It would be a major news event and a bad day for Indiana's economic picture if an industry announced it is shutting down, leaving 13,000 people unemployed, and dropping $3 billion from the state's revenue.  That's what would happen if pork-farm opponents succeed in pushing the industry out of Indiana.

Based on a new Purdue University report, the Indiana pork industry employs more than 13,000 people, generates an estimated $44 million of personal income and $3 billion in gross state product.

The State of Indiana's Value-Added Research Fund for the Indiana Livestock Alliance, provided the grant that produced the report-- "Economic Impact of the Indiana Pork Industry." It documents trends in Indiana pork production, its structure, the associated economic activities (i.e. employment, income and value) associated with the industry.

The report shows how Indiana's pork industry has evolved during the last 20 years, with fewer hog farms and fewer hogs grown in the state. Between 1980 and 2004, hog operations declined from 24,000 farms to 3,200.  The hog inventory is down 32 percent (4.6 million head in 1980 to 3.2 million in 2004). However, the number of hogs marketed has barely changed in 20 years, from 6.8 million head 1980 to 6.7 million head marketed in 2003.

The state's declining hog numbers and an increase in slaughter capacity has led to more out-of-state pigs being placed in Indiana to be fed out by producers there. Feeder pigs entering the state has risen 66 percent (1.6 million) since 1980.

Indiana Pork Producers Association officials point out that when Governor Mitch Daniels announced he wants to double pork production in the state, it would simply production back to previous levels.

In spite of past declines, the pork industry represents 12 percent of the state's total cash farm receipts, with meat production the 3rd largest source of agricultural income after corn and soybeans. "Although hog industry numbers have declined in the past 20 years, this report shows that Indiana's pork industry is still a vital part of the state's economy," say IPPA officials.

The report supports the idea that Indiana is a prime state for pork production and expansion because it has an abundant feed supply, pork processing facilities, available labor force, a large cropland base for manure use as fertilizer, and access to large consumer markets in Chicago and the East coast.

A copy of the report can be downloaded at IPPA's Web site:

Indiana Pork Producers Association, Purdue University