KPA News


Calendar of Events



Find the latest state, national, and international news that can affect your business. KPA staff preview several sources to deliver information that is tailored to Kansas pork producers. For questions or comments, contact the KPA office.

Kansas Pork Association
2601 Farm Bureau Road
Manhattan, KS 66502
phone: (785) 776-0442
fax: (785) 776-9897

KPA Position Announcement 

The Kansas Pork Association seeks a dynamic person to produce and coordinate distribution of information about the organization to members and the general public.

The Kansas Pork Association has responsibility for checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork farmers and the public. The KPA funds state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management.  The KPA also serves as the voice for its members on legislative and regulatory issues.

Applicants should be able to support the mission of the organization with enthusiasm to serve Kansas pork farmers.

Director of Communications

Bachelors Degree Required 

The successful candidate will possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.Experience in communications management and media relations is preferred but not required.

Application Deadline:
Please submit a cover letter, resume and three writing and/or design samples. Applications aredue April 1. The position will be open until filled.

$40,000 - $55,000. Negotiable based upon experience.

Projected Start Date:
Start date is negotiable.


Tim Stroda
Kansas Pork Association
2601 Farm Bureau Road
Manhattan, KS 66502
Phone:  785-776-0442


February 26

Pork Checkoff Publishes Winter 2014 Report

Have you read your copy yet? The Pork Checkoff Report is a quarterly magazine published by the National Pork Board.

Issue highlights

    • Checkoff Unveils Its 2020 Strategic Plan, page 8
    • New Tool Cuts Through On-Farm Auditing Maze, page 10
    • The Power of Giving Back, page 22 

Click HERE to read this issue online!

 Pork Checkoff Winter Report Cover


February 25

KPA Director of Communications takes new position

After two years with the Kansas Pork Association as its Director of Communications, Amanda Spoo will be leaving to take a new position with the U.S. Wheat Associates in Arlington, Virginia.

“I really value the time I had with Kansas Pork,” Spoo says. “It’s been very rewarding to use and improve my skills here, while working for Kansas pork farmers. I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of you and your families personally. Thank you for this opportunity.”

Spoo, a 2013 graduate from Kansas State University, was responsible for the association’s communications platforms including management of the daily e-newsletter and Pig Tales magazine. She assisted KPA in its consumer programming, event planning and social media. Her last day with KPA will be Wednesday, February 25.


February 24

USDA funding renewable energy projects

 USDA is offering grants for up to 25 percent of total project costs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on February 11 that rural agricultural producers and small business owners can now apply for resources to purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. These efforts help farmers, ranchers and other small business owners save money on their energy bills, reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, support America’s clean energy economy, and cut carbon pollution. The resources announced today are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Developing renewable energy presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” Vilsack said. “The funding we are making available will help farmers, ranchers, business owners, tribal organizations and other entities incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology into their operations. Doing so can help a business reduce energy use and costs while improving its bottom line. While saving producers money and creating jobs, these investments reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut carbon pollution as well.”

USDA is making more than $280 million available to eligible applicants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Application deadlines vary by project type and the type of assistance requested. Details on how to apply are on page 78029 of the December 29, 2014 Federal Register or are available by contacting state Rural Development offices.

USDA is offering grants for up to 25 percent of total project costs and loan guarantees for up to 75 percent of total project costs for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. The REAP application window has been expanded. USDA will now accept and review loan and grant applications year-round.

Eligible renewable energy projects must incorporate commercially available technology. This includes renewable energy from wind, solar, ocean, small hydropower, hydrogen, geothermal and renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters). The maximum grant amount is $500,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.

Energy efficiency improvement projects eligible for REAP funding include lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, fans, automated controls and insulation upgrades that reduce energy consumption. The maximum grant amount is $250,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.

USDA is offering a second type of grant to support organizations that help farmers, ranchers and small businesses conduct energy audits and operate renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include: units of state, tribal or local governments; colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning; rural electric cooperatives and public power entities, and conservation and development districts. The maximum grant is $100,000. Applications for these particular grants have been available since December 29 of last year and are due February 12.

The REAP program was created in the 2002 Farm Bill. Because of the success of the program, Congress reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of no less than $50 million in annual funding for the duration of the 5 year bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers.

Since 2009, USDA has awarded $545 million for more than 8,800 REAP projects nationwide. This includes $361 million in REAP grants and loans for more than 2,900 renewable energy systems. When fully operational, these systems are expected to generate more than 6 billion kilowatt hours annually – enough to power more than 5.5 million homes for a year.

In 2013, owners of the Ideal Dairy restaurant in Richfield, Utah, used REAP funding to install 80 solar modules and two 10-kilowatt inverters, which convert energy from solar panels to electricity. The owners have saved, on average, $400 per month. These savings have helped them preserve their restaurant and livelihood.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.

Original release on February 11 by



February 23

Center for Food Integrity CEO to Discuss 'Big Food'

Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer of the Center for Food Integrity, will speak as part of the Upson Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Monday, March 2, in Forum Hall at the K-State Student Union. Arnot will present "Size Matters: Why We Love to Hate 'Big Food.'" The presentation examines the relationship development and pattern of trust that consumers have with food and those who produce it.

The lecture is organized by the K-State student and alumni group, Food for Thought, and is free and open to the public.

The Center for Food Integrity was established in 2007 to build consumer trust and confidence in today's food system. It is a nonprofit organization whose members represent segments of the food chain, including farmers and ranchers, universities, food processors, restaurants, retailers and food companies. In his role as CEO, Arnot works with companies and associations across the food system to develop and implement sustainable solutions in issues management, public relations, strategic facilitation and marketing communications.

A bonus to this installment of the Upson Lecture Series is free bacon, which will be distributed to the first 200 attendees to arrive at Forum Hall. The event is co-sponsored by the Kansas Pork Association, which is providing the bacon samples.

The Upson Lecture Series is endowed by the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine classes of 1962 and 1966. The series is named after Dan Upson, K-State professor emeritus. Upson taught in K-State's College of Veterinary medicine for 35 years before retiring in 1994. He received numerous awards for his dedication to classroom teaching and the veterinary profession.

Food for Thought, the organizer of the Upson Lecture Series, is a grass-roots group of agriculture enthusiasts who strive to bridge the gap between consumers and food production. The group includes K-State undergraduate, graduate and veterinary students, as well as young alumni, who work under the guidance of Dan Thomson, the director of K-State's Beef Cattle Institute, and Don Boggs, associate dean of the K-State College of Agriculture.

Read more information about Food For Thought on the group's blogTwitteror on Facebook.

For more information about the lecture, contact Brandi Buzzard Frobose, a Food For Thought member, at or 785-448-0239.

Original release on February 18 by


February 20

National Pork Board Statement Regarding the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015

The National Pork Board reminds Americans that meat, including pork, is a nutrient-dense food that is not overconsumed on average in America.  More than 60 percent of the U.S. population is consuming the Protein Food Group at or below recommended intake levels.[1]  Scientific evidence shows that eating lean, high-quality protein like pork can help people lose or maintain weight by contributing to feeling full and by preserving lean muscle.2,3,4,5,6  Americans can enjoy six cuts of pork that have less fat than a skinless chicken thigh.7  In fact, the popular pork tenderloin has the same amount of fat as a skinless chicken breast.  Ideally Americans will seek information from their health professional or registered dietitian to choose lean cuts of meat such as pork. A lean meat for labeling purposes is defined as a meat with less than 10 grams of total fat and 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat. 

Meats, including pork, offer a greater percentage of high “nutrient density value” compared to all other protein sources, according to a study in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition.8  A 3-ounce serving of lean pork provides about the same amount of protein as 1.5 cups of black beans, but with 21% fewer calories.7  Research demonstrates that pork can increase dietary variety without adversely affecting total fat or saturated fat intake.9

On the important subject of sustainability, pork production’s carbon footprint is a small fraction (0.35%) of total U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.10  Compared with 50 years ago, farmers are now using less land (78 percent) and water (41 percent) per pound of pork produced.


2 Leidy H, Bossingham M, Mattes R, Campbell W. Increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times.Brit J Nutr. 2008; short communication published online.

3 Paddon-Jones D, et al.  Protein, weight management, and satiety.AJCN.2008;87:1558S-1561S.

4 Leidy H, Armstrong C, Tang M, Mattes R, Campbell W.  The influence of higher protein intake and greater eating frequency on appetite control in overweight and obese men.Obesity.2010;18:1725-1732.

5 Aubertin-Leheudre M, Adlercreutz H. Relationship between animal protein intake and muscle mass index in healthy women.Brit J Nutr. 2009;102:1803-1810.

6 Leidy H, Tang M, Armstrong C, Martin C, Campbell W.  The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men.Obesity.2011;19:818-824.

7U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, SR27.

8 Drewnowski A. Concept of a nutritious food: toward a nutrient density score.AJCN.  2005;82:721-723.

9 Murphy MM, Spungen JH, Bi X, Barraj LM. Fresh and fresh lean pork are substantial sources of key nutrients when these products are consumed by adults in the United States.Nutrition Research.2011;31:776-783.

10 A 50-year comparison of the carbon footprint and resource use of the U.S. swine herd: 1959-2009. 2012.


Original release on February 19 by


February 19

Fundamentals of animal nutrition

IGP Institute five-week distance professional development opportunity

This spring the IGP Institute will be offering a course in Fundamentals of Animal Nutrition since, as those associated with agriculture know, nutrition can be a confusing subject. Many wonder why some nutrients are important, how some animals utilize feeds better than others, and what value they should give to various ingredients when making smart purchasing decisions. These questions and many more will be addressed throughout the course. The date for this online training is set for March 23-April 24, 2015, and will be offered again in September 2015.

This course is designed for professionals who are interested in attaining an understanding of animal nutritional requirements and the digestive systems of production animals. To register for this course, visit

The main focus of the training will be on the elementary principles of farm animal nutrition. This includes the anatomy, nutritional digestion, absorption, metabolism, and a general overview of the nutrients necessary for animal growth and development. By the end of this course, participants will understand how an animal’s digestive system and nutritional requirements influences the ingredients and makeup of feed.

“It is important to understand the basics of animal nutrition in order to work in the animal feed industry,” says Cassandra Jones, assistant professor of feed technology in grain science and industry. “Whether you are feeding animals, manufacturing feed, work in sales or marketing, or are responsible for procurement or logistics, understanding the background of animal nutrition helps you understand the purpose and function of the product with which you are dealing.”

The course is a five-week, self-paced, online training including lectures and readings specifically designed for industry professionals looking to gain a larger understanding of animal digestive anatomy and nutrition utilization. The course offers one continuing education credit. Registration for this course closes on Friday, April 3, 2015. For information about cancelling a registration, please contact Heather Cook at or call 785-532-4447.

“The distance course allows the participants to attend the course where they are and at their own pace,” says Heather Cook, online education program assistant. “The course also brings the partici- pants together to share their ideas and find answers to their questions.”

This is one example of the many distance courses offered in feed manufacturing and grain management presented by the IGP Institute. In addition, the IGP Institute provides trainings within the quality areas of flour milling and grain processing, and grain marketing and risk management. To learn more about training opportunities at the IGP Institute, visit

Original release on February 11 by


February 18

Value Records for Pork Exports in 2014; Volumes also Higher Year-over-Year

Export value for U.S. pork reached new heights in 2014, posting double-digit gains over the previous year’s totals, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

Pork export value totaled $6.67 billion, an increase of 10 percent year-over-year, breaking the 2012 record by 6 percent. Pork export volume increased 2 percent to 2.18 million mt. The volume record is 2.62 million mt, set in 2012.

Exports overcame significant challenges to reach these milestones, including market access restrictions in Russia and China, an appreciating U.S. dollar and, most recently, shipping difficulties related to a labor dispute in the West Coast ports.

December pork export volume was down 5 percent to 183,498 mt, but value still achieved a slight increase to $541.3 million.

“2014 was an outstanding year for red meat exports, but headwinds continued to mount late in the year,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “The West Coast port congestion is extremely troubling, because the delays faced by exporters in December have become even more severe in 2015. If this dispute is not resolved soon, the meat industry will have to win back long-term customers who still want our product, but have no choice but to seek alternative suppliers.”

The situation is especially critical because Asian markets take a large volume of chilled U.S. beef and pork, valued at more than $2 billion in 2014.

The strength in international demand for U.S. red meat was showcased in 2014, as customers paid record prices for U.S. beef and pork while still purchasing larger volumes. This is especially noteworthy because U.S. pork prices were higher than EU prices for most of the year, and U.S. cattle prices were significantly higher than prices in Australia and all other major beef-exporting countries. Exports continue to generate strong returns for producers, as December pork export value per head slaughtered set a record of $62.45 in 2014 (up $8.50 from a year ago), despite slipping slightly in December ($54.94, down $0.33).

“These exceptional results illustrate the strength of the international markets,” Seng said. “In the past five years, per-head export value has more than doubled for beef producers and has increased more than 60 percent for pork.”

Pork exports equated to 26.5 percent of total pork production and 22 percent of muscle cuts alone, up slightly from 2013.

Mexico, Korea, Colombia drive pork export success

Russia’s ban on EU pork (which has now lasted more than a full year) and its August suspension of pork imports from the U.S. and Canada had a significant impact on the global pork market in 2014. But U.S. pork exports held relatively strong, buoyed by leading volume market Mexico. Exports to Mexico set volume and value records for the third consecutive year, reaching 680,843 mt (up 9 percent) valued at $1.56 billion (up 27 percent). Other highlights include:

  • Exports to South Korea soared 36 percent in volume to 135,396 mt and 61 percent in value to $444.6 million.
  • In Colombia, exports have more than doubled since 2012 and set new volume and value records in five consecutive years. In 2014, exports increased 39 percent in volume to 47,441 mt and 52 percent in value to $134.11 million.
  • Although pork exports to Canada were lower in volume (207,362 mt, - 9 percent), export value set a new record of $904.7 million (up 7 percent).

Original update on February 6 on


February 17

A Decade of Building TRUST

The Pork Checkoff launched Operation Main Street (OMS) in 2004 to “inspire producers to inform, educate and respond to issues facing the pork industry.” From the very first 13 OMS speakers to the 1,064 trained today, the inspiration has come from OMS volunteers to push the program every day to make a bigger impact and build consumer trust.

OMS speakers started by telling their story to improve the pork industry’s image in rural America. In a few short years, thousands of speeches at local Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs helped educate consumers about how pigs are raised today.

John and Connie Surber, pork producers from Sabina, Ohio, have given 108 OMS speeches to civic groups, dietitians, county and township officials, and high school culinary students.

“We think it’s important to always ask what OMS can do better to help consumers understand our commitment to provide safe, healthy food,” John said.

“OMS also pushed us to be stronger advocates by confirming that nothing takes the place of farmers telling their own story,” Connie added.


Beyond the Backyard

By 2008, OMS speakers were going beyond their backyard to cities, such as Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis and San Francisco, and to speak to key decision-makers, including dietitian groups and county commissioners. In 2011, they pressed forward to reach the next generation of key decision-makers, with presentations at colleges of veterinary medicine and high school culinary arts classes.

In just the last three years OMS speakers have shared pork information with:

  • More than 1,000 culinary and animal science classes and
  • Almost 100 groups at colleges of veterinary medicine.

“Getting into the schools is one of the biggest OMS successes,” said Steve Brier, Murphy-Brown Midwest sow production manager. Steve has given OMS presentations to 26 high school classes in Missouri.

“The schools are the place to be because we have the best chance of making a long-term impact,” Brier said. “These students are just starting to form opinions. They’re open and willing to listen.”


Sharing Science-Based Facts with Veterinarians

OMS-trained veterinarians are leading the way on another success story by reaching the next generation of animal health professionals. Thanks to a partnership between the Pork Checkoff and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), OMS veterinarians have presented at 26 of the 28 U.S. schools of veterinary medicine. Today 86 veterinarians have been trained as OMS speakers.

“Veterinary medicine students will become an important resource for consumers about both companion and farm animal care,” said OMS Indiana speaker, Amy Woods, DVM, who also serves on the AASV’s Communications Committee.

“We need to make sure they understand the science-based practices used today for pig care,” Woods said. “Getting this information from a veterinarian also builds trust.”

Where does OMS go from here? OMS speakers will keep moving the program forward to face new and emerging challenges and to demonstrate how the pork industry is evolving through science-based responsible, sustainable farming practices.

“As OMS has changed the last 10 years, the constant has been speakers’ desire to always stay ahead of the curve and meet the next challenge head-on,” said Ernie Barnes, director of producer services for the Checkoff. “This commitment is even more extraordinary when you add in the 30,000 hours OMS volunteers have spent speaking out for our industry since the program began.”

Original release by



February 16

New Tools Cuts Through On-Farm Auditing Maze

When it comes to the physical demands of raising pigs in the 21st century, today’s producers have it easier than previous generations. However, the same can’t be said of the increasingly complex set of customer requirements placed on how producers raise pigs today – a challenge taken up by an industry task force that found a win-win solution to a very modern issue.

“It was clear that producers, together with all stakeholders in the industry, needed a consistent, reliable and verifiable way to assure on-farm animal well-being and pre-harvest food safety,” said National Pork Board President Dale Norton. “We focused on eliminating duplication and the administrative burden placed on producers.”

The result was the development of a new Common Swine Industry Audit platform for pork producers, packers and processors. “The overarching goal of the common audit process is to provide consumers greater assurance of the care taken by farmers and pork processors to improve animal well-being and food safety,” said Norton, a Bronson, Mich., producer.

The concept of a common audit was first conceived at the 2013 National Pork Industry Forum and reintroduced last June at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, where a coalition of packers and pork producers explained how the audit is a credible and affordable solution for assuring animal well-being and pre-harvest food safety.

“As an industry, we know that our customers are demanding a higher level of integrity from the pork industry’s quality assurance processes and procedures,” said John Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Pork Board. “We are encouraged by the broad support we’ve received from our industry partners to develop this tool.”

Common Process Defined

According to Sherrie Webb, director of animal welfare for the Pork Checkoff, the new common audit framework has several key components. These include a new audit tool, instructions for auditors and biosecurity protocols.

“The audit tool was beta-tested on farms across the country and is ready for implementation by farms and processing plants across the United States,” Webb said.

“… we need a clear and consistent approach that ensures we’re doing the right thing every day for our animals. This new framework delivers on that promise.”
– Emily Erickson, Industry Audit Task Force member and Minnesota producer

A hallmark achievement for the new audit platform came in late October when the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) certified the new common audit tool. The new audit tool builds on the existing Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) program and expands it to serve as a single, common audit platform for the pork industry.

Created Collaboratively

The audit tool was developed by people from all parts of the industry, including producers, veterinarians, packers, universities and retailers.

“As packers, we operate between our suppliers – the pork producers – and our customers – those who are selling pork to consumers,” said Chris Hodges, chairman of the Packer Processor Industry Council and senior vice president of fresh pork at Smithfield-Farmland.

“The eye of the public is on where its food comes from and how it is raised,” he said. “Meeting the demands of our customers, while still appreciating the challenges of our producers is tough. We are very pleased that these tools will be available to the pork industry to demonstrate the progress we continue to make with on-farm animal care.”

Full implementation of the Common Swine Industry Audit could not occur without the direct involvement of packers and processors. Many packers have agreed to support the new common industry audit, which means they will utilize the common audit standard when conducting third-party audits.

“This approach has never been more critical,” said pork producer Emily Erickson, a member of the Industry Audit Task Force from Jackson, Minn.

Common -swine -industry -audit -designed -to -1024x 791

“As producers, we know that we must do more to reassure consumers about our commitment to improving animal care,” Erickson said. “At the same time, we need a clear and consistent approach that ensures we’re doing the right thing every day for our animals, our farmers and our customers. This new framework delivers on that promise.”

The Checkoff’s Johnson reiterates that the new audit platform is designed to serve the needs of farmers, consumers, packers, processors and retail and foodservice providers, but is not a Pork Checkoff program.

“This is an initiative that’s been led by producers, packers and others working together to enhance animal care and pork safety,” he said.

Norton agrees, adding, “As a pork producer, I am excited because the development of a common audit platform sets a clear vision that challenges the status quo and meets domestic and international consumer needs. It’s the right tool at the right time to ensure we provide high-quality pork from well-cared for pigs.”

To learn more, go to

Original article by


February 13

2 Simple Maps That Reveal How American Agriculture Actually Works

Driving through the farmlands of Iowa looking for fresh food to eat is a lot like sailing through the ocean looking for fresh water to drink. In the ocean, you're surrounded by water that you can't drink; in Iowa, you're surrounded by food you can't eat. Even though Iowa generates the second-highest amount of revenue of any state off its crops -- $17 billion in 2012 -- the overwhelming majority of that comes from field corn, which is destined mostly for animal feed and ethanol, not dinner plates.

I came upon this startling fact while trying to answer a seemingly simple question: What crop generates the most money in each state? The Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistical Service produces reams of data on such matters, so I figured the question would be easy to answer. But it turned out to be trickier than I thought, because when I pulled the data, I realized that in most states, the biggest crop was one that was used mostly for animal feed. For well over half the states, field corn, soybeans or hay was the crop that generated the most cash in 2012, the latest year for which data are available. Though a small share of some of these crops does eventually get eaten by humans, in the form of things like soy lecithin and high-fructose corn syrup, most of it is fed to animals raised for meat or dairy.

To get more meaningful results, I decided to strip away those crops that are used largely for animal feed, and focus on crops that people actually eat. I plotted the results on a map, which revealed some surprising trends:

Map 1

All that wheat! It seems nobody's told heartland farmers about the gluten-free trend quite yet. The non-wheat states are even more interesting. Some are expected: oranges in Florida, potatoes in Idaho, apples in Washington. But what about the pecans of New Mexico, or the mushrooms of Pennsylvania? Or the fact that grapes -- used mostly for wine -- generate more than $5 billion a year in California?

I was also struck by what the map didn't show: the power of the corn belt. When I excluded crops that are fed to animals, like corn, Iowa's biggest crop generates a mere $4.5 million a year. This makes the state look like an agricultural weakling -- which it totally isn't.

So I did a little more analysis to find out the percentage of each state's crop output, in terms of dollar value, that derives from the crops I had originally excluded: corn, soybeans, sorghum, barley and hay. I plotted these percentages onto a map as well. The result, if you squint, looks a little like an electoral map in a really terrible year for Democrats:

Map 2

This second map shows that there are really two different Americas when it comes to agriculture: the heartland, where agriculture is focused on meat and dairy, and the coasts, where it's focused on fruits and vegetables.

Original article on January 16 by



February 12

Is state-of-the-art farming coming to a field near you?

Startups focusing on agricultural technology are gaining investors’ attention, but convincing farmers to apply it to farming practices is a big challenge

When cornstalks reach their mature height, it’s impossible for farmworkers or tractors to navigate the cornfields to apply nitrogen. To ensure the crop gets the nutrients it needs, farmers often fertilise at the beginning of the season when the plants are still small, hoping enough nitrogen will remain in the soil to feed the corn.

To optimise nitrogen application in cornfields, agricultural engineer Kent Cavender-Bares partnered with his brothers, Charlie Bares, a farmer, and John Bares, a robotics expert, to create a robot that was small enough to navigate between rows of mature corn and strong enough to haul gallons of nitrogen to fertilise the plants. The result is a diesel-powered tank on wheels that is just two feet wide, carries up to 40 gallons of fertiliser and can be programmed to cover up to 50 acres – with no operator required.

“Ten years ago a machine like this couldn’t even be contemplated, the technology wasn’t available,” says Cavender-Bares, CEO of the Minnesota-based startupRowbot. “Now, robotics is the future of agriculture.”

Rowbot is at the forefront of a new trend: entrepreneurs creating high-tech applications for agriculture. The field of agricultural technology or “ag tech” has experienced rapid growth and attracted the attention of investors.

Venture capitalists are eager to invest in ag tech. To date, startup firms such asAgTech InnovationCultivian Sandbox and Khlosa Ventures have raised millions to support innovations in agricultural technologies ranging from farm management software and soil and moisture sensors to robotics.

Data from the Cleantech Group found that venture capitalists and private equity firms invested $269m (£177m) in 41 agriculture and food-focused startups in the third quarter of 2014, the highest amount ever invested in the sector (and twice the amount invested in the same quarter in 2013).

“There has been a gradual increase in awareness of the opportunities in ag tech,” says John Selep, managing partner of venture capital firm AgTech Innovation. “These are the technologies that will make agriculture more efficient, productive and environmentally sustainable and that’s making investors take notice.”

A handful of high-profile deals bolstered the trend: in 2012, Bayer CropSciencebought biological pest management startup AgraQuest for a reported $425m (£280m); and Monsanto bought weather and agronomic data modeling startup Climate Corporation for $930m (£613m) in 2013.

Ag tech could also help farmers cope with significant labour shortages. According to No Longer Home Grown, a report released by The Partnership for a New American Economy (pdf), farm labour shortages have prevented farmers from maintaining or expanding their current operations.

 “Our goal isn’t to use robotics to replace labour, it’s to help farmers make more efficient use of expensive fertiliser inputs,” says Cavender-Bares. “Instead of replacing labour, we see it as creating different kinds of jobs.”

While ag tech has significant advantages, there are challenges to convincing farmers to toss aside their paper records and outdated desktop software and adopt a state-of-the-art approach to farming.

“Farmers are the ultimate ‘must see it to believe it’ group,” explains Anthony Osborne, vice president of marketing for Climate Corporation. “Until they can see the impact technology can have on their farm, they are not willing to make an investment.”

To help farmers understand the value in having weather and agronomic data accessible on their smartphones, Climate Corporation offered its Climate Basic software for free. Since the software’s launch in 2013, farmers collectively managing more than 50m acres have signed up to monitor data such as precipitation, wind speed and humidity, with alerts delivered via text.

“Farmers shouldn’t have to be data scientists, tech geeks or designers to manage their operations; they need products that solve problems,” explains Jesse Vollmar, co-founder and CEO of FarmLogs.

Growing up on a farm in rural Michigan, Vollmar witnessed a widening gap between advances in technology and its application on the farm. To address the issue, he co-founded FarmLogs, a startup that uses soil maps, rainfall statistics and other data to help farmers reduce waste and improve yields on crops like corn, wheat and soybeans.

Since FarmLogs launched in 2012, the startup has raised $15m (£9.9m) in capital and grown to 20% market share in the US – and Vollmar expects it to continue growing.

“High speed internet and mobile access are available in the middle of nowhere,” Vollmar says. “The timing is right to create technology for farming applications.”

Original article on January 20 by


February 11

KPA updates video tab on website,

Since its debut in Summer 2013, the Kansas Pork Association’s website, has provided a variety of resources for consumers interested in cooking more often with pork and learning more about farming.

“We all lead busy lives and so we know how important it is have a one-stop-shop for those seeking out information,” says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. “ is a great resource for recipes, cooking tips and educational resources. We created it with the busy mom or teacher in mind.”

Watch Tab Screen Shot

As KPA grows its resources and better identifies consumer needs, the site also grows. Recently, a “Watch” tab was added to feature videos created by KPA and industry friends that highlight everything from how-to cooking demonstrations to visiting Kansas family pig farms.

“Video is a growing medium and gives pork farmers the opportunity to reach and share with an unlimited audience,” Oleen says. “We are excited for the videos that we are working on in 2015 to add value to and its resources.”


 February 10

KPA supports Women Managing the Farm Conference

On February 5-6, 2015 , 250 women came together at the 12th annual Women Managing the Farm Conference, held in Manhattan. Women have a strong and growing presence in U.S. agriculture. With that presence, comes a need for resources, discussion and continuing education to support women with farm management and leadership responsibilities. The purpose of this conference is to provide women with the tools they need to remain sustainable. The Kansas Pork Association is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

“Women have an important role on Kansas pig farms,” says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. “This conference is a valuable resource for them to establish relationships and take innovative ideas back to the farm. It is an investment in their businesses.”

