When most non-Iowans drive through our state most of what they see are corn and soybean fields stretching out across the “Land of Opportunity.” Yes, our state is proud to be the number one corn and soybean producing state. However, beyond the cornstalks and soybean fields lies another reason to be proud of our state’s agricultural roots: pork. As part of National Pork Month, we’re taking a look at how hog farming impacts the economy of Iowa and how Northeast Security Bank helps area hog farms.
The Great Pork State
Iowa is the number one pork-producing state in the U.S., as well as the top state for pork exports. Here are some numbers to put it in perspective:
- At the end of 2012, Iowa had over 6,200 hog operations
- Nearly one-third of all the hogs in America are raised in Iowa
- Iowa is home to about 20 million pigs at any time throughout the year
Raising hogs is a huge part of Iowa’s economy and is a large source of employment, too. Hog farming represents $7.5 BILLION in total economic activity for Iowa annually, and over 40,000 Iowans are employed in hog farming. But hog farmers and farmers raising corn and soybean aren’t at odds with each other; they depend on each other.
A Mutually Beneficial Relationship
With all the corn and soybeans that are grown in Iowa every year, you can imagine the massive need for fertilizer. That’s where those millions of hogs throughout the state can help:
- About 10 finishing pigs, from weaning to market, provide the nutrient needs of an acre of cropland on a semi-annual basis.
- Nutrients from one 2,400-head hog barn benefits 240 acres of land (also known as a half-section).
- In order to grow to a healthy weight for market, one hog eats about nine to 10 bushels of corn from its birth to when it is sold at market.
So, hog farmers depend on good feed for their pigs to grow, and corn and soybean farmers can use the nutrients from the pigs to fertilize their crops.
How Northeast Security Bank Helps
Raising 2,400 hogs isn’t easy or cheap. Hog farmers need to have the facilities to house the pigs, the right feed, heating lamps and variety of other equipment to ensure the pigs grow up healthy and strong. Northeast Security Bank provides the financing options hog farmers need to start or expand their operation. The financing we provide not only matches each hog farmer’s individual needs, but also integrates with their season cash flow.
October is a time to not only be proud of the corn and soybean harvests, but also to recognize the importance hog farmers in the state’s economy. Thank you to all of our local hog farmers, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for any of your financing needs!