Goodness Grows In North Carolina
Pork Outline

Association Name Commodity History Regional Information Production
Packaging Shipping Buying Nutritional Information

I. Association Name: North Carolina Pork Council

A. Commodity Represented
Pork production in North Carolina

B. Types of Commodity
There are many types of hogs raised here in North Carolina. They are the American Landrace, The Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Poland China, The Spotted Breed, and Yorkshire.
C. Is there a National Promotion Month for the Commodity? When?
Yes, in October

Return to Menu

II. Commodity History

A. North Carolina Background
1. Is the animal originally from NC? Where in NC? Was it brought here from another area/country originally? Where?
Pigs were brought to North America from Europe during the colonization of America.

2. When was it brought to NC?
Hogs were brought to the New World in 1493.

3. How was it brought to NC and by whom?
They were brought by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage.

4. Was it brought to a specific region? Is this the same region it is now mainly produced?

B. Uses
1. How is it used?
The pig is used for a variety of things. They are used as food, mostly as meat. The lipids are used in medicines, cosmetics and floor waxes. A pig's heart is also similar enough to a human's heart that a pig's heart valves can be used in a human during surgery if necessary. Pig by-products are also used in china, paint brushes and fertilizer.

2. Has today's use changed from its original use/purpose?

3. If yes, how was it originally used and why was there a shift in use?
Pigs were originally used only for meat and their skins. Today there are some 500 different things made from pig parts.

C. Industry Changes
1. How has technology changed the industry? What are some of these improvements/changes?
Technology has made great improvements on the hog industry. Genetics, housing, feeds, and improved worker efficiency helps to produce a much better and leaner product now than in the past.

2. How has the uses for the product changed over the years?
Pork has gone from being just a meat to a product that makes a significant contribution to the pharmaceutical and industrial 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 derived from the hog. In total, hogs are a source of nearly 40 drugs and pharmaceuticals. Hogs aid in the production 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 manufactering of a wide range of products which cannot be duplicated. And of course, pigskin is extensively used as high quality leather for clothing, shoes, handbags, sporting goods, upholstery and so on. A list:

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--buttons, bone china
Hog Bone Meal--mineral source in feed, fertilizer, porcelain enamel, glass and water filters.
Hog Gall Stones--ornamentals
Hog Hair--artists 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.

3. Is consumption/use of the product increased/decreased? Why?
People are using more and more hogs due to the many uses it has and because it's a healthy eating choice. Pork is a much leaner and is a better quality product than it was in the past.

D. Future Outlook
1. How is the industry changing currently?
The environmental aspect of production is causing much change in handling of animal wastes and causing everyone to be more conscientious.

2. Are there any future projects that would change how the industry is maintained?
Projects concerning the handling of waste and studies to improve odor are already underway.

Return to Menu

III. Regional Information

A. Where in the state is the commodity?
1. If more than one location, where is it the most abundant?
Eastern North Carolina has the most hog production in the state.

2. The least abundant?
Although there are farms around the state, most of them are east of Raleigh.

3. Why the difference in production from area to area?
The climate and the terrain make eastern North Carolina a more desirable area for pork production.

B. Weather Conditions
1. If the weather is inclement, where do animals go?
Animals are kept in temperature controlled houses.

2. In emergency weather conditions (frosts, tornados, hurricanes) where do animals go?
Most of them are already in houses so there isn't a concern.

3. In emergency weather conditions what precautions are taken? Are precautions usually preventative (advance) or reactive (as it occurs)?
Most farms have generators to prevent the loss of power from causing any threat to animal health or safety.

Return to Menu

IV. Production

A. Housing
1. Is the animal kept indoors or outdoors?
Indoors or outdoors

2. Are they confined or let loose? Why?
Hogs are confined. This is to reduce stress on animals as well as to maintain the safety and health of the herd.

3. How are they housed?
In temperature controlled hog houses

B. Food
1. What are they fed? How often or how much food do they need?
Hogs are fed a 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 they are in.

