Pork... Touching You Daily

Pork Production

The United States produces approximately 21,077,595 pounds of pork a year.

  • The U.S. is the third top pork producing country in the world.

Top States (U.S. Map)

Iowa 19,400 thousand pigs
North Carolina 10,100 thousand pigs
Minnesota 7,600 thousand pigs
Illinois 4,350 thousand pigs
Indiana 3,700 thousand pigs

Texas Stock Shows (17 x 15)

  • Pigs are a popular show animal for youth in Texas.
  • On average, approximately 21,300 swine are validated for livestock shows each year.

Pig Identification

Ear notches are used to individually identify each pig in the swine industry. Swine producers have relied on ear notches to identify their pigs for many years.

  • Pig’s Right Ear - Litter Number
  • Pig’s Left Ear - Pig Number


  • Approximately 1 of every 7 hogs produced in the United States is exported.
  • The value of pork exports is $23.97 per hog.


Did you know...

  • The pork industry supports more than 800,000 jobs.
  • Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat.
  • Pigs do not have sweat glands, so they use water or mud to cool off.
  • The pig is rated the fourth most intelligent animal.
  • On Manhattan Island, a long solid wall was constructed on the northern edge of the colony to control roaming herds of pigs. This area is now known as Wall Street.
  • In ancient Crete, it was the custom for each family to raise a hog to be harvested on Christmas Eve and served the next day. Nearly every part of the pig was consumed, feeding the family for weeks. The bladder was often washed out, cleaned and used as a ball for children’s games.
  • In many cultures, children are given “piggy banks” to encourage them to save their money.


There are over 180 species of pigs in the world, found on every continent except Antarctica. Evidence indicates that the pig was domesticated as early as 9,000 years ago. Some major swine breeds are:

  • Berkshire
    • Characteristics: Black with white on legs, snout and tail; Erect ears
    • The Berkshire breed originated in England and was brought to America in 1823.
  • Chester White
    • Characteristics: White; Drooped Ears
    • The Chester White breed originated in Chester County, Pennsylvania during the mid-1800s. At first it was called the Chester County White, but later the "county" was dropped.
  • Duroc
    • Characteristics: Red; Drooped Ears
    • This hog originated in the eastern United States and in the Corn Belt during in the early 1800s.
  • Hampshire
    • Characteristics: Black with white belt; Erect Ears
    • The Hampshire breed originated from the "Old English Breed" which originated in southern Scotland and Northern England. The breed was imported to American between 1825 and 1835.
  • Landrace
    • Characteristics: White; Large, Drooped Ears
    • The American Landrace descends from Danish Landrace hogs imported in 1934 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Poland China
    • Characteristics: Black with white on legs, snout and tail; Drooped Ears
    • The origin of the Poland China breed has its beginning in the Miami Valley, Butler and Warren counties of Ohio during the early 1800s.
  • Spotted
    • Characteristics: Black and white spots; Drooped Ears
    • Spots descend from the Spotted hogs which trace a part of their ancestry to the original Poland China. This breed was developed during the late 1800s.
  • Yorkshire
    • Characteristics: White; Erect Ears
    • The Yorkshire breed was developed in England in the county of York. The first Yorkshires in the United States were brought to Ohio around 1830.

Developing Leaner Hogs

  • Pigs today look much different than they did a hundred, or even 10, years ago.
    • Because of advances in agriculture and selective breeding practices, ideal market animals and improved products have been developed.
  • These developments have led to:
    • correctness of structure, production and performance
    • livability, attitude and health
    • optimum lean yield
  • Common cuts of fresh pork are leaner today than they were fifteen years ago – on average about 16 percent lower in total fat and 27 percent lower in saturated fat.


  • Swine- an omnivorous, even-toed ungulate of the family Suidae. Includes pigs, hogs, and boars, having a stout body with thick skin, a short neck and a movable snout.
  • Boar- an uncastrated male hog
  • Barrow- a male hog that has been castrated
  • Sow- an adult female hog
  • Gilt- a young sow that has not given birth to a litter of piglets
  • Piglet- newborn pigs

Why It’s Good For You

  • Pork is an excellent source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, phosphorous and protein. It is also a good source of zinc and protein.
  • The tenderloin is the leanest cut of pork—as lean as a skinless chicken breast.


