In an effort to highlight competitive salaries and benefits in the pork industry, the National Pork Board’s (NPB) pork checkoff conducted a Compensation and Human Resource Practices Survey through During the fall of 2011, surveys were completed by a total of 214 producers, ranging from mid-sized to large operations. Survey respondents represent 46 percent of U.S. pork production.

"Our goal was to not only show that jobs in the pork industry are competitive with those in other industries, but also to ensure people looking for work and students alike could consider a career in pork production," says Jim Lummus, producer learning and performance manager for NPB. "We want people to know that managers of pig farms can make $40,000 to $60,000 a year, plus they have all the advantages of living in rural communities."

For the purpose of the survey, the 'large operations' audience represents farms with 25,000 or more sows in production. Mid-size operations are defined as those operations with fewer than 25,000 sows in production or over 1,000 head finishing.

After being surveyed on numerous topics including compensation, benefits, Human Resource management, recruiting, part-time staff and safety, several key findings stand out. For example, 51 percent of operations pay an hourly rate of $8.51 to $10.50 for animal caretakers with no swine experience, and 21 percent of operations pay an hourly rate of $12.51 to $13.50 for animal caretakers with five or more years of experience. Each position, including those on the farm and in production support, was analyzed in detail. Complete information is available in the full report on

"The survey results provide a benchmark for producers to compare their employee wages and benefits," adds Lummus. "This is a great opportunity to see how their farm compares with others in the industry, so they can retain employees and encourage youth and new hires to consider staying in pork production long-term."

Not only are wages competitive with other industries, benefits also were comparable with 62 percent of operations offering a bonus (incentive) plan for farm employees during the last three years and 71 percent offering medical coverage. Most operations award an average of 8.5 paid vacation days, five paid sick days and six paid holidays for all employee categories after one year of service. With these benefits, employees can easily consider a career in pork production.

To view your copy of the summary or the complete report of the Employee Compensation in Pork Production handouts, click here  or call (800) 456-7675.