)

Source: Published by Iowa State University - September 2004

Iowa State University
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