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Old January 24th, 2007 #1
biocultural Realpolitik
Agis's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: ZooSA
Posts: 697
Default "Corn on the hoof"

" Corn on the hoof." This relation of the two industries of corn-raising and hog-raising deserves further attention. It appears that certain farmers discovered that corn-fed pork was sweeter and otherwise superior to the swill-fed. But in the days before the building of Western railways corn was cheap enough, we have seen, to be used as fuel ; it was certainly a sufficiently inexpensive stock food, for it sold, at times, for five or six cents a bushel.

The idea developed of herding the hogs in pens, instead of letting them range about as formerly, and of feeding them on the abundant corn. This enabled hog-raisers to put them on the market well fattened at any time they wished ; and, once the enterprise had proved itself practicable, the industry developed rapidly in the corn states. This was about seventy years ago, in such states as Kentucky and its neighbors just north of the Ohio River; and from this region the industry spread farther west-ward with the march of population beyond the Mississippi. Even when railroads had come to form a network over these states, hog-raising continued on a large scale, because the pork could be sent to market as readily as the corn ; thus the corn was sent in " on the hoof." A large pork-packing business soon developed in the Western cities ; for Western hogs were largely packed when slaughtered, whereas those of the East were more commonly consumed freshly killed. The cities conspicuously associated with the pork-packing business in its earlier stages were Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Louisville.

Location of the industry. At the present day the swine belt is practically identical with the corn belt. The great region for swine, not only for the United States but for the world, is that group of corn-producing states which we have already had occasion to mention : Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Kansas, and Ohio. Considerably more than half of the swine in the country are to be found in these eight states, which retain a large percentage of their corn, in order to convert it into pork before it is disposed of.


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