WMF Conf 1

There were a variety of learning opportunities for those attending the two-day conference. Breakout sessions covered topics ranging from grain marketing to family succession planning and social media to personal health. Attendees participated in networking sessions, local tours and a silent auction. KPA was also a participant with a booth in the Exhibitors Hall, featuring educational and nutritional resources for attendees to take home. Keynote program highlights included the follow speakers and sessions:

 WMF Conf 2

  • “Celebrating Women: Health Heroes in Agriculture” – Judi Adams, M.S., R.D., Wheat Foods Council
  • “Who Will Feed Our Hungry Planet?” – Jim Richardson, photo journalist, Kansas native and National Geographic Photographer
  • “Policy Update” – Jackie McClaskey, Secretary, Kansas Department of Agriculture
  • “Lessons Learned from the 3-year Debate on the 2014 Farm Bill” – Dr. Barry L. Flinchbaugh, Professor Emeritus, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University

To learn more about the conference visit


February 9

National Pork Industry Forum to be held March 5-7

Pork industry delegates to gather in San Antonio for annual meeting

Delegates from across the United States will gather in San Antonio, March 5-7 for the annual National Pork Industry Forum.

The 15 producers who serve as members of the National Pork Board and Pork Checkoff staff leadership will hear directly from the forum delegates appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Each year the Pork Act Delegates confer, vote on resolutions and advisements and provide valuable direction on the important issues facing pork producers and the industry.

The theme for the annual pork forum – People. Pigs. Planet . – is in reference to the recently adopted Pork Checkoff 2020 Strategic Plan. The new strategic plan is focused on anticipating and managing the changing world facing U.S. pork producers now and in the future.

“As an industry, we have a defined commitment to “elevate U.S. pork as the global protein of choice by continuously and collaboratively working to do what’s right for people, pigs and the planet,” said Dale Norton, president of the National Pork Board and a producer from Bronson, Mich. “It has never been more critical that we work together as producers, processors and foodservice and retail leaders to make a collective difference to pork’s consumers.”

In advance of the annual meeting, members of the National Pork Board also will convene their March board meeting. The agenda for that meeting will include updates on 2015 plans to enhance pork demand, increase market opportunities, improve pork production practices and invest in research priorities.

Included on the 2015 Pork Forum agenda will be opportunities for pork producers to become trained in the pork industry’s Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) certification process, as well as learn more about pork industry programs.

The full agenda is available at As the event draws near, the website will be updated with current information and links to the Pork Forum manual and videos of candidates nominated for industry positions.

Original release on January 26 by


February 6

Ag, Food Groups Urge Quick Passage of TPA

The National Pork Producers Council today joined 70 other food and agricultural organizations in urging Congress to quickly introduce and approve legislation renewing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) so that major trade deals can be finalized and implemented to help the U.S. economy.

TPA defines U.S. negotiating objectives and priorities for trade agreements and establishes consultation and notification requirements for the president to follow throughout the negotiation process. Once negotiators finalize a deal, Congress gets an up or down vote – without amendments – on it. Congress has granted TPA to every president since 1974, with the most recent law being approved in August 2002 and expiring June 30, 2007.

In a letter sent to all 535 congressional lawmakers, the food and agricultural groups said the farmers, ranchers, food and agricultural companies – and workers – they represent are heavily dependent on trade for their livelihoods. (Click here to read the letter.)

“Their ability to compete in global markets is tied to the ability of the United States to eliminate impediments to international trade,” said the organizations, which pointed out that as a result of trade agreements implemented since 1989 U.S. agricultural exports have nearly quadrupled in value, topping $152 billion in fiscal 2014. And those trade deals have been very beneficial to the U.S. economy, with every $1 in U.S. farm exports generating an additional $1.27 in business activity and every $1 billion in agricultural exports supporting 6,600 American jobs.

TPA, the groups said, will allow U.S. trade negotiators the ability, with direction and backing from Congress, “to extract the best deals possible from other countries.” Without it, though, “our negotiating partners would be unwilling to make the toughest concessions.”

The food and agricultural organizations are particularly interested in finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an Asia-Pacific regional agreement among 12 nations whose economies account for 40 percent global economic output.

“Should Congress not pass TPA, it will signal to our TPP partners and to the world that we are turning our back on the fastest growing economic region in the world,” said the organizations.

Original article on February 5 by


February 5

KPA awards 2015 Wendell Moyer Scholarship

In 1956, Wendell Moyer helped organize a small group of pork producers into the Kansas Swine Improvement Association. Their purpose was to work together to make their business more profitable while keeping the swine industry healthy and flourishing statewide. The Kansas Pork Association is working every day to achieve this same goal.

Each year KPA awards the Wendell Moyer Student Enrichment Grant of $1,000 to encourage participation in pork production while building our leaders of tomorrow.  Students enrolled in an agricultural or related field in their junior and senior year of college in Kansas were eligible to apply.

Michael And Annie

Michael Springer, KPA chairman, present Annie Clark with the 2015 Wendell Moyer Scholarship

This year's 2015 Wendell Moyer Scholarship recipient is Annie Clark, a senior majoring in animal science and industry at Kansas State University and native of Overland Park, Kan.,

At K-State Clark has a cumulative 3.96 GPA and works at the KSU Swine Unit, assisting graduate research projects led by the nutrition team. She is an active leader, serving as an College of Agriculture student ambassador, helping recruit new students. Clark’s interest is in swine nutrition and has had two internships with Nutra-Flo Biotech Products and Elanco Animal Health.

One employer said, “I had the opportunity to manage Annie during her internship and was extremely impressed with her capabilities. She has an outstanding work ethic and is not afraid to get in the barn and work long hours to accomplish a goal if that is what is required. She is constantly seeking new information and figuring out how to apply it. She is comfortable in many different environments ranging from the barn to the board room.”


Clark is on track to graduate this spring, with plans to begin a Master’s degree in swine nutrition at K-State. After earning her Ph.D., she plans on working in the industry and ultimately returning to academia to teach and do research.

The Kansas Pork Association congratulates Clark on her achievements.



February 4

K-State hosts 2015 Swine Profitability Conference

Producers, veterinarians and industry members joined students and faculty at Kansas State University in Manhattan on Tuesday, February 3 for the 2015 Swine Profitability Conference. Each year this event brings those with various roles throughout the industry together for discussion and learning. Your association participated in the day’s programming and is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

Swine Prof 1

Program highlights:

  • Economic Considerations for Growing the U.S. Swine Industry– Glynn Tonsor, KSU Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Jack and Pat Anderson Lecture in Swine Health Management: Achieving World Class Swine Production: Is There a Silver Bullet?-  Larry Coleman and Tim Friedel, Vet Care, Broken Bow, NB
  • What Have I Don’t to Make My Land-Based System Successful – Craig Christensen, Odgen, IA
  • Lessons I’ve Learned About Marketing Pork to the Chef’s of High-End Restaurants of New York  – Craig Good, Olsburg, KS
  • Future Technology for the Swine Industry  – Kim Friesen, Research and Development, Elanco

 Swine Prof 2


Swine Prof 3



February 3

Farm can be held liable for pollution from manure

A U.S. federal court has ruled for the first time that manure from livestock facilities can be regulated as solid waste, a decision hailed by environmentalists as opening the door to potential legal challenges against facilities across the country.

A large dairy in Washington state, Cow Palace Dairy, polluted ground water by over applying manure to soil, ruled Judge Thomas Rice of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on Wednesday.

"The practices of this mega-dairy are no different than thousands of others across the country," said Jessica Culpepper, an attorney at Public Justice, one of the firms that represented the plaintiffs, a collection of public advocacy groups.

The case is scheduled to go to trial in March to decide the extent of the contamination and the clean-up.

This is the first time the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which governs the disposal of solid and hazardous waste, has been applied to animal waste from a farm.

Industrial livestock operations produce hundreds of millions of tons of manure annually.

The district court ruling, if upheld, could affect any large livestock facility that produces more manure than it can responsibly manage, including poultry, beef and hog farms, Culpepper said.

An attorney for Cow Palace said on Friday that it plans to ask for an appeal.

"There's a reason no court has ever done this. It's because the statute was not intended to apply to these situations," said Debora Kristensen, an attorney for Givens Pursley, a law firm that represented Cow Palace.

Kristensen said Cow Palace has already entered into a voluntary agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which enforces the act, to address water contamination concerns.

Fertilizer is not considered waste under the act, but the district court found that Cow Palace was applying more manure to crops than needed. In one instance, the plaintiffs in the case said Cow Palace applied more than 7 million gallons (26 million liters) of manure to an already "sufficiently fertilized field."

The district court said Cow Palace's excessive application transformed the waste, which is "an otherwise beneficial and useful product," into a discarded material.

The court found that Cow Palace's management of its manure violated the "open dumping" provisions of law.

Unlike other federal contamination laws, the act requires violators not only to stop polluting, but to clean up any damage it has caused.

The case is Community Association For Restoration Of The Environment, Inc. et al v. Cow Palace, LLC et al, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, No. 13-CV-3016

Original article on January 20 by


February 2

NPPC Leader Says PED Virus Found in Finisher Pigs

The report early last month of the detection of a third strain of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus does not come as a surprise to the leader of the National Pork Producers Council. Preside Howard Hill who’s an Iowa veterinarian says mutations of the disease were expected. He says however that the number of PED virus cases have decreased this winter following last year’s outbreak.

Hill cautions that there have been some PED cases showing up in finishing animals. Hill encourages producers with finishing loads to make sure and wash and disinfect and dry those transport vehicles if they can.

Listen to the Podcast HERE.

Original post on January 8 by


January 30

Dispute Must Be Resolved Now to Protect U.S. Exports

The National Pork Producers Council and 92 other food, agricultural and allied industry groups today urged the parties involved in a labor dispute that’s affecting food exports that ship out of West Coast ports to resolve their differences as soon as possible. The organizations also called on the federal government to consider all remedies to bring the dispute to a swift end.

Slowdowns by dock workers at the ports in Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., and in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., have stranded thousands of containers of pork and other farm products over the past several months. Since November, pork prices, for example, have tumbled by 20 percent in large part because of the port problem, and meat and other perishable products awaiting shipment soon may need to be destroyed or discounted and sold on the domestic market. One estimate has the U.S. meat and poultry industries losing more than $30 million a week.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have been unable to hammer out a new contract since the last one expired in July. Although the ILWU initially agreed to continue sending workers to the ports during the contract negotiations, in November it reneged on that agreement.

Exports of agricultural products have grown to $144 billion in 2013 from $46 million in 1994, with much of the growth in Asian markets, which are most directly affected by the ports slowdowns.

In an open letter to the White House, congressional lawmakers, the PMA and the ILWU, NPPC and the other organizations pointed out that the increase in food and agriculture products exported has been very beneficial to the companies that own West Coast ports and to the dock workers. “But the apparent indifference by [the PMA and the ILWU] to the impact the slowdowns are having on our sectors is disturbing,” the groups said. (Click here to read the letter.)


Original release on January 28 by 


January 29

KPA partners to provide curriculum to Kansas classrooms

In the last year it has been the Kansas Pork Association’s goal to focus its efforts on building relationships with consumers who have a role in influencing those around them.  Classrooms are an important part of that demographic.

“We continue to have a steady flow of requests from teachers interested in any resources that we have to offer,” says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. “This was an opportunity to fulfill an important need and we are excited to now be able to provide these materials for classrooms in Kansas.”

Peek At Pork Cover

There are two curricula on pork that are now available.A Peek at Porkoffers four lessons, as well as anticipation and vocabulary activities for grades 3-4. This curriculum is best utilized in conjunction withThe Amazing PigDVD, which is also available through KPA.Pig Maniaprovides six lessons for grades 4-6, that range from language arts to math.

“Kids are intrigued by animals, they make learning fun,” says Cathy Musick, Executive Director of the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. “This curriculum allows teachers to use agriculture as a tool to teach their curriculum standards.”

Those standards, focused on “career and work-force readiness” have a big emphasis on applied learning.

“Teachers are looking for real world scenarios to help toward lessons in science, technology, engineering and math,” Musick says. “Not only does this curricula help meet national agriculture literacy outcomes, but is promote agriculture and the environment in a positive way.

There were many groups involved in the development and funding for the curriculum. It was an original project led by the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, who worked with the Nebraska Foundation for Ag in the Classroom, Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Soybean Board to fund and develop the materials. The materials were then passed to KPA, who worked closely with KFAC and the Kansas Soybean Commission to edit and publish the curricula according to Kansas learning standards.

Pig Mania Cover

KFAC will have an important role in helping introduce the curricula to teachers.

“We will be talking about it at Be Ag Wise and our summer institute workshops, which are both professional development opportunities for students,” Musick says.

Those interested in learning more or implementing these curricula in their classroom can visit, or contact KPA at 785-776-0442.

“With Kansas Ag Week coming up in March, these materials would be great way to celebrate in the classroom,” Oleen says. “If you have children in third-sixth grade or a relationship with your local schools, we encourage you to reach out to them with this resource.”


January 28

Apply for a Pork Industry Scholarship

All juniors and seniors in college who plan to pursue a career in swine production management or a related field, or will be seeking to attend veterinary or graduate school and major in a discipline with an emphasis on swine, are invited to submit an application for one of 19 available scholarships sponsored by the Pork Checkoff.

Ready to Apply? The online application process is now OPEN, click here to begin.

“The sustainability of the pork production industry hinges on developing the next generation of leaders,” says Chris Hostetler, Animal Science Director for the Pork Checkoff. “A survey of previous scholarship winners revealed that 80% are perusing advanced degrees in preparation to serve the industry as veterinarians, nutritionists, reproductive biologists and management consultants.”

Any specific questions should be directed to Chris Hostetler at or 515-223-2606


January 27

U.S. Pork Producers 'All in' on TPA

With negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal hanging in the balance, the National Pork Producers Council today threw its support behind renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which will enable the current administration and future ones to negotiate and close trade agreements such as the TPP.

“The U.S. pork industry is the poster child for expanded trade,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “As a result of trade agreements, our exports have increased 1550 percent in value and 1268 percent in volume since 1989, the year the U.S. implemented the FTA with Canada and started opening international markets for value-added agriculture products. Pork producers and U.S. agriculture are dependent on export markets, so NPPC is going to fight tooth and nail to get TPA passed.”

NPPC today sent a letter to every member of Congress, urging passage of legislation to renew TPA. (Click here to read the letter.)

TPA defines U.S. negotiating objectives and priorities for trade agreements and establishes consultation and notification requirements for the president to follow throughout the negotiation process. Once negotiators finalize a deal, Congress gets an up or down vote – without amendments – on it. Congress has granted TPA to every president since 1974, with the most recent law being approved in August 2002 and expiring June 30, 2007.

While TPA will empower U.S. trade officials to pursue and finalize a number of different trade negotiations, TPP is paramount for U.S. pork producers. The benefits from TPP are expected to far exceed the benefits that have resulted from past trade deals and will represent, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, “the most important commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers.”

Negotiations on TPP, which includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, are drawing to a conclusion, with the latest round of talks beginning today.

“Significant progress has been made with respect to Japan’s market access offer on pork thanks to the hard work of U.S. trade officials and the strong support of the U.S. Congress,” said NPPC’s Hill. “While NPPC is reserving judgment on a final TPP agreement, we believe it is imperative that Congress approve TPA as a signal to our trading partners that the U.S. is ready to finalize an agreement that expands U.S. trade and generates U.S. jobs.”

Original release on January 26th by


January 26

Kansas Commodity Classic

All Kansas farmers are invited to the Kansas Commodity Classic on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015.

The Commodity Classic is the annual convention of the Kansas Corn, Wheat and Grain Sorghum Associations, and will take place at the at the Hilton Garden Inn, 410 S 3rd St, Manhattan, Kan., with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. It is free to attend and includes a complimentary breakfast and lunch; however pre-registration is requested.

The Classic will be emceed by Eric Atkinson, Radio Specialist and Agriculture Director, K-State Radio Network.

The morning session will open at 7:30 a.m., with an optional breakfast and remarks from Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey to a joint session with the Women Managing the Farm conference. Pre-registration for the breakfast is required.

The Kansas Commodity Classic officially begins at 9:15 with remarks from Chris Standlee, Executive Vice President of Global Affairs for Abengoa Bioenergy. Standlee will discuss the Abengoa 2G Hugoton Project and the future of cellulosic ethanol in America.

Rod Snyder, President, Field to Market, The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, will talk about who is involved with Field to Market and share information from retailers who are involved in the project. Field to Market’s commitment is to continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality and human well-being across the agricultural supply chain. Field to Market members are committed to helping provide food, fiber and fuel for 9 billion people across the globe by 2050, while conserving finite natural resources.

Darrell Holaday, of Country Futures in Frankfort, Kan., a favorite of Kansas producers, will provide his perspective on commodity markets.

Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, will be the featured keynote speaker at a joint luncheon with the Women Managing the Farm conference attendees. He will present, “Lessons Learned from the 3-year Debate on the 2014 Farm Bill.” Dr. Flinchbaugh is an acknowledged expert on agricultural policy and an award-winning professor of agricultural economics at KSU. He has been a long-time advisor on ag policy to politicians of both parties. Drawing on his authority and expertise, Dr. Flinchbaugh will bluntly look at lessons learned from the historically long debate on the 2014 farm bill.

The Kansas Commodity Classic is hosted by the Kansas Corn Growers Association, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association. The event is sponsored by the following industry sponsors: Syngenta Crop Protection, Monsanto and Farm Credit Association of Kansas. The event is free to attend, but pre-registration is requested. Visit
or call 785-539-0255 to register.

Original release on January 14 by


January 23

USDA Reminds Producers of Upcoming Livestock Disaster Assistance Deadline

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds livestock producers that the Jan. 30, 2015, deadline to request assistance for losses suffered from Oct. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2014, is fast approaching.

Applications for the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, restored by the 2014 Farm Bill resumed in April 2014, after having expired on Sept. 30, 2011. To date, more than 556,000 applications have been approved to assist farmers and ranchers in recovering from nearly three years of natural disasters.

The Livestock Indemnity Program provides financial assistance to eligible producers for livestock deaths. Losses can be caused by adverse weather, extreme temperatures, disease, or wildfires, or due to attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law, including wolves and avian predators.

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program provides compensation to livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire. Qualifying droughts are based on U.S Drought Monitor severity ratings, and qualifying fires are those occurring on rangeland managed by a federal agency and normally permitted for grazing. 

To expedite applications, all producers who experienced losses are encouraged to collect records documenting their losses. Supporting documents may include livestock birth records, purchase and transportation receipts, photos and ownership records showing the number and type of livestock lost, documents listing the gallons of water transported to livestock during drought, information related to grazing land, grazing leases or federal grazing permits, and more.

Local FSA county offices can provide additional information on the types of records producers will need to apply for assistance. Producers are encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment. Producers who already have appointments don’t need to take any additional action to meet the deadline. FSA offices can be found at To learn more about these FSA disaster programs, visit

These programs were made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

Original release on January 21st by


January 22

Global food prices more reasonable in 2014

Stronger U.S. dollar, declining oil prices and large supply of grain contributed to a drop in global food prices in December, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s (FAO) monthly calculation of the food price index.

FAO's Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index that tracks prices of five major food commodity groups on international markets. It aggregates price sub-indices of cereals, meat, dairy products, vegetable oils and sugar.

Despite the FAO’s sub-index for meat rose to all-time highs with annual average of 199 points, the overall food price index for 2014 dropped 3.7% from 2013 at averaged 202 points, marking the third consecutive annual decline. 

For the month of December, the Food Price index averaged 188.6 points, 1.7% below from the previous month with all commodity prices noted lower except cereals.

Anxiety over export restriction for wheat by the Russian Federation boosted the cereal price up slightly from November 2014.  The FAO cereal price index averaged 183.9 points in December, up 0.4%.  For the most part, the price of all cereals moderated with an annual average index of 192 points, down 12.5% from 2013.

Abundant export supplies weighed on global dairy prices in December with the dairy price index declining 4.1 points to averaged 174 points for the month.  A slower pace for international milk sales coupled with increased production worldwide drove the 2014 dairy price index down 7.7% from 2013 to yearly average of 224.2 points.

Although meat prices were the only commodity group that penciled an increase annual average for 2014, the sub-index in December did fall 1.9% to 204 points.  In spite of this, at 204 points, this index is near its monthly record highs, and on a full-year basis rose 8.1% in 2014 from 2013.

The FAO vegetable oil prices index also fell in December to an averaged 161 points, down 2.4% from November as the slump in crude oil depressed demand for palm oil. Falling to a 5-year low, the index in 2014 averaged 181 points, down 6% from 2013, with palm oil, the vegetable oil with the highest weight in the Index.

Ample sugar supplies caused the December sugar price index to fall 11 points to 219 points from November. Similar, the index in 2014 dropped 3.8% lower than 2013, averaging 241 points.

 Original article on January 9th by


January 21

KPA continues its partnership with the American Red Cross

In the last three years, Kansas blood donors have come to recognize the drives that are sponsored by the Kansas Pork Association. 

“It’s great to see those smiles, from both new and familiar faces, when we show up with the pork,” says Jodi Oleen. “Our farmers appreciate the opportunity to say thank you to those who are doing such a selfless thing to help others.”

KPA has had a partnership with the American Red Cross for three years that pairs the association with multiple drives across the state to provide pulled pork sandwiches for donors who have given blood.  Often, farmers from those communities will come to help serve food and personally thank donors for their donation. In 2014, 822 presenting donors, as well as drive volunteers and staff, were served sandwiches.

2014 Blood Drive Recap 2

“Many donors and volunteers made many comments about how much they appreciated the pork,” says one drive coordinator from Independence. “Christy Springer, a KPA member, was at our drive and was such a benefit. She knows so many people in our community and spent her time visiting with donors and thanking them for their donations. Thank you so much for your sponsorship.”

The Red Cross must collect approximately 17,000 blood donations every day to keep up with patient needs. Donated blood products are perishable as red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days and platelets, only five days. This makes the importance of return donors and first time donors, crucial.

“We have one of the highest ‘return donor’ rates in the country here in Kansas,” says Kristi Ingalls, senior donor recruitment representative. “However, we have one of the lowest ‘first-time’ donor rates. These KPA sponsored drives have continued to help us recruit new donors in each of our communities.”

In addition to the pork, KPA supports the drives by working with local media to send out press releases, speak on radio stations and invite reporters the day of the drive. In 2014, the total estimated media audience reach was 616,433 people. Each drive also receives squeezable pig heads, recipes and prizes for drawings.

2014 Blood Drive Recap 1

In 2014, KPA sponsored eight drives, held in Newton, Clay Center, Junction City, Smith Center, Independence, Norton, Arkansas City and Kingman. From these drives, 795 pints of blood were collected.

How can you donate blood? Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visitredcrossblood.orgto make an appointment. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states,) weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

Look to future issues of Pig Tales for the 2015 KPA sponsored blood drive dates to be announced. Please contact the KPA office if you are interested in helping out at a blood drive in your community.


January 20

Top mobile apps for agriculture

In recent years, several companies and public institutions have developed Apps for mobile devices with the goal of providing a service to agricultural consultants and producers with educational materials and support tools. There is an increasing interest in these “Ag-Apps” and the use of new technologies for increasing the efficiency in communicating and decision-making.

The articles in this issue of the Agronomy eUpdate provide a brief summary of the current status of Ag-Apps.

Note: Most of the Apps presented in this series of articles are free to download. Before paying for any App, please check online reviews or consult with any specialist working with that App in order to understand the benefits in using it and how it can assist you in your daily farming operations. As a general rule, an App needs to be “easy to use” and “intuitive.” Most Apps do not come with a user guide or a manual. Take all these points into consideration before downloading and using Apps.

I group Ag-Apps into the following nine classifications with the goal of dividing Apps by their different uses and purposes:

Ag-Apps classifications:

  1. ID Apps: For identification purposes (weeds, insects, diseases, and nutrients)
  2. CALC Apps: For calculating purposes (nutrient removal calculations, tank mixes, volume to spray, etc.)
  3. ECON Apps: For checking grain prices, market evolutions, fertilizer price trends, news and finances.
  4. SCOUT Apps: For scouting purposes or for geo-positioning (soil sampling, recording notes, soil types, etc.).
  5. GUIDE Apps: For diagnosing crop production issues in the field, primarily related to field guides (crop management: insect, disease, weed, and more).
  6. LIVESTOCK Apps: Apps related to the animal side, nutrition, health, and information on markets.
  7. MACHINERY Apps: Apps for associated with agricultural equipment preparation, inventory, providing information of the machine.
  8. GAG Apps: GAG (general Ag-Apps) for general use, weather-related, for meetings, for reading magazines, among several other Apps’ properties.
  9. NON-AG Apps: For general use from e-readers to calculators, email, calendar, picture editing, and more.

In summary, there are several different Ag-Apps with diverse applications and unique features that can assist key stakeholders in the farming decision making process.

I will continue updating the list as soon as more Ag-Apps are becoming available. Stay tuned for the Ag-Apps coming from our KSUCROPS team and the K-State Department of Agronomy!

ID Apps for agriculture

These Apps are primarily utilized for identification purposes. This category can be sub-divided into different topics:

  • Weeds
  • Insects
  • Diseases
  • Nutrients

A) Weeds ID

These Apps can help identify a weed, or search for weeds by name, region, or appearance. Ag Weed ID (FarmProgress), ID Weeds (University of Missouri), Weed Spotter (Bayer CropScience), and the are good for weed ID purposes.

B) Insects ID

The Western Bean Cutworm Speed presents a visualization tool for western bean cutworm eggs in diverse stages (University of Nebraska-Lincoln). The Aphid Scout (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) provides a visualization of aphid infestation at the leaf level. The Pestbook App (Dupont) offers a compendium of various insect pests and beneficials.

C) Diseases ID

This category highlights Apps specific for diseases either in a single crop, such as the Soy Diseases App (South Dakota State University) or for multiple-crops, such as the BASF Cereal Diseases App and the Crop Diseases App (GRDC, Grains Research & Development Corporation). The IPM toolkit (University of Wisconsin) is broader than simply for diseases ID alone. It also includes a list of Extension activities such as meetings, publications, videos, and news (highly recommended!).

D) Nutrients (and more)

This section highlights Apps for nutrient deficiency ID purposes and Apps containing information related to nutrient effects on crops. Within this category, the Crop Nutrient Deficiency Photo Gallery App from the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI, $5) and the new “Canola Starter” (no charge) from Oklahoma State University, with information on the “safe” fertilizer rate based on salt level, are worth downloading.

Calculation Apps for agriculture

These Apps are primarily utilized as support tools and for calculation purposes. This category is sub-divided into:

  1. General Calculators
  2. Crop Production

A) General Calculators

These Apps include a way to calculate the optimum fertilizer N rate, silage moisture cost adjuster, maturity date predictor based on tassel date, grain yield estimator, tank mix calculator, and crop nutrient removal, among others. The TankMix App (Dupont) and the nutrient removal App “PlantCalc” from the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) can assist in making quick decisions in the field. Still, always make sure to check with your crop consultants, Extension agents, and Extension specialists because this information varies depending on soil types, crop yield potential, and environments. The Manure Valuator (University of Arkansas) is an App that provides assistance in valuing the nutrient content of manure.

