Professor Scarecrow Pork

Types History Production Shipping Nutrition
Vocabulary Quiz


The North Carolina Pork Council represents one of our largest groups of farmers in North Carolina. Hogs rank number one in cash receipts in North Carolina out of all the other commodities. These farmers all raise different breeds or types of hogs across the state. The ones that can be found around the area are American Landrace, Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Poland China, Spotted Breed and Yorkshire. All these types are celebrated in October which is National Pork Month.

American Landrace
American Landrace
Return to Menu


Pigs were brought to North America from Europe during the colonization of America. The very first pigs were brought by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493. They used the pigs for two main things back then, their meat and skins. The meat was for food and the skins were used as leather in a variety of things like sacks, clothing and shoes.

Today the pigs skin and meat are still used, but there are some 500 different things made from pig parts. Pork has gone from being just a meat to a product that makes a big difference in the industrial and pharmaceutical fields. Pharmaceuticals rank second only to meat itself in the important contributions hogs make to society. Rapidly advancing science and technology are continually adding to the list of life-supporting and life-saving products made from the hog. In total, hogs are a source of nearly 40 drugs and pharmaceuticals. Hogs are used in the making of medicines to help the adrenal glands, the blood, the brain, the gall bladder, the heart, the intestines, the liver, the ovaries, the skin, the stomach, the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, the pituatary gland and the pancreas gland.
Hogs also make a very significant contribution to the world of industrial and consumer products. Hog by-products are sources of chemicals used in the manufacturing of a wide range of products which cannot be made elsewhere. And of course, pigskin is used as a high quality leather for clothing, shoes, handbags, sporting goods, upholstery and so on. Some examples of products using pig parts:

Hog Blood-sticking agent, leather treating agents, plywood adhesive, protein source in feeds, fabric printing and dying
Hog Bones and Skin--glue, pigskin garments, gloves and shoes
Hog Dried Bones--bone china, buttons
Hog Bone Meal--mineral source in feed, fertilizer, porcelain enamel, glass and water filters
Hog Gall Stones--ornamentals
Hog Hair--paint brushes, insulation, upholstery
Fatty acids and Glycerin--floor waxes, pharmeceuticals, cosmetics, insecticides, herbicides, oil polishes, rubber, antifreeze, plastics, printing rollers, cellophane, cement, fiber softeners, crayons, chalk, matches, putty and linoleum

Today people are using more and more hogs because of the many uses it has and because it's a healthy eating choice. Pork is much leaner and is a better quality product than it was in the past.

Return to Menu


The industry itself is also changing for pork. The environmental aspect of how hogs are raised is causing a big change in the way animal wastes are being handled. Projects are already underway to change the way waste is handled and to improve the odor or smell of the farm.

Hogs are big business for all of North Carolina, but most of the farms are in the eastern part of the state. Although there are farms around the state, most of them are east of Raleigh. This is because the climate and the terrain make eastern North Carolina a great place to locate a hog farm.

Some hogs are kept outside, but most are kept indoors and confined. This is so that the hogs do not become stressed and it also helps to maintain the safety and health of the herd. The hog houses are temperature controlled so that the herd does not become to hot or to cold.

When bad weather hits the farm, there isn't much to prepare for. Since the hogs are already indoors, they are pretty safe from outdoor conditions. Most farms have generators to prevent a loss of power from causing any threat to animal health or safety.

Food is very important in raising hogs. They are fed a special diet of corn-soybean meal. This is a vitamin-mineral based meal that fulfills their nutrient requirements. Some factors determined in how the mixture is made for hogs are their age and the stage of production that they are in. How a hog is fed greatly affects production and efficiency on the farm.

Farmers use several pieces of special equipment during the production process to help them. Feeding systems are used to feed the hogs and the hogs live in specially designed, temperature-controlled buildings. Transport equipment to move hogs from place to place are also used.

