A system called “contract growing” now dominates Illinois pork production. While big producers profit, the factorylike system takes a toll on farmers, who say raising hogs a fee is work that’s physically punishing, low-paying and never-ending.
The low-slung sheds where some 20,000 pigs grow to market weight each year are unmarked by any business sign or attempt at beautification. Baling wire secures fraying plastic windscreens to the wood and concrete buildings. Everything seems gray, rusted, peeling or patched.
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