State's hog farmers struggling since 2002

US - Keith Stokes, a farmer near Russellville, spends his days surveying timberland and fixing up fences.
calendar icon 22 October 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

Five years ago, he subsisted solely on his farm income, raising hogs for Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc. When his contract was pulled in 2002, he was forced back into his old timberland trade, and Stokes vowed never to raise hogs on contract again.

"The only hogs on my farm are Tusk and his two brothers," Stokes said, referring to the University of Arkansas Razorbacks’ mascot that he has fostered for two years on his farm southwest of Russellville in Yell County. Stokes worked with the UA’s hog mascot since 1996 but was unable to keep Tusk on his farm while other hogs were housed there because of disease concerns.

In late 2002, Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat producer, was facing high transportation and feed costs in its hog operations. It canceled contracts with 132 farmers to save money, and began removing hogs from farms in Arkansas and Oklahoma that fall.

Source: ArkansasOnline
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