B) Crop Production

This section highlights Apps related to crop production issues and planting management. The Kansas Wheat Yield Calculator (Kansas Wheat Alliance and K-State Research and Extension) and the Corn Advisor (University of Arkansas) Apps both are very useful Ag-Apps. The Kansas Wheat Yield Calculator allows making yield estimations at different growth stages and in several areas of the field. The Corn Advisor App has different features such as calculating lime and nutrient rates, identifying nutrient deficiencies, diseases and insect pests, and providing information about control practices. Extreme Beans is a useful App for calculating soybean seeding rates and for understanding the effect of diverse management practices on maximizing soybean yields. Planting Population from Ag PhD is a good App for estimating planting population.

Economic Apps for agriculture

These Apps are related to agricultural news, weather, and grain prices. There are several Apps that offer weather, markets, news, and grain prices all in one App. Among some of my favorites are DTN/PF (Progressive Farmer), AgWeb, and CVA Coop. To search for the best cash grain prices, Growers Edge and the Cash Grain Bids (AgWeb) are very helpful. Using these, farmers can identify the closest location and the best price for selling grain. To develop some economic budgets for your farming operation, check the CE Budgets App from the Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas.

Scouting Apps for agriculture

This section pinpoints Apps that can assist farmers in preparing maps, taking soil samples (geo-referencing the sampling points), calculating areas, measuring distances, and getting information about the soil type, among several other features. The ConnectedFarm Scout App is useful for preparing maps, scouting, and geo-positioning points within your field. The ArcGIS App is very useful for calculating areas and distances within your field or for determining the final size for a plot area for research purposes.

Field Guide Apps for agriculture

These Apps compile information from several production topics such as soil fertility, weeds, insects, diseases, crop management, calculators, and more. The Corn and Soybean Field Guide (Purdue University) is a very useful App. The fplants App portrays diverse forage species and provides a guide to forage ID. The HortPlants (University of Arkansas) App provides an extensive photographic catalogue covering many plants of the Mid-South, such as trees, vines, ground covers, shrubs, and ornamental grasses, among others. A new App from Oklahoma State University (FieldGuide, Dr. Arnall) is worth downloading, with information on nutrient removal, deficiency ID, nutrient demand, and fertilizers.

Livestock Apps for agriculture

These Apps relate to animal management. ThermalAid (University of Missouri) is an App that uses live weather information to determine if livestock may be affected by heat stress. The iHerd App helps simplify herd management and the traceability of the stock (for property managers). The Cattle Market Mobile is an App that provides information on current auction prices to assist producers around the U.S. (with state-by-state information).

Machinery Apps for agriculture

These Apps relate to farm equipment. The MyShed App from Case-IH is an excellent example of customer service using the new technology; users can find parts faster for CASE-IH equipment. JDLink is an App for those who have John Deere equipment, with information on how to optimize the use of the equipment. The Machinery Sizing App from K-State (only available for Android) helps users quickly estimate the necessary tractor horsepower to pull various implements.

General Agriculture Apps

These Apps present overall information about agriculture and related areas (such as weather information). The Crops & Soils App presents Crops & Soil Magazine in an electronic format. The Kansas Soybean Commission has an App that provides information about the Commission.

Non-Agriculture Appsv

These Apps are general in nature, and can be utilized in several ways: scanning images and converting to PDF, calendar, calculator, storing documents in the cloud, reading PDF documents, and others.

Future KSUCrops Apps

The KSUCROPS team, a crop production team led by Dr. Ignacio Ciampitti, is currently developing two new Apps on soybean and sorghum. These Apps will be available before the 2015 growing season. SoyYIELD Calc will allow farmers to estimate soybean yields before harvest. SorYIELD Predictor is a tool to predict sorghum yields before harvest using imagery information. Both are Android Apps.

To see thumbnail photos of each of the apps mentioned above, go to

Original article on December 29th by


January 16

KPA helps publish Kailey's 'Pig Tales'

“Kailey” is helping share the story about Kansas agriculture.

The Kansas Pork Association was the primary sponsor forKailey’s Pig ‘Tales’, a children’s book published by Kansas Farm Bureau. This is the sixth book in theKailey’s Ag Adventuresseries that provides a fun and educational story that follows Kailey and her cousins as they learn about pig farming from Farmer Rich.

Kaileys Pig Tales Cover

“The Kansas Pork Association is excited to be a part of helping bring this installment of the Kailey series alive,” says Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO. “This is a great resource to help kids enjoy learning about pork production.”

Kansas Farm Bureau’s retired CEO and former educator, Dan Yunk, has continued writing the series that began after granddaughter Kailey was fascinated about what she learned on a farm tour with Yunk.

“We’ve covered a lot of ground in the Kailey series,” Yunk says. “Just like we’ve done with every book, we try to share the story of agriculture in a fun, educational and relatable way.”

Pages From Pig Book Final Lo Res

The book combines both illustrations and live photography and offers fill-in-the-blank learning opportunities. Accompanying lesson plans that follow state teaching standards can be found at

Interested in having this book in your home or classroom? Contact the KPA office at 785-776-0442 or


January 15

USDA surveying farmland ownership, economics

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has begun surveying farmland owners to measure financial impacts and challenges of land ownership. More than 80,000 farmland owners and producers across the United States should have received forms for the Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey by the end of December.

“The latest Census of Agriculture helped us determine that more than 350 million acres of farmland in the United States are rented or leased, but it has been more than a decade since we spoke to individuals who own that land,” said Jay Johnson, Director of NASS’ Census and Survey Division. “Today’s economic conditions change so quickly that we constantly have the need for new and updated data, which reflect the true conditions in agriculture sector.”

The TOTAL survey program will collect data from both farmers and landlords, who are not farm operators themselves, to create a complete picture of farm costs, land ownership, demographics about landowners, and improvements made to farmland and buildings, among other characteristics.

The statistical agency mailed out the survey forms to respondents in 48 contiguous states. In February, trained interviewers will also begin reaching out to the respondents who have not provided their input to answer any questions and help them fill out the survey forms.

The survey builds on information collected in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. As with all parts of the Census, responses to TOTAL are mandatory by law. The same law also ensures confidentiality of individuals’ data. NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses, ensuring no individual respondent or operation can be identified.

“I know this is one of our lengthier surveys, but there is a tremendous amount of value in the information farmers and landowners provide,” added Johnson. “I hope all individuals who receive the TOTAL survey form will take the time to respond.”

NASS will publish results of the TOTAL survey in its Quick Stats database in August 2015. Quick Stats is available online at NASS will also publish the economic data gathered in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report on Aug. 4. All NASS reports are available online

Original article on January 3rd by 


January 14

Bigger hog herd may refelct growing sow immunity to PEDv

The U.S. hog and pig inventory totaled 66.1 million head as of Dec. 1, up 2 percent from a year earlier and up 1 percent from Sept. 1, USDA said today in a quarterly report.

Although the report did not mention the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), several experts on a conference call organized by the National Pork Board said the increase in the inventory may reflect a sow herd that has gained some immunity from the killer animal disease.

PEDv was discovered in the U.S. herds in the spring of 2013 and has since spread to more than 30 states, including Hawaii, where it was found on a pig farm on Oahu a month ago. The disease has killed more than 8 million animals, mostly piglets who are especially vulnerable to the gastric distress and dehydration caused by the virus.

“The severity of the disease, up to this point (this year) is much less than a year ago at this time,” when a large portion of the breeding herd was infected, said Altin Kalo, an economist with the Steiner Consulting Group in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Those sows gained some immunity,” and this year's inventory number may reflect that, he said.

Joe Kerns, with Kerns and Associates in Ames, Iowa, pointed to the numbers of sows saved per litter to back up that point. From September through November, the average number of pigs saved per litter was a record 10.23, according to the USDA report, compared to 10.16 in the same period a year earlier. The average for large scale operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs - and possibly better resources to deal with the disease - was10.3 per litter.

Kalo also said that the pork industry has gained a vast amount of knowledge about the disease since it was first discovered in the U.S., and is now more capable of dealing with it, as have other countries where the virus is more common.

Today's report also showed:

  • The Dec. 1 breeding hog inventory at 5.97 million head, up 4 percent from a year earlier and up 1 percent from the Sept. 1 number.
  • Market hogs totaled 60.1 million head as of Dec. 1, up 2 percent from Dec. 1, 2013, and up 1 percent from the end of the previous quarter.
  • The pig crop for the September-November period was 29.4 million head, up 4 percent from the same period in 2013.
  • Sows farrowing during the September-November quarter totaled 2.87 million head, up 3 percent from 2013. The figure represented 48 percent of the breeding herd.

The USDA report suggests higher slaughter rates in the second half of 2015. This, combined weaker exports caused by a stronger dollar and the ban on exports to Russia due to the incursion into Crimea, will put pressure on prices by the fall of 2015, the experts said.

Original article on December 23 by


January 13

National Pork Board Names Chris Hodges as Chief Executive Officer

Pork industry veteran to start Feb. 16, 2015

Chris Hodges, a pork industry leader with substantial senior management experience in agriculture, will join the National Pork Board as its new chief executive officer on Feb. 16. Currently based in Kansas City, Hodges is senior vice president – business development of Smithfield Farmland.

“When I first joined what was then Farmland Industries as a grain division manager, I joined a farmer cooperative,” said Hodges. “Over the years, I have grown to understand the needs and challenges facing pork producers. From product marketing to disease management to sustainability, I look forward to working with the National Pork Board staff and Board to develop the tangible tools and grassroots programs on behalf of America’s pig farmers.”

Hodges brings to the Pork Checkoff decades of in-depth knowledge and innovation in marketing pork to key U.S. food retailers and into international markets. Much of his fresh pork marketing experience includes direct producer outreach and involvement related to adopting on-farm practices specifically designed to improve overall meat quality. His last day with Smithfield will be Feb. 13, upon which he will move to Des Moines to lead the Pork Checkoff.

“For the past 30 years, Chris has dedicated his career to the pork industry, building and leading teams to meet the emerging demands for protein in both the U.S. and international market place,” said Dale Norton, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Bronson, Mich. “He knows this industry so well and, over the years, has given back through volunteering his time and expertise in several areas.”

Last June at World Pork Expo, Hodges publicly endorsed the Pork Checkoff’s swine industry audit task force as it unveiled a single, common approach to streamline how pork is produced in the U.S. This new industry standard for auditing pork production aligns many diverse practices into a common protocol. It has been supported and accepted by pig farmers, packers, processors, retailers and others throughout the pork supply chain.

Hodges is also a retiring board member of the National Pork Producers Council. He served as chairman of its Packer Processor Industry Council since 2013.

Prior to his current role, Hodges advanced at Smithfield Foods – a $14 billion global food company and the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. He previously served as senior vice president, fresh pork and industrial sales at Farmland Foods, and led the sales and marketing teams for its Smithfield® and Farmland® brands. His industry expertise includes business development, sales and marketing, retail and foodservice outreach, new equipment and processing specifications management, risk management, feed and grains oversight and developing integrated information and technology systems.

“As we move forward with the implementation of our new 2020 strategic plan, we feel confident that Chris is the right person to lead the organization,” Norton said. “He brings not only years of professional work experience, but first-hand knowledge and insight into our changing industry. We welcome him on board.”

Hodges’ first week on the job will include meeting with producer leaders at the National Pork Board’s annual unified research committee meeting, Feb. 17-19, followed closely by speaking at the National Pork Industry Forum in San Antonio, March 5-7. 

Hodges, raised in Laurens, Iowa, is a graduate of Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, with a focus in international relations. He also has a masters of arts in international affairs from Columbia University. Upon obtaining his graduate degree, Hodges was a project manager at the U.S Department of Agriculture, assigned to the U.S. Agency for International Development where he managed extension projects in international grain markets. He later earned a doctorate in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Minnesota.

Jon Leafstedt, Jim Gerardot, and Ed Yuhas, principals with Kincannon & Reed, a global executive search firm focused on the food and agribusiness industry, assisted the National Pork Board and its search committee in the recruitment of Chris Hodges as chief executive officer.

Original release on January 12 by


January 12

Deadline for KPA 2015 Wendell Moyer Scholarship is January 23.

In 1956, Wendell Moyer helped organize a small group of pork producers into the Kansas Swine Improvement Association. Their purpose was to work together to make their businesses more profitable while keeping the swine industry healthy and flourishing statewide. The Kansas Pork Association is working every day to achieve this same goal.

The $1,000 scholarship supports youth who have demonstrated an interest in the swine industry. The Kansas Pork Association is working to encourage participation in pork production while building our leaders of tomorrow. Please help us by encouraging students to apply.

 To be eligible you must:

  • Be currently enrolled as a college student in Kansas with junior or senior standing majoring in an agriculture or related field and plan to:

- Pursue a career in swine production management or a closely related field, or

- Attend veterinary school with an emphasis on swine, or

- Attend graduate school and major in a degree with an emphasis on swine.

  • Write a brief letter describing:

- Past and current experience in the pork industry

- Leadership activities related to the pork industry and

- Role you see yourself playing in the pork industry after graduation.

  • Submit an essay of 750 words or less describing an issue you see confronting the pork industry today or in the future – and offer your solutions.
  • Obtain two letters of reference from current or former professors or industry professionals.
  • Official university transcripts
  • Prepare a cover sheet with your:

- Name

- School Name

- Year in School

- E-mail Address

- Current Mailing Address

- Permanent Mailing Address

- Telephone Number

Submit the above items in a single envelope to:

Kansas Pork Association

2601 Farm Bureau Road

Manhattan, KS 66502

ATTN: Amanda Spoo

Or e-mail to:

Note: All entries must be to the Kansas Pork Association office byJanuary 23, 2015. The Kansas Pork Association will administer the program, evaluate the application materials and select the winner. Essays will be judged on the basis of clarity or expression, persuasiveness, originality and relevance of topic.

 The winner will be announced at the Kansas State University Swine Profitability Conference held February 3, 2015. The winner is encouraged to attend.

The KPA reserves the right to publish any or parts of the essays submitted. Awards will be paid directly to the recipient upon proof of enrollment.

For additional information, please contact the KPA office at 785-776-0442.


January 9

Be Ag-Wise workshops

KFB and KFAC to offer workshops focusing on water conversation

Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) and the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC) will host the eighth annual Be Ag-Wise professional development workshops early next year.

This year’s theme, “Water Conservation: Every Drop Counts! How do you measure up?” will engage educators with hands-on with learning labs, lesson plans and resource materials emphasizing the importance of water conservation and how to integrate the materials into the classroom.

The workshops will be held Feb. 21 in Manhattan at the Sunset Zoo and March 14 in Hays at the Kansas State Research Extension and Experiment Station from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The Feb. 21 workshop will be broadcast via satellite in Great Bend, Pittsburg and Ottawa.

Attendees will earn their Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) certification.  Created in 1991, the Project WET USA Network has reached millions of schools and community educators in hopes of enlightening as many as possible with science-based water resources and to inspire action to protect water sources. The Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) will facilitate the main portion of the Project WET training. More information about Project WET can be found at

For workshop agenda and registration forms, visit  Registration fees are $60 per person and include lunch, refreshments, resource materials, and if applicable, professional development hours. Registration forms are due Jan. 16.

Original article on January 4th by


January 8

SowBridge and PorkBridge distance education program registration deadline is January 16.

SowBridge is for people who work with boars, sows and their litters.

  • Topics include: lactation, ID, pen gestation, on-farm necropsies, PEDV, and more.
  • Sessions are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. Central Time and lasts approximately 45 minutes. 

Pork Bridge is for those affiliated with grow-finish facilities.

  • Topics include: third-party audits, pest control, clean up procedure and more.
  • Sessions are held on the first Thursday of every other month, beginning at noon Central Time and lasting for about 90 min. 

These programs are sponsored by a group of 11 state universities – including KSU – from the major swine producing states.



Each registration provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials. Registrations for both programs are due January 16, 2015 to ensure materials receipt for the first session of each.


To register and learn more about SowBridge, Click HERE.

To register and learn more about PorkBridge, Click HERE.


Kansas Contact:

Joel DeRouchey – (785) 532-2280


Iowa State University (ISU) animal science professor and extension swine specialist Ken Stalder said suggestions from subscribers help maintain the value of both programs for future participants.

“Each year we ask participants in both programs for suggestions on topics and speakers, and are happy to provide current content on topics that people are interested in,” Stalder said. “These programs provide our subscribers with the opportunity to hear directly from experts on topics of current interest, and to contact those experts following the individual sessions.”


January 7

'15 will be good; just not as good as '14

Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

With that said, everyone in the hog industry needs to take a big dose of reality: 2015 will not be as good as 2014. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that 2015 will still be a good year; at least from a financial standpoint. Finances aren’t everything, of course, and there could be many, many factors that make this your best year ever. Don’t forget them. In fact, focus on them because family, friends, community and spiritual matters are the real stuff of which life is made.

But, about those dollars.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s December Hogs and Pigs report is clear on one thing: Expansion is occurring and hog numbers, barring a huge reversal in porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) fortunes so far this winter, are going to grow substantially in 2015. The key numbers from the report are in Figure 1.

Some highlights are:

  • The numbers were much as expected. Only the inventories of pigs over 120 pounds were more than 1% higher than expected – and those are a bit in question as December slaughter has lagged the USDA number by about 1%. All of the others were within 1% of pre-report estimates. Now those estimates aren’t always reasonable. Such was the case in March and June, I think, when all of us were guessing about PEDV. But these averages made a lot of sense given market conditions. Futures markets have found the numbers favorable with summer contracts rallying about $3 over the past two holiday- interrupted trading weeks.
  • The 3.7% increase in the breeding herd is the largest since – March 1998. Argh. We all remember that year! But we need to keep this in perspective. First, this increase is coming off the smallest herd on record one year ago. It also results in a herd that is well within the norms of the past few years, not one that broke a significant trend as the 1997 and 1998 growth did.
  • Farrowing intentions for the next two quarters are large but, if anything, are low relative to the breeding herd. That is based on historical relationships but we think these numbers are reasonable given what we hear about breeding/farrowing rate challenges in herds that have had PEDV. Things are better but not back to normal on many of those farms.
  • The numbers do not answer the most critical question: What about litter sizes in 2015? The September-to-November pigs saved per litter of 10.23 was 0.7% higher than last year’s. That number was impacted some by PEDV but the big brunt of the virus hit in December to February and March to May of last year. We know of no one who thinks we are either going back to 2013 or staying at 2014 litter size levels these next two quarters but the historical relationships are that December to February litters are 0.06 pigs smaller than September to November and March to May litters are 0.17 pigs larger than December to February litters. If those changes hold, litters the next two quarters would be up 6.8% and 4.7%, respectively, from last year’s levels and would result in pig number increases of more than 10% and 8% in the third quarter and fourth quarter. Those are shocking numbers – which I don’t think will happen because PEDV has not gone away and there are some indications that PRRS is worse this year. I am using two-thirds of the normal litter size changes in my forecasts (see Figure 2) and still get hefty supply increase in the second half of the year.

Bottom line
I have 2015 slaughter up 5% from 2014 with the largest portion of that increase coming in the third and fourth quarters (see Figure 3). I’m pretty much in line with my normal benchmarking group though the staff and the Livestock Marketing Information Center expect somewhat smaller increases. Though our quarterly pathways differ somewhat, all four of us end up at about the same spot for the year with prices averaging in the mid-$80s on a carcass weight basis. See Figure 4. Lean Hogs futures are generally lower than the forecast levels with the exception of the third quarter at present.

As always, you need to make your pricing decisions based on the profit margins being offered and your ability/comfort regarding risk. Many of you have strong balance sheets that can allow you to take some risk this year. Some still do not. The average margin in our Iowa State University-based model is just over $20 per head as of mid-day on Jan. 5. Only three years (2004, 2005 and 2014) saw better profit margins since 1990.

We believe there could be some upside in hog prices if demand remains strong and supplies play out as indicated in this report – but not a lot of upside. We also believe there is some down side to feed ingredient prices when the record crop of 2015 begins to move in the spring – but not a lot of downside.

You must, as always, weigh these probabilities in the context of your business and your skills. 

Click here to view all graphs and reports.

Original release on January 5 by


January 6

Cold Weather Biosecurity Tips for Pig Trucks and Trailers

Maintaining good biosecurity for pig trucks and trailers against diseases such as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) can be challenging at any time of year, but it’s particularly daunting when the thermometer drops below 32°F. However, Dr. Lisa Becton, director of swine health and information for the Pork Checkoff, says it’s not an insurmountable task if you follow a few key steps.

“Be sure to store disinfectants above 32°F and use additives to lower the freezing point of disinfectants such as adding 100 percent propylene glycol to them,” Becton says. “However, it’s important to note that for safety of pigs and people, regular antifreeze or ethylene glycol should not be used.”

Finally, you need to allow for sufficient dry time for disinfected trailers in areas that stay above freezing. And Becton says it’s important to thoroughly disinfect any equipment and facilities that may come in contact with a clean trailer.

For PEDV specifically, new disinfectant research shows that some specific protocols can greatly enhance your ability to inactivate the virus in trailers.

Taking biosecurity beyond disinfection is important when fighting a widespread disease such as PEDV. That’s why Becton also recommends that producers maintain a line of separation between ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ areas on a farm and any trailer that’s used to transport pigs.

“Maintaining good biosecurity is critical all year, but even more so with PEDV during the winter, since we know it prefers cold, damp conditions,” Becton adds. “Even though only sporadic cases of PEDV have been reported so far during the last few weeks of cold weather, now is a critical time to redouble your biosecurity efforts to help keep the number of cases low.”

Original release on December 18, 2014 by



December 19

Register for the 2015 Swine Profitability Conference

Join us in February for the annual K-State Swine Profitability Conference!

When: Tuesday, February 3, 2014

Where: Forum Hall, K-State Union,

Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Register by Clicking Here

( )

Registration Deadline: January 24, 2015

$25 per participant

$50 late registration fee

Program Highlights

- Economic Considerations for Growing the U.S. Swine Industry

* Glynn Tonsor, KSU Department of Agricultural Economics

- Special Lecture: Jack and Pat Andrson Lecture in Swine Health Management: Achieving World Class Swine Production: Is There a Silver Bullet?

* Larry Coleman and Tim Friedel, Vet Care, Broken Bow, Nebraska

- What Have I Done to Make My Land-Based System Successful

* Craig Christensen, Ogden, Iowa 

- Lessons I’ve Learned About Marketing Pork to the Chef’s of High-End Restaurants of New York

* Craig Good, Olsburg, Kansas 

- Future Technology for the Swine Industry

* Kim Friesen, Research and Development, Elanco


December 18

HSUS shortchanges pet shelters; annual report on spending, a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), has released its fourth annual report documenting the total contributions by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to local pet shelters — the only report of its kind. The results: In 2013, HSUS spent a total of $120 million, but only 1 percent of that went to help local organizations care for pets. Iowa groups received zero dollars from HSUS during 2013 to support pet sheltering while HSUS shockingly sent $26 million to offshore funds located in the Caribbean. This is in addition to the $25.7 million parked in Caribbean hedge funds in 2012.

The full report, “Not Your Local Humane Society,” is available online, and includes an accounting of grants to Iowa animal groups made by HSUS during the years 2009-2013. All data is drawn directly from HSUS’s Form 990 tax returns filed annually with the IRS.

The report comes in the wake of major setbacks for HSUS in 2014. In June, Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest charity evaluator, revoked its rating of HSUS and issued a “Donor Advisory” against HSUS to the public. In May, HSUS settled a federal racketeering and bribery lawsuit for nearly $6 million. The suit alleged, among other things, that HSUS had paid a witness who lied in federal court. And in March, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a public “consumer alert” about the fundraising of national animal groups, later stating that he would subpoena HSUS and one of its fundraisers that had entered into a $25 million settlement with the New York Attorney General in July.

A September 2013 poll of 1,050 self-identified HSUS donors in which 87 percent said they were unaware that HSUS gives such a miniscule portion of its annual budget to local pet shelters. When informed of this, a full 83 percent of HSUS’s own donors agreed the group “misleads people into thinking that it supports local humane societies and pet shelters,” and 59 percent were less likely to support the group going forward.

“The Humane Society of the United States makes money off of manipulating and deceiving Americans,” said Will Coggin, CCF’s Senior Research Analyst. “HSUS rakes in millions during the holiday season from Americans who believe their donations will go to pet shelters near them. Because HSUS siphons so much money out of local communities, there’s less to go around for local groups that save homeless pets.”

Original article on December 9 by


December 17

Update: National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

Work continues on the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas, but it will be nearly another decade before animal-disease research gets underway at the 580,000-square-foot facility. During last week’s Academy of Veterinary Consultants conference in Kansas City, Ron Trewyn, PhD, K-State’s liaison to the NABF and the university’s former VP for research, updated veterinarians on the $1.25 billion project.

Initial planning for the NBAF began in 2006, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which will run the facility, selected the Manhattan site, on the K-State Campus, in 2009. The NBAF will replace the aging and outdated Plum Island, NY facility, which opened in 1954. NBAF scientists, in collaboration with K-State, other universities and industry, intend to develop 21st century vaccines, diagnostics and countermeasures against multiple foreign animal diseases.

Once the site was selected, K-State began removing and relocating existing animal facilities in 2010. Ownership of the land transferred from K-State to DHS, and site preparation was completed in 2012. Construction is underway on a central utility plant to serve the NABF, and that facility is about 80 percent complete. Current plans call for construction of the main laboratory to begin in May 2015, with completion planned for December 2020 and full transition from the Plum Island site by August 2023. In the meantime, Trewyn says, America’s bio and agro-defense capabilities will be severely lacking, although K-State’s existing Biosecurity Research Institute, with a bio-safety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory, will be conducting NBAF-related research. The NABF will include a BSL-4 laboratory area.

Through 2014, federal appropriations have committed $638 million to the project, while the state of Kansas contributed $307 million and the city of Manhattan $5 million. Currently, another $300 million in federal funding for 2015 is pending, although in the President’s budget and approved by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

Once construction begins, Trewyn says countless concrete trucks will be rolling in and out of the site for months, as building security plans for the facility call for it to exceed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s standards for withstanding an EF-5 tornado. The building essentially will be an enormous bunker encased in a foot or more of reinforced concrete. It will not, however, look like a bunker from the inside or outside. Large windows will provide ample natural lighting and outside views for NABF staff, particularly in office and visitor sections of the facility. A “fly-through” video on K-State’s NABF website provides a virtual tour of the building. Once fully operational, the NBAF will employ about 350 people including scientists, support staff and security. 

Original release on December 8 by


December 16

KPA publishes Pig Tales Issue 6

Stay up to date with the Kansas pork industry and what your association is doing for you. Read about the accomplishments of fellow KPA members and friends and enjoy this issue's featured recipe. Pig Tales is the official publication of the Kansas Pork Association

Issue Highlights...

  • K-State Swine celebrates opening of new nursery building, page 7
  • Hy-Vee: Pork Movement, page 8
  • #RealPigFarming: KPA hosts an interactive farm tour for dieticians and bloggers, page 10

Click HERE to read this issue online!

Pages From Pig Tales Issue 6 2014 FINAL ONLINE




December 15

Advertise with the Kansas Pork Association and Pig Tales in 2015

Pig Talesis a four color, bi-monthly magazine published by the Kansas Pork Association. Its contents focus on the industry statewide and also incorporate news from the national level. This publication will also feature stories on Kansas producers in an easy-to-read format.

ThePig Talesmagazine was first published in 1972 to enhance the Kansas pork producer’s awareness of the industry at both the state and national levels. No other magazine in Kansas speaks to the Kansas pork industry likePig Tales. With a new year,Pig Talesis ready to reach Kansas producers again. The need to inform Kansas pork producers is a priority for our Association, but we need your help. Please consider advertising withPig Talesas an avenue to get connected with our producers.


