A new study from the University of Minnesota extension serves as a reminder of the wide-ranging impacts of farming in Minnesota. Megan Roberts is an extension business educator who says their study of the economic impact of hog farms painted a clear picture of linking the economic health of main street businesses directly to farms.

“Veterinarians, our hardware stores, our feed mills, there are greater impacts beyond the farm gate if hog farms do have a reduction in economic activity.”

Roberts says the study found the average Minnesota hog farm generates 1-point-5 million dollars in economic activity and even just a 15-percent drop in production would lead to a loss of an estimated 21-hundred jobs.

Roberts says hog farms were already in a tight spot, many not turning a profit, long before the COVID-19 crisis.

“They’re generating a lot of economic activity, but that doesn’t mean it is coming back as profit on their farms. When you add in the impact of COVID 19 the break-even is greatly impacted.”

Roberts says the study is not just about the cold numbers on the page.

“Good to put that human face on it as well. not all of these hog farms may survive, that has repercussions beyond their farm, that has repercussions for the main street of rural Minnesota.”