In the early 20th century, the farmers counted on the hog income to pay their mortgages and bills and to buy needed supplies. Almost every farm had several head of hogs. Now with the shortage of money to buy the farmer’s products coupled with the lack of corn due to the drought, the demand for the hogs declined drastically.
What corn was available was selling for as much as 50 cents per bushel; thus, with the low hog prices, the hogs were netting the farmer a negative profit.
One Daviess County farmer sold 27 head of “fat” hogs on the market and only received enough money to pay the truck bill and to purchase 25 pounds of flour. The combined problems of both the city and rural people created a “no demand’ situation. The packing houses’ storage rooms were filled to capacity, and the packers didn’t want to purchase more pork. A few farmers opened their gates and let their hogs run away.
In order to relieve the farmer’s plight, the government established hog buying programs which gave the farmers an outlet for their unwanted hogs. In order to decrease the number of hogs on the farm at a future date, breeding sows could now be sold. The sows had to weigh 275 pounds or more and be within three weeks of farrowing.
The farmers were encouraged to sell their sows, and to entice them to be sold, a bounty of $4 per head was paid for them. They were not subject to the usual dockage which would make the bounty equivalent to $5 per head. Farmers quickly took advantage of the programs and ridded themselves of a portion of their unwanted swine herds.
In addition to ridding worthless hogs from the farms, the pork was being utilized to feed the hungry and the unemployed people. Gallatin was among the many towns that received federal aid for the processed pork.
One of its allotments was 2,000 pounds of pork which was to be given to the United Charities of Gallatin with its headquarters located in the old post office on the northeast side of the square. The meat was allotted in three, six pound lots according to the needs of the family.
T.C. Sun; 8/21/33 Pigs-sows sold to the government; permit well in advance; no one can ship over 300 head.
Farmers nationwide took part in a government program with its goal to remove 4,000,000 feeder pigs from the farms to curtail many pounds of live pork at a later date. The pigs were to weigh between 75-100 pounds and could be sold for slaughter purchases only.
Prices for the pigs would range from a high of nine and one-half cents per pound for pigs weighing 25-50 pounds and a low of 6 cents per pound for the 95-100 pound pigs.
The pigs had to be of good quality and disease free. The restrictions placed on the packers were the larger pigs were to be slaughtered and made into some form of edible meat while the smaller ones were made into grease or tankage.
Farmers jumped at the opportunity to rid themselves of the now worthless feeder pigs. So many pigs went to market each day that the markets and the packing houses couldn’t handle them. It became necessary to get a permit to sell the pigs and the permit had to be purchased a week in advance.
— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO