By Brian Voss, AEM Agriculture Services Manager
October is the first full month of autumn, harvest is in full swing, and traditionally this is when hogs are marketed.
As we celebrate National Pork Month, it seems only fitting we remember pigs not only play a role in agriculture, but also American culture and history. In fact, pigs actually have a role in the naming of one of the largest markets in the world Wall Street, as a long solid wall was constructed to control roaming herds of hogs on Manhattan Island. Pork influenced common lexicon still used today from “living high on the hog” to “pork barrel politics,” and even the phrase “Uncle Sam” came about as a result of pork being shipped to the troops during the War of 1812.
The pig became known as the “mortgage lifter” in the early 19th century, as it served to provide substantial income used to pay off debts for many homesteading farmers. In the decades to follow, the pork industry has evolved significantly and made major improvements in feed efficacy.
The livestock industry is a major consumer of corn and soybeans. In fact, our nation’s hogs consume more than 95 percent of U.S. soybean meal. In Iowa alone, hogs will consume more than 163 million bushels of corn. Feed conversion rates have increased significantly over the past few decades, down to a 3-1 ratio of feed to weight whole herd average. Also, the industry has placed emphasis on sustainability, as seen by a 41 percent reduction in water being used and a 35 percent reduction in its carbon footprint.
AEM is proud to represent its member companies, as their equipment has planted, fertilized, protected, and fed the swine industry in the past and continues to improve for the future. And as October draws to an end, so does another yet another National Pork Month. As a hog farmer’s son – and one who has a few to his name as well – I hope you enjoyed the month as much as I did.