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Iowa's Hog Lots

A hog lot controversy has been brewing for years in Iowa. Hogs create an incredible amount of income in the state, but they also bring the potential for tremendous environmental damage.

Here are some of the reasons the state’s water is especially vulnerable to potential pollution from confinements.

  • 80% of Iowa’s drinking water comes from groundwater sources. Many confinements are located on or near these sources. We may not be able to clean our groundwater if a spill contaminated one of these sources.
  • Agricultural Drainage wells–a hydrologic modification common to Iowa. Many large animal confinements are located on or near these wells increasing the risk that underground water sources could be contaminated.
  • Tiling—a hydrologic modification that short-circuits nature’s "plumbing" system. Instead of moving through the natural water cycle, which would include wetlands and buffering areas, tiling shoots drainage (and any pollutants in it) directly into waterways. (cutaway graphic showing tiling)

Pork Industry Statistics

  • Iowa is the nation’s number one pork producing state, accounting for 28% of all U.S. pork production.
  • 262.6 million hogs were marketed in Iowa in 2000.
  • 15.2 million hogs and pigs, valued at $1.3 billion, were on Iowa farms as of Dec. 2000.
  • Cash receipts from pork production in 2000 totaled $3.0 billion.
  • The pork industry provides more than 86,000 jobs in the state of Iowa.
  • The pork industry contributes nearly $3 billion payroll income.
  • The economic impact is nearly $12 billion.






Explore More: Water Quality
Copyright 2004, Iowa Public Television
The Explore More project is supported by funds from the
Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust
and the USDE Star Schools Program.