In 2002, South Dakota lost 100 hog farms, according to a report from the state Agricultural Statistics Service.
"No, I’m not surprised," says Rick Morren, South Dakota Pork Producers Council president. "The margins per hog are less, so you need more of them or you need a niche market."
Last year, South Dakota had 1,500 hog operations and an inventory of 1.29 million head of hogs as of Dec. 1, the state agency reported. That included 140,000 head of breeding stock, down 3% from last year.
Ten years ago, South Dakota boasted 7,300 farms that produced 3.28 million hogs.
Last year’s losses included 50 farms with less than 100 head and the rest between 100-500 head, the report said.
Morren expects those numbers to continue dropping. "It’s like everything…like small towns. Everything is getting to be bigger. It’s just the way America is going," he adds.