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Washington is Iowa's top pork-producing county

160 hog farms in county contribute nearly $900 million to economy

A study commissioned by the Iowa Pork Producers Association shows pig farmers and the pork industry in Washington County are making significant contributions to their local communities and the overall Iowa economy.

Washington is Iowa’s top pig-producing county and is an important reason for Iowa’s top ranking as the No. 1 pork producing state.

The economic contribution study was conducted in early 2020 by Decision Innovation Solutions, an economic research and analysis firm in central Iowa. Their modeling was based on 2017 Census of Agriculture data and 2019 USDA production numbers.

Economic Contributions

According to the analysis, the pork industry in Washington County contributed $641 million in total annual sales, based on 2019 data. An additional $254.8 million in value-added economic activity was created in the county.

There were 2,116 jobs in Washington County tied to the pork industry, which generated $101.6 million in household income for residents there.

The pork industry relies on many businesses and industries in Washington County for feed, veterinary care, fuel and more. These supporting businesses to the 160 pig farms in the county are a critical piece of the economic activity and jobs in the area.

A typical Iowa wean-to-finish pig farm sources about 35 percent of all inputs locally.

The hogs in Washington County consume about 177,415 acres of corn and 125,071 acres of soybeans in the county from wean-to-finish, maintaining the pork industry’s standing as one of the top markets for local corn and soybean farmers.

Decision Innovation Solutions looked at what the construction and operations effects of a new, 2,400-head wean-to-finish pig barn in Iowa would be on the local economy. Construction of a new hog farm requires purchases of steel, concrete and equipment. Once completed, the farm purchases feed, veterinary care and other professional services, and several more inputs to produce pigs for sale.

Through all these services, one new barn would generate 12 jobs, provide more than $636,500 in labor income; $1.1 million in value added and $2.5 million in sales, according to the study.