The Iowa Pork Industry

The Iowa pork industry adds significant value to the agricultural economy and is a major contributor to the overall Iowa economy. Although the size and structure of the Iowa pork industry has changed over time, current levels of production continue to support jobs and generate earnings in the state economy. In 2021, the sales generated from hog marketings and pork processing supported a total economic contribution of $4.64 billion in personal income, $8.48 billion in value added, and more than 88,161 jobs in the Iowa economy.

Total Economic Contribution

All direct, indirect, and induced economic activity supported by the Iowa Pork Industry.


jobs supported by the pork industry


value added (GDP)


personal income generated

Hog Farms and Production

Iowa December 1 Hog Inventory and Share of U.S. Total

There are about 23.8 million hogs in Iowa. The size of the Iowa hog herd has varied over time but has trended upward from 15.1 million head in 2000 to 23.8 million head in 2021. As of December 2021, Iowa farms accounted for 32.1% of the total U.S. hog inventory.

The number of Iowa hog farms has decreased in recent years. From 1997 to 2012, the number of farms decreased from 17,585 to 6,266, and by 2017 Iowa had 5,660 farms raising hogs.

Iowa Hog Farms and Hogs per Farm
Iowa Hog Inventory Distribution

Approximately 69% of Iowa hogs are on farms with 5,000 or more in inventory. 25 percent of Iowa’s hogs are on farms with 2,000 to 4,999 head, and six percent are on farms with less than 2,000 head.

Hog Production Costs and Returns

In 2021, hog sales (including market hogs, sows, and feeder pigs) totaled $9.4 billion. In addition to these farm-level effects, the pork industry supports other industries by purchasing inputs, supplies, and services. Based on long-run prices and aggregated production budgets for the Iowa pork industry, producing more than 46.408 million market hogs in Iowa generates over $6.275 billion in feed, labor, equipment, and other production-related expenditures.

Hog Production by the Numbers


number of farms with hogs


hogs marketed annually


cash receipts from hog sales

Iowa Estimated Share of Production Costs

Feed is the largest single expenditure category in pork production. With 46.4 million market hogs produced annually, feed costs for the Iowa industry exceed $3.94B. Other direct expenses, like energy and transportation, add $1.307B, employee compensation totals $326.49M, and facility-related expenses add $703.6M.

Jobs Supported by the Iowa Pork Industry

The direct, indirect, and induced activity generated by the Iowa pork industry in 2021 supported a total of 88,161 jobs and $4.643B in personal income. Iowa hog farms and pork processors directly employed 36,070 workers and paid $1.772 billion in total wages. This includes 8,188 full-time-equivalent workers at the farm level and an estimated 26,512 employees in the hog slaughter and processing sectors.


The purchases of input supplies and services in the pork industry indirectly supported 34,168 jobs and $2.09 billion in personal earnings for Iowa workers. Beyond this, the induced impacts stemming from employee spending included 17,923 additional jobs and over $780.54 million in personal income earned. Many of these jobs were within the agriculture and manufacturing industries, as well as industries like trucking, finance, insurance, real estate, trade, and other service sectors.