500 Kansas Pork Producers

150 allied industry supporters

150 complimentary including extension and university personnel

Because the magazine is designed for all Kansas pork producers,Pig Talesreaches the decision makers for an overwhelming majority of the state’s hog production. These are the people who are buying equipment, feed additives, breeding stock and looking for new genetic or product information.

Download a 2015 Advertising Packet HERE 

For more information contact:

Amanda Spoo

KPA Director of Communications | 785-776-0442



December 12

Montgomery County farmer to lead Kansas Farm Bureau

Montgomery County farmer Richard Felts took over the reins of Kansas Farm Bureau last week as that organization took care of business at its annual meeting in Manhattan, Kan.

Formerly the group’s vice president and a long-time board member, he takes the place of Steve Baccus who had held the post since 2002. Felts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences and Industry from Kansas State University.

He currently is a partner in Felts Farms, a grain and livestock operation near Liberty that includes hogs, cattle, corn, soybeans and wheat. Felts and his wife, Shirley, have four grown children: Cynthia Detar, Darren, Ryan and Kimberly Spillman.

More than 380 Farm Bureau members of Kansas wrapped up business for their farm organization after debating and adopting policy statements for 2015. These policies will now become the organization’s roadmap for the 2015 legislative session.

Topics of discussion at the 96th Annual Kansas Farm Bureau Meeting included:  protection of private data, expanding opportunities for Kansas agriculture, endangered species, transportation funding and energy.

Nemaha County farmer Jeff Grossenbacher was elected as vice president. Others elected to the board of directors include:

•George Pretz, Miami County

•Bob Voegele, Cowley County

•Doug Zillinger, Phillips County

• Joe Jury, Gray County

•Gerald Franklin, Sherman County

Pretz represents the east central Kansas district. The George Pretz family partnership is a diversified farming operation that includes Holstein breeding bulls, row crops and hay production. Crops include grain silage, soybeans and wheat as cash crops and rotation crops. They raise alfalfa, brome and canary grass for hay.

Voegele represents south central Kansas. His family farm near Arkansas City is a third generation diversified agriculture enterprise consisting of grain and livestock production. They raise wheat, soybeans, grain sorghum, corn, prairie hay and alfalfa. The Voegeles also manage a cow-calf herd. 

Elected in 2011, Joe Newland, third district director, represents southeast Kansas. He and wife, Dana, farm 2,800 acres of wheat, corn, soybeans and hay as well as manage a 300 head cow-calf herd.

 Gov. Sam Brownback, U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran thanked retiring President Steve Baccus for his service to the industry during his tenure with the state’s largest farm organization. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman also honored Baccus for his years of service to the organization at the local, state, national and international levels. 

Members contributed more than $20,000 to the Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture through silent and live auctions. Other activities included a host of agriculture-related workshops presented by national experts and Kansas Farm Bureau staff. County Farm Bureaus and volunteers were recognized for their 2014 achievements.

Original article on December 9 by


December 11

Cultivating Clear Farm Communication

Finance First: Modern farming operations benefit when all are 'in the loop'

This week, I'm continuing to write about the topics we'll focus on at this year's Water Street EDGE farm business seminars that are taking place across the Midwest this winter. The speakers will be focusing on skills and practices that farmers can use to give their operations a competitive edge.

When I speak at the seminars, I plan to share some communication skills we can build and use on the farm business – and in our everyday lives. And communication is something many people on the farm feel is a struggle at times – whether it's with our family members or others involved in the operation.

Farm communication: Then and now

Think about this: In the past, farming typically required quite a bit of solitary work on one's own. The farmer and a few family members probably did the majority of the farm labor by themselves. There wasn't as much of a need to direct the activities of other people and communicate frequently with others about the farm's priorities.

But farming has changed quite a bit in that respect. Now, communication with farm employees – and other partners and vendors – is a critical skill. To make sure business operations are running smoothly and effectively, farms may hold regular meetings to plug people in to the priorities on the farm.

Otherwise, the head of the operation can end up needing to spend a great deal of time repeating important information. They may have to spend quite a bit of time correcting mistaken perceptions that others have developed because of incorrect information. That might be more likely if the majority of the communication on the farm is very informal.

Stock your toolbox
I think building effective communication skills is kind of like having a well-stocked toolbox at your disposal. Different communication situations require different tools – whether you're communicating with vendors or suppliers, landlords or lenders, family members on your farm or non-family employees.

Having the right tools available at the right time can help you understand others better and strengthen relationships. That's something that will be critical for the successful farm business leader of the future as he or she will need to lead and influence increased numbers of people, requiring strong communication skills.

My session at Water Street EDGE is called 'Cultivating Communication: Grow Your Skills, Grow Your Edge.' You'll learn four key skills that you can use each day as you lead people on your farm – and communicate with other partners and stakeholders involved in your operation. Find an event near you and plan to attend.

Original article on November 24 by



December 10

Wendy's Pulled Pork is Right on "Q"

Barbecue found a new home this fall at Wendy’s, where pulled pork’s versatility and added value enhanced the chain’s menu options. The BBQ Pulled Pork Trio, which featured a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, BBQ Pulled Pork Cheeseburger and BBQ Pulled Pork Cheese Fries, quickly joined the ranks of the brand’s most successful limited time offers (LTO).

“For a burger-oriented operation with a long-standing sandwich menu focused on beef and chicken, it was huge for Wendy’s to introduce a new protein,” said Neel Sahni, national foodservice marketing manager for the Pork Checkoff. “It pushed the boundaries of what they offer their customers.”

The trio’s signature item, the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, featured tender, slow-cooked pulled pork, topped with crunchy slaw and a choice of three barbeque sauces – sweet, smoky or spicy – all served on a toasted brioche bun. All the BBQ Pulled Pork items were available in the 6,000 Wendy’s restaurants nationwide.

“Wendy’s focus on pork reflects their willingness to change the standard and create a unique sandwich experience,” Sahni said.

Offering a Taste of Pork’s Possibilities

The concept for Wendy’s pulled pork menu offerings began in the summer of 2013. The National Pork Board staff shared timely foodservice updates and pork menu trends with key team members at Wendy’s corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, Sahni said. Wendy’s had already established a long history of featuring iconic sandwiches with pork, such as the Baconator and the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger.

“The brand purchases millions of pounds of pork each year,” Sahni noted.

In early 2014, after the company’s research and development efforts suggested that pulled pork could be a winner with Wendy’s consumers, the company reached out to the Pork Checkoff to test pulled pork in 229 locations for a four-week period.

“We provided them with Checkoff support for staff training, window advertising and in-store point-of-purchase materials,” Sahni said. Throughout the year, Sahni also continued to provide Wendy’s with menu trend information, weekly wholesale pricing and cut-out values and updates from the pork industry.

Demand Grows for Pulled Pork

Opportunities for pulled pork abound in foodservice, Sahni noted.
“Pork is a blank canvas that can be enhanced in the back of the house, or processors can add smoke, seasonings or global flavors customized to restaurant operators’ needs,” Sahni said. “Because of the cooking process, pulled pork also offers a very good shelf life and holds up well on a service line.”

Pork is also affordable, compared to other proteins. Pork demand has increased 462 million metric pounds since 2011, according to 2013 foodservice research data from Technomic. This trend is expected to increase, especially in the value-added segment, Sahni noted.

“Pork not only gained back the losses in volume after the recession in 2009, but it has exceeded that volume, growing faster than any other protein during those four years. It also outgrew the entire foodservice industry as a percentage of growth,” Sahni said.

Pork remains the leader in the breakfast segment, thanks to bacon, sausage, ham and Canadian bacon. As more restaurants offer breakfast in the morning, late at night or 24 hours day, these menu extensions are good news for pork.

“The Pork Checkoff will continue to showcase pork’s affordability, availability and versatility to restaurant chains like Wendy’s,” Sahni said. “As the demand for more unique, regional and ethnic cuisines continues to rise, you’ll be seeing a lot more pork, including pulled pork, on menus.”

Original article by 


December 9

Dec. 15th PIN Tag Requirement Nears for Free SECD Testing

Monday, Dec. 15, is a key date for pork producers who wish to continue getting free laboratory testing of samples when a Swine Enteric Coronavirus Disease (SECD) is suspected, which includes Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV). That's when the Veterinary Services program of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is requiring Premises Identification Numbers ( PINs) to accompany diagnostic samples submitted into the SECD program.

According to USDA, PINs have clear benefits in tracking emerging diseases such as PEDV when they are diagnosed on the farm. In fact, federal and state authorities have already seen significant improvement in the percentage of samples that are submitted with a valid PIN - growing from 10 percent in June to more than 75 percent today. This saves time and resources across the entire pork industry as USDA continues to monitor for cases of SECD.

That is why beginning Dec. 15, 2014, the USDA will only pay for SECD sample testing if the submissions include a valid PIN. If a sample is submitted without a valid PIN, laboratories will charge for testing. A detailed list of sample tests to be paid by USDA was previously sent to producers this past June (see below).

The Pork Checkoff has been communicating the benefits of valid PINs and wants to reinforce the upcoming requirement that all submissions be accompanied by a valid PIN.

The Federal Order also requires:
·  Date of sample collection;
·  Type of unit being sampled (sow, nursery, finisher) at the time of sample submission. This data is critical for monitoring the potential increase in SECD cases through the coming winter months.

June 15, 2014, message from USDA:
USDA will pay for diagnostic testing to support the initial diagnosis of PEDV and Porcine Deltacorona Virus (PDCoV) in swine herds and to support the monitoring and management plans of herds meeting the USDA's case definition, regardless of the test result (positive and negative results).

Samples submitted to NAHLN laboratories from farm sites or export quarantine facilities located in the United States for PEDV and PDCoV testing will be paid for by the USDA through blanket purchase agreements with the NAHLN laboratories. These samples may include individual animal samples or environmental samples which are linked to specific farm sites and live pigs. Currently the USDA will only support diagnostic testing using PCR. Support for other diagnostic assays will be considered in the future.

Approved sample types submitted for PEDV and PDCoV PCR testing eligible for reimbursement include:

  • Intestines
  • Feces
  • Fecal Swabs
  • Oral Fluids
  • Environmental Samples (specifically associated with a farm site and live pigs)

Samples submitted from truck washes, trucks, trailers, other transport vehicles, feed, feed mills, and other non-farm site samples including those submitted for research purposes will not be paid for by the USDA.

Please contact your NAHLN Laboratory for more information on what PEDV and PDCoV diagnostic assays are reimbursable by the USDA as well as for submission procedures for PEDV and/or PDCoV PCR testing. The local Veterinary Services district offices and NAHLN program office ( are also able to answer specific questions.

For more about PIN tags, visit


December 8

USPCE Announces Registration for Swine Science and Professional Swine Manager Online Courses

Swine Science Online

What is Swine Science Online?

Swine Science Online is the first ever online undergraduate program in swine science. Swine Science Online offers education and training of future pork professionals to benefit the pork industry by inspiring career interest through academic training and application. Swine Science Online's vision is to ensure that the Pork Industry is led and managed by individuals who have a broad educational and production experiences which have prepared them for these roles. Swine Science Online teaches scientific principles and management skills involved in pork production for an efficient and sustainable operation.  Swine Science Online courses are delivered via distance education to universities across the country through AG*IDEA.

For more information visit

( )

Helpful Links

Swine Science Online course descriptions ( )

Participating Universities (



Swine Science Online 2014-2016 Course Listing (

Professional Swine Manager

The Professional Swine Manager Program is targeted towards current pork production employees, with a secondary audience of current community or technical college students wishing to enter a pork production unit after graduation.  This program focuses on technical skills and will be rooted in hybrid distance education courses with hands-on learning provided by on-farm experience.  The major objective of this program is to connect pork production knowledge and hands-on application with information acquired for a national certification.

Ready to take the next steps up the career ladder?

The Professional Swine Manager education program has been created to help jump-start that process.  The comprehensive work-study program focusing on modern pork production will help you to manage a sow farm, grow-finish units or departments within each type of production system.  Courses emphasize the science and knowledge that will position you for promotions and allow you to make better decisions as a production manager.

For course descriptions, registration and more information visit

( )


December 5

National Pork Board Funds New Swine Health Information Center

Entity to Focus on Preparing for Future Disease Threats

At its regularly scheduled November meeting, the National Pork Board’s board of directors approved the funding of a national Swine Health Information Center. The new, autonomous venture will focus its efforts on implementing industry preparedness for disease challenges that could affect U.S. swine herds.

According to Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board, a $15 million investment by the Pork Checkoff would fund the center for five years. The center would be governed by a board consisting of representatives from the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) and at-large pork producers.

“It’s our intention to establish a center that can improve our preparedness for swine diseases with the combined resources of swine veterinarians, producers, researchers, diagnosticians and state and federal animal health officials,” Sundberg said. “We have learned a lot over the past year and a half from our experience with Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and we want to create a unique, collaborative system that will help us achieve our overall goal of preparing for the next emerging swine disease.”

Sundberg says the proposed new center would work toward recognizing and filling the resource and knowledge gaps that currently exist in swine disease diagnostics as they relate to emerging diseases. Also, the new center would work with the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases at Texas A&M University to help facilitate swine health data analysis.

“Although this is a one-time allocation of supplemental funds outside of our regular budget, we realize that this is an investment in the future of the U.S. pork industry,” said Dale Norton, National Pork Board president and producer from Bronson, Mich. “In the coming months, we will reach out to producers, gather their input and design a center that best meets their needs.”

Sundberg emphasized that the Swine Health Information Center would not be specifically responsible for a disease response plan nor would it duplicate current AASV, NPPC or National Pork Board efforts. The USDA will continue to oversee and manage classical foreign animal diseases, such as Foot-and-Mouth Disease, that already have a preparedness plan in place.

More information on the new center will be announced at the annual National Pork Industry Forum, which will be held March 5-7, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas.

Original release on November 19 by 


December 4

New Studies Reveal Best Disinfectants and Methods for Inactivating PEDV in Hog Trailers

A new paper from Iowa State University offers pork producers first-time insights on how various disinfectants and disinfection techniques work while also verifying existing knowledge about ways to battle Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV).

The four-study summary provides details of how individual aspects of trailer sanitation programs were evaluated, including thermo-assisted drying and decontamination (TADD) systems, along with multiple disinfectants. The research, led by Drs. Derald Holtkamp and Paul Thomas, identified disinfectants that may work well against PEDV even when feces is present.

The study also verified previous methods of combatting the virus. Specifically, PEDV in the presence of feces was inactivated by heating to 160°F (71°C) for 10 minutes or by maintaining room temperature at 68°F (20°C) for at least 7 days. No other combinations of time and temperature evaluated were shown to be effective at inactivating PEDV.

To learn more about these studies, including the disinfectant information, click to view the practical summary or the full study.


December 3

KPA Announces 2015 Wendell Moyer Scholarship

 In 1956, Wendell Moyer helped organize a small group of pork producers into the Kansas Swine Improvement Association. Their purpose was to work together to make their businesses more profitable while keeping the swine industry healthy and flourishing statewide. The Kansas Pork Association is working every day to achieve this same goal.

The $1,000 scholarship supports youth who have demonstrated an interest in the swine industry. The Kansas Pork Association is working to encourage participation in pork production while building our leaders of tomorrow. Please help us by encouraging students to apply.

 To be eligible you must:

  • Be currently enrolled as a college student in Kansas with junior or senior standing majoring in an agriculture or related field and plan to:

- Pursue a career in swine production management or a closely related field, or

- Attend veterinary school with an emphasis on swine, or

- Attend graduate school and major in a degree with an emphasis on swine.

  • Write a brief letter describing:

- Past and current experience in the pork industry

- Leadership activities related to the pork industry and

- Role you see yourself playing in the pork industry after graduation.

  • Submit an essay of 750 words or less describing an issue you see confronting the pork industry today or in the future – and offer your solutions.
  • Obtain two letters of reference from current or former professors or industry professionals.
  • Official university transcripts
  • Prepare a cover sheet with your:

- Name

- School Name

- Year in School

- E-mail Address

- Current Mailing Address

- Permanent Mailing Address

- Telephone Number

Submit the above items in a single envelope to:

Kansas Pork Association

2601 Farm Bureau Road

Manhattan, KS 66502

ATTN: Amanda Spoo

Or e-mail to:

Note: All entries must be to the Kansas Pork Association office byJanuary 23, 2015. The Kansas Pork Association will administer the program, evaluate the application materials and select the winner. Essays will be judged on the basis of clarity or expression, persuasiveness, originality and relevance of topic.

 The winner will be announced at the Kansas State University Swine Profitability Conference held February 3, 2015. The winner is encouraged to attend.

The KPA reserves the right to publish any or parts of the essays submitted. Awards will be paid directly to the recipient upon proof of enrollment.

For additional information, please contact the KPA office at 785-776-0442.


December 2

"Planning for Farm & Ranch Succession" conferenes to be held in 2015

The transfer of ownership, management and leadership from one generation to another is an important issue for farms, ranches and rural communities across Kansas. This winter, K-State Research & Extension and Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services will offer one-day succession conferences designed to educate and support families as they prepare for the future of the enterprise. 

Dates & Locations

Conferences will be held from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm at the following locations:

         January 5 – Allen Community College – Iola

         January 10 – Pratt Community College – Pratt

         January 16 – Kansas Farm Bureau Plaza – Manhattan

         January 17 – Flint Hills Technical College – Emporia

         March 3 – K-State Agricultural Research Center – Hays

Presentation Topics

  • Succession Planning Overview - Gregg Hadley, K-State Research & Extension
  • Family Dynamics & Communication - Charlotte Shoup Olsen & Charlie Griffin, Family Systems & Studies
  • Financial & Business Considerations - Forrest Buhler, Kansas Ag Mediation Services & Duane Hund, Farm Financial Analyst
  • Power Transfer - Gregg Hadley, K-State Research & Extension & Charlie Griffin, Family Systems & Studies
  • Legal Issues - Attorney with expertise in farm estate planning (attorney will vary depending on location)


Registration is $60 for the first family member and $40 per person for additional family members. Registration for each person includes lunch and snacks. One succession notebook will be available for each family group.

Online registration closes one week prior to each conference date. Registration is still available by calling 1-800-432-8222; however, Conference Services will be closed Dec. 24, 2014 - Jan. 2, 2015. Walk-in registrations are available, but space and meals may be limited.

Registration Methods:

  • Register online by clicking the appropriate workshop location below:

Iola (January 5)

Pratt (January 10)

Manhattan (January 16)

Emporia (January 17)

Hays (March 3)

Printable form for mail/fax registrations (Click link for location for the meeting you are attending):

Iola (January 5)

Pratt (January 10)

Manhattan (January 16)

Emporia (January 17)

Hays (March 3)          

Fax completed form to: 785-532-2422

                Mail completed form to:
                K-State Global Campus

                Conferences and Noncredit Programs
                Farm and Ranch Succession
                1615 Anderson Ave.
                Manhattan, KS 66502

  • Phone registration – Call the conference registration office at 1-800-432-8222 or 785-532-5569 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Central).

Registration Questions

If you have questions concerning registration, please contact Kansas State University Conferences and Noncredit Programs at with “Farm and Ranch Succession” in the subject line, or call 785-532-5569 or 800-432-8222. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information visit 


December 1

K-State Hosts Another Successful Swine Day

Producers, veterinarians and industry members joined students and faculty at the KSU Alumni Center in Manhattan on Thursday, November 20 for the 2014 Swine Industry Day. Each year this event brings those with various roles throughout the industry together for discussion and learning. Your association participated in the Technology Trade Show held during the event, featuring multiple producer education take home resources and 2014 consumer program materials. KPA is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

Program highlights:

  • Delta Corona Virus and PEDv: What Have We Learned in the Last Year – Dick Hesse, Steve Dritz and Jason Woodworth, KSU
  • What’s Next after a Highly Profitable Period in the Swine Industry – Has the Landscape of Expansion Changed? -  Dennis DiPietre, Economist, KnowledgeVentures, LLC
  • Potential to Improve the Survivability of Low Birth Weight Pigs and Realize a Full Value Market Hog – Jim Nelssen, Duane Davis and John Gonzalez, KSU
  • Keeping Up with Diet Formulation with Rapidly Changing Ingredient Prices – Mike Tokach, Joel DeRouchey and Bob Goodband, KSU
  • The Australian Swine Industry – How Retailers are Changing Our Swine Industry – John Pluske, Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences, Director of the Animal Research Institue, Murdoch University, Australia

The Kansas Pork Association and Kansas GOLD executive board meetings were also held in conjunction with the day’s event. The 13 members and staff reviewed and approved revised Checkoff and Non-Checkoff programming for 2015.


November 21

Exports Add More Value to U.S. Pork

The record pace of U.S. pork exports continues to accelerate and put more money in producers’ pockets, despite intense global competition and other market challenges.

“We can be proud of what we’ve accomplished with exports,” said Brian Zimmerman, a pork producer from Beatrice, Neb., who chairs the Pork Checkoff’s International Trade Committee. “Through the first eight months of 2014, exports made up 28 percent of U.S. pork and pork variety meat production, and the value of exports amounted to $65.29 per hog.”

The numbers reflect an upward trend from 2013, when exports comprised 26 percent of U.S. pork production, and the value of exports equated to $53.95 per head.

Exports to leading markets, such as Mexico, Japan and South Korea, continue to increase. Also, for the first eight months of the year, the U.S. pork export volume was up 6 percent at 1.48 million metric tons, while the value increased 15 percent to $4.53 billion, compared with the same time period in 2013.

“The industry did not expect the volume and value to be up at this point in the year with such high pork prices,” said Becca Hendricks, vice president of international marketing for the Pork Checkoff. “U.S. pork is still very competitive globally, however, and our customers can rely on a consistent supply of high-quality pork.”

Chilled Pork Captures More Market Share

Market access issues have influenced U.S. pork exports in 2014. In particular, the Russian closure of major markets caused significant global trade shifts.

“While export volumes from the United States to Russia were not substantial, the impact has been seen as competitors, such as the European Union (EU) and Canada, had to find customers for product that they had been shipping to Russia,” Hendricks noted.
When Russia suspended imports of EU pork in January due to African swine fever, a large increase in European pork entered Asian markets at very low prices. This has driven even more intense global competition in regions such as Asia and Latin America – both key markets for U.S. pork. Still, the United States is gaining an advantage with its chilled pork exports, which have increased in many markets.

“Chilled products bring more value than frozen products,” Zimmerman said. “Plus, when customers buy chilled product, they typically buy on a consistent, 52-week basis rather than a spotty basis.”

Lofty Goals Build Momentum

In early November, the National Pork Board’s International Trade Committee will join other U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) members in Arlington, Va., for the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference. Producers will hear from exporters and USMEF staff around the globe regarding market issues, opportunities and export priorities.

The National Pork Board’s newly adopted strategic plan has set a goal of increasing U.S. pork exports by an average of 9 percent in volume and value annually by 2020.

“It’s a lofty goal, but we’re working toward it by focusing on variety meats, new products and promotions to create loyalty,” Zimmerman said. “We want to keep this export momentum going.”

Original article by


November 20

Kansas' 50-year water plan nears completion

Gov. Sam Brownback opened a water policy conference Wednesday by unfurling a nearly completed 50-year plan containing dozens of proposals for confronting the state’s obstacles in meeting agricultural irrigation and drinking supply demands.

Salient issues requiring attention involve topsoil pouring into man-made reservoirs in eastern Kansas and depletion of the underground Ogallala Aquifer in western regions of the state. Reservoir dredging and aquifer conservation figure prominently in the blueprint, which also raised the possibility of drawing excess water from the Missouri River to supply Kansas consumers.

Brownback said the water study process initiated one year ago would culminate in strategies specific to regional geography and consumption patterns. Pieces of the solution will be expensive, the governor said, and state laws and regulations must be modified to speed reform.

The document recommends crafting tougher state regulations and enhanced enforcement to hold water-right violators accountable.

“As I look out on the future of Kansas, one of the big things we have to resolve is the issue of water,” he told more than 600 people at the conference. “It’s just one of those key things that we’ve got to address. We’ve got to do it working together.”

Brownback said he would authorize a sub-Cabinet post in the executive branch to tie together work on water planning at the Kansas Water Office, water allocation by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and water quality in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

A blue-ribbon task force is to be formed to map a “balanced, affordable and sustainable” strategy for paying for water projects financed with local, state and federal funding, the governor said.

The 80-page report distributed at the conference — referred to as Draft II — is expected to be modified slightly before presentation in January to the 2015 Legislature, said Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office.

Streeter said the report promoted identification of more efficient irrigation technology while intensifying exploration of alternative crops and new varieties of existing crops to conserve water. An estimated 85 percent of water consumption in Kansas is due to irrigation, he said.

Kansas officials, according to the report, should work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the volume of releases from Clinton, Pomona, Melvern and Hillsdale reservoirs to avoid surrendering moisture that could be retained.

The state has initiated a program to dredge John Redmond Reservoir, which serves Wolf Creek nuclear power plant, that is the opening salvo of multi-reservoir reclamation. Nearly 40 percent of Redmond’s storage capacity has been consumed by silt. Other reservoirs that have lost more than 30 percent of capacity are Elk City, Fall River, Kanopolis, Toronto and Tuttle Creek.

The report recommends steps to broaden collaboration with neighboring states, primarily Colorado and Nebraska, on surface water issues that traditionally lead to costly litigation.

A separate evaluation on the potential for constructing an aqueduct — it would be extremely costly to build and maintain — to redirect surplus water from the Missouri River is nearing completion, Streeter said.

He said the report proposed compilation of an inventory of lower-quality water by type, quantity and location as well as examination of potential uses of waste water effluent, greywater, storm water runoff, oil-and-gas production water or other water resources with elevated contaminants.

Jackie McClaskey, secretary of the state Department of Agriculture, said the report would direct state agencies involved in recruiting businesses to focus economic development on entities that value water conservation and reliance on technology that improves water efficiency.

The report envisions implementation of conservation reserve areas dedicated to sediment- and nutrient-flow reduction from fields, watersheds and feeding reservoirs, McClaskey said.

She said lawmakers also will be urged to grant more flexibility in formation of Local Enhanced Management Areas for the purpose of conserving water.

“Leadership at the local level is the most critical for the success of this vision,” McClaskey said. “Local decision makers must listen to their constituents while at the same time balancing the future needs of their communities.”

Original article on November 12 by


November 19

Farm Bill Safety Net begins Nov. 17

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farm owners and producers that the opportunity to choose between the new 2014 Farm Bill established programs, Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), begins Nov. 17, 2014, and continues through March 31, 2015. The new programs, designed to help producers better manage risk, usher in one of the most significant reforms to U.S. farm programs in decades.

“USDA is committed to keeping farm owners and producers well informed on all steps in this process to ensure that they have all of the information that they need before making their coverage choice,” said Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini. “The new ARC and PLC programs provide a more rational approach to helping farmers manage risk by ensuring families don’t lose the farm because of events beyond their control.”

USDA helped create online tools to assist in the decision process, allowing farm owners and producers to enter information about their operation and see projections that show what ARC and/or PLC will mean for them under possible future scenarios. Farm owners and producers can access the online resources, available at, from the convenience of their home computer or mobile device at any time.

“In addition to the new online tools, USDA has done extensive outreach, including partnering with State Cooperative Extension Services to hold meetings and meet with farm owners and producers,” said Dolcini. “USDAleaders will continue visiting with farm owners and producers to share information and answer questions the new programs. We want to help producers boil the information down, understand their options and make the best decision on which program – ARC or PLC – is right for them.”

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

Dates associated with ARC and PLC that farm owners and producers need to know:
· Now through Feb. 27, 2015: Farm owners may visit their local Farm Service Agency office to update yield history and/or reallocate base acres.
· Nov. 17, 2014 to March 31, 2015: Producers make a one-time election between ARC and PLC for the 2014 through 2018 crop years.
· Mid-April 2015 through summer 2015: Producers sign contracts for 2014 and 2015 crop years.
· October 2015: Payments issued for 2014 crop year, if needed.

