Hog farmers are poised for the second most profitable year on re­cord based on expectations for continued strong pork demand from exports and the domestic market, pork economist Steve Meyer said last week at the Iowa Pork Congress.

“Demand was the key to last year, and it will be the key to this year,” said Meyer of Partners for Production Agriculture, an ag risk management company in Ames. “Last year’s high hog prices were not the function of short supply. They were the function of exceptional demand.”

Meyer projects profits at $26 per head this year for the lowest cost segment of producers.

“This number jumped about $10 from last week to this week because of the rally we’ve (seen) in hogs and a little bit lower feed costs,” he said. 

The April CME lean hog...