piggy3Today, March 1 is National Pig Day, which is cause to celebrate in Illinois because we are one of the nation’s top four pork producers. Pig Day is mostly celebrated in the Midwest since it is the home of the holiday. Pigs are an important part of diets and economies all over the world, our country and more specifically, our state.

Only North Carolina, Iowa and Minnesota outranked Illinois’ 1.9 billion pounds of pork production in 2011.

The pork industry contributes more than $1.8 billion to the state’s economy and generates more than $170 million in state taxes. On top of that, market hogs consume about 155 million bushels of corn each year, the equivalent of more than 911,000 acres. Market hogs also consume about 32 million bushels of soybeans.

Not only is the pork industry generating money to our economy, it also employs more than 10,000 people. This industry includes pork production, suppliers of feed and equipment, transportation and processing.

There are more than 4.6 million pigs living in Illinois and about 2,000 hog farms throughout the state. The top pork producing county in Illinois is Clinton County, which is home to about 230,000 pigs.

Pig Day is an important celebration to learn about the importance of pork in our state and how we bring home the bacon. Whether you are eating a delicious bacon sandwich, dropping pennies into your piggy bank or cuddling up to your pet pot-bellied pig, celebrating national pig day is a must.

For more information, visit the Illinois Pork Producers website. Also, for more fun facts about pigs, click here.