Journal Issue:
International trade in pork and pork products Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station Research Bulletin: Volume 10, Issue 122

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International trade in pork and pork products
( 2017-05-23) Bjorka, Knute ; Extension and Experiment Station Publications

The facts presented, both statistically and graphically, in the following pages are of significance, showing international trade in hog products as they do, and giving special emphasis to the American export outlet. Inasmuch as they have been presented without a great deal of refined analysis, no attempt to prove anything as to the future of this trade and the significance of it to the Iowa hog producer is justified. Nevertheless, it is possible safely to draw the following conclusions:

1. It is quite evident that the foreign outlet for hog products, and particularly for lard, supports the domestic prices of these products and therefore the domestic price of hogs to the original producers, thus enabling the Corn Belt farmer to use a larger percentage of corn and of his corn growing resources in a more remunerative way than would be possible if this source of demand were cut off. .

2. The periodic rise and fall in the volume of exports of these products leads us to believe that the export outlet serves as a buffer against the price depressions which might otherwise result from the cyclical nature of our hog production. It is during the time when farmers in the United States are producing the largest number of hogs and slaughter house products are available in largest quantity that the export movement comes in to relieve the glut and save the price situation to some extent.

3. There seems to be evidence in the statistics herein presented and in other information which shows, in connection with our type of farming studies and other investigations, that our exportable surplus of hog products is not a temporary thing but will continue to characterize our international trade. This is evident not only from the present very substantial volume of these movements but from the potential increases in production in this country. It seems safe to say that the Corn Belt could increase its hog output materially if production should be stimulated by a sufficiently broad demand. Therefore, if the home market expands, it is reasonable to suppose that the larger supply will come from expansion of domestic production rather than from curtailment of exports. The extent to which this movement will go is, of course, dependent upon the profitableness of alternative uses of our feeds and our feed producing farm lands. The essential point is that at present the margin between the pork producing uses of these resources and alternative opportunities for use in other directions is sufficiently great to stimulate further production even on the basis of current prices.

4. In view of the above observations, it seems reasonable to conclude that it is important for hog producers and others interested in the pork producing industry to cultivate good will for their products abroad.