The trend to fewer and larger pork operations is not new. Table 4 shows the change in market share since 1987, when producers raising less than 1,000 hogs a year marketed nearly one third of all hogs – this has declined to about 2 percent.

The 50,000-plus category has increased from marketing 7 percent of U.S. hog slaughter to more than 50 percent. Producers in the 5,000-to-9,999 group have maintained a stable market sharearound 10 percent. Overall, the larger farms have gained market share, and the smaller farms have lost market share. From 1997 to 2000, producers marketing more than 10,000 hogs have gone from 53 percent market share to 69 percent; and those producers marketing less than 5,000 hogs went from 37 percent to 21 percent. Since 1994, the survey has separated the categories involving producers marketing more than 50,000 annually into 50,000-499,999 and > 500,000. Both size categories increased in number of operations and market share (see table 5).

Firms marketing 50,000-499,999 hogs increased from 57 to 136 and went from 7 percent to 17 percent market share since 1994. Firms marketing more than 500,000 head a year increased from 9 to 20 and moved from 10 percent to 35 percent market share.