Agronomy: Exercise for Hams

Back in the years when most Americans were manual workers, they needed lots of fat for muscle fuel. So farmers encouraged their hogs to get as obese as circus fat ladies. But times have changed. Most modern Americans make little muscular effort, and hog fat is high on the list of dietary enemies. Farmers feed their hogs carefully to keep them from producing too much lard, fat back and sowbelly.

The ideal figure for modern hogs features large meaty hams. To produce these delicacies, says Dr. Hubert Heitman Jr., professor of animal husbandry at the University of California at Davis,...

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