DES MOINES — Two of the state's largest hog operations are making changes including selling some facilities and cutting jobs.

Iowa Select Farms, the largest Iowa-based hog producer, has cut 75 jobs in 26 counties.

The reductions were made "to ensure that the company's overhead and cost structure remain competitive," said Iowa Select President Jeff Hansen.

No other significant changes in the business or to operations of the company are anticipated, he said, adding that the company was on sound financial footing both before and after the cuts.

Iowa Select has 800 employees and produces 1.9 million hogs a year in Iowa. It is the sixth-largest hog producer in the United States, according to Successful Farming's 2003 Pork Powerhouses ranking.

Meanwhile, A.J. DeCoster Farms Inc., a pig and egg producer based in Clarion, has sold 19 of its hog-finishing buildings to Prestage Farms Inc. of Clinton, N.C. for an undisclosed amount.

The buildings are in Hamilton, Wright and surrounding counties, said Ray Johnson, a spokesman for Prestage Farms, which has remodeled the buildings and has started moving hogs into them from North Carolina.

Johnson said this is Prestage's first venture into Iowa as a hog producer.

"We have found Iowa is a pretty friendly place to do business," he said. "We have an outstanding labor and environmental record and we want to keep it that way."

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has filed many complaints against DeCoster in the past several years.

The buildings have been for sale since A.J. "Jack" DeCoster switched from finishing hogs to selling young pigs, said William Smith, a Des Moines lawyer who represents DeCoster.

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