Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles is celebrating Kentucky’s swine industry by proclaiming October as Pork Month in the commonwealth.
Quarles says pork plays an important role in Kentucky. He adds the state’s farmers play an equally important role in the hard work they do to raise healthy lean meat for consumers in Kentucky and beyond. He says while we celebrate Kentucky Pork Month, let’s remember the hard work our farmers do every day to raise this nutritious commodity.
According to Quarles, pork is an important product to the national diet with the average American consuming about 50 pounds of pork per year. He says pork is packed with important nutrients and minerals. And, in addition to protein, he adds it also provides thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium.
Quarles indicates pork sales in the commonwealth make up 2.5 percent of total cash receipts for Kentucky agriculture. He says the sale of market hogs and pigs brought Kentucky farmers $128 million in 2020, up by more than $16 million the year prior.
With more than 1,600 swine operations across the commonwealth, Kentucky ranks 17th in the nation for total swine production. Quarles says hogs can be found throughout the state, but most of Kentucky’s hogs are raised in western Kentucky, near production of their primary food source of corn and soybeans.
At the end of 2020, Quarles says Kentucky had approximately 460,000 total head of swine, up from 435,000 in 2019. However, he adds that number is only a portion of the more than 1 million hogs and pigs Kentucky farmers sold at market last year.
State ag officials say pork is eaten by more people than any other meat in the world.