I was discouraged to read the recent letter “It’s not just the smell” published Nov. 26 discussing hog farms. There is a narrative out there that hog farms are unregulated operations that are bad for local communities. Coming from a farming family, I can confidently say this is not an accurate depiction of the reality of Iowa’s pork industry.

As the No. 1 contributor to pork production in the nation, Iowans in the industry have a lot to be proud about. The benefits within the pork industry are rich in employment opportunity. The hog industry impacts our area’s economy in ways you may not even recognize.

The pork industry employs Iowans of all backgrounds. Employees from animal science and livestock care, transportation, maintenance and repair, veterinary services, environmental services, information technology, construction and swine nutrition all hold skills that are valued and utilized by pork production. In 2016 alone, exports of pork from Iowa totaled to more than $1 billion.

The industry has made tremendous strides in sustainability, and young future farmers I come in contact with every day at Iowa State are excited to keep the industry moving forward.

Ben Jacobsen, Dows

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