- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the nation has reached a new record for the number of hogs and pigs on farms.

The national inventory on Sept. 1 was 68.4 million animals, up 4 percent from a year ago and the most since the USDA began keeping national quarterly records 27 years ago.

The industry has been rebuilding herds after a virus killed an estimated 9 million baby pigs last year. Higher inventories should help drive down prices for pork at the grocery store, after they reached record highs last year.

Iowa is the nation’s leading pork producer. The report released Friday says the state has 21.2 million hogs and pigs, up 2 percent from year ago and the second-highest inventory ever. The record was 21.3 million hogs last December.

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