One State Produces Most Of The Chicken And Pork In The U.S.

Americans love meat; there is no doubt about it. According to Statista, Americans consume an average of about 225 pounds per person annually. What may be most surprising about this number is that despite the ever-growing popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets, this number is not expected to lower anytime soon. In fact, by 2030, meat consumption in the United States is expected to grow to over 228 pounds per capita.

This growing trend is nothing new, as Our Data World shows that from 1961 to 2018, the amount of meat eaten by Americans jumped 184%. That is an increase of over 30 million tons in just 57 years.

Referencing Statista, we find that beef is the only meat category of the big three — poultry, beef, and pork — that they do not expect to rise. Whether this is due to price pressure, the health concerns many have with red meat, or just a preference change is anybody's guess.

The numbers tell us that the increase in pork and chicken consumption will more than make up for the decline in people eating beef. For one state, this is excellent news as it is responsible for the lion's share of chicken and pork raised in the United States. 

Pork central

The Midwest is often called America's Heartland due to its high agricultural and manufacturing output (via Legends of America). Many may not realize that one state that sits right in the middle of this region not only helps supply the bread for our sandwiches but also the meat we eat in them.

It's hard to resist a ham sandwich or crispy pork chops, and if it weren't for Iowa, they would be much harder to come by. This one state not only produces more pork than any other state but reading on Statista, we find it raises almost three times as much as its closest competitors, Minnesota and North Carolina.

Statista's most recent data shows that approximately 23 million pigs are being raised in Iowa at any one time. While some of these are undoubtedly breeding stock, it is safe to say that most are destined for our tables in some form. Whether you prefer fresh ham, spam, pork chops, bacon, or other pork recipes, you likely owe the state of Iowa a debt of gratitude. 

Iowa is for the birds

The Hawkeye State could be considered the land of plenty solely based on the 2.58 billion bushels of corn (via USDA) and the abundance of pigs it sends to the market each year. The importance of this state to our food chain doesn't end there; Iowa is also the United State's largest producer of chicken.

In a Statista post, we find that farmers are raising over 60 million chickens in Iowa at any given time. Now, we must keep in mind that not all of these chickens are for meat. In fact, a high percentage are likely utilized for egg production. After all, Iowa leads the country in this category as well. According to The Iowa Egg Council, the state's chickens popped out 16 billion eggs in one year. That's almost 17% of all eggs consumed in the country.

Pork, poultry, eggs, and grains; our dinner tables would seem much emptier without the State of Iowa.