The nation's hog farmers are forecast to have a profitable year in 2012, according to ag economists such as Iowa State University Extension livestock economist Shawn Ellis. They are basing their projections on USDA's latest hog inventory surveys, farrowing intentions and possible hog prices and feed costs. Profits for hogs in 2012 are currently forecast to be near $17 per head, which would be the highest since 2006.
That's prompting more calls to the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF). Farmers who are already established in the hog business are wanting information on regulations because they are interested in expanding their established hog production operations. And there are also calls coming in from farmers who have never raised hogs before, who are now wanting to get into hog production.
"We at CSIF have seen a definite uptick in the number of calls over the past six months from farmers wanting to grow their hog farms, to increase the size of their operations, and also some calls from farmers who want to start raising hogs for the first time," says CSIF executive director Brian Waddingham. "I expected the calls to slow down this fall and winter, but have seen just the opposite."
Hog profitability is expected to rise in 2012--stirring interest in hog production
A majority of the calls are from beginning farmers looking to return to the family farm. With the significant amount of capital required to purchase land, many of these young people are finding that raising livestock and poultry provides an opportunity for them to return to the family farm.
"We see several families trying to determine the best way to bring their son or daughter back into their family business," Waddingham says. "Our primary goal is to keep farm families on the farm, but it's increasingly difficult to do that. Farmers who come to us can get assistance in interpreting rules and regulations, siting good locations for barns while protecting air, soil and water quality—and information on managing relationships with their neighbors. We provide this information and advice all at no cost to them."
There are a lot of questions about "location, location, location" of livestock facilities
"When I had the opportunity to return to the family farm, I relied on the coalition's expertise to properly locate my new hog barn and help communicate with my neighbors," says third generation farmer Ben Bader from Jesup in northeast Iowa. "I definitely recommend that farmers looking to put up a new livestock or poultry barn contact the coalition for help. They understand the importance of being a good neighbor and caretaker of the land and the livestock."
To learn more about the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers, visit their booth at the 2012 Iowa Pork Congress, which will be held in Des Moines at the Iowa Events Center January 25-26. The CSIF staff will be available at booth 1210 to answer questions and provide guidance at no cost. For more information, call 1-800-932-2436 or visit www.supportfarmers.com.