Living with Hogs in Rural Iowa
Approximately 65,000 farmers raised hogs in Iowa in 1980 with an average of 200 hogs residing on each farm. In 2002, the number of farms with hogs had fallen to about 10,000, and the average number of hogs per farm had risen to over 1,400. In the not-so-distant past, the presence of livestock on farms was the social norm. When living or traveling in rural areas, you would expect to smell the smells, hear the noises, and see the sights that accompany such operations. Rural neighbors registered few complaints when nearly everyone had livestock. But the dramatic increase in the concentration of ownership now means that far fewer rural residents have a large financial interest in livestock. What once was the smell of money is now the smell of somebody else’s money.