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US Swine Economics Report

by 5m Editor
19 May 2004, at 12:00am

Regular report by Ron Plain on the US Swine industry, this week discussing how the rapid decline in the number of hog farms is slowing down.

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As has been the case each year since 1980, the number of hog operations in the U.S. declined and the average hog inventory per farm grew larger in 2003. According to USDA's annual report, there were 73,600 U.S. farms that raised hogs in 2003. That was down 2,650 from the year before. The average inventory per hog operation was 820 head, up 39 from 2002. In 1980, the U.S. had 666,550 operations with hogs and the average inventory was 97 head per operation.

The top four states for number of hog farms are Iowa (9,900 hog operations), Minnesota (5,700), Ohio (4,200) and Texas (4,000). Seven states averaged more than 1,000 hogs per hog farm - North Carolina, Iowa, Utah, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. Five states averaged fewer than 20 hogs per hog farm - New Mexico, Vermont, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Maine.

The rapid decline in the number of hog farms is slowing, which is inevitable since farm numbers can't go negative. The number of hog operations declined by 3.48% from 2002 to 2003. That was the third smallest decline in the last 23 years. This small decline is a bit surprising since both 2002 and 2003 were unprofitable years for hog producers and farm numbers usually drop faster following periods of red ink. The average change in hog farm numbers during the 1980s was a drop of 7.3% per year and the average decline during the 1990s was 10.4% per year.

USDA says there were 8,470 operations that raised hogs in 2003 but did not own any hogs. These contract growers accounted for 11.5% of U.S. hog operations.

There were 110 hog operations that owned more than 50,000 hogs. These 110 firms owned 50% of the nation's hogs. There were 44,080 hog operations that owned fewer than 100 hogs. These small firms accounted for 60% of U.S. hog operations but they owned only 1% of the nation's hogs.

5m Editor