Between Prop 12 compliance requirements, labor issues, and the constant threat of foreign animal disease there is a lot weighing on the minds of Iowa’s hog producers.
Terry Wolters is a former president and current board member of the National Pork Producers Council. He says that labor issues in the hog industry did not disappear with the end of the Covid pandemic.
With a shortage of workers in rural areas, hog farms are forced to look to additional labor pools for potential workers. One of the main avenues for labor is the international work force. However, Wolters says that brings an additional set of administrative issues.
Precision ag has helped to mitigate some labor issues in row crop farming. Wolters says that technology is not able to replace the work of a farm laborer in animal ag.
Many of the labor issues for hog farms start at the legislative level. Wolters says that visa reform for foreign born farm workers would go a long way towards helping to solve labor shortages on United States hog farms.
Terry Wolters made his comments to the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network at World Pork Expo 2023.