Swine Industry a Vital Part of Southern Minnesota

by 5m Editor
28 August 2008, at 7:10am

MINNESOTA - If people were questioned about what industry in Minnesota generates nearly $2 billion/year in direct sales, and contributes approximately $7 billion to the state’s economy, very few would placed bets on the pork industry.

However, those are the most recent estimates of the impact that Minnesota swine producers have on the state’s economy. Minnesota ranks third in the nation in hog production, producing over 15 million hogs/year. The pork industry is extremely important to the economy of south-central Minnesota. Blue Earth, Nicollet, Martin and Brown counties are in the top five hog production counties in the state. In fact, Corn&Soybean Digest says that Martin County is in the top 10 hog producing counties in the U.S., producing over 1.5 million hogs/year. Blue Earth County produces just under 1 million hogs annually, while both Nicollet and Brown County produce about 650,000 hogs/year.

The Minnesota pork industry supports approximately 22,500 jobs in Minnesota, including a significant amount of employment in the south-central region of the state. These jobs include hog management and care, meat processing, building construction and equipment manufacture, feed processing, trucking, veterinarians, etc.

The region has some of the state’s major producers and integrators in the swine industry, several major feed processors and equipment manufacturers and some of the largest veterinarian clinics in the upper Midwest. Two of the largest soybean-processing plants in the U.S. are located in Mankato – ADM and CHS – both of which have a large employment base. The primary product produced at these plants is soybean meal, of which 95% is fed to livestock. And in south-central Minnesota, a large percentage of the soybean meal is fed to hogs. Approximately half of the corn and one-third of the soybeans raised in Minnesota each year are fed to livestock.

A person might wonder, why has south-central Minnesota become a focal point for expansion and growth of the pork industry in the past 10-15 years? There are several competitive advantages that this region has compared to other areas in Minnesota or the U.S., which include:

  • Abundant corn and soybean production and supply.
  • Innovative and experienced swine producers, which are some of the best in the U.S.
  • Excellent industry-support resources, such as veterinarians, feed consultants, ag lenders, facility contractors, etc.
  • Top-notch producer education programs and research efforts through the Minnesota Pork Board and Pork Producers Association and the University of Minnesota.
  • Large amounts of cropland to utilize the swine manure as a valuable fertilizer resource.

5m Editor