Why California’s new pork rules could mean big changes for Minnesota hog farmers
Friday, August 06, 2021
If you order a pork chop, a side of bacon or tacos al pastor anywhere in the U.S., there’s a decent chance the meat in your meal was raised in Minnesota.
As a state, Minnesota is second only to Iowa in pork production. There are roughly 9.3 million hogs in Minnesota at the time of a 2020 U.S. Department of Agriculture survey.
Most of Minnesota’s pork is exported outside the state’s borders, and a lot of it is sold in California, the most populous state in the nation. But California’s rules about what kind of pork can be sold to its supermarkets and restaurants are scheduled to change, requiring that breeding sows be given more space than is typical in the hog industry today. For Minnesota pork producers who want to keep access to the big California market, the new rules may require expensive barn remodeling or new construction — and the need to earn a higher price for their hogs in order to pay for it.