Seventeen pork slaughter plants processed more than 3 million hogs in 2020, accounting for 65% of the nation’s pork production, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture working paper published Dec. 2. 

More than half of all federally inspected pork slaughter plants in the U.S. process fewer than 1,000 hogs annually, but these small plants accounted for only 0.1% of pork production in 2020. 

The working paper analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on pork slaughter rates in the U.S. and found that the number of hogs slaughtered dropped in the first few months of the pandemic before recovering to match — and in some cases exceed — 2019 levels.

Top image: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visits Triumph Foods pork processing facility April 28, 2017. The facility houses 2,800 employees in St. Joseph, Mo. USDA photo by Preston Keres