Iowa Sees Hog Herd Grow to 19.6 million

In this April 30, 2002, file photo a commercial market hog stands in a pen in a hog lot near Panora, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

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By Kara Kelly

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has widened its lead over North Carolina as the nation's top hog producer.

The Des Moines Register reported Thursday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture lists Iowa's herd total at 19.6 million, an increase from last year's 18.9 million.

The hog inventory in No. 2 North Carolina dropped by 7 percent to 8.5 million. Producers blamed the decline in North Carolina on the high cost of corn, which is shipped to the state to feed the hogs.

The USDA says the nation's total hog inventory was 66.6 million.

Producers have been seeing strong prices.

Shane Ellis of Iowa State University Extension says per-head profits were $21.33 in August. He expects those profits to drop into the single digits in September.

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