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Why Are There So Many Hog Farms in North Carolina?

Hog farming is a booming agricultural industry in the state of North Carolina. Second only to Iowa in the entire nation, the size and impact of North Carolina’s hog farms is undeniable, bringing billions of dollars to the state and providing thousands of jobs for North Carolina locals. The question still stands: why are there so many hog farms in North Carolina? In this article, we will go into why North Carolina is the ideal location for hogs and the challenges the industry faces.

History of Hog Farming in North Carolina

Dating back to the earliest colonial days in North America, hog farming has been an important part of the agricultural industry in North Carolina. European settlers introduced their breeds to the breeds native to the area where the pigs roamed through the forests freely. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that hog farmers began doing anything resembling modern-day pig farming with the evolution of commercial feeds that enabled farmers to keep pigs in more confined spaces. Following World War II, all eyes were on North Carolina as an increased demand for hogs laid the foundation for rapid growth and expansion across the eastern part of the state.

Why is Hog Farming So Popular in North Carolina?

Now that we know a brief history of hog farming, it begs the question: why North Carolina? We’ve established that the state has a rich tradition of hog farming and, while much of it has to do with the cultural implications of passing farms down through generations, the true reason for the number of hog farms in North Carolina is far more pragmatic. Simply put, the eastern half of North Carolina offers the perfect conditions for pig farming. Its warmer climate and abundant rainfall are among the many reasons that pigs and all of the tertiary farming necessary for their success. This allows hog farmers to produce an output from their pigs all year long.

How Does Hog Farming Contribute to the Economy in North Carolina?

Hog farming plays a critical role in North Carolina’s economy, more specifically in the counties along the southeast corner of the state. The counties that have the highest number of hog farms are Duplin, Sampson, Bladen, and Robeson. According to the John Locke Foundation, “the pork industry brings in around $10 billion in economic output each year for the state and generates over 40,000 jobs.” This also feeds several other industries in North Carolina, including the nation’s second-largest food processing density.

What Is the Environmental Impact of Hog Farming?

North Carolina hog farms have a PR problem: they produce a lot of waste. With so many hogs in a densely populated area, waste production is exasperated and multiplied to a far higher degree than would occur with wild hogs. The waste is corralled into “lagoons” to be held and dispersed periodically in other applications. These lagoons, if not properly maintained, can be hazardous during storms or flooding if they mix with natural waterways or local utilities. This has caused environmental controversy and has led to several lawsuits, pushing the hog industry to come up with innovative solutions for waste disposal and sustainable practices. 

How Solar Energy Can Improve the Future of Hog Farming

Hog farms use an incredible amount of energy to power their heating and ventilation alone. Up until recently, the hardworking farm owners and operators have been at the mercy of power companies. The rising costs associated with energy paired with an increase in energy consumption is a stress on farmers’ financial situation. While hog farms are focusing efforts on environmental impacts, solar energy is the perfect choice to help hog farms become even more sustainable all while putting more money into the pockets of farmers. This extra boost in income after implementing solar can be reallocated to other sustainable efforts to create a brighter future for American hog farmers. 

Get In Touch

If you’re a hog farmer who is curious to learn more about how solar can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years, get in touch with us today to see how Sun Farmer’s Group’s turnkey solution makes the pathway to energy independence easier than ever by calling 877-417-3222

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