Now through Feb. 27, 2015: Farm owners make base reallocation/yield updates
Nov. 17, 2014, to March 31, 2015: Producers make election between ARC/PLC
Mid-April through Summer 2015: Producers sign contracts for 2014 and 2015 crop years
October 2015: Payments issued for 2014 crop year, if needed

To learn more about which safety net options are most appropriate for specific farming operations, farmers can use new Web tools at, which can be accessed from the convenience of a home computer or a mobile device at any time. To learn more about upcoming educational meetings, farmers can contact their localFarm Service Agency county office at

Today’s announcement was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit


Original article on November 16 by




November 18

NPPC Wants 'Waters of the U.S.' Rule Withdrawn

Because it has “numerous and substantial flaws,” a rule proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intended to clarify their authority under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) over various waters should be withdrawn, said the National Pork Producers Council in comments filed late Friday.

Currently, the agencies’ jurisdiction – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – includes “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The proposed “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule would broaden that to include, among other water bodies, intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also would cover lands adjacent to such waters.

“The rule was supposed to bring clarity to what are and what are not water bodies regulated by the federal government, but it fails to do that,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “While pork producers appreciate the efforts of EPA and the Corps of Engineers to define their jurisdiction, the proposed rule will create many more problems than it theoretically will solve.”

Under the proposed rule, tributaries, impoundments of tributaries, wetlands and wet areas “adjacent” to those waters are without exception defined as WOTUS; ditches, with two exceptions, are considered tributaries and, therefore, categorically WOTUS, regardless of the quantity, duration or frequency of water flowing in them; and determinations on whether “other” waters are WOTUS would be made on a case-by-case basis.

According to analyses by agricultural organizations, including NPPC, and federal agencies, the rule would encompass millions of miles of streams and adjacent lands, subjecting any activity near or on them – including, for farmers, applying fertilizers and pesticides and (potentially) planting crops – to CWA permitting. The regulation also would expose farmers to citizen lawsuits, alleging, for example, that ditches on cropland should be regulated under the CWA.

“EPA and the Corps of Engineers should withdraw the WOTUS rule, work with agriculture to craft something that reflects real on-farm conditions and propose a new rule,” Hill said.

At least, said NPPC in its comments, after considering public comments and making any changes to the rule, the agencies should reissue the regulation prior to finalizing it.

Click here to read NPPC’s comments.


Original release on November 17 by


November 17

USDA Announces Changes in Payments for SECD Testing to Underscore the Importance of Premises ID Numbers

The Veterinary Services program of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is providing updated information on an upcoming deadline associated with the Premises Identification Number, or PIN, and its use in the Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases (SECD) program. PINs are required to accompany diagnostic samples submitted into the SECD program supporting efforts to reduce both the prevalence and adverse effects of emerging enteric coronaviruses.

PINs have clear benefits in tracking emerging diseases like PEDV when they are diagnosed on the farm. In fact, federal and state authorities have already seen significant improvement in the percentage of samples that are submitted with a valid PIN - growing from 10 percent in June to more than 75 percent today. This saves time and resources across the entire pork industry as USDA continues to monitor for cases of SECD. 

That is why beginning Dec. 15, 2014, the USDA will pay for testing the sample types if the submissions include a valid PIN. If a sample is submitted without a valid PIN, laboratories will charge for testing. A detailed list of sample tests to be paid by USDA was previously sent to producers this past June (see below).

The Pork Checkoff has been communicating the benefits of valid PINs and wants to reinforce the upcoming requirement that all submissions be accompanied by a valid PIN. The Federal Order also requires:

  • Date of sample collection;
  • Type of unit being sampled (sow, nursery, finisher) at the time of sample submission. This data is critical for monitoring the potential increase in SECD cases through the coming winter months.

June 15, 2014, message from USDA:
USDA will pay for diagnostic testing to support the initial diagnosis of PEDV and PDCoV in swine herds and to support the monitoring and management plans of herds meeting the USDA's case definition, regardless of the test result (positive and negative results). Samples submitted to NAHLN laboratories from farm sites or export quarantine facilities located in the United States for PEDV and PDCoV testing will be paid for by the USDA through blanket purchase agreements with the NAHLN laboratories. These samples may include individual animal samples or environmental samples which are linked to specific farm sites and live pigs. Currently the USDA will only support diagnostic testing using PCR. Support for other diagnostic assays will be considered in the future. 

Approved sample types submitted for PEDV and PDCoV PCR testing eligible for reimbursement include:

  • Intestines
  • Feces
  • Fecal Swabs
  • Oral Fluids
  • Environmental Samples (specifically associated with a farm site and live pigs)

Samples submitted from truck washes, trucks, trailers, other transport vehicles, feed, feed mills, and other non-farm site samples including those submitted for research purposes will not be paid for by the USDA. Please contact your NAHLN Laboratory for more information on what PEDV and PDCoV diagnostic assays are reimbursable by the USDA as well as for submission procedures for PEDV and/or PDCoV PCR testing. The local Veterinary Services district offices and NAHLN program office ( are also able to answer specific questions.

Original article on November 12 by


November 14

September Results Solid for U.S. Pork Exports

With September being another strong month for red meat export value, both U.S. beef and U.S. pork exports broke the $5 billion dollar mark for the first three quarters of the year, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

September beef exports increased 6 percent from a year ago in volume to 100,068 metric tons (mt), and soared 25 percent in value to $631.9 million. For January through September, exports were up 3 percent in volume (890,276 mt) and 15 percent in value ($5.18 billion).

Pork export value was up 7 percent in September to $513 million, despite a 3 percent decline in volume (162,125 mt). Exports through the first nine months of the year maintained a record pace in both volume (1.64 million mt) and value ($5.05 billion), increases of 5 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from a year ago.

“These are impressive results, especially given the headwinds we faced in September – including a very strong U.S. dollar, a significant decline in beef production and our first full month of dealing with Russia’s retaliatory import ban,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “It was just three years ago that U.S. pork and beef exports eclipsed the $5 billion mark for the first time in an entire calendar year, so it’s very gratifying to see our industry reach these mileposts by the end of the third quarter.”

Pork exports to Mexico remain on record pace

Pork export value per head slaughtered was $58.10 in September (+10 percent from a year ago) and $64.48 for January through September (+20 percent). Exports accounted for 27 percent of total pork production and 23 percent for muscle cuts only – up from 26 percent and 22 percent, respectively, during the first nine months of 2013.

Mexico, which is the leading volume destination for U.S. pork, continued to perform very well in September – with exports totaling 58,929 mt (+17 percent) valued at $138.4 million (+35 percent). For the first nine months of the year, exports to Mexico maintained a record pace of 503,614 mt (+13 percent) valued at $1.16 billion (+36 percent).

Other January-September pork export highlights include:

  • Exports to South Korea were up 37 percent in volume (96,667 mt) and 56 percent in value ($304.5 million). Pork export value to Korea has already surpassed the 2013 year-end total by more than 10 percent.
  • The leading market for U.S. pork in the Central-South America region is Colombia, where exports were up 64 percent in volume (36,234 mt) and 80 percent in value ($101.3 million).
  • Although export value to Japan has slowed the past two months, it remains the leading value market for U.S. pork. While pork muscle cut exports to Japan were down 3 percent in volume (298,005 mt), export value was 1 percent higher at $1.39 billion.

Original article on November 6 by


November 13

Newest children's book released in 'Kailey's Ag Adventures' series

Kailey’s Pig ‘Tales’ provides fun & educational book on pig farming

Kansas Farm Bureau released its sixth book in the Kailey’s Ag Adventures children’s book series. Kailey’s Pig ‘Tales’ follows Kailey and her cousins as they learn about pig farming from Farmer Rich.

Kansas Farm Bureau’s retired CEO and former educator, Dan Yunk, has continued writing the series that began after granddaughter Kailey was fascinated about what she learned on a farm tour with Yunk.

“We’ve covered a lot of ground in the Kailey series,” Yunk says. “Just like we’ve done with every book, we try to share the story of agriculture in a fun, educational and relatable way.”

Kaileys Pig Tales Cover

All of the Kailey books are available online at along with free lesson and parent plans at

“Each of us is connected to agriculture,” Holly Higgins, KFB’s director of ag education and safety, says. “We don’t all work on a farm, but we all enjoy the food that’s produced from our Kansas farmers and ranchers.”

She explains the series fills a gap in children’s book, and the lesson plans are developed with state teaching standards.

“These books make great Christmas gifts for both the young and old,” Higgins says. “You’re never too old to learn about the industry that feeds us.”

Kansas Farm Bureau would like to thank Kansas Pork Association ( for being a primary sponsor of Kailey’s Pig ‘Tales.’

Meagan Cramer
(785) 587-6821



November 12

PIN Tag Deadline for Sow Packers: January 1, 2015

In an effort to improve pre-harvest traceability and improve national disease surveillance in the pork industry, many major U.S. packers and processors will require a USDA-approved, official premises identification number (PIN) swine tag as a condition of sale for breeding stock beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

“This is a positive step for our industry as we continue to create a more robust surveillance and traceability system that can help protect our animals, our livelihoods and our customers,” said National Pork Board President, Karen Richter, a producer from Montgomery, Minn. “That’s why I encourage producers who may not already be using official PIN tags to register their premises and begin using the tags now.”

According to Dr. Patrick Webb, Pork Checkoff’s director of swine health, the USDA-approved, official PIN tags for breeding swine are customizable with or without a management number and can be purchased in multiple colors.

“This allows producers to use the official tag in any color as a management tag or wait to apply the tag to sows and boars before leaving the production site to enter harvest channels,” Webb said.

Once an animal is identified with an official PIN tag, it should not be removed or given a different official tag in the case of parity-segregated farms. Also, records documenting the identification and movement of breeding stock should be kept for three years.

Allflex USA, Inc., Destron Fearing and Y-Tex Corporation have USDA approval to manufacture official PIN swine tags. When ordering, producers must provide the nationally standardized PIN for the breeding farm. If the site does not have a PIN, producers can register for one  and learn more by going to

Original release on

November 11

Measuring Pork's Water Footprint

Water is a valuable, life-sustaining resource and, as some areas of the country are experiencing firsthand, one that’s often all too scarce. There are many questions about how much water agriculture uses. Today, pork producers have the answer regarding pork’s impact.

It takes 8.2 gallons to get a 4-ounce boneless pork serving from the field through the pork chain and onto the consumer’s dinner table.

That’s the assessment derived from a study – A Life Cycle Analysis of Water Use in U.S. Pork Production – commissioned by the Pork Checkoff and conducted by University of Arkansas researchers. While accurate comparisons between agricultural sectors don’t yet exist, Marty Matlock, executive director of the University of Arkansas’ Office for Sustainability, offered some perspective.

“The Water Footprint Network estimated that chicken requires 145 gallons of water per 5-ounce serving, and beef requires 500 gallons per 4.5-ounce serving,” Matlock said. “However, the methodology used is not very accurate.”

What sets the pork footprint apart is that University of Arkansas researchers applied the detailed and thorough Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. Also, researchers looked at two water-use LCAs.

The first LCA included actions throughout the pork chain from field to fork, including feed-grain production, transportation, processing, retail and even the consumer. The second LCA focused on water use on the farm from the field to the farm gate.

The study looked at USDA’s 10 designated production regions to evaluate differences in water use, its impacts and risks associated with management decisions. The researchers found: Feed accounts for 83 to 93 percent of the pork chain water footprint, depending on the grain source. Since water used in feed grain production is mostly tied to irrigation, the related water footprint can vary more than 100 times in magnitude from one region to another.

“So, anything that grain producers can do to increase yield per acre will improve pork’s water footprint,” said Jamie Burr, who is with Tyson Foods and chairman of the Pork Checkoff’s Environmental Committee. “The same holds true for our efforts to improve feed efficiency.”

On-farm activities come in second at 5 percent to 13 percent of the pork chain’s water footprint. On-farm use is primarily for livestock drinking water, cooling water and water used for barn clean-up.

“It’s important to remember that most water used on the farm is not lost. It’s recycled and used again,” Burr said.

Post-farm-gate activities contribute 2 percent to 4 percent of the total water footprint. This includes pork processing, packaging, distribution and consumer use, which is responsible for the most post-farm-gate water use. Consumers no doubt would be surprised to learn they claim about 1 percent of the field-to-fork water footprint.

“Questions consumers ask increasingly drive our industry, and it’s important to let them know what it takes to produce food,” said Burr, who commends the Pork Checkoff for embarking on such an important project. “We need to share information to increase transparency and build trust. And with a better understanding of pork’s water footprint today, we can set goals for future reductions.”

The full water footprint study can be viewed online at

Original article from


November 10

National Pork Board Introduces 2020 Strategic Plan Focused on People, Pigs and Planet

 Results, Accountability and Collaboration Are Key Themes

Following more than a year of planning and development, the National Pork Board today released its new strategic plan focused on anticipating and managing the changing world facing U.S. pork producers now and in the future. The plan, to be implemented starting in January 2015, will be in place through 2020 to guide the organization.

Rooted in collaboration between industry and supply chain partners, the new National Pork Board vision is to elevate U.S. pork as the global protein of choice by continuously and cooperatively working to do what’s right for people, pigs and the planet.

“It’s a plan sharply focused on a vision for the future of America’s pork producers. It defines in clear, customer-centered language a set of objectives focused on results,” said Dale Norton, Pork Checkoff president and a pork producer from Bronson, Mich. “Our task force, which included pork producers and representatives from allied industries, defined a commitment to leverage industry and supply chain collaboration to achieve the vision.”

During 2014, the task force met several times, analyzing and discussing economic forecasts and research collected from pork producers, protein processors, foodservice operators, retailers and consumers. Unlike the previous strategic plan, this new effort is more customer-centric, with a commitment to transparency and continuous improvement.

“In the planning process, we connected with customers and consumers. We heard their desire to better understand and have dialogue about U.S. pig farming,” Norton said. “The resulting commitment to greater transparency and collaboration takes on a whole new focus and priority in this plan.”

The task force set three distinct goals to drive National Pork Board performance. The goals, supported by a total of 17 specific and measurable objectives, include:

  • Build Consumer Trust – Working collaboratively with food chain partners, the National Pork Board will enhance consumer trust in modern pork production by promoting producer adoption of on-farm management practices that reflect the industry’s ethical principles and by sharing its commitment to continuous improvement with consumers and key stakeholders.
  • Drive Sustainable Production – The National Pork Board will invest in research and producer education programs that enhance pork productivity and sustainability of pork production and deliver benefits to producers, their communities and consumers.
  • Grow Consumer Demand – Working in concert with food chain partners, the National Pork Board will grow domestic and international consumer demand by focusing on pork’s improved nutrition, quality and sustainability.

Norton said the process also involved a thorough analysis of the domestic and global marketplace, including issues such as animal disease and welfare, food safety, nutrition, economics and the reputation of modern agriculture.

“Viewed collectively, the plan gives us a clear path for moving boldly from where we are now to where we want to be in the future,” Norton said. “We have our big-picture vision for the future and a collaborative blueprint for getting there together as an industry.”

Two additional priorities emerged during the planning task force’s meetings and discussions: clearly addressing the growing global need for pork and shaping the social responsibility commitment of the Pork Checkoff. Toward that end, the duties of two positions were expanded and elevated, with Becca Hendricks named as vice president of international marketing, and Jarrod Sutton named vice president of social responsibility.

“The concerns of our partners in both the international marketplace and the U.S. retail and foodservice arena need to be addressed,” said John Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Pork Board. “Food retailers’ growing interest in production practices and our pig farmers’ social license to operate have an increasing impact on the farm. While, as an industry, we perform well – anchored by our ethical principles – we are continuously striving to improve.”

The National Pork Board will make an increased effort over the next five years to demonstrate this improvement by sharing information with consumers and senior management of retail and foodservice companies, including directors of global supply chains and corporate sustainability officers.

“International markets continue to grow in their importance to the U.S. pork industry. Today, 28 percent of our pork production is marketed internationally,” Johnson said. “With rising incomes in the developing world and pork’s current position as the No. 1 source of animal protein worldwide, international trade requires a higher profile within our programs.”

“In the end, it’s all about helping ensure the long-term success of America’s hog farmers and their families,” Norton said. “This plan taps into the emotional connections consumers have with their food and fuels a fresh dialogue about modern pork production and continuous improvement for the benefit of people, pigs and the planet, while continuing pork’s role as the global animal protein of choice.”

The plan was developed with the guidance of a specially appointed task force. Its members included:

  • Pork Board President Dale Norton and Karen Richter, immediate past president
  • Board members Jan Archer and Glen Walters
  • Roy Lee Lindsey, executive director, Oklahoma Pork Council
  • Randy Spronk, past president, National Pork Producers Council
  • Jay Akridge, dean of agriculture, Purdue University
  • Pork producers Robert Dykhuis, James Heimerl, and Craig Rowles, DVM
  • Rich Gallant, vice president, Cargill Meat Solutions
  • Joe Jordan, vice president, Domino’s Pizza
  • Joe Swedberg, vice president, Hormel Foods
  • Leann Saunders, president, Where Food Comes From, Inc.
  • Rick Parker, director, JBS USA
  • Michael Skahill, vice president, Smithfield Foods
  • A representative of a large national retailer

Original release on November 3 by


November 7

In Spite of PEDV Risks, Pigs Still Need to Be Fed

When it comes to the risk of infecting a herd with porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) via feed, there is a lot that is still unknown, says Mike Tokach, a member of the Kansas State University (KSU) Applied Swine Nutrition Team. When speaking to a sizable audience at the recent Allen D. Leman Swine Veterinary Conference in St. Paul, MN, Tokach notes, “We can break things down to three areas: the things we think we know about feed and PEDV, things we still need to understand to manage feed risks, and what options producers are really left with at the end of the day.”

Canadian Experience

The link between PEDV and feed ingredients was initially suspected based on observations made in Canada during PEDV outbreaks in early 2014, explains Pedro Urriola, research assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. “In Canada there were outbreaks of PEDV in multiple nursery farms that sourced weaning pigs from multiple [PEDV]-negative sow farms, thus indicating a PEDV source other than vertical transmission,” he says. “All these farms shared the same source of pre-starter and starter diets, and that sparked a recall of feed.”

The feed company and farm veterinarians involved with the Canadian farms performed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on 55 truck deliveries, with negative test results. These results ruled out PEDV transmission from contaminated trucks. Urriola says the investigation continued with testing of 76 samples of nursery-pig diets and six samples of spray-dried porcine plasma (SDPP). Samples of feed (three out of 76 samples) and SDPP (five of six samples), tested positive by PCR. The PCR test confirms presence of the virus, but not whether or not the virus is capable of infecting a susceptible host.

“Therefore, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency [CFIA] tested virus infectivity by feeding susceptible pigs with the diets and SDPP under investigation,” Urriola says. The study demonstrated that the porcine blood plasma in question contained PEDV capable of causing disease in pigs. However, the study could not demonstrate that the feed pellets containing the blood plasma were capable of causing disease.

Urriola says the Canadian experiences led to questions about testing feed ingredients. The University of Minnesota is currently conducting three National Pork Board-sponsored research projects to measure virus inactivation conditions, develop feed-specific assays and investigate the risk of PEDV transmission in porcine feed ingredients.

U.S. Feed Suspicions

Tokach says epidemiological evidence in the United States has also suggested that some PEDV breaks were associated with feed as the route of entry for the disease. Several farms sourcing weaned pigs from different [PEDV]-negative sow farms also broke with PEDV without explanation or any other obvious route of transmission. Investigations by veterinarians and testing of samples led to suspicions that contaminated feed may have been the culprit. Recent research has demonstrated that putting PEDV into feed can cause an outbreak of the disease. This level of infectivity is different than that seen with many other viruses that have plagued the pork industry in the past. “We have a much different situation with this virus than what we have dealt with with other viruses over time,” Tokach explains. He notes that neither pseudorabies or the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus were capable of being spread in feed.

Measuring PEDV Infectivity in Feed

Tokach says research has shown that feed can have a high Cycle threshold (Ct) count and still infect pigs with PEDV. Many laboratories currently use a Ct of 37 as the cutoff for declaring a sample PEDV-negative. “We have found the infective minimum Ct can be above the cutoff point for some labs; for example, some researchers have discovered that a Ct count of 37 can actually be infectious,” Tokach says. “That is very troubling, and a big concern for us going forward. That is one of the things we need to better understand.” (For an explanation about Ct counts and PEDV testing terminology, see sidebar on page 34).

Tokach says that almost all U.S. porcine ingredients have a positive PCR test for PEDV, but points out that a positive PCR does not always mean that the virus is infectious. The difficulty is that the only way to verify whether feed or a feed ingredient with a positive PCR is infectious or not is by conducting a bioassay study in which the suspect sample is fed to live pigs. “We need to develop a low-cost test for infectivity so we can test as many samples as possible, and test feed before it goes to a production site, instead of having to find out after we have fed it,” he says.

He points out that if the PED virus is placed into a feed mixer, it can become evenly distributed, much like a feed ingredient. “It is possible to spread PEDV throughout the whole feed mix during normal processing procedures,” he says.

While additional work is being done to research ingredients as possible disease vectors, and on prevention strategies such as feed-mill audits, Tokach says some basic biosecurity steps can also help when it comes to the feed manufacturing and delivery process. Traffic going from and coming to feed mills is a major concern when it comes to spreading PEDV, especially in hog-dense regions of the country. “Traffic coming back from finishing or other pork production sites just has to be considered positive,” he says. “A transport vehicle that has been to a positive site can test positive for PEDV. We are going to have to move toward managing feed mills like a food plant, with a one-way flow. We are going to have to think about how we organize every step, from ingredient receiving and storage to outgoing flows in feed-mill setups.”

Pork checkoff-funded research is currently underway to evaluate the heat and temperature conditions at which PEDV is inactivated in feed. Feed-mill contamination and ingredient handling to minimize PEDV risk are also areas in which research is currently being conducted.

In the meantime, Tokach says pork producer-response and management approaches to prevent possible PEDV infection in their herds via feed can be divided into four main areas: the “ostrich approach,” purposeful use, “not in my feed,” and a “not here, not there, not anywhere” strategy.

Ostrich Approach

Tokach deems the riskiest approach to PEDV the “ostrich approach,” meaning that some producers and feed mills are saying they don’t believe that feed is a possible source of PEDV infection. Instead of trying to be proactive, people taking this approach go on like nothing has changed. “This approach may have the lowest up-front cost,” Tokach says. “And I say up-front cost because if you are a mill that starts infecting farms, or if your farm becomes infected, it does become a high-cost approach.”

Purposeful Use

Tokach says many production systems are choosing to continue to use porcine products in their operations in a controlled and purposeful manner. These farms may take the products out of the diet on sow farms, or out of their multiplier nurseries, but still use the products in order to take advantage of benefits in the commercial nursery or in the finishers. “These farms go through a process of auditing suppliers and limiting the sources of ingredients,” he says. “A good example of how this auditing process works would be with meat and bonemeal. We know that renderers in the U.S. have done a great job of improving their processes — but even within those suppliers, some are much better than others.”

For the purposeful-use approach, Tokach suggests producers would visit the sites where they are obtaining porcine byproducts to help determine what plants might be the best candidates for providing those ingredients. “Determine which products are highest and lowest risks, and put together a list of approved suppliers after you have conducted the audits. Be aware that this can be a big challenge, and it may be difficult to truly assess risk.” Tokach emphasizes that producers have to make their own decisions about the type of risk they are willing to incur. The purposeful-use approach may or may not require that products test PCR-negative. This is considered a low-cost option that does provide some level of protection.

Not in My Feed

Some producers are choosing to continue to source their feed ingredients from mills that handle porcine products, but are asking that the products are not used in the farm’s specific feed ingredients. “Taking this approach requires attention to sequencing of mixing, load-out and delivery processes,” Tokach says.

Not Here, Not There, Not Anywhere

Some producers are choosing to source feed from mills that handle no porcine products. Tokach says this may not be an option for producers who live in areas with fewer mills to choose from. “The ingredient risk may be reduced, but we are seeing some poultry meals and bakery meals coming back as positive for PEDV. Sometimes this is due to cross-contamination, and sometimes ingredients may not all be what we are expecting them to be,” he says.

In reality, all four approaches to sourcing feed and ingredients may exist within the same production system, Tokach says. “Producers must determine their level of risk aversion to determine the best feeding strategy for their production system. Our knowledge has increased greatly in the last nine months since we first saw feed as a possible vector for this disease, but we still have a lot to learn. At the end of the day, we still need to feed the pigs.”     

Original article on October 31 by

November 6

Top TIPS to Fight PEDV This Fall

As the days get shorter and cooler, your daily routine may involve more field chores.  But now's not the time to neglect disease threats to your pigs, especially the risk posed by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV).

Summer's warmth may have slowed the spread of the virus, but fall's cooler, changeable weather signals the approach of a more favorable environment for PEDV to reprise its costly damage, according to Dr. Lisa Becton, the Pork Checkoff swine health and information director.

"Producers should recheck all their biosecurity measures, both on and off farm," Becton said.  "After what we've experienced in terms of PEDV's ability to spread and survive, it's critical to maintain heightened vigilance and implement strict biosecurity as we enter fall."

Becton offers the following tips to help reduce the risk of PEDV transmission and subsequent losses.

  1. Communicate with everyone involved with manure handling.

At this time of year, working with on-farm or commercial manure haulers is critical. Know everyone involved and don't let any of the manure crew members enter barns, office areas or walk over areas used by farm personnel. Never let them come in direct contact with pigs.

  1. Establish a line of separation for transport.Having a line of separation, which is the line between the area used by transporters and the area used by farm or market personnel, is critical for effective biosecurity. It reminds you that every contact with a site or market could contaminate your truck, trailer or chute.
  2. Maintain stringent cleaning of barns, trucks and trailers.With fall and winter's colder weather, this is even more critical. Proper cleaning steps include removing all manure and bedding, soaking with soap and/or degreaser, pressure-washing with hot water, disinfecting with an appropriate disinfectant and thorough drying.
  3. Have a biosecurity plan in place for all non-farm personnel.
    Don't overlook the potential disease transmission risk posed by those who don't work on your farm. This includes state animal health authorities, PQA Plus® advisors, Extension specialists, state and environmental management staff, supply or feed company staff, maintenance specialists (electricians, plumbers, etc.), veterinarians, nutritionists and utility providers (electric, water, propane gas, etc.).
  4. Know your farm's PEDV status at all times and report positive cases.While this may seem elementary, it's not. PEDV can be mistaken early on for other enteric diseases, such as TGE, so have a fast diagnosis plan in place with your herd veterinarian. Reporting positive cases is required by USDA. For full details, including potential testing cost reimbursements, visit the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website at
  5. Stay informed.The pork industry is working hard to fight PEDV. For new practical tips and the latest information on potential vaccines and other breakthroughs, check, monitor other media outlets or set up free online alerts, such as on Google.

Original article on


 November 5

KPA Announces 2015 Wendell Moyer Scholarship

 In 1956, Wendell Moyer helped organize a small group of pork producers into the Kansas Swine Improvement Association. Their purpose was to work together to make their businesses more profitable while keeping the swine industry healthy and flourishing statewide. The Kansas Pork Association is working every day to achieve this same goal.

The $1,000 scholarship supports youth who have demonstrated an interest in the swine industry. The Kansas Pork Association is working to encourage participation in pork production while building our leaders of tomorrow. Please help us by encouraging students to apply.

