A Profile of Pork Production in Iowa
With the assistance of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and the Iowa Pork Industry Center, Iowa pork producers were surveyed to obtain information on the state of the industry. The survey also obtained information on producer interest in a producer owned marketing cooperative. This report focuses on the profile of the production industry.
Average age of the respondents was 45 years; they had been in pork production for 24 years. Most (82%) were independent pork producers, marketed pigs weekly, and obtained no more than one price bid for hogs. Approximately 60% of the respondents marketed between 1,000 to 3,000 market hogs annually; 88% knew the lean percentage of their hogs and only 11% had muscle quality information.
There is concern among producers about their future in the pork production industry. Approximately 4 in 10 felt their future was threatened. About an equal number felt optimistic that they could remain competitive and adapt to industry changes. Approximately half the producers felt shared marketing arrangements would increase their profit potential. One-third to one-fourth felt the following would improve their profit potential: networking to lower production costs, new product development, niche market creation, or foreign market expansion.
A majority of the producers (90%) was Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) certified. About one-third are manure application certified and/or Environmental Assurance Program (EAP) certified. A much smaller percentage (4%) is food safety certified, but they are very willing to make adjustments to become food safety certified.
The pork production industry has done an exemplary job on producer education programs such as PQA and EAP. Now it is time to inform the consumer about what has been accomplished. Consumers need to be informed as well, because there are some potential value-added opportunities with these certification programs. The industry needs to promote what it has accomplished and is accomplishing. This is valuable information in the domestic as well as foreign markets.