2. How does their diet affect production?
Their diet greatly affects production and efficiency.

C. Production Materials
1. Is there any special equipment used during the whole production process? What are they?
Feeding systems, specially designed buildings, temperature control systems and transport equipment are all used in hog production.

2. Are vaccinations used during production? What are the most common types? What are they for? Are they harmful to the animal or the end user (during consumption, etc.)?
Some vaccines are used to combat diseases like Puesdorabies, P.R.R.S. and Rhinitis. Another drug called Maternafend is a standard reproductive vaccination used in hogs. None of these vaccinations are harmful to the hog or the end user.

D. Grading
1. Is there an inspection that the product must go through before being packaged/sold?
All pork products are graded and inspected for quality.

2. Is this county, state, national, etc.?
There is a state or federal inspector in every packing house.

3. What agency is responsible for the grading/testing and setting the standards?
The USDA sets the standards.

4. How is the grading done? Is it for each individual piece, or per field, per farm, etc.?
Each animal is graded. By-products from the animal are also graded and inspected.

5. Give a basic breakdown of the scale used and what it means.

Return to Menu

V. Packaging

A. Is the product usually sold fresh, frozen, dried, etc.?
Pork may be sold fresh, frozen and /or process (smoke/cured)

B. If product is sold in a variety of ways what is the most common in NC?

C. Is the product packaged? (bags, boxes, bottles, etc)
Plastic Vacuum Pieces (bags) then shipped in boxes

D. Why is it done this way? Is it economical, prevents bruising, industry standard or for shipping purposes, etc.?
This is done because it is an industry standard and it's in compliance with government (USDA) standards of wholesomeness and sanitation.

Return to Menu

VI. Shipping

A. Distribution
1. What is the most common method of distribution in your industry?

2. Is the product sold mainly to retail, foodservice, wholesale, specialty outlets or a variety of outlets? What is the most common?
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 restuarant (foodservice). A lot of times after product goes to a foodservice outlet, it is then resold to a specialty manufacturer or shop.

3. Does the product go to one place, then another before ending up on a grocery store shelf or restaurant? If yes, where does it go?
1. Pork Packing Plant-->wholesale distributor-->customer warehouse-->grocery store or restaurant
2. Pork Packing Plant-->retail chain warehouse-->grocery store

4. Is the commodity exported? Domestically, internationally?
Pork is sold domestically and internationally. Domestically, it is sold to brokers for shipments overseas from an east coast port.

5. What is the product used for? Are there different uses?
There are a variety of uses such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food. The primary us ease is for meat consumption by humans.

B. Transporting
1. How is the commodity normally transported (from farm to retail outlet)?

2. Does the transportation vehicle require special features (refrigeration, etc.)?
There is no special features needed to take a hog from the farm to the plant. When the product leaves the plant and goes to retail, continuous refrigeration is needed.

3. Have methods of transportation changed over the years? (Before automobiles, etc. how was it transported?)
About a century ago, pork was taken in a horse-drawn wagon. Then with the advent of railroads, trains were used to move hogs. Currently, trucks are used.

Return to Menu

VII. Buying

A. When purchasing/inspecting the commodity (at the store) how do you know it is fresh?
Make a visual inspection of fresh meats. Check the dates on processed products (those in plastic or boxes) to ensure freshness.

B. Is there a trick to buying and finding fresh product? (Smell, color etc.)
Check the color and the smell of fresh pork and then check the purge and shrinkage.

C. Labels
1. Is your product required to carry a label?
Fresh product is 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.

2. Is there an industry standard for the label, or is it individualized for each company/producer/grower?
All meat must carry a USDA government label either on the box container and/or on the individual package wrapper.

Return to Menu

VIII. Nutritional Information

A. Food Pyramid
1. What group of the food pyramid does the commodity fall into?
Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts

2. Is there a recommended daily allowance of this? What is it?
Two to three servings

B. What nutrients are found in the commodity?
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.

Return to Menu

Back to Teacher Commodity Page
AG's COOL Homepage