Where do I find data on pork?

Ask an Economist
Question: 

Hello - I am doing research for a possible antitrust lawsuit and came across these very useful charts: https://www.pork.org/facts/stats/costs-and-prices/
I am wondering how I would go about finding the underlying data. Any help or guidance is appreciated.

Answer: 

There are several sources of publically available data on swine production costs and returns.

The Iowa State University Estimated Livestock Returns (http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/estimated-returns/) serve as a general barometer of profitability and are not intended to represent any one operation, system, and/or firm. The series assumes a "hand-to-mouth" cash based process of procuring inputs (e.g., feed) as well as selling pigs. That is, the calculations purposely assume no risk management, forward pricing, or other strategies in-place. While this approach is used to provide a benchmark over time for profitability trends, it fails to capture notable variability in specific situations and managerial approaches. This firm-specific variation is noteworthy as many operations may not fully realize the full magnitude of positive returns at times (e.g. they may have hedged hog sales) or in other cases mitigated losses as they may have implemented some price risk management strategies (e.g. they may have hedged hog sales and/or feed inputs).

FINBIN (https://finbin.umn.edu/). FINBIN provides farm financial and production benchmark information with detailed reports on whole farm, crop, and livestock financials.

USDA’s Economic Research Service Commodity Costs and Returns (https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/commodity-costs-and-returns/). ERS calculates costs and returns for farrow-finish, farrow-feeder, and feeder-finish production for different U.S. regions, as well as the country as a whole.

Answered by:
Dr. Lee Schulz
Associate Professor
Tags: 
Last updated on February 19, 2021