China’s Other Sleeping Giant Is the Other White Meat
—By Tom Philpott
They're going hog wild in Iowa again. Chart: Des Moines RegisterSince the dawn of the Great Recession, Americans have been eating less meat, including pork. Meanwhile, prices of corn and soy—the main components of US livestock feed—have been high.
Lower demand, high feed costs: Basic economics tells us that US factory farms should be cutting back, slowing down, producing less. And that would be a good thing, because as I've written so many times before, our style of meat production sucks up huge amounts of resources and creates vast amounts of pollution.
Yet look what's happening in Iowa, the by far the nation's leading hog-producing state. There, the Des Moines Register reports, there's been a boom in state-issued permits for new factory-scale hog confinements. As the chart above shows, new permits fell off dramatically in 2009, driven down by the low hog prices, but are now charging back up.