The year was 1956, and Kansas pork farmers faced a challenge. The industry and the nature of which a farmer conducted his business were changing. The days of a farmer who raised his pigs to meet the demand for pork lard were diminishing.

The need for communication and collaboration between pork farmers was growing, and demand for lean pork at the grocery store was rising. Kansas pork farmers needed organization and leadership.

At the request of farmers, Wendell Moyer, an extension specialist in the Kansas State College Animal Husbandry Department, invited 30 pork farmers to a meeting on campus and created the Kansas Swine Improvement Association.

Dues were set at $1.00 per member. A president, vice president, and secretary-treasurer were elected, and the first board of directors consisted of presidents of each breed organization in the state and nine pork farmers. Their purpose was to work together to ensure that pork farmers had a future for their families.

As the state’s farms continued to grow and evolve, so did its farmer’s needs. In 1958, a relationship between the Association and Kansas State University was established.

That union is still going strong today. Pig farming in the 1970’s was improving, and farmers were now working toward creating a lean meat option and nutritious food for families to enjoy.

Farmers realized that to sell pork, they needed to be on the front lines, talking to grocery shoppers and promoting their products. Then, the organization changed its name to the Kansas Pork Producers Council and began working with educators, dietitians, and home cooks.

Farmers instituted a national pork checkoff in the following years to help fund research, education, and projects like

Pork farmers could look to the Council to lead checkoff activities, and the Kansas Pork Association fueled non-checkoff activities. In 2012, the two entities merged under the Kansas Pork Association brand.

Today, Kansas pig farming looks different than in 1956, and we think that’s good. About 98% of all pigs marketed in Kansas live inside barns to help the animals with the extreme Kansas temperatures, both cold and hot.

More than 99% of our farms are family-owned. That said, the farms are not all the same.

We have farmers who raise pigs inside barns, others in pens or pastures and some in hoop buildings. Some raise only mother pigs or market hogs, while others raise pigs from birth to market.

Why you ask? That’s simple: our farmers do what is best for their farm, family, and community.

Yes, our farms have changed since 1956, but at the end of the day, what remains the same is that our Kansas farmers love raising pigs and we want to share their hard work with you. We encourage everyone reading this to do one thing, get to know midwestern pork farmers, whether that is here or in your community. Our missionis to help you know about your food and to help our farmers pass down their farms to the next generation. From our family to yours, thanks for being a part of our story.

For facts and statistics about today's Kansas farms and farmers, click here.

Questions? Please let us know!

KPA Staff

Tim Stroda
[email protected]