Dr. Kelly Zering,
Dr. Jon Brandt,
Dr. Fritz Roka,and
Dr. Tomislav Vukina.
Last Electronic Revision: June 1996 (KNS)
Unprecedented growth in North Carolina's pork
industry-a 163 percent increase in pounds produced
since 1970-has brought a new look to this agricultural
mainstay. In 1993, live hog production accounted for
nearly 17 percent of North Carolina's agricultural
marketings. North Carolina has soared from its 1970
ranking of eleventh among swine producing states to
second in 1994.
Yet, production and poundage numbers don't reflect
the total economic impact of the industry. Its growth
influences employment, investment and revenue as well
as potential growth among support industries ranging
from accounting to plumbing.
The following graphs, tables, and text take a look at
this flourishing industry and its economic impact on
North Carolina. They summarize a study conducted by
the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North
Carolina State University.
Hog inventories in North Carolina grew by 1.4 million
from December 1, 1993 to December 1, 1994.
A large portion of swine production and inventory in-
creases in North Carolina and across the nation has occured on
modern specialized farms of at least 1,000 pigs. The number of
farms keeping pigs has declined, continuing a trend that began
before 1960. Most of the decline has involved farms with less
than 100 head. In fact, the average number of pigs per farm,
among those that have ceased production, was 12.5
The total value of swine production in 1993 was near
$1 billion and accounted for 4,322 jobs. This makes up about
13 percent of the state's total agricultural employment figure
But how does that $1 billion affect other facets of North
Carolina's economy? Economists call this the multiplier
effect. For North Carolina, they estimate that for every $1 of
income earned by swine producers, another $.80 of income is
generated for other individuals or businesses in the state.
Multipliers can be applied to employment figures
also. The employment multiplier for North Carolina hog
production is 3.43. For every full-time worker hired by
hog producers, two full-time jobs and one part-time job
are created in other economic sectors.
The pork packing and processing industry-those
businesses that turn the hogs into a wide variety of pork
products -- accounted for more than $1.4 billion in sales
in 1993. Of the 7,214 full-time employees in North
Carolina's meat processing and packing sector, 81
percent or 5,868 were employed to handle swine. With
11 percent of the swine in the United States and only 3
percent of the country's population, North Carolina is
an important supplier of fresh and processed pork to
markets on the east coast.
The combined economic impact of swine production
and meat packing/processing totalled $3.6 billion in
state output and $1.17 billion in income in 1993. Almost
25,000 full-time employees can be attributed to swine
production and pork packing and processing. These
figures include income and employment in wholesale
and retail businesses, financial services, and manufacturing and
This growth is being spurred, in part, by increased
capabilities in existing packing facilities and the addition
of new packing and processing businesses. Recent expansions have increased
slaughter capacity to 8 million hogs per year.
Building on a historic foundation and a strong economic network, North
Carolina's swine industry is preparing for its inevitable role as
the state's number one agricultural commodity.