South Dakota is a great place for pig farms and farmers! Back »

Written by Stacey Sorlien (South Dakota Pork Producers Council).


We care about our animals and the environment.

  • Farmers provide daily care for pigs and continually take part in educational workshops and programs to stay updated on the latest research, techniques and best care practices in pig farming.

  • South Dakota farmers provide care at each stage of the pig’s life and feed pigs high quality diets to keep them healthy. In addition, modern pig housing promotes health and well-being and provides protection for the pigs.

  • Farmers depend on the expertise of their veterinarians when making health decisions.

  • Antibiotics are used only when it benefits pig health and well-being.

  • All healthcare products used on pig farms are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Making the most of manure.

  • Farmers recycle pig manure to use as high quality fertilizer by applying it to the soil prior to planting the crop.

  • Nutrients and organic matter found in pig manure are important to the productivity of South Dakota farmland.

  • Research has shown significant economic and environmental benefits from using manure as fertilizer.

Providing safe and healthy food for your family.

  • Pork provides many essential nutrients that are important to your family’s health, including: protein, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, zinc and potassium.

  • Eating a diet that includes protein from lean pork can help you lose weight while maintaining lean tissue, including muscle.

  • For the leanest cuts of pork, look for the word “loin” on the label.

Key Terms

  • Boar: A male hog used for breeding purposes.

  • Farrow: To give birth to piglets

  • Wean: To separate the young pigs from the sow.

  • Finish: To feed a pig until it reaches market weight of 260 to 270 pounds.

  • Gestation Barn: Females are bred and spend their gestation period, or pregnancy, in a gestation barn. Gestation for a sow is 112 to 114 days, or three months, three weeks and three days.

  • Farrowing Barn: Sows will spend about four weeks in the farrowing barn, beginning a few days prior to birthing. They remain in the farrowing barn while the young pigs nurse. The piglets will be weaned from the sows at about 21 days of age. The young pigs are transferred to either a nursery or a wean-to-finish barn. The sows are moved to the gestation barn.

  • Nursery: Newly weaned pigs are cared for in the nursery barn. They remain in the nursery for about eight weeks or about 50 pounds. The pigs are then transferred to a finishing barn.

  • Finishing Barn: Pigs from the nursery will be transferred to the finishing barn where they will remain for 16 weeks and reach market weights of 260 to 270 pounds. From the finishing barn, the market weight pigs go to the processing plant.

  • Wean-to-Finish Barn: Wean-to-finish facilities combine the nursery and finishing barn into one building. Typically, pigs will be in this barn for 24 weeks and reach market weights of 260 to 270 pounds.

Did you know?

  • Pork chops are America’s favorite cut of pork, and because they come from the pork loin, they are also a healthy choice.

  • Pork tenderloin is as lean as a skinless chicken breast and only takes about eight minutes to broil, grill or sauté.

  • The recommended serving size for pork is 3 ounces of cooked meat, which is about the size of a deck of cards. Four ounces of boneless, raw pork yields 3 ounces of cooked pork.

Using a meat thermometer.

  • It is very important to cook pork loins, chops and roast to 145 degrees with a 3 minute rest period.

  • A digital, instant-read thermometer is a low-cost, must-have for every kitchen because pork can often be overcooked – checking the internal temperature often will help prevent dry pork.

  • Instant-read thermometers are not meant to be left in the meat during cooking. When inserted into the thickest part of the meat (without touching any bone), the temperature should register within a few seconds.

  • If you wish to invest a bit more, continuous-read digital thermometers are another option. Designed to be left in the meat during the entire duration of cooking, they often include a probe that is placed in the meat. Grilling Tips.

  • To prevent the meat from sticking on the grill, use clean racks and coat them with vegetable oil or a non-stick vegetable oil spray.

  • Preheat grill or broiler to the proper temperature to ensure the meat surface is seared quickly to give it a flavorful crust.

  • Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the meat when trying to turn it because piercing allows valuable juices to escape.

  • Use other utensils, such as wooden spoons, tongs, and spatulas for turning the meat.

PORK: What does it do for South Dakota?

  • Provides 7,918 jobs

  • South Dakota is ranked #11 in pork production

  • SD ranks #2 in pigs raised per sow

  • South Dakota ranks 9th nationally in number of pigs born in the state

  • South Dakota's 170,000 sows produce 339,000 farrowings per year

  • South Dakota hogs consume 275,000 tons of Soybean Meal

  • South Dakota hogs consume 41 million bushels of Corn

  • South Dakota's pork industry contributes $2.1 billion overall economic impact of SD’s Swine industry

  • South Dakota's pork industry contributes $17.4 million in total tax revenue

Additional Resources:

  • Additional information on South Dakota Pork Producers Council: www.sdpork.org

  • Check us out on Facebook: South Dakota Pork Producers Council

  • Check us out on Twitter: @SDPorkmom

  • For additional cooking tips, recipes and more: www.porkbeinspired.com

  • Free resources for kids: www.pork4kids.com

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