Pork by the numbers
- Hog farms in South Dakota: 571
- Number of pigs: 1.5 million
- South Dakota national pork production rank: 11th
- Economic impact of pork industry: $621 million
- Economic impact of hog processing: $1.9 billion
- Jobs created by pork industry: 4,371
Hog Farm Facts
The 571 farm families that raise hogs in South Dakota not only produce a great-tasting source of protein for consumers in South Dakota and well beyond, they are also important customers for grains produced in the state. Each year, South Dakota hogs consume an average of 178,217 tons of soybean meal and 52 million bushels of corn.
Hogs are housed in climate-controlled barns in which farmers can adjust temperatures during extreme weather conditions. These modern buildings also allow farmers to limit diseases, protect hogs from predators and keep pigs clean by separating manure.
Female swine are called sows. Sows give birth to litters of pigs twice a year. Each litter usually has eight to 12 baby pigs. Giving birth to baby pigs is called farrowing, and many farms use special stalls that provide a place for baby pigs to move out of the way while the mother gets up and lay down.
Pigs are weaned when they are two to four weeks old. Pigs are placed in finishing barns where they are feed and cared for until the hog reaches 240 pounds, when they are taken to market.
Modern production practices have virtually eliminated some former common causes of human foodborne illnesses. Pathogens, such as Trichinella spiralis, formerly one of the most prominent pathogens, have largely disappeared with the movement of pigs to indoor production.
Antibiotics for use in animals are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and given to animals under the guidance of veterinarians. The FDA approves the use of antibiotics only after they undergo a vigorous review for safety to animals, humans and the environment. Additionally, the FDA has mandated that food or milk from animals that have been treated with an antibiotic may NOT enter the food supply until a pre-determined amount of time has elapsed since last treatment.
Pigs are also the source of many products people depend on, including heart valves for transplants, insulin, nearly 20 drugs and pharmaceuticals, leather, adhesive, glue, buttons, fertilizer, glass, water filters, ornaments, paint brushes, pet food, insecticides, weed killers, cosmetics, antifreeze, crayons, chalk, and many more.
Source: South Dakota Department of Ag, United States Department of Agriculture and National Ag Statistics Service and National Pork Producers