Background of Pork Production in U.S.
There has also been a significant change in how and where hogs are produced in the U.S. over the past 50 years. Low consumer prices, and therefore low producer prices, have resulted in larger, more efficient operations, with many smaller farms no longer able to produce pigs profitably. Since the late 1990s, the number of farms with hogs decreased by over 70 percent. (USDA Hogs & Pork Background) However, even with the decline in farms with hogs, the U.S. is the third largest pork producer and consumer and the largest exporter of pork and pork products. (USDA; Hogs & Pork Overview)
In 2007, sales of all animals in the U.S. totaled over $80 billion. Included in the total sales of animals is the number of hog and pig sales which totaled $18.1 billion. (2007 Census of Agriculture) Currently, most of the swine in the United States are produced in in the Midwest--Iowa and Southern Minnesota, particularly--and in eastern North Carolina. Worldwide, China is by far the largest producer of pork, producing nearly four times as much as the U.S.
There are many breeds of swine, such as Hampshire, Duroc, Poland, China, Landrace, etc., but most farms use crossbreeds to try to gain the best traits of each breed.
U.S. USDA. Economic Research Service. Hogs & Pork; Overview. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/animal-products/hogs-pork.aspx#.UWWKvpMX-w4>.
U.S. USDA. Economic Research Service. Hogs & Pork; Background. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/animal-products/hogs-pork/background.aspx#.UWWMZ5MX-w4>.
U.S. USDA. National Agricultural Statistics Service. Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations 2012 Summary. N.p., Feb. 2013. Web. <http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/FarmLandIn/FarmLandIn-02-19-2013.pdf>.
U.S. USDA. National Agricultural Statistics Service. 2007 Census of Agriculture; Hogs and Pigs Farming. N.p., 24 May 2010. Web. <http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Online_Highlights/Fact_Sheets/Production/hogsandpigs.pdf>.