DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has reached a record number of pigs on farms as the pork industry continues to expand production amid questionable export demand due to tariff battles with China.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday Iowa has 23.6 million pigs on farms as of Sept. 1, an increase of 4 percent from the previous year and the highest number recorded.
That makes Iowa the leading pork producer by far. North Carolina is second with 9.4 million pigs and Minnesota third with 8.6 million.
The total for the United States has reached 75.5 million pigs, a 3 percent increase from a year ago.
Overproduction and fewer export markets could result in cheaper pork chops and ham, but low prices make profitability a challenge for farmers.
The USDA predicts increased U.S. demand for pork and industry groups say they’re working to find other markets to sell product.