 To be eligible you must:

  • Be currently enrolled as a college student in Kansas with junior or senior standing majoring in an agriculture or related field and plan to:

- Pursue a career in swine production management or a closely related field, or

- Attend veterinary school with an emphasis on swine, or

- Attend graduate school and major in a degree with an emphasis on swine.

  • Write a brief letter describing:

- Past and current experience in the pork industry

- Leadership activities related to the pork industry and

- Role you see yourself playing in the pork industry after graduation.

  • Submit an essay of 750 words or less describing an issue you see confronting the pork industry today or in the future – and offer your solutions.
  • Obtain two letters of reference from current or former professors or industry professionals.
  • Official university transcripts
  • Prepare a cover sheet with your:

- Name

- School Name

- Year in School

- E-mail Address

- Current Mailing Address

- Permanent Mailing Address

- Telephone Number


Submit the above items in a single envelope to:

Kansas Pork Association

2601 Farm Bureau Road

Manhattan, KS 66502

ATTN: Amanda Spoo

Or e-mail to:


Note: All entries must be to the Kansas Pork Association office byJanuary 23, 2015. The Kansas Pork Association will administer the program, evaluate the application materials and select the winner. Essays will be judged on the basis of clarity or expression, persuasiveness, originality and relevance of topic.


 The winner will be announced at the Kansas State University Swine Profitability Conference held February 3, 2015. The winner is encouraged to attend.

The KPA reserves the right to publish any or parts of the essays submitted. Awards will be paid directly to the recipient upon proof of enrollment.

For additional information, please contact the KPA office at 785-776-0442.


November 4

NCRS Announces Deadline for EQIP Funding in Kansas

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Eric B. Banks, announced an application evaluation cutoff date of November 21, 2014, for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length.  These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and provide opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air, and related resources on agricultural land, such as cropland, rangeland, non-industrial private forestland, as well as for animal feeding operations.

“This is a very popular program in Kansas, and I know fall is a busy season.  The NRCS wants everyone to have the opportunity to develop a conservation plan and submit an application in time,” said Banks.

Applications are accepted year round, but those received by November 21, 2014, will be evaluated for fiscal year 2015 funding.  Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements.

“EQIP also helps address the unique circumstances of socially disadvantaged, veteran, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers, who have natural resource concerns that need to be addressed on their land," said Banks.  Qualifying Kansas producers compete separately and receive higher payment rates.

For more information visit the Kansas NRCS Web site or your local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center.  To find a service center near you, check your telephone book under “United States Government” or on the Internet at  Follow us on Twitter @NRCS_Kansas. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Original release on October 17 by



November 3

Early Bird Registration for K-State Swine Day

Join us again this year for the annual K-State Swine Day!

When: Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where: K-State Alumni Center, Manhattan, Kan.

Register Early by Clicking Here

$25 per participant  by November 9th

$35 at the door

No charge for students if pre-registered

$350 for exhibitor booths


Program Highlights

- Delta Corona Virus and PEDv: What Have We Learned in the Last Year?

* Dr. Dick Hesse, Dr. Steve Dritz and Dr. Jason Woodworth, KSU

- The Australian Swine Industry: How Retailers are Changing Our Swine Industry

* Dr. John Pluske, Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences, Director of the Animal Research Institute, Murdoch University, Australia

- What’s Next after a Highly Profitable Period in the Swine Industry: Has the Landscape of Expansion Changed

*Dr. Dennis DiPietre, Economist, Knowledge Ventures, LLC


October 31

2015 Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship Program

The CME Group and the National Pork Producers Council are pleased to announce the 

2015 Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship Program

  • Sponsored by the CME Group
  • Administered by the National Pork Producers Council

Introduced in 1990 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Live Hog Futures, the Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship Program continues to recognize outstanding youth in the pork community. Four $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to students who intend to pursue a career in the pork industry-talented and thoughtful students who may emerge as industry leaders someday.

To be eligible you must:

  • Be an undergraduate student in a two-year swine program or four-year college of agriculture
  • Write a brief letter indicating what role you see yourself playing in the pork industry after graduation
  • Submit an essay of 750 words or less describing an issue you see confronting the pork industry today or in the future – and offer your solutions
  • Obtain two letters of reference from current or former professors or industry professionals
  • Prepare a cover sheet with your:
  1. Name
  2. Complete mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address
  3. School name
  4. Year in school
  5. Permanent mailing address and telephone number

Submit the above items in a single envelope to:
National Pork Producers Council
ATTN: Craig Boelling
PO Box 10383
Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9960

Or e-mail to:  Craig Boelling

Note: All entries must be postmarked by DECEMBER 12, 2014.
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) will administer the program, read the essays and select the winners. Essays will be judged on the basis of clarity or expression, persuasiveness, originality and relevance of topic. Winners will be announced at the Pork Industry Forum in San Antonio, Texas, March 5-7, 2015. The CME Group and NPPC reserve the right to publish any or parts of the essays submitted.

For additional information, please contact Craig Boelling at 515-278-8012.

October 30

K-State to host NJSA Regional Leadership Conference; Registration due November 16

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn new things about the swine industry, gain leadership skills, have fun and meet new friends interested in pigs from across the country!


What: National Junior Swine Association Regional Leadership Conference


Who: Youth ages 12-18 years old are eligible to attend the youth conference

Parents, adults and youth over 18 may  attend the adult conference


When: December 6, 2014; 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


Where: Kansas State University; Manhattan, Kansas


Cost: $40 includes lunch, t-shirt and materials


Register ONLINE HERE. Deadline is November 16.


Conference Highlights 

Advocacy: Where Do You Fit?

Discuss advocacy and how to effectively utilize social media to promote and highlight the swine industry with Kansas Pork Association Director of Consumer Outreach Jodi Oleen.


Tour of the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry Livestock Facilities

Learn more about what KSU’s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry has to offer by touring the livestock facilities, which are adjunct to campus.


Biosecurity with Bryn Jensson

Do you know what it takes to keep your animals healthy? Learn the importance of biosecurity and how it affects you with Bryn Jensson of the National Pork Board.


Animal Nutrition with Kevin Burgoon

Are you making sure that your pigs are getting what they need? Listen as Kevin Burgoon, HONOR Show Chow Nutritionist, gives you tips on how to feed your pigs.


Read about all of the workshop descriptions HERE.

For more information contact the NJSA:

765.463.3594 ext. 109 | |


October 29

PorkSquare Offers Virtual Town Square for Youth Interested in Pork Careers

PorkSquare℠ is a virtual town square that links pork industry professionals to the next generation of promising young leaders. The website, located at harnesses the power of social media to help college students and young professionals find internships, scholarships and training within the pork industry.

"The website focuses specifically on the pork industry," says Amanda Spoo, KPA Director of Communications. "By providing a network that allows young professionals to be in direct contact with pork industry leaders and producers, PorkSquare bridges the communication gap and builds relationships. The goal is to connect companies with young people – ages 15 to 25 – who are engaged in and passionate about the pork industry.”

High school and college students can use PorkSquare to create personal profiles that are visible to employers with internships or scholarships. The profiles allow young professionals to share information beyond a traditional resume, providing hiring managers with a complete image of candidates. By including a photo, personal interests, social media links and more, students provide employers a better feel for the background of an internship candidate.

Companies with a particular focus on the pork industry also can create profiles that students can readily search to get a better sense of what a certain company offers. By building a company profile that includes internships, scholarships, events and news updates, potential candidates can be kept apprised of the changes and opportunities offered by a company.  

"We see PorkSquare as a vehicle to build relationships between young professionals and industry leaders, as well as prospect for internships, scholarships, mentoring programs and pork-related events," says Mark Greenwood, senior vice president relationship management with AgStar Financial Services.

 Contact: Lindsay Black
National Pork Board
(515) 223-3442


October 28

Kansas reaches agreement on Republican River Compact Disputes

Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska officials announced Wednesday that the three states have signed agreements resolving several Republican River Compact issues. One of the agreements ensures that the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation District in north central Kansas will have a viable irrigation water supply for the 2015 growing season while providing Nebraska certainty of the effectiveness of its compact compliance efforts. The other agreement ensures that Colorado and Kansas will work towards improving Kansas’ water supply on the South Fork Republican River while authorizing Colorado to receive credit in the Compact accounting for operating its augmentation project on the North Fork Republican River.

“I’m pleased with the agreements we’ve come to with our neighbors in Nebraska and Colorado. There is still work to be done to strengthen our relationships and to administer the Compact together, but today’s agreements are very important steps towards a much better long-term situation,” Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture said.

Kansas Gov. Brownback understands how important water is to the citizens of Kansas and is willing to fight for the water needs of the state and has directed his administration to work with Colorado and Nebraska to reach an agreement.

The two resolutions finalizing the agreements were unanimously approved in a special meeting of the Republican River Compact Administration held Wednesday in Denver, Colorado. 

“The Kansas team worked hard with our neighbors in Nebraska and Colorado to develop common-sense proposals that protect Kansas’ rights under the Compact while balancing certainty and flexibility for all three states. We are encouraged by these agreements and will continue to work with Nebraska and Colorado to resolve the Republican River issues that still separate us. This is what the water users of Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado rightly expect of us,” McClaskey said.

Officials from the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Water Office will be holding informational meetings in the areas affected in the Republican River Basin over the next few months to update local stakeholders on the current agreements between the states and to learn more about local needs and concerns.

The recent agreements between the states can be found online at HERE.

Original release on October 24 by



October 27

Governor Sam Brownback outlines actions to protect Kansans from federal overreach

State files official comments on proposed Waters of the U.S. rule change

 Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced this morning that the State of Kansas would file formal comments (read HERE) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding proposed regulations clarifying which bodies of water are covered under the Clean Water Act.

WOTUS Event Group Shot 10.23.14

 Governor Brownback, along with Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Bob Moser, and stakeholders expressed concerns that the draft regulation would greatly expand the EPA’s regulatory power, significantly impacting the state’s agriculture and energy industries. A letter urging retraction of the rule was signed by the Governor and five of his Cabinet secretaries and sent to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers today.

 “This unlawful and unconstitutional attempt to assert federal jurisdiction over local water and land use would make it impossible for farmers, developers and homeowners to know when they can carry on routine activities without obtaining an extremely expensive federal permit,” said Governor Brownback. “Kansans have had enough of this kind of federal overreach. My administration will continue to fight back against this continued pattern of disregard for business, industry, and farm and ranch families.”

 The Governor and state officials noted that Kansas already has adequate laws in place to protect waters that fall under state jurisdiction, making the proposed federal regulation a redundant and costly infringement on the state’s rights without providing any significant benefits.

 Officials also noted that the EPA and the Corps have issued no expected timeline for the rule change to take effect and that the federal agencies have made no attempt to coordinate with the state on this issue.

 Representatives from more than one dozen energy and agriculture-related industries and organizations also were present to express their concerns about the proposed rule.  

 "This draft rule change includes new and poorly defined terms based on ambiguous and untested theories,” said Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association President Edward P. Cross. “The result is a proposal that attempts to usurp authority that belongs to the states. We strongly support and appreciate Governor Brownback's leadership in urging the EPA and the Corps to withdraw this proposed regulation."

 The comment period for the draft rule change ends on Nov. 14, 2014.

 For more information, contact:

Eileen Hawley
785.368.7138 (office)

October 24

Meat Exports Volumes Lower in August, but Value Remains Strong

For the second consecutive month, August export value for U.S. beef and pork increased year-over-year despite declines in volume. Export value for both products remains on a record pace, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

Pork export volume was down 6 percent year-over-year in August to 162,992 mt – due in part to market access issues in Russia and the China/Hong Kong region – but export value still achieved a 6 percent increase to $529.9 million. For the first eight months of the year, pork export volume was up 6 percent to 1.48 million mt while value increased 15 percent to $4.53 billion.

Price trends, Russian import ban impact August pork exports

Pork export value per head of slaughter was $64.08 in August (+22 percent) and $65.29 for January through August (+21 percent). Exports accounted for 28 percent of total pork production and 23 percent for muscle cuts only – up from 26 percent and 22 percent, respectively, during the same period last year.

August pork exports may have slowed due to the late-July peak in U.S. pork prices, with international buyers waiting for greater price stability before bolstering inventories. Exports also felt the impact of Russia’s import ban, which was imposed Aug.7 on pork muscle cuts from the United States, Canada and the European Union. U.S. pork exports to Russia were 5,738 mt in August – less than half the July volume.

“When a large buyer like Russia exits the market, the global impact can be widespread,” Seng explained. “For example, when Russia suspended imports of EU pork in January (due to African swine fever), there was a large increase in European pork entering Asian markets at very low prices. Similar trends could emerge as a result of this import ban, especially with Canadian pork that had previously been shipped to Russia in large quantities now seeking alternative markets.”

Canada’s pork exports fell 12 percent in August, with plummeting volumes for Russia partially offset by increases to China/Hong Kong, Korea and Mexico.

Mexico, which is the leading volume destination for U.S. pork, continued to perform very well in August – with exports reaching 56,528 mt (+13 percent) valued at $133.5 million (+30 percent). For the first eight months of the year, exports to Mexico maintained a record pace of 444,685 mt valued at $1.02 billion.

Other January-August pork export highlights include:

  • Exports to Korea were up 31 percent in volume (89,334 mt) and 49 percent in value ($278.3 million). In just eight months, pork export value to Korea has already surpassed the 2013 year-end total of $276. 1 million.
  • Colombia has rapidly emerged as the leading market for U.S. pork in the Central-South America region, with exports totaling 32,949 mt (+69 percent) valued at $91.7 million (+85 percent).
  • Although exports to Australia slowed in August, January-August totals were still up 7 percent in volume (39,004 mt) and 16 percent in value ($136.2 million).

August exports to the China/Hong Kong region slowed for the fifth consecutive month, pushing January-August totals down 15 percent in volume (237,753 mt) and 10 percent in value ($530.1 million) from a year ago. On Aug. 12, China delisted six U.S. pork plants and six cold storage facilities, significantly reducing U.S. supplies eligible for the market.

Pork muscle cut exports to Japan slumped in August, pushing the January-August volume slightly below last year’s pace (272,222 mt, -1 percent), while export value remained 3 percent higher at $1.26 billion. As noted above, this market has seen an influx of pork from European suppliers in recent months, with EU pork exports to Japan increasing about 50 percent from a year ago.

Original release on October 7 by



October 23

Pork Checkoff Publishes Fall 2014 Report

Have you read your copy yet? The Pork Checkoff Report is a quarterly magazine published by the National Pork Board.

Issue highlights

    • Top TIPS to Fight PEDV this Fall,page 4
    • Program Reaches New Milestone: 20 Years of Innovation ,page 10
    • Annual Summit Showcases Pork Menuing Possibilities,page 32 

Click HERE to read this issue online!

Pork _Checkoff _Report _Fall _2014_Vol 33_No 3 1




October 22

Protect Yourself and Your Pigs this Flu Season

Pork Checkoff Recommends Getting Vaccinated for the Flu  

In anticipation of this flu season, the Pork Checkoff is reminding producers, farm personnel, veterinarians and others who have contact with pigs to get the seasonal flu vaccination as soon as possible to help protect human and pig health. The flu season can start as early as October and can last through May.

"It's always wise for producers and swine farm workers to reduce the risk of getting sick and bringing influenza to the farm or workplace by getting vaccinated," said Dr. Lisa Becton, director of swine health information and research science and technology for the Pork Checkoff. "Vaccination for influenza is another way that demonstrates the industry's We Care approach to protecting employees, animals and public health."

Becton recommends other practices to reduce the spread of infection among workers and of the pigs with human influenza viruses. Among them is modifying sick-leave policies to encourage workers to stay away from the farm if they are sufferingfrom acute respiratory infections. "Virus shedding is at its peak when the clinical illness is most severe, but people may remain 'contagious' as long as the symptoms last, from three to seven days," she said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, all people over six months of age should be immunized for influenza each year.

At the farm level, attention to good building ventilation and good hygiene can help reduce transmission of flu viruses.

Specifically, Becton says producers should make sure curtains and fans are in working order, look at bird-proofing their buildings, perform routine cleaning and disinfection of barns and incoming supplies and strictly enforce other biosecurity practices, such as the use of farm-specific clothing and footwear. Focusing on biosecurity practices not only can help prevent the entry of influenza, but also other diseases such as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. 

"Monitoring herd health daily and contacting the herd veterinarian immediately is very important if influenza is suspected," Becton said. "Rapid detection of influenza can help in timely implementation of appropriate strategies to better manage sick pigs."

You can find more influenza related information at or at

Original article on October 9 by



October 21

KPA publishes Pig Tales Issue 5

Stay up to date with the Kansas pork industry and what your association is doing for you. Read about the accomplishments of fellow KPA members and friends and enjoy this issue's featured recipe. Pig Tales is the official publication of the Kansas Pork Association

Issue Highlights...

  • October is Pork Month, page 6
  • Chick Events: Handmade & Vintage, page 8
  • Bacon-Fest KC: It’s That Exciting, page 10

Click HERE to read this issue online!

Pig Tales Issue 5 2014 FINAL Online 1



October 20

DASH Eating PLan Taps Lean Pork as Menu Item

Adults following the well-documented Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, eating plan also can include lean pork to help lower blood pressure. According to research funded by the Pork Checkoff, people with high blood pressure can benefit from a DASH eating plan that uses nutrient-rich lean pork as the predominant source of protein.

"The Pork Checkoff-funded study further validates the important role of lean pork in a balanced diet," says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. "Lean, nutrient-rich pork has many beneficial qualities that make it easy to incorporate into any healthy diet."

Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork instead of chicken and fish as their main protein source, the blood pressure benefits were the same. Regardless of the protein source, study participants' systolic blood pressure dropped about eight to nine points and their diastolic number about four to five points after six weeks. Participants had their blood pressure consistently checked through a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.

"The DASH diet has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote health and help decrease the risk of chronic diseases," said Dr. Wayne Campbell, nutrition science professor at Purdue University and the study’s lead author. "While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork also may be a part of this healthy eating pattern."

The study included 19 overweight or obese older adults – 13 women and six men – all with elevated blood pressure. Participants were randomly assigned to consume the DASH diet for two six-week periods, which included either chicken and fish or lean pork as the major protein source, or about 55 percent of their total protein intake. The DASH diet emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.

For the latest pork nutrition information, recipes and more, visit


Contact: Lindsay Black

National Pork Board

(515) 223-3442




October 17

KPA Partners with Hy-Vee to host fall pork promotions

The Kansas Pork Association recently completed four pork promotions in partnership with Hy-Vee at stores in Lawrence, Manhattan and Topeka. These promotions, held September 27 – October 11, marked the celebration of Kansas Pork Month, which is recognized throughout the month of October.

 Hyvee #3 

Each store hosted the National Pork Board traveling pork trailer and team that prepared pork sliders to be handed out to grocery shoppers. Industry friends and volunteers joined KPA staff in handing out recipes, Hy-Vee coupons and giveaways. For those with questions about pig farming, volunteers used the model hog barn to share about pork production and give grocery shoppers a look at modern farming practices. As a part of the celebration, Kansas Pork gave one lucky winner at each promotion, a $500 Hy-Vee grocery shopping spree.

 Hyvee #2

“These promotions are a great way for us to engage with grocery shoppers and encourage pork to be top of mind when they are planning meals for their families,” says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. “Hy-Vee does a great job at understanding their customers’ needs so creating this partnership gave Kansas Pork the opportunity to help enrich that relationship.”

Hyvee #1

Overall, 800 pork sliders were prepared and served.

A special thank you to our volunteers, the Leete Family, Annie Shultz , and K-State’s Food For Thought group for their help and time. 




October 16

Dieticians, Bloggers attend #RealPigFarming Tour to Fair Oaks Farm

Everyday news headlines and blogs continue to ask the same series of questions -Where does our food come from? How is it raised? Who is responsible?- As food trends come and go consumers are becoming increasingly driven to learning and understanding their food system and the choices they have to make.

 The Kansas Pork Association and the Kansas Soybean Commission recently partnered to create an opportunity for those questions to be answered first hand. Last month, September 23-25, the two organizations hosted a #RealPigFarming Tour that offered an unique behind the scenes look at modern farm practices. Influential consumers in dietetics and blogging went on the three-day trip included a visit to Fair Oaks Farm in Fair Oaks, Indiana.

#RPF 3

“This trip offered Kansas farmers the opportunity to create one-on-one relationships with some of our most valuable food influencers,” says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. “We are very grateful to the Kansas Soybean Commission for making this trip possible. “

#RPF 1

Fair Oaks Farm is a full-functioning farm that is specifically designed for visitors to get an up close and hands-on experience learning about agriculture. The 15-person tour group, which included business and lifestyle bloggers, registered dieticians, and both state and national staff, participated in the Pig Adventure experience. The tour took the group through each phase of production, discussing each detail from gestation and nutrition to technology and markets, as well as a stop at the nursery barn to witness sows that were farrowing.

#RPF 2

The tour also expanded on a few specific topics areas. Before visiting Fair Oaks, the group visited Indiana soybean farmer Dave Rodibaugh and learned about his practices and role in feeding pigs. The tours were capped off with lunch at the new Fair Oaks Farm restaurant, where the group heard from Fair Oaks Farm employee Stacy Sheldon on meat traceability from farm to plate, and from Jon Hoek, from Belstra Milling Company, on the mission and vision of Fair Oaks Farm.

"I think the thing that most impressed the group was how much science and how much technology is behind farming, "says Karen Hanson, registered dietitian from Manhattan. " It was an awesome opportunity to get more education and really feel like I was living it for a day or two there on the farm."

#RPF 4

The trip concluded in Chicago where guests and staff were able to enjoy the city and continue their discussions on what they had seen and learned on the tours.

 Throughout the tour, the guests joined the online conversation using the hashtag, #RealPigFarming, which is part of an initiative started by the National Pork Board. 

 Listen HERE for a radio interview with Karen Hanson featured on the Kansas Soybean Update.

Read the full story in the upcoming Issue 6 of Pig Tales.

October 15

KPA joins Kansas Ag Issues Podcast

In celebration of Pork Month, Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO, joined Kelly Lenz on WIBW’s Ag Issues on Monday, October 13 to share about pork promotions in the state during Kansas and National Pork Month. Stroda also provided an update on PEDV, which has killed an estimated eight million hogs in the U.S. since May of 2013.

Click Here to Listen to the Podcast.

October 14

K-State Swine celebrates opening of new nursery building

The K-State Swine Teaching and Research Center marked the addition of its new nursery building with an Open House on Friday, October 3.

“The Kansas Pork Association has been supporting the K-State Swine Team’s mission of providing research results to help the state’s pig farmers for many years,” says Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO.  “Our farmers recognize the importance of facilities that allow research to be completed in buildings similar to those being used in the industry.” 

New Swine Unit 1

The new nursery building is designed to house newly weaned piglets for up to 9 weeks (from weaning to 12 weeks of age).  This new facility will not increase farm inventory, rather it improves utilization of existing barn space for teaching and research purposes.  The main advantage is to allow nursery pigs to be housed in a single room for up to 9 weeks until movement into finishing.  Currently, nursery pigs are moved to a “Grower” barn to allow for the next group of weaned piglets to be placed in existing nursery space.   This change will allow for improved teaching capabilities for undergraduate and graduate students in a modern facility.  This new facility will also improve the opportunities for nutritional research for pigs weighing between 50 – 80 lb which was not possible previously.

The total project cost of $360,000 was funded by industry donations and the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry. The building was constructed by Midwest Livestock Systems, Beatrice, NE.

New Swine Unit 2

New Nursery Barn Specific Information

  • Overall building dimensions = 140’ x 33’
  • 86 pens with a capacity of up to 5 pigs per pen
  • Connecting hallway to existing buildings for access to sow farrowing and nursery rooms
  • Feed room (16’ x 33’) for bagged research diet storage (majority of feed will be in 50 lb bags)
  • Two bulk feed bins to provide standard nursery feed directly to the feed room or individual pens
  • Galvanized gating and flooring for extended building longevity
  • Mechanical ventilation for a controlled heating and cooling environment
- Ceiling inlets for incoming air; 2 natural gas heaters; multiple exhaust fans to remove room moisture and provide increased air flow (cooling) when needed
  • Hanging floor scale for weighing entire pens of pigs
  • Multiple windows to provide natural lighting
  • Easy adjust feeders in each pen to continuously provide fresh feed to the pigs
  • Individual nipple drinker waters for each pen

October 13

DASH Eating Plan Taps Lean Pork as Menu Item

Adults following the well-documented Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, eating plan also can include lean pork to help lower blood pressure. According to research funded by the Pork Checkoff, people with high blood pressure can benefit from a DASH eating plan that uses nutrient-rich lean pork as the predominant source of protein.

"The Pork Checkoff-funded study further validates the important role of lean pork in a balanced diet," says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. "Lean, nutrient-rich pork has many beneficial qualities that make it easy to incorporate into any healthy diet."

Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork instead of chicken and fish as their main protein source, the blood pressure benefits were the same. Regardless of the protein source, study participants' systolic blood pressure dropped about eight to nine points and their diastolic number about four to five points after six weeks. Participants had their blood pressure consistently checked through a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.

"The DASH diet has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote health and help decrease the risk of chronic diseases," said Dr. Wayne Campbell, nutrition science professor at Purdue University and the study’s lead author. "While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork also may be a part of this healthy eating pattern."

The study included 19 overweight or obese older adults – 13 women and six men – all with elevated blood pressure. Participants were randomly assigned to consume the DASH diet for two six-week periods, which included either chicken and fish or lean pork as the major protein source, or about 55 percent of their total protein intake. The DASH diet emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.

For the latest pork nutrition information, recipes and more, visit

Contact: Lindsay Black

National Pork Board

(515) 223-3442




October 8

Kansas Department of Agriculture works to improve response plans

Learning to execute the Kansas animal health emergency plan and identifying existing gaps were the goals of Invisible Fire, an emergency preparedness exercise conducted in locations across the state Sept. 22-24, 2014.  The exercise included emergency personnel in Clay, Riley, Pottawatomie and Lyon counties as well as members of the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) emergency management team and the Division of Animal Health.

Over 150 individuals participated in the exercise, which was based on the confirmation of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in Kansas.

Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey said the exercise provided valuable experience for the agency and all stakeholders.  “We have a responsibility to be prepared to respond to an incident that could have significant economic effect upon our state’s largest industry,” McClaskey said.  “That includes making sure our local partners also understand and can effectively respond in the case of an animal health emergency.”

KDA continuously works with local emergency preparedness officials to develop and improve emergency response plans.  KDA Emergency Management Director Sandy Johnson provides opportunities for county officials to develop appropriate local-level responses to function within the larger, state-wide agricultural emergency response plan.

“A response to an agricultural emergency is completely different to the emergencies and disasters that happen regularly in Kansas.  Fortunately, we don’t get practice with “real” events, so it is important that we continue to plan, train and exercise on a regular basis,” Johnson said. 

The KDA Division of Animal Health has been working with more than 50 stakeholders from a variety of agencies including the Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Kansas Emergency Management and other state agencies as well as state agricultural associations and others to refine plans and ensure collaboration and continuity of business for the livestock industry should a highly contagious disease outbreak occur in the U.S.

Original release on October 2 by



October 7

KPA hosts Pork Tailgate at K-State Football Game

The Pork Checkoff's "We Care" trailer rolled into Manhattan last weekend for the annual Kansas Pork football tailgate. This year’s event was held before the Big 12 conference match-up between Kansas State University and Texas Tech University. Kansas pork farmers and friends helped turn about 300 pounds of pork loin into nearly 3,000 delicious samples.  The samples and pork recipes were available outside the stadium. Radio advertising also supported the event.