Everything But the Oink

The amazing utility of the hog has motivated the saying, “We use everything, but the oink.”

  • Thanks to hogs, we have several life-supporting and life-saving products.
  • Swine research led to the development of the CAT scan, a technology for examining internal organs without surgery.
  • Pork fat, especially lard, has a history of being used as a medicine. The lard was combined with herbs as a home remedy for chest congestion.

Pharmaceutical By-products

Hogs are powerful resources! All told, pigs are a source of nearly forty drugs and pharmaceuticals!

  • Adrenal Glands
    • Corticosteroids
    • Cortisone
    • Epinephrine
    • Norepinephrine
  • Blood
    • Blood Albumens
    • Blood Fibrin
    • Fetal Pig Plasma
    • Plasmin
  • Brain
    • Cholesterol
    • Hypothalamus
  • Gall Bladder
    • Chenodeoxycholic Acid
  • Heart
    • Heart Valves
    • Intestines
    • Enterogastrone
    • Heparin
    • Secretin
  • Liver
    • Cholic Acid Catalase
    • Desiccated Liver
  • Ovaries
    • Estrogen
    • Progesterone
    • Relaxin
  • Pancreas Gland
    • Insulin
    • Kallikrein
    • Glucagon
    • Lipase
    • Pancreatin
    • Trypsin
    • Chymotrypsin
  • Pineal Gland
    • Melatonin
  • Pituitary Gland
    • ACTH – Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
    • ADH – Antidiuretic Hormone
    • Oxytocin
    • Prolactin
    • TSH – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
  • Skin
    • Porcine Burn Dressing
    • Gelatin
    • Spleen
    • Splenic Fluid
    • Stomach
    • Pepsin
    • Mucin
    • Intrinsic Factor
    • Thyroid Gland
    • Thyroxin
    • Calcitonin
    • Thyrogloblin

Pharmaceutical Facts

Pig pancreas glands are an important source of insulin hormone used to treat diabetes. Pig insulin is especially important because its chemical structure most nearly resembles that of humans.

Specially selected and treated hog skin, because of its similarity to human skin, is used in treating massive burns in humans, injuries that have removed large areas of skin and in healing persistent skin ulcers.

Hog heart valves, specially preserved and treated, are surgically implanted in humans to replace heart valves weakened by disease or injury. Since the first operation in 1971, tens of thousands of hog heart valves have been successfully implanted in human recipients of all ages.

Fatty Acids and Glycerin

You can find pig by-products almost anywhere—in your home, hobbies, yard and even in your car.

Antifreeze Cellophane Cement Cosmetics
Crayons Chalk Fiber softeners Floor waxes
Insecticides Insulation Linoleum Lubricants
Matches Nitroglycerine Oil polishes Paper sizing
Phonograph Records Plastics Plasticizers Printing Rollers
Putty Rubber Waterproofing agents Weed killers

Industrial and Consumer By-Products

Pig by-products are sources of chemicals used in the manufacturing of a wide range of products that cannot be duplicated by synthesis.

  • Blood
    • Sticking agent
    • Leather treating agents
    • Plywood adhesive
    • Protein source in animal feeds
    • Fabric printing and dyeing
  • Bones and Skin
    • Glue
    • Pigskin garments such as gloves and shoes
  • Brains
    • Cholesterol
  • Gall Stones
    • Ornaments
  • Bone Meal
    • Mineral source in feed
    • Fertilizer
    • Porcelain enamel
    • Glass
    • Water Filters
  • Hair
    • Artist brushes
    • Insulation
    • Upholstery
  • Dried Bones
    • Buttons
    • Bone china
  • Meat Scraps
    • Commercial feeds
    • Pet food

Did You Know?

In 1933 a Poland China hog, “Big Bill,” was recorded as the heaviest hog in history. He lived in Tennessee and weighed 2,552 pounds and was 9 feet long!

Learn more about Texas Pork!