As U.S. pork exports climb, pork production increases and so do pork prices, which in turn creates jobs, according to a recent analysis conducted by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.

For every additional 1% of U.S. pork production exported, $3 is added to the price producers receive per hog, and those higher prices eventually stimulate more pork production.

For each 1% increase in pork production, 920 direct pork industry jobs are generated and 4,575 total jobs are created.

Hayes points out that U.S. pork exports have grown during the past 15 years from nearly nothing to almost 20% of pork production – but potential for exports to grow still exists.

However, to achieve that potential, the U.S. pork industry must maintain access to key customers such as China and Russia, and expand market access in places like Columbia, Panama and South Korea. This latter group of countries has agreed to eliminate tariffs on U.S. pork and other products through free trade agreements (FTA) negotiated with the United States.

An FTA with Panama would boost U.S. live hog prices by $0.20/animal and add 600 jobs. A Columbia FTA would increase pork prices about $1.15/animal and create 3,500 jobs, while a trade pact with South Korea would increase hog prices by nearly $10/hog and create 3,628 direct jobs and 18,000 total jobs.

Currently, the U.S. pork industry has 111,000 fulltime employees and supports an additional 450,000 in secondary jobs such as veterinary service, input supplies and local government.