Factors Affecting Regional Shifts Of U.S Pork Production
The U.S. pork industry in the recent past has transferred into fewer, larger and specialized operations. Inputs availability, developments of transportation systems, technological changes, government regulations and the consumer preferences have been driving changes in the pork industry. Spatial inequalities affect the competitiveness of one region relative to other regions. This paper is focused on how these forces affect the regional competitiveness of the pork industry and movement towards larger, specialized and geographically concentrated operations. A mathematical programming model is used to analyze the effect of market forces on the pork industry structure. The results of this study show that although raising hogs in larger operations is less costly, small-sized operations in some regions still need to produce hogs to meet the demand for consumption and export. Environmental compliance cost is considered one of the major factors of industry relocation; the analysis showed that the effect of such costs was minimal. Feed costs and transportation costs play a greater role in location of production and processing. Pork operations tend to locate near the populous areas to meet the consumer demand and to minimize the transportation cost. Pressures from current and future environment regulations, moratoria and scarcity of agricultural land for manure management tend to keep the hog operations away from high population areas. A future scenario analysis suggested that the Western region of the U.S. would experience higher growth in pork production. The current trend of fewer and larger production units and location change in the pork industry will continue.
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