Pork Tailgate 2

The We Care trailer, which includes a kitchen facility and grills, is utilized nationwide to support Pork Checkoff key messaging and involve pork producers in the promotion of the pork industry.

 Pork Tailgate 1

We would like to thank all of our volunteers and their families for their time and help, and to Seaboard Foods for the sponsorship of the loins.



October 6

Farmland from Academy Award-Winning Director James Moll Makes its Streaming Debut on Hulu

Since the Kansas Farm Food Connection’s screening of theFarmlanddocumentary in April, we have had many inquiries about when the movie will be more readily available to the public.  The time is now. 

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Moll's feature length documentary, Farmland, is now available to stream on the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus subscription service. Beginning October 2,Farmland will be available exclusively on the platform for four weeks - providing viewers with the opportunity to stream Farmland from their connected TVs, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.  

During its theatrical debut this year, Farmland was shown in more than 170 theaters across the country including Regal Cinemas, Marcus Theatres, Carmike Cinemas, Landmark Theatres, and many key independent theaters. It will now be available digitally for the first time. 

Many Americans have never stepped foot on a farm or ranch or even talked to the people who grow and raise the food we eat, yet are increasingly passionate about understanding where their food comes from. Farmland takes the viewer inside the world of farming for a first-hand glimpse into the lives of six young farmers and ranchers in their twenties. Through the personal stories of these farmers and ranchers, viewers learn about their high-risk/high-reward jobs and passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, yet continues to evolve.

"This is a film for anyone who eats," says Moll.  "It's not what you'd expect. The world of farming is complex and often controversial, but the farmers themselves are some of the most hard-working and fascinating people I've ever met."

Produced by Moll's Allentown Productions, Farmland received notable attention during its theatrical run securing reviews in several national mediums and recognition in film festivals across the country, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Newport Beach, Calif. The film also earned a 92 percent audience rating on

Farmland was made with the generous support of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance®.

Check out the official trailer for the feature length documentary at and be sure to watch Farmland in its entirety on Hulu:


October 3

Celebrate Kansas Pork during October

The month of October is an opportunity to highlight the 1,000 pig farms across the state that contribute more than $850 million to the Kansas economy and support more than 7,000 jobs in the state. Governor Sam Brownback recently signed a proclamation declaring October Kansas Pork Month and encouraging all Kansans to support this vital portion of the state’s agriculture industry.

“Pork Month is a great time for us to promote our pork products, and to celebrate the hard work and dedication of farmers who take pride in producing safe, wholesome pork,” Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey said.

In 2013, Kansas pork farmers sold more than three million pigs, resulting in 500 million pounds of pork to feed families in Kansas, the U.S. and around the world. These farmers have a commitment to doing what is best for their farm, their family and their community by exhibiting excellent animal care and environmental stewardship.

National Pork Month is also celebrated during the month of October.

For more information, please contact the Kansas Department of Agriculture at 785-564-6700 or visit the KDA website at


How are you going to celebrate Kansas Pork Month?


Use these resources to get started:

Did You Know Fact Sheet

Public Involvement Ideas

Kid's Activities

Ideas for Youth Involvement


For more resources and ideas visit:


Join the celebration online on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest:

@Kansas Pork


October 2

Stewardship of New Technologies Embraced by U.S. Meat Industry

For the past several months, a diverse group of representatives from technology companies and the U.S. beef, pork and lamb industries has tackled a critical question related to global access for U.S. meat: What steps can the meat industry take to ensure that the introduction of new production and processing technologies does not interrupt trade?

“The U.S. meat industry is a global leader when it comes to advancements in quality, safety, efficiency and productivity, which is why our products are in such great demand around the world,” said Forrest Roberts, chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “Our goal as an industry is to adopt new technologies in a manner that is consistent with continuing to grow exports. To meet this objective it is imperative that we continue to work together as an industry in a proactive manner.”

Roberts was recently elected chairman of the Meat Industry International Stewardship Advisory Council (MIISAC), which was formed with exactly this goal in mind. Its primary focus is to foster better communication, coordination, and collaboration at all levels of red meat production, processing and marketing so that new technologies are introduced in a manner that minimizes disruptions in exports without stifling the development of next-generation technologies. Norman Bessac, vice president for international pork sales at Cargill Fresh Meats, was elected MIISAC vice chairman.

To ensure that MIISAC draws upon experience and expertise from a broad range of meat and livestock sectors, it includes representatives from the Cattleman’s Beef Board, NCBA, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, American Lamb Board, the feedgrains sector, meat packing and export trading companies, technology providers, American Meat Institute, North American Meat Association and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Roberts and Bessac have appointed working group chairs for operations, strategy, and communications to carry the work of the council forward.

As new technology products are launched into the U.S. market, MIISAC will collaborate with the companies introducing the products to assess the potential benefits and costs of their adoption to the red meat industry and develop strategies for minimizing impediments in export markets that have not approved the technology. Questions addressed in this process could include:

  • Do regulatory approvals need to be secured in key international markets?
  • How long will this process take?
  • Will approval be controversial, and how will this impact consumer confidence?
  • Is there an avenue, such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX), for establishing an international standard? Which trading partners are likely to adopt a CODEX standard?
  • How do we address foreign markets that have no functioning regulatory process?

In carrying out its mandate, MIISAC will not be setting industry policy, nor will it approve or disapprove new technologies.

“The goal is definitely not to serve as a standard-setting or policy-making body, but rather to provide a broad, forward-thinking perspective on how a new technology will impact our industry once it is approved,” Roberts explained.

Media questions or requests for further information regarding MISSAC may be directed to USMEF Communications Director Joe Schuele at or 303-226-7309.

Original release on October 1 by

October 1

Pork Producers Connect Farm to Fork during October Pork Month

October became known as Pork Month because it marked the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed. Today, it serves as a celebration to thank pork producers and share their stories with consumers. 

“If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer every day,” says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. “October Pork Month is an opportunity to refresh the connection consumers have with farmers, whose mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner for families across the United States and around the world.” 

In 2008, pork producers adopted six We CareSM ethical principles at the National Pork Industry Forum. The pork industry follows the six guiding ethical principles of the We Care initiative to maintain a safe, high-quality pork supply. Producers are committed to:

  • Producing safe food,
  • Safeguarding natural resources in all industry practices,
  • Providing a work environment that is safe and consistent with the industry’s other ethical principles,
  • Contributing to a better quality of life in communities,
  • Protecting and promoting animal well-being and
  • Ensuring practices to protect public health.

“The ethical principles define our farmer’s values and who they are,” OIeen says. “Consumers can be confident that the pork they eat was raised using these ethical principles.”

Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat, representing 37 percent of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Some 81 percent of the population consumes pork in-home at least once in an average two-week period. As of May 2014, real per capita pork expenditures were up 7.5 percent for 2014 compared with the same time period a year ago.

According to retail scanner data from July 1 2013 to June 30, 2014, the top five most popular pork cuts sold are boneless New York chops, back ribs, bone-in chops, spareribs and boneless tenderloin. In terms of sales, boneless New York Chops accounted for more than $847 million, back ribs more than $612 million, bone-in chops more than $404 million, spareribs more than $387 million and boneless tenderloin more than $369 million.

“Consumers recognize the versatility of serving pork in their homes,” Oleen says. “Cook pork until the internal temperature reaches between 145 degrees and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest, this will ensure flavorful and tender pork on the plate.”  


September 30

KPA hosts Pork Chop Open golf Tournament

KPA hosted another successful year of the annual Pork Chop Open golf tournament at the Cedar Hill Golf Course in Washington, Kan., on Friday, September 26. This year's teams enjoyed a day of golfing, good weather and of course, great pork. Thank you to everyone who came out to participate.


2014 Results

Flight One 


 Kenlon Johannes, Ryan Huckett, Nate Chapin, Dean Richard


 Jerry Morris, Mike Aarstad, Michael Morris, Tim Wright


 Gene Henderson, Brady Wyatt, Jordan Wyatt, Randy Wyatt

Flight Two


 Chris Hynek, Jeff Brabec, Heath Allen, Logan Hiltebrand


 Steve Huneke, Rick Allison, Bill Hecht, Dave Friedrichs


Jason Piper, Scott Sawin, Christy Springer, Shane Throckmorten

 PCO 1

A special thank you to this year's sponsors!

Events Sponsors: Bottenberg & Associates; National Pork Board; Direct Biologicals; Kansas Gold; Oregon Trail Equipment; Kansas Soybean Commission; Midwest Livestock Systems

Hole Sponsors: HogSlat, Inc.; First National Bank of Washington; National Pork Producers Council; Varney & Associates, CPAs, LLC; PIC, North America; Hoovers, Inc.; Zoetis; Key Feeds; Kansas Soybean Commission

And thank you to Farmland Foods for providing the pork for the meal.


September 29

Are we making progress against PEDV?

There’s no question Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) has decimated the nation’s hog herd. As many as 8 million pigs have been killed since the highly-contagious disease was first identified last April and another 2.5 million could be killed by PEDv between July 2014 and July 2015.   

Even with biosecurity measures tighter than ever and tools emerging to help producers keep PEDv at bay, Dustin Oedekoven, a veterinarian with South Dakota State, explained in this Tri-State Neighbor article the jury is still out on progress against the virus.

“Last year, we saw the number of cases rise rapidly in the fall and winter months because of the biology of this virus, which seems to prefer cool and wet conditions,” he wrote. “Time will tell whether the federal order will have any effect on controlling the spread of this disease.”

He added, “Perhaps one of the most important things we have been reminded of since the finding of PEDV in North America is that we must remain vigilant in detecting, reporting and responding to foreign and emerging infectious disease. We are fortunate to live in a time when the status of livestock herd health is at an all-time high. Domestic and international markets for animal protein are strong, in part because of our healthy and productive herds.”

Click here to read more.

As much progress as the industry has made in learning more and combating PEDv over the last year, it’s too soon to relax. South Dakota State University Extension Swine Specialist Dr. Bob Thaler explained in an interview with WNAX Radio 570 producers should be mindful that vaccines may help but likely won't completely eradicate the disease.

 “The vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective,” Thaler said in an interview here. “If your herd had PEDv before and you get your sows the vaccination, it will help. If you have a naïve herd and you vaccinate and expose your herd to the virus, you’re still going to have a major blow up of PEDv.”

Read, “Keep a tight grip on PEDv biosecurity” 

Original article on  September 23 by




September 26

National Pork Producers Council Statement on the Transpacific Partnership Negotiations

The National Pork Producers Council thanks U.S. trade officials for diligently working to achieve an outcome in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations that would benefit all sectors of our nation’s economy, including agriculture. At the same time, we must also express our deep disappointment in Japan’s continuing rejection of the fundamental terms of a successful TPP agreement, as agreed upon by leaders of all participating TPP nations prior to Japan’s entry into the negotiations last year.

Japan continues to demand exemptions from tariff elimination for an unprecedented number of agricultural products. Its negotiators have declared that products such as pork, dairy, beef, wheat, barley, sugar and rice are “sacred” and cannot be opened to free trade in the TPP. Japan has employed this or similar arguments in all of its prior free trade agreements, so it is not surprising that some in the United States might accept this as reality, submit to Japan’s demand and accept the crumbs from its table.

Acquiescing to Japan’s demand would represent a radical departure from past U.S. trade policy, which has held to the principle that free trade agreements must cover virtually all trade between the parties. The exemptions from tariff elimination demanded by Japan would be more than all of the tariff line exemptions contained in the previous 17 FTAs combined the United States has implemented this century. Pork never has been excluded from tariff elimination in a U.S. free trade agreement.

It also would diminish the overall outcome in the TPP since negotiators from the other 11 participating nations will not want to explain to producers of sensitive products in their countries why they are not being provided similar exemptions. Furthermore, exemptions, whether in agriculture or in other sectors, will become normative in the TPP and will be taken for granted by future acceding nations when TPP expands. Moreover, the outcome on rules and other areas of the TPP negotiation undoubtedly will be affected by Japan’s market access package. Every nation will examine the overall package and will have to balance its obligations with the concessions it receives.

In addition to prompting the unraveling of the TPP as a “gold standard” agreement, submitting to Japan’s demand will signal to the European Union that the same – or more likely a bigger – basket of U.S. products can be exempted from full tariff liberalization in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks and that this will be acceptable to the United States.

Creating a precedent in the TPP that shelters the agriculture sector from competition and, therefore, puts upward pressure on global food prices has national security implications. Governments rise and fall based on the price of food. The correlation between political unrest and food prices is axiomatic. The protectionist farmers in Japan are not thinking about the global security implications of adding 3 billion people to the world’s population in the next 30 years. But someone better be thinking about this. What may be politically appealing today may be catastrophic tomorrow.

The United States should not accept an offer from Japan that is anything less than what it has demanded of, and received from, its other FTA partners, including many developing countries. Most of those nations had, and continue to have, serious sensitivities in agriculture, and they must wonder why Japan, one of the most advanced nations on Earth, is more deserving of such privileged treatment. The TPP, as with other FTAs, should not be about whether to move to free trade in virtually all products but how and when.

The U.S. pork industry has benefitted enormously from prior trade agreements, which are the major reason U.S. pork exports have quadrupled since 2000. The TPP could result in even greater gains for U.S. pork, but Japan is the key. It must be willing to phase out its tariffs over a reasonable transition period and abolish its trade-distorting Gate Price system. The difference between Japan’s offer as reported in the Japanese press and the elimination of the Gate Price and tariffs on pork is eye popping. When the impact on all the “sacred” agriculture products is added, both in Japan and in future FTAs, the loss of exports and jobs in the United States is staggering.

There is a long history of fraud and criminal activity related to the Gate Price – with some Japanese importers inflating invoices to prices above the Gate Price to minimize import duties – which has been well documented in the Japanese press. [Click here to read news articles on Gate Price fraud.] We find it odd (to say the least) that anyone in the Japanese government would defend a system that generates fraud and criminal behavior. More than 20 years of fraudulent activity demonstrates that the system is unworkable.

In the United States, some may countenance Japan’s demand since an agreement between the two countries, even with significant exemptions by Japan, would be a net plus for the United States. Japan no doubt is hoping that the United States will buy into the idea that “meaningful market access” should be the metric in evaluating its market access package. We should not. Had the United States been willing to accept half a loaf in past FTA negotiations, U.S. exports would be much lower and its FTAs would look more like the FTAs of Japan and the European Union. But the deal being offered by Japan is not even a half loaf for U.S. pork and the other “sacred” commodities. The U.S. trade policy metric that has governed all past U.S. FTAs must continue to govern the TPP negotiation: elimination of tariffs.

The tail is wagging the dog in Japan. A small protectionist group of farmers is holding hostage a 12-nation regional trade negotiation. It is incumbent on others in Japan to overcome the opposition of this small group of farmers, which is keeping Japanese food prices among the highest in the world. Economic studies show that Japan will benefit tremendously from the TPP. Among other things, consumers will spend less of their income on food. The politics of trade – and food in particular – are always difficult. Korea and other past U.S. FTA partners, many of which were developing nations, had sensitivities in agriculture equal to or greater than those in Japan.

Multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization are on life support. The United States has the unprecedented opportunity to set the bar high on a regional FTA that has the potential to become the platform for global trade liberalization for the next 30 years. Japan should not expect the United States to hand the keys to the bus to a bunch of protectionist farmers who want the United States to depart from its longstanding approach to trade policy and to create a precedent that will diminish U.S. exports and jobs for the next 30 years.

Finally, Japan needs to understand that the U.S. Congress must approve any FTA and that members have no stomach for extending special treatment to Japan and accepting a TPP deal that has a substandard market access package from Japan and that would be a step back from the high-standard deals recently implemented with Colombia, Korea and Panama.

The solution is very simple: Japan must be held to the same high standard as all other U.S. FTA partners. The ball has been, and continues to be, in Japan’s court. Either Japan will agree to do what all other TPP nations are prepared to do – eliminate tariffs on virtually all products – or the standoff will continue. If Japan continues to refuse, the United States and the other TPP countries should close the negotiation without Japan.

Before we undermine longstanding U.S. trade policy, before we see an unraveling of the TPP and before we face accepting future FTAs on similar terms, the talks with Japan in the TPP should be suspended and an agreement with the other TPP nations sent to Congress. Japan, when it is ready, can be invited to begin negotiations again with a second group of nations from the Americas and Asia. 

Original release on September 25 by

September 25

U.S. - China Swine Industry Symposium Focuses on Livestock Nutrient Management

On Sept. 12, pork industry leaders from the U.S. and China gathered in Beijing for the 2014 U.S.-China Swine Industry Symposium. This was the third year for the symposium, with this edition focusing on livestock nutrient management. The event is co-hosted by USMEF, the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Soybean Export Council, the China Animal Agriculture Association (CAAA) and the China Meat Association. It attracted more than 200 attendees, including industry representatives, agricultural policy makers, animal health experts and university researchers.

Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, said one of the most important benefits of this year’s symposium – and the two that preceded it – is the opportunity for producers from the U.S. and China to share ideas and experiences related to challenges common to all pork-producing countries.

“It was encouraging to see such significant interaction between some large Chinese producers and the members of our U.S. producer delegation,” Haggard said. “These are U.S. producers who would be considered quite large in China, but who are really more representative of the typical American family farm. There was a great deal of comradery in the room and some very practical discussions about best industry practices.”

Wayne Humphreys, a pork, corn and soybean producer who serves on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, provided attendees with an overview of the manure management practices on his 20,000-head hog operation in Louisa County, Iowa.

“Waste management was the primary focus of this year’s symposium,” Haggard said. “U.S. producers have been making strides for decades in the areas of environmental protection and sustainability, while the era of more strict environmental regulation is just beginning in China.”

Madame Gong Gui Fen, deputy secretary general of CAAA, noted that Chinese environmental regulations relating to livestock production had been in place for years, but implementation has been challenging. China enacted new livestock pollution ordinances in January of this year that symposium participants said are likely to increase production costs. She also discussed the competitive imbalances that can occur when producers who comply with increasingly strict environmental regulations face higher operating costs than those who do not.

Russ Vering of Scribner, Nebraska, who serves as vice president of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, gave a well-received presentation on large animal mortality composting – another important area of environmental protection that presents a growing challenge for China’s producers.

Craig Mensink, a Preston, Minnesota, pork producer who serves on the National Pork Board, was also on the symposium program. He led a closing panel discussion in which all symposium speakers took questions from the audience.

“It was interesting to hear from Chinese pork producers who are dealing with environmental challenges similar to those we faced in the past,” said Patrick FitzSimmons of Dassel, Minnesota, president of the Minnesota Pork Board. “This symposium offered an excellent platform for discussing production practices and how industry leaders from our two countries are working together to achieve food security and sustainable hog production.”

Other members of the U.S. delegation included:

Bruce Schmoll, Minnesota Soybean Association and USMEF secretary-treasurer
Becca Hendricks, vice president for international marketing, National Pork Board
Scott McGregor, Iowa Soybean Association
Dean Black, Iowa Beef Industry Council
David Bruntz, Nebraska Corn Board 

Original article on September 16 by


September 24

Early Bird Registration for K-State Swine Day

Join us again this year for the annual K-State Swine Day!


When: Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where: K-State Alumni Center, Manhattan, Kan.


Register Early by Clicking Here

$25 per participant  by November 9th

$35 at the door

No charge for students if pre-registered

$350 for exhibitor booths


Program Highlights

- Delta Corona Virus and PEDv: What Have We Learned in the Last Year?

* Dr. Dick Hesse, Dr. Steve Dritz and Dr. Jason Woodworth, KSU

- The Australian Swine Industry: How Retailers are Changing Our Swine Industry

* Dr. John Pluske, Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences, Director of the Animal Research Institute, Murdoch University, Australia

- What’s Next after a Highly Profitable Period in the Swine Industry: Has the Landscape of Expansion Changed

*Dr. Dennis DiPietre, Economist, Knowledge Ventures, LLC




September 23

Kansas Pork hosts tour to Chicago, Fair Oaks Farm

The Kansas Pork Association and the Kansas Soybean Commission are partnering to host the #RealPigFarming tour. Influencers in blogging and dietetics will join the two organizations for a three-day trip September 23-25 that includes a visit to Fair Oaks Farm in Fair Oaks, Indiana.

At the farm, which is designed for visitors to get an up close and hands-on experience, the tour group will participate in both the Pig and Dairy Adventures, and hear from Fair Oaks Farm employee Stacy Sheldon on meat traceability from farm to plate. The tour will also include a visit to a soybean farm in nearby Rensselaer, Indiana and a group dinner in Chicago.

The 15-person tour group will include Kansas lifestyle bloggers, registered dieticians and state staff from both organizations, as well as the National Pork Board.

Want to follow along during our tour? Kansas Pork will be posting pictures and sharing online on both our Instagram and Twitter accounts using the hashtag, #RealPigFarming. Find us by searching @KansasPork.



September 22

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Names Eight Finalists for Its "Next Faces of Farming & Ranching"

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA®) announced the finalists of its next class ofFaces of Farming and Ranching, a nationwide search to help put real faces on agriculture. The following farmers and ranchers were named finalists:  

  • Erin Brenneman, Iowa
  • Jay Hill, N.M.
  • Carrie Mess, Wis.
  • Thomas Titus, Ill.
  • Darrell Glaser, Texas
  • Brian Jones, Texas
  • Jessica Potter, Colo.
  • Carla Wardin, Mich.

Applications were received from dedicated farmers and ranchers from across the nation. Winners will share their stories and experiences about how food is grown and raised in the U.S. on a national stage through media interviews, consumer-facing public appearances and events.  This is the second time USFRA has sought farmers and ranchers to speak on behalf of the industry in this capacity.

"These finalists are truly passionate about the work they do every day to grow food for our nation," said Randy Krotz, chief executive officer of USFRA. "These exceptional farmers and ranchers will bring consumers, media and influencers a first-hand perspective of how food gets from the farm or ranch to the dinner table." 

Beginning October 24 through November 2, people can visit USFRA's Facebook Page and/or  to learn more about each of the finalists and the work they do, including short videos highlighting their operation. From there, the public can vote for whom they believe best represents the breadth of farmers and ranchers across the country who work to bring food to our tables. These votes will be factored into the final decision to determine the nextFaces of Farming and Ranching.

Winners will be announced on November 12, 2014, during a press conference at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention (NAFB) in Kansas City. 

September 19

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Announce I Am Farmland Campaign

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) has launched a new campaign entitled I AM FARMLAND geared to help support the expanded distribution of FARMLAND, a feature length documentary about the lives of young farmers and ranchers. Funds raised by the I AM FARMLAND effort will be used to bring the film to high school classrooms, college campuses, in addition to communities all across the country.

USFRA invites others in agriculture to help spread the message that FARMLAND accurately depicts life as an American farmer and rancher. I AM FARMLAND is a group of friends of the film working to reach broader audiences and wider distribution.

“Farmers and ranchers owe it to ourselves to help ensure this film is seen by young people in an effort to curb the criticisms and lack of understanding consumers have for food production,” said USFRA board member and Minnesota farmer Gene Stoel. “Consumers are generations removed from agriculture today and they don’t know the people growing and raising our food. This is the first authentic representation of modern agriculture on this scale and the agriculture industry needs to step up and support it in a big way.”

USFRA will use the funds raised in this campaign to continue to heighten the energy of FARMLAND by offering screenings on college campuses, a curriculum-based program for high schools, and screening kits for farmers and ranchers who would like to conduct outreach in their local communities.

“If you have seen the film, you realize that it’s something everyone in America should see,” said USFRA CEO Randy Krotz. “Initial distribution of FARMLAND has been successful but limited. Now that we know the positive impact viewing the film has on non-ag audiences, we owe it to interested consumers to get the film in front of them. We need agriculture’s support to help more people around the country view this amazing film.”

If you would like to contribute to help expand the distribution of the film, please go to

Original article September 4 by

September 18

Kansas Pork joins pop-up marketplace event

In the last decade, Pinterest and e-commerce sites, such as Etsy, have changed the way people shop and how they define their lifestyles. They both define and are defined by current trends, and thrive on entrepreneurial spirit.

 Pop-up marketplace events are becoming the new venue for these trends to shine and the Kansas Pork Association is joining in on the fun.

Chickevents Pic 2

Chick Events: Handmade and Vintage took place on September 13-14 at Park Place in Leawood, Kan., and featured more than 80 local vendors specializing in handmade, homemade, art and vintage products, as well as six Park Place restaurants featuring small plate menus, drink specials and pork specialty dishes

 Owners Aimee Jacobson and Teddi Hernandez had this to say prior to the event, "with Etsy and Pinterest enthusiasm thriving and the vintage trend continuing to grow, this new event brand is brining all things handcrafted, re-furbished and vintage to Johnson County. Add food and live music and we hope for a huge festival weekend."

 As a sponsor of the event, your association was there to host the "I Dig The Pig: Pork Crawl," to highlight these pork dishes, from bacon burgers to pork sliders and cupcakes. Attendants were given a game card upon registration, and after received stamps from eating at least three of the pork dishes, were eligible to enter a drawing for a $100 gift card to one of the participating restaurants.

Chickevents Pic 1

 All attendants were invited to the Bacon Booth where they could play "Bacon Cornhole", get pork recipes and coupons, and chat with us about pork farmers.

 "This was a great event from the ground up for pork farmers to be a part of," says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. "We saw many families and people who were looking to engage and learn."

 Attendance for the inaugural event was over 5,000 and its proceeds benefited local non-profit partner REbel.

 To learn more about Chick Events and its partners, visit



September 17

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics host Farming 101 Webinars

Recently the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics hosted a two-part series webinar entitled “Farming 101.”  Building on the Academy Foundation’s highly successful Future of Food continuing professional education webinar series, the “US Farming 101” webinars provided a foundational understanding of farming in the U.S. with relevant information for nutrition professionals to share with consumers. This factual and science based webinar was made possible through an educational grant from Elanco.  If you wish to learn more and view the recorded webinars you can find them here, entitled, US Farming 101. 

US Farming 101: Part 1 – View Webinar

Building on the Academy Foundation’s highly successful Future of Food continuing professional education webinar series, this "US Farming 101" webinar will provide a foundational understanding of farming in the U.S. with relevant information for nutrition professionals to share with consumers. Learn about types of farms, educational backgrounds of farmers, and regulations of farms. Gain an understanding of the amount and types of foods that are imported and exported, and learn more about locally grown foods. Leave the webinar equipped to educate consumers about where their food comes from. This webinar was made possible through an educational grant from Elanco.

 US Farming 101: Part 2

As a continuation of the US Farming 101 webinar presented in July 2014, this webinar will provide insight into farming economics to better understand how farming decisions are made and the challenges farms face in running a business. Learn how the Farm Bill has impacted farming, nutrition education, and research. A variety of resources will be provided to help nutrition professionals become more knowledgeable about farming, the future of farming, and how to get involved in public policy decisions that affect agriculture and nutrition. This webinar was made possible through an educational grant from Elanco.

Original article on September 4 by



September 16

July Meat Export Volumes Lower, but Values Remain on Record Pace

Pork export volume was down 3 percent in July to 173,270 mt, while value was up 14 percent to $573.5 million. For January-July, exports established a record pace in both volume (1.32 million mt, +7 percent) and value ($4.0 billion) – marking the first time pork export value has exceeded $4 billion before August.

Pork exports held strong through July, despite record prices

January-July pork exports equated to 28 percent of total production and 23 percent for muscle cuts only – each up 2 percentage points from a year ago. July export value per head of slaughter was $67.81 – down from its record high in June but still up 23 percent from a year ago. January-July export value was up 21 percent to $64.45.

Seng noted that pork exports’ record pace in both volume and value so far this year was achieved despite record-high U.S. prices and intense competition in many key markets. High prices for domestic pork in most regions – other than Europe and China – also helped stimulate global demand for U.S. pork.

