Pork Producers Still Need to Earn a Living, Johnson Says

Apr 22, 2024

There's no doubt pork production is a noble calling, says Iowa State University Extension swine specialist Colin Johnson. But the reality remains that farmers still have to cover production costs and earn a living. 

"Let's face it, achieving a profit in the business has been a struggle in recent times," he says in an Iowa Pork Industry Center release. "The pork industry is a very competitive global market and trade relations fluctuate."

Decisionmakers are continually evaluating whether or not to consolidate the farm and if they can validate their stay in the industry, Johnson explains. 

"The costs of health impacts and labor are significant industry factors today regardless of operation size," he points out.

The Iowa Pork Industry Center has several resources to help guide decisions, including the Pig Profit Tracker that can help producers assess value and performance changes within their operation.

"Spreadsheets and other tools from the IPIC website and content from the ISU Ag Decision Maker website have seen increased use as of late," Johnson says in the release. "Our tools can model the economic performance impacts that may result from changing parameters such as facility, health, genetic costs and more."

He says it's important to understand there is more than economics that need to be considered.

“I’ve had many discussions on the regional pig supply and site logistics as well as how barns fit in with a sustainable future for the farm as a whole," he says. "IPIC swine specialists are available to talk through a variety of options and can aid in projecting cost inputs."

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