Iowa’s Largest Pork Producer Expanding, While Some Seek Moratorium on Growth

Donnelle Eller reported yesterday at The Des Moines Register Online that, “Iowa’s largest pork producer is rapidly expanding, adding nearly 90,000 pigs at time when water quality issues have state and local leaders calling for a moratorium on industry expansion, says a grassroots activist group.

“Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says Iowa Select is adding at least 19 hog confinements and the Des Moines group wants the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to extend the permitting period to 90 days so residents and county supervisors can ‘review this onslaught of factory farm proposals.’

Iowa Select says its growth in Iowa helps farmers add value to grain operations and improve profits, provides an organic fertilizer for growers, and brings jobs to rural Iowa. The Iowa Falls-based company says it employs 1,200 workers and works with 650 contractors.”

Ms. Eller indicated that, “Iowa leads the nation in pork production, marketing about 45 to 50 million pigs a year.

Iowa pork production has climbed 2.3 percent over the past decade, while it’s bumped up 1.2 percent nationally, according to Iowa State University calculations.”

The Register article added that, “Profit on livestock production is expected to help push U.S. farm income 3.1 percent higher this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects.

Dermot Hays, an Iowa State University economics professor, said pig production expands with improved profits for producers.

“And new processing plants should help with that.

“‘Packers have been making all the money, because they own scarce capacity,’ Hayes said. ‘But with these new plants coming online, some of that money will flow to the live hog producer.'”

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