The Kentucky Pork Industry
The Kentucky pork industry adds significant value to the agricultural economy and is a major contributor to the overall Kentucky economy. Although the size and structure of the Kentucky 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 $459.8 million in personal income, $646.2 million in value added, and more than 8,882 jobs in the Kentucky economy.
Total Economic Contribution
All direct, indirect, and induced economic activity supported by the Kentucky Pork Industry.
jobs supported by the pork industry
value added (GDP)
personal income generated
Hog Farms and Production
There are about 435,000 hogs in Kentucky. The size of the Kentucky hog herd has varied over time but has trended upward from 430,000 head in 2000 to 435,000 head in 2021. As of December 2021, Kentucky farms accounted for 0.6% of the total U.S. hog inventory.
The number of Kentucky hog farms has increased in recent years. From 1997 to 2012, the number of farms raising hogs decreased from 2,129 to 1,284, but by 2017 farm numbers increased to 1,805.
Approximately 75% of Kentucky hogs are on farms with 5,000 or more in inventory. 17 percent of Kentucky’s hogs are on farms with 2,000 to 4,999 head, and eight 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 $170.24 million. 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 Kentucky pork industry, producing 863,458 market hogs in Kentucky generates over $115.2 million 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
Feed is the largest single expenditure category in pork production. With 863,458 market hogs produced annually, feed costs for the Kentucky industry exceed $64.4M. Other direct expenses, like energy and transportation, add over $25.3M, employee compensation totals $11.48M, and facility-related expenses add over $13.9M.
Jobs Supported by the Kentucky Pork Industry
The direct, indirect, and induced activity generated by the Kentucky pork industry in 2021 supported a total of 8,882 jobs and over $459.77M in personal income. Kentucky hog farms and pork processors directly employed 4,351 workers and paid $220.589 million in total wages. This includes 184 full-time-equivalent workers at the farm level and an estimated 4,136 employees in the hog slaughter and processing sectors.
The purchases of input supplies and services in the pork industry indirectly supported 2,739 jobs and $156.3 million in personal earnings for Kentucky workers. Beyond this, the induced impacts stemming from employee spending included 1,791 additional jobs and over $82.84 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.