Another special thing used in hog production is vaccinations. Vaccinations are injections of medicines the animal receives to keep it from developing diseases. None of the drugs used on the hogs would ever hurt it or the person who would finally eat the meat. Some vaccines used on the hog are called Puesdorabies, P.R.R.S. and Rhinitis which combat diseases. Another drug called Maternafend is a standard reproductive vaccination used in hogs.

Return to Menu


Once the pig is at the plant to be made into meat, it is inspected. There is a state or federal inspector in every packing house that follow the strict USDA guidelines for pork. Each animal and its by-products are graded on a scale to determine its value.

Pork, once it is graded, can be made several different ways. It can be fresh, frozen and/or processed (smoked/cured). Most pork in North Carolina is sold fresh. The pork is put into plastic vacuum bags and then shipped in boxes that are filled with the bags. It is done this way because it is an industry standard. That means that every pork processor packs the meat the same way. This way every pork producer follows the USDA government's requirements for wholesomeness and sanitation.

Once packaged, pork is sold in a variety of outlets. The most common is to a wholesaler who then sells the product to a retail outlet, who then sells it to the consumer or a restaurant (foodservice). A lot of times after product goes to a foodservice outlet, it is then resold to a specialty producer or shop.

Before ending up on a grocery store shelf or restaurant there are two common routes for pork. One is from the pork packing plant to the wholesale distributor to the customer warehouse to the grocery store or restaurant. The second way is from the pork packing plant to the retail store's warehouse to the grocery store. Pork is sold both domestically and internationally Most pork, when it goes overseas, is sold first to a broker in the States who then ships it overseas from an east coast port.

When pork is moved, how is it done? If a hog is taken from the farm to the plant, it is simply put in a truck. When the product leaves the plant and goes to a store it is taken on a truck that has special refrigeration. This is to keep the meat in cool temperatures so that it does not spoil. About a century ago, pork was taken in a horse-drawn wagon. Then with the advent of railroads, trains were used to move hogs. Trucks are now the main way to move hogs.

Return to Menu


Once the pork is sold, it generally ends up in the meat rack at your local grocery store. When you go to buy pork, make sure you look at it well. Check the date on processed products which are usually in plastic packages or boxes. Also look at the color and the smell of fresh pork to make sure its not spoiled.

Fresh pork is also required to have a label on the outer box and/or the item in plastic wrap. With processed pork, labels always appear on the product wrapper. All meat must carry a USDA government label either on the box container and/or on the individual package wrapper.

Pork is part of the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts grouping of the food pyramind. The recommended daily allowance of this group is two to three servings. Fresh pork is leaner than its ever been. Fresh pork has shaped up and slimmed down so much in recent years, that it's an average of 31% lower in fat, 14% lower in calories and 10% lower in cholesterol than in 1983. Packed with protein, pork is a healthy choice for mealtime.

When planning your next meal, make sure to include pork. It's a healthy, great-tasting food choice. There are so many ways to enjoy it whether on the grill, barbecued or fried, it's hard to find a reason not to love it. Remember that pork is a great example of why Goodness Grows In North Carolina!!!

Return to Menu


1. cash receipts: how much money the commodity has made
2. colonizationthis refers to the time before the United States of America was its own country; the people were British citizens who followed the rules of Great Britain. It wasn't until the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Revolutionary War that America became its own country.
3. pharmaceuticals:drugs and prescription medicines
4. industrial:having to do with industry, work and/or factories
5. adhesive:something that is sticky or has the ability to stick to another object
6. ornamentals:something that is for beauty or decoration
7. upholstery:materials (cloth) used in furniture
8. insecticides:chemicals that are used to kill and control insects
9. herbicides:chemicals that are used to kill and control weeds
10. generators:a machine that creates energy, generally electricity as a backup to a main source
11. vacuum:an area that has no air; a package that is sealed tight without air
12. sanitation:cleanliness; being clean
13. wholesale distributor:a middle person who buys product from the producer/farmer and then sells it to another person and makes money from it
14. broker: a person who buys product from a producer/farmer or from a wholesaler and then resells it to another person, generally a store and makes money from it

BulletAG's COOL Commodities Page
BulletAG's COOL Homepage