Abstract: a Reanalysis: Do Hog Farms Cause Disease in North Carolina Neighborhoods?

Mar 27, 2023

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Abstract: A reanalysis: Do hog farms cause disease in North Carolina neighborhoods?

A 2018 publication reported that communities living near hog Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) in North Carolina, USA have increased negative health outcomes and mortalities. While the authors stated that the associations do not imply causation, speculative interpretation of their results by media and subsequent use as evidence in lawsuits caused detrimental effects on the swine industry. We repeated their study using updated data to evaluate the strength of conclusions and appropriateness of methods used with the ultimate goal of alerting on the impact that study limitations may have when used as evidence. As done in the 2018 study, logistic regression was conducted at the individual level using 2007-2018 data, while presumably correcting for six confounders drawn from zip code or county-level databases. Exposure to CAFOs was defined by categorizing zip codes into three by swine density; where, >1 hogs/km2 (G1), > 232 hogs/km2 (G2), and no hogs (Control). Association with CAFO exposure resulting in mortality, hospital admissions, and emergency department visits were analyzed related to eight conditions (six from the previous study: anemia, kidney disease, infectious diseases, tuberculosis, low birth weight, and we added HIV and diabetes).

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WEBINAR | USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report | Analysis from David Miller

Video: WEBINAR | USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report | Analysis from David Miller

The National Pork Board hosted a webinar on Dec. 23, 2021 for pork producers following the release of the USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report. Guest economists were invited to share insights about the report.

Pork Checkoff funds are used to host this webinar to help pork producers understand the publicly available information. The goal is to add value to the pork industry and ultimately to consumers by providing a better understanding of the economics of pork production.