The pork industry in Virginia has changed during the past three decades. There was a decrease in the number of hog farms, an increase in the size and sophistication of remaining operations. Today, the vast majority of pork consumed in Virginia is, and will continue to be, produced by larger integrated entities.
There remain several independent hog farmers in the state, and there is an increasing number of small-scale and niche market farmers producing pork for consumers that prefer their meat to be from hogs raised locally in less-intensive systems. Farmers in each of these classifications face many challenges that include, but are not limited to, manure and mortality management, the need to increase production efficiency, and disease control and biosecurity. Thus the need for producer education programs is great. Harvest plants require producers to successfully complete certification programs such as the National Pork Board’s Pork Quality Assurance®Plus (PQA-Plus) and Transport Quality Assurance® (TQA). The Virginia Pork Council supports these educational opportunities and and also provides funding for regulated research projects.