“Pork exports have overcome some severe price disadvantages this year, especially in Asian markets where we compete head-to-head with European pork,” he explained. “U.S. prices began to moderate in August, so these price gaps have now been narrowed or eliminated. Going forward, this should relieve some of the price pressure on U.S. exporters.”

Mainstay markets Japan, Mexico and South Korea, along with emerging markets such as Colombia, helped offset lower exports to China/Hong Kong. January-July highlights included:

  • Exports to Mexico remained well ahead of last year’s record pace, increasing 12 percent in volume (388,157 mt) and 38 percent in value ($887.1 million).
  • Despite a large increase in Japanese imports of European pork, U.S. exports performed well in leading value market Japan. Pork muscle cut exports to Japan reached 245,497 mt (+2 percent) valued at $1.13 billion (+5 percent).
  • A similar situation unfolded in Korea, where despite aggressive competition from the EU, total U.S. pork exports increased 31 percent in volume (83,149 mt) and 49 percent in value ($257.5 million).
  • Colombia is now the pacesetter for U.S. pork in the Central and South America region, with exports up 72 percent in volume (29,181 mt) and 88 percent in value ($80.8 million).

While Russia did not reopen to U.S. pork until early March, and then only to pork from two U.S. slaughter plants, exports through July still reached 32,163 mt valued at $116.7 million. In July alone, exports were 12,910 mt valued at $49.4 million. Exports to Russia were suspended on Aug. 7 due to Russia’s import ban on many agricultural products from the United States, Canada, the EU, Norway and Australia.

Original release on September 5 by


September 15

Zoetis granted conditional license by USDA for PEDv vaccine

Zoetis Inc has received a conditional license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its vaccine against a deadly piglet virus and will begin selling it this month in the United States, the company said on Wednesday.

Shares of Zoetis, the world's largest animal-health company, reached an all-time high of $36.65 and were up 0.7 percent at $35.73 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

With its new vaccine, Zoetis joins a growing push by both the agriculture and pharmaceutical industries to combat the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has killed about 13 percent of the U.S. hog herd over the past year.

Results from preliminary studies on the product have been "promising," said Joelle Hayden, spokeswoman for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

"They’ve shown sufficient data that we think the vaccine will be effective," she said about Zoetis.

The vaccine comes as veterinarians warn that outbreaks of the virus are expected to surge this fall and winter because PEDv thrives in cold weather.

Zoetis' product means that hog farmers now have two PEDv vaccine options. Earlier this year, USDA granted a similar conditional approval to Iowa-based Harrisvaccines for its PEDv vaccine.

Merck & Co. Inc's animal health unit is also working on a PEDv vaccine. Zoetis was spun off from drugmaker Pfizer Inc last year.

The fast-moving virus has killed an estimated 8 million piglets since it was first identified in the United States last year, pushing U.S. pork prices to record highs.

The conditional license will allow Zoetis to sell the two-dose inactivated vaccine directly to veterinarians and hog farmers alike, for use on healthy pregnant sows, while the company continues to conduct further tests both in research laboratories and in field tests at customers' farms.

Zoetis declined to comment on the company's research, how successful the vaccine has been in reducing mortality rates in baby pigs or what field tests have shown so far. Company officials did not say how much the vaccine will cost.

"We have proven at least some efficacy of those antibodies produced with the sow of being transferred to the baby piglets," Gloria Basse, vice president of the company's U.S. pork marketing, said in an interview.

Zoetis said it was exploring new international markets, including Canada, Mexico and Japan, for the vaccine. Concerns over the virus have fueled contamination fears among U.S. trading partners and prompted a four-month ban on imports of live U.S. pigs into China.

"Really anywhere there’s a customer need, that's where we are going to be involved in the discussion around product relevance," said Catherine Knupp, president of research and development for Zoetis. She said the company would look for local partnerships for such projects.

Original article on September 3 by


September 12

Top Pork Counties Want Tariffs Eliminated in TPP











In an open letter to negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, organizations representing hog farmers in Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico and the United States called for a “comprehensive, high-quality” agreement that eliminates tariffs on nearly all products, including pork.

 The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

 Australian Pork Limited, the Canadian Pork Council, the Asociación Gremial de Productores de Cerdos de Chile, the Confederacion de Porcicultores Mexicanos and the National Pork Producers Council pointed out that the agreed-upon objectives of the TPP are: that it include trade in goods – including agricultural ones – services, investment, e-commerce, competition policy and intellectual property; that there be no product or sector exclusions, especially in agriculture; that all tariffs and other market access barriers such as Japan’s Gate Price be eliminated by the end of the negotiated transition period; and that all transition periods have “commercially meaningful” timeframes, which should be short and not back-loaded.

 “Failure to achieve these objectives,” said the groups in their letter, “would call into question the oft-stated pledge to make TPP the gold standard for future FTAs and our ability to support the agreement.”

 The pork organizations also expressed concern that the TPP market access objectives won’t be achieved if negotiators accept the current trade offer from Japan, which is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination of certain “sensitive” products, including pork.

 “A broad exemption for Japan will encourage other TPP countries to withhold market access concessions, backtrack on current offers, lower the ambition on rules language and possibly unravel the entire agreement,” the groups said. “Additionally, it would set a dangerous precedent for the expansion of the TPP when other nations are likely to demand a Japan-type deal.”

 The organizations called on their respective governments to “redouble their efforts to move Japan away from this untenable position” and, if it’s unwilling to open its markets fully to pork products, to conclude an agreement without Japan. [Click here to read the letter.]


 Original article on September 8 by



September 11

Kansas Pork Sponsors Chick Events

Ready to get a head start on Christmas shopping or have some home decorating to do?

Join Kansas Pork at Chick Events this weekend, September 13-14 at Park Place in Leawood, Kan. This Handmade & Vintage Event will feature over 80 local vendors specializing in handmade, homemade, art and vintage products, as well as 6 Park Place restaurants featuring small plate menus, drink specials and pork specialty dishes.

 Vendor Info _logo -handmade -vintage

Your association will be joining the fun, hosting a “I Dig The Pig: Pork Crawl” to highlight these pork dishes and others at the various food booths and giving participants the opportunity to win a $100 gift card to a participating restaurant. The Kansas Pork booth will also feature the “Bacon Booth” photo screen, “Bacon Cornhole” game, recipes, coupons and more.

As a part of this event, Kansas Pork will have two radio spots. One will focus on promoting the event and the second will feature pork kitchen tips. Tune in this week to KCJK-FM and KCMO-FM to hear these radio spots.

Tickets will be available at the event for $5, cash or credit card (children under 12 are free). The excitement begins Saturday, September 13th at 10am and goes through 8pm Saturday and 11am-4pm Sunday, September 14th. The event benefits local non-profit partner REbeL. Come join us for great shopping, food and live music!



September 10

NPPC Helps Pass Bill to Stop Harmful, Costly Rule


The U.S. House today voted 262-152 to approve legislation that would prevent the development and implementation of a regulation expanding the scope of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) to cover most of the country’s water bodies, ditches and gullies, a rule that would be particularly detrimental to agriculture. The National Pork Producers Council hailed the bill’s passage and will be urging the Senate to take similar action.

 “NPPC is grateful that the House overwhelmingly approved legislation to stop this regulatory overreach,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “We need the Senate to follow the House’s lead and vote to protect America’s farmers.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in April issued a proposed rule intended to clarify their authority under the CWA over various waters. Currently, that jurisdiction – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – includes “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The proposed “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule would broaden that to include, among other water bodies, intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also would encompass lands adjacent to such waters.

NPPC, along with other agricultural organizations, last week released online maps, utilizing the same federal data that EPA uses to implement the CWA, to help the public better understand the scope of the agencies’ proposal. [Click here to view the maps.]

The House bill, the “WOTUS Regulatory Overreach Protection Act,” sponsored by Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., would prohibit EPA and the Corps of Engineers from “developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying, administering, or enforcing” the WOTUS rule and any associated guidance attempting to clarify the scope of the clean water law. The legislation also would block a companion interpretive rule, which enumerates agricultural practices that would be exempt from the WOTUS rule.

“The expanded coverage resulting from the proposed rule, which likely would negate the agricultural exemptions, could force most farmers to apply for Clean Water Act discharge permits,” said NPPC’s Hill, “and permits likely would be needed for a host of traditional farming practices such as application of pesticides and fertilizer. This rule would hand activist groups a tool they could use to file lawsuits to force farmers to obtain permits merely for planting seeds.

“NPPC wants EPA to rescind its agricultural exemptions rule immediately and to either withdraw the WOTUS rule or work with agriculture to make changes in the proposal that reflect real on-farm conditions, then reopen the rule for public comment,” Hill said.

The House legislation would require EPA and the Corps of Engineers to write with state and local officials a proposed rule based on consensus recommendations, which would be subject to public review.


In a letter sent yesterday to members of the House, NPPC, 25 state pork associations, including the Kansas Pork Association, and dozens of other agricultural groups urged lawmakers to vote in favor of the Southerland bill. [Click here to read the letter.] NPPC also signed on to a similar letter to House lawmakers that included national agricultural organizations and business associations.

Original release on September 9 by


 September 9

Bacon-Fest moves to a new venue, continues success

“Live. Love. Bacon.”

 To anyone walking down that street, seeing a t-shirt with that profession might cause some giggles and second glances. But there’s a least one place each year in Kansas City where that philosophy is not only accepted, but encouraged.

Baconfest 2014 - Recipe

 The Kansas Pork Association joined 2,100 bacon lovers and enthusiasts the 6th Annual Bacon-Fest: The Other Fundraiser on August 23 at its new location in Union Station. The Kansas City event is a fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Institute of KC, an organization that provides physical rehabilitation services to youth and adults in the Kansas City area.

Baconfest 2014 - 2

 Every year Bacon Fest features samples of bacon inspired dishes by dozens of eateries, caterers and companies from the Kansas City area. The fun event includes a microbrewery station, live band, a bacon eating contest and a bacon recipe contest, judged by our very own, In Pursuit of Pork blogger, Chris Petty.

Baconfest 2014 - 1

 As an official sponsor, your association teamed up with the Missouri Pork Association to give attendees the “pork tailgate” experience. Back by popular demand was the “Bacon Booth” photo screen where attendees could use various signs and props, snap a picture with their friends and upload it to Twitter or Instagram with hash tag #baconfarmers for a chance to $250 worth of bacon. Other games included “Bacon Cornhole” and “Flip the Chop,” and attendees didn’t walk away without plenty of recipe ideas and coupons to use.

 For more information about BaconFestKC and how you can get involved next year go to


September 8

KPA to host Pork Chop Open Golf Tournament

It’s that time of year again! 

It’s time for the Kansas Pork Association Pork Chop Open.

So dust off your clubs, call up your buddies and join us for our annual fall golf tournament!


Brochure Cover


What: 18-hole, 4-man scramble


When: Friday, September 26, 2014

Registration: 9:00 am

Shotgun Start: 10:00 am

Meal provided after the tournament


Where: Cedar Hills Golf Course

1344 Quivira Road

Washington, KS 66968



Why: Fundraising event for the Kansas Pork Association


How to get involved:



$250.00 per team

Registration deadline: September 12, 2014

Download Registration Form Here



Event Sponsor - $250

Hold Sponsor - $50

Include a company gift in player gift bags

Download Sponsorship Form Here



Contact KPA




September 5

Joel DeRouchey and Chef Alli to participate in SXSW panel

We need YOUR VOTE TODAY! Joel DeRouchey, professor at Kansas State University, and Chef Alli Winter, local celebrity chef, have an unique opportunity to reach consumers through South by Southwest (SXSW.) The annual event held in Austin, Tex., showcases music, film, technology and current trends to approximately 33,000 participants, from more than 82 countries. SXSW Interactive is the part of the event that focuses on generating conversation and ideas around cutting edge technologies and digital creativity. 

 The unique process of becoming a part of the event is that the public has the role of selecting which topics and panels are featured each year. Ideas for sessions are submitted in advance and are voted on.

 This is where we need your help.

 Voting ends TODAY, Friday Sept.5.


What You Are Voting For:

Six Degrees of Bacon: Farm to Fork Innovations

Bacon - it's delicious, and it can really go on or in anything. If you love bacon, or any food, you may be fascinated to learn about the innovative technology used throughout the entire process from getting your food from the farm to your dinner plate. Join a farmer, professor and chef to talk about the surprising technology that brings our most delicious indulgences to table.


How to Vote:

  • Visit
  • Sign in OR create a SXSW account
  • Search for panels by selecting "SXSW Interactive" from the Conference drop down, or follow the information below to locate"Six Degrees of Bacon: Farm to Fork Innovations."

To cast your vote, click the "Thumps Up" icon in the top left

Click here to view this panel at

Click here to see PDF 


September 4

National Pork Board CEO Stepping Down

Chief Operating Officer John Johnson named interim CEO while national search begins  

The National Pork Board announced today that Chief Executive Officer Chris Novak will step down after six years of service to the pork industry and the Pork Checkoff.  Novak is leaving Oct. 3, 2014, to assume leadership of the National Corn Growers Association.

"We're grateful to Chris for his leadership these past several years," said Dale Norton, board president and a pork producer from Bronson, Mich. "With Chris' guidance, our Pork Checkoff team built stronger relationships with pork producers across the country, with our state pork associations and with our partners in the food chain. Chris brought a spirit of collaboration that served our organization and our industry well."

During his six-year tenure with the National Pork Board, Novak worked tirelessly to advance the strategic goals of the Pork Checkoff. For example, a commitment to refresh the image of pork with consumers led to the creation of the newPork. Be inspired®campaign. Since the campaign launch in 2011, pork has led all proteins in growth within foodservice, and consumer demand for U.S. pork is at an all-time high. The National Pork Board also has implemented innovative new programs in animal welfare, disease research, food chain communication and environmental sustainability.

"The pork industry is truly leading the way in responding to consumers with new programs that provide greater assurance of quality, animal welfare and sustainability. I have been honored to be a part of a team that is committed to meeting the needs of our farmers and consumers," Novak said in looking back over his time at the Checkoff. "I'm grateful to the farmers who invest in the Pork Checkoff, the Pork Checkoff's board of directors and the Pork Checkoff state and national staff members for the opportunity to serve this great industry. I look forward to continuing to work with the livestock industry from my new position."

The National Pork Board will immediately engage an executive search firm to assist in a national search for Novak's replacement. Details of the search process will be announced later this month. To ensure a seamless transition, the board has named John Johnson, chief operating officer, as interim CEO. Johnson will oversee the many initiatives currently underway, including finalization of a new strategic plan and development of the 2015 budget.

"Our Strategic Planning Task Force just completed work on a new five-year strategic plan that will be presented to our board this week," Johnson said. "We have been working on the development of this plan throughout 2014, and we are well-positioned to continue pork's growth and innovation."

Additionally, the Pork Checkoff will continue to facilitate the work of the Industry On-farm Audit Task Force, grow relationships with foodservice and retail leadership and finalize the metrics required for implementation of the pork industry's new sustainability framework.

Original article on September 2 by


September 3

PEDV Immunity: Past and Present

Getting a handle on immunity to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has been difficult. First, it was the absence of antigen reagents to measure serological responses. Then it was trying to figure out if sows really had to show clinical sickness to develop immunity, and if the serological response after feedback really did disappear in a matter of weeks. Working with commercial sow herds in North Carolina, Iowa, and Minnesota, we found that, after one good feedback exposure, sows with or without clinical signs routinely became infected and shed PEDV, but amount of shedding was less in non-clinical sows (Fig. 1). Sows seroconverted but, surprisingly, serum antibodies to nucleocapsid, the ELISA antigen, declined rapidly and were frequently negative at nine weeks after feedback (Fig. 2). The findings indicate that striving for clinical signs in a feedback program is not necessary for immunity, and may put more PEDV into the environment unnecessarily.



Was immunity really so short-lived? The short answer is no. Working again with a commercial North Carolina producer, we looked at the feedback response of newly introduced, naïve gilts and previously exposed sows in a herd that had a PEDV outbreak and whole-herd feedback four months (134 days) earlier. Two days after the feedback challenge test, all gilts showed clinical signs and shed virus in feces, with 90% showing Ct values less than 30. By contrast, no previously exposed sows showed clinical signs, 50% never shed virus, and the Ct values of shedders were exhibiting Ct values  >30 (day 2 shedding is shown in Fig. 3). In conclusion, previously exposed sows were resistant to disease after re-exposure, and the duration of solid immunity was at least four months.


What about serology? On the day of re-challenge by feedback, 40% of previously exposed sows were ELISA-positive (S/P ratio >0.2) to nucleocapsid. Five weeks (35 days) later, all naïve gilts had seroconverted, and 75% of sows were positive. ELISA-negative sows had anti-PEDV antibodies, though, since all sows and all gilts, were IFA-positive (Fig. 3). The lessons learned were that (1) one good exposure to PEDV induces immunity in sows, (2) previously exposed sows are resistant to diarrheal disease months later, but get a boost in immunity, (3) duration of immunity is prolonged, with the full duration not yet known, and (4) measuring nucleocapsid antibodies in serum does not give a full picture of immune status.


What is the full picture of PEDV immune status? PEDV is an enteric virus. Protection against enteric viruses is due to IgA antibodies secreted into the intestine that neutralize virus and block infection of intestinal epithelial cells. In suckling piglets that have not developed their own immunity, protection is dependent on antibodies in milk. These antibodies also are secretory IgA and ought to neutralize infection by binding to viral envelope proteins. We find that PEDV-immune sow’s milk contains anti-PEDV IgA that is primarily against the spike envelope protein, not nucleocapsid (Fig. 4). We hypothesize that these antibodies protect piglets. Immune sows are expected to also secrete anti-PEDV antibodies into their intestine. Intestinal IgA in the gut, or in milk IgA consumed by piglets, is excreted in feces. Hence, PEDV-specific IgA in feces should correlate with protection. Surprisingly, we have not been able to detect anti-PEDV IgA in feces. As a result, there remain gaps in the picture of PEDV immunity that we are actively working to fill.  

The take-home messages for producers are that simple feedback protocols induce good immunity, protection is durable for months, serology can be improved, and lactogenic immunity appears dependent on anti-spike antibodies.

The research was supported by National Pork Board grants 13-262 and 14-175, and support from Zoetis, Inc.

Original article on September 2 by



September 2

Food Among Top 3 Expenses of Raising Kids

A middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 ($304,480 adjusted for projected inflation*) for food, housing, childcare and education, and other child-rearing expenses up to age 18, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual report, Expenditures on Children and Families, also known as the Cost of Raising a Child.

While this represents an overall 1.8% increase from 2012, the percentages spent on each expenditure category remain the same. For middle-income families, housing costs are the single largest expenditure on a child, averaging 30% of the total cost. Child care and education was the second largest expense at 18%, followed by food, which accounted for 16% of the total cost.

"Food is among the top three expenses in raising children," said CNPP Executive Director Angela Tagtow. "Parents have the challenge of providing food that is not only healthful and delicious, but also affordable.

The food budget shares ranged between 17 to 25% for a child in a two-child, husband-wife family and 25 to 34% for a child in a two-child, single-parent family (these shares being higher for a three-person household). Food budget shares generally increased with the age of the child and did not vary much by household income level, the report notes.

As in the past, the costs by location are lower in the urban South ($230,610) and rural ($193,590) regions of the country. Families in the urban Northeast incurred the highest costs to raise a child ($282,480). Mark Lino, USDA economist and study author, explained that the fastest growing communities are in the south and Midwest, which may be because it is more economical to raise a family in these locations.

The report, issued annually, is based on data from the federal government's Consumer Expenditure Survey, the most comprehensive source of information available on household expenditures. For the year 2013, annual child-rearing expenses per child for a middle-income, two-parent family ranged from $12,800 to $14,970, depending on the age of the child. Costs associated with pregnancy or expenses occurred after age 18, such as higher education, are not included.

The report, developed by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), notes that family income affects child-rearing costs. A family earning less than $61,530 per year can expect to spend a total of $176,550 (in 2013 dollars) on a child from birth up to age 18. Middle-income parents with an income between $61,530 and $106,540 can expect to spend $245,340; and a family earning more than $106,540 can expect to spend $407,820.

"Variations by geographic region are marked when we look at housing, for example," said Lino. "The average cost of housing for a child up to age 18 is $87,840 for a middle-income family in the urban West, compared to $66,240 in the urban South, and $70,200 in the urban Midwest. It's interesting to note that other studies are showing that families are increasingly moving to these areas of the country with lower housing cost."

In 1960, the first year the report was issued, a middle-income family could have expected to spend $25,230 ($198,560 in 2013 dollars) to raise a child until the age of 18. Housing was the largest child-rearing expense both then and now. Health care expenses for a child have doubled as a percentage of total child-rearing costs during that time. In addition, some common current-day costs, such as child care, were negligible in 1960.

Expenses per child decrease as a family has more children. Families with three or more children spend 22% less per child than families with two children. As families have more children, the children can share bedrooms, clothing and toys can be handed down to younger children, food can be purchased in larger and more economical quantities, and private schools or child care centers may offer sibling discounts.

The full report, Expenditures on Children by Families, 2013, is available on the web at In addition, families can enter the number and ages of their children to obtain an estimate of costs with a calculator via the interactive web version of the report.

Original article on August 18 by



August 29

Deadline for 2015 National Pork Board Member Nominations is Nov. 1, 2014

The Pork Checkoff's Board of Directors is now accepting nominations to fill five, three-year terms that will begin July 2015. Nominees may be submitted by state pork producer associations, farm organizations or anyone who pays the Pork Checkoff, including pig farmers and pork importers. A minimum of eight candidates must be ranked by Pork Act Delegates before the nominees are sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for approval.

"Serving on the National Pork Board is a great opportunity for producers to show their support of the industry while helping to plan for a successful future," National Pork Board President Dale Norton said. "The board plays a significant role, ensuring that the industry voice is heard on a national level." 

Any pork producer or importer who has paid all Checkoff assessments due or is a representative of a producer or company that produces hogs and/or pigs is eligible to serve on the National Pork Board. The 15 positions on the board are held by pork producers or importers who volunteer their time. Seats to be elected in 2015 are currently held by:

Dale Norton, Michigan

Second term

Not eligible for reelection

Lisa Colby, Massachusetts

Second term

Not eligible for reelection

Brad Greenway, South Dakota

Second term

Noteligible for reelection

Carl Link, Ohio

First term

Eligible for reelection to a 3-year term

Craig Mensink, Minnesota

First term

Eligible for reelection to a 3-year term

Candidates also are being sought for two open positions on the Pork Board Nominating Committee. Those appointed will serve a two-year term in 2015 and 2016. The Pork Checkoff Nominating Committee will solicit, interview, evaluate and recommend candidates to the Pork Act Delegate Body at the annual meeting March 5-7, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas.

The application deadline is Nov. 1, 2014, with interviews for each candidate to be held in Des Moines Dec. 11-12, 2014. Please direct application requests and questions to the National Pork Board by mail to 1776 NW 114th St., Clive, Iowa 50325. Or contact Teresa Wadsworth at (515) 223-2612 or at

The National Pork Board consists of 15 members, each serving a maximum of two three-year terms. The Pork Act requires that a minimum of 12 states be represented by the 15 Pork Board members.

Original article on August 21 by


August 28

Producers, Vets Welcome at PEDV Meeting

If you’re a pork producer or veterinarian interested in learning more about the federal government’s role in Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), you may be interested in an international conference on novel Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases (nSECD) in Chicago, Ill., Sept. 23-25, 2014.
The conference, hosted by the USDA, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, will include multiple sessions on nSECDs. Topics will include disease pathways, risk factors for introduction, immunology/vaccinology for nSECDs, as well as the identification of other transboundary swine diseases of concern.
To learn more about the free conference and to confirm your attendance, please contact APHIS’ Dr. Randall Levings at or call (515) 337-7155. For travel-specific questions, please contact Heather Szalmasagi at

Discounted hotel reservations can be made at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare under the room block of USDA‐Swine by calling the hotel at (888) 421‐1442 or going online at

Original article on August 21 by


August 27

National Pork Board Examines International Opportunities

The National Pork Board has announced a study that will explore alternatives for promoting pork's quality and sustainability benefits with international consumers.  The study, to be conducted by SIAM Professionals, LLC, will evaluate existing marketing strategies and partners to identify methods for improving pork’s position as the global meat of choice.

Funded through America's Pork Checkoff, this project will evaluate the effectiveness of current global marketing efforts and identify potential partnerships and marketing tools for promoting U.S. pork. SIAM specializes in evaluating and developing international market opportunities for the food and agribusiness industry.  

"Throughout the world, pork is the single most consumed meat. The popularity of U.S. pork is driven by its taste, versatility as a recipe and menu item, and affordable cost," said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "For many years, pork has been marketed globally with all other meats, and it's our intention to determine the ideal way to market U.S. pork on an international basis. It is part of our ongoing commitment to examine all of our Pork Checkoff programs to ensure continuous improvement."

According to Euromonitor International's latest estimates, global pork sales are expected to grow by 12 percent in the 2013-2018 forecast period, adding 10.6 million metric tons in sales volume by 2018. Most of this increase will be seen in emerging markets, such as Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America where populations and incomes continue to grow. In the first six months of 2014, exports increased 9 percent from the same time period a year ago, according to current data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Most of the gains are due to growth in Mexico and continued demand in Asia.

The National Pork Board is committed to addressing the international trade barriers facing the pork industry. Currently, the United States exports approximately 28 percent of the pork raised here, delivering around $70 per animal raised back to America's pig farmers.

"In 2013, the U.S. sold pork in more than 100 countries. International markets represent a significant sales channel and, grown properly, will be critical to the success of pig farmers across the country," Novak said. "As an industry, we must remain keenly focused on developing global markets and effectively promoting pork worldwide."

The Pork Checkoff's International Trade activities are overseen by the Checkoff's Board of Directors and a 23-member International Trade Committee from throughout the United States. The committee's mission is focused on:

• Research: Conducting technical and economic research and market analysis to prove or dispute non-scientific barriers to international trade.

• Market Access: Seeking and pursuing all legitimate avenues to market U.S. pork worldwide.

• Market Development: Defining key target markets and creating promotion and education outreach opportunities with importers and consumers. 

The National Pork Board has funded international market development activities through the U.S. Meat Export Federation for more than 25 years and is interested in further expanding how U.S. pork is marketed on a worldwide basis. SIAM will investigate the potential for a revised or complementary approach, developing systems with a focus on identifying new and emerging markets, incorporating new messages, and more effectively measuring results. 

"Our farmers, staff, contractors and others involved in U.S. pork production look forward to using insights gleaned from SIAM's analysis in shaping and sharing pork's story with our international consumers," Novak said. "We plan to engage our entire industry in this process of global market review."

Results of SIAM's evaluation will be presented to Pork Checkoff's full board of directors in spring 2015.  

Original article on August 21 by



August 26

U.S. Pork exports on record pace through June

U.S. pork exports remained strong in June, pushing export value to a record first-half pace according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

June pork exports totaled 181,531 metric tons (mt), up 7 percent from a year ago, while export value increased 25 percent to $585.1 million. In the first half of 2014, pork export volume (1.15 million mt, +9 percent) and value ($3.4 billion, +17 percent) achieved record highs.

Despite intense competition, U.S. pork performing well in Asia

Pork export value per head slaughtered was a record-high $72.24 in June, up $15 from a year ago. The percentage of U.S. production exported was 25 percent for muscle cuts and 29 percent when including both muscle cuts and variety meat – up from 24 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in June 2013.

With European pork absent from the Russian market for the past six months due to an impasse over African swine fever, competition has intensified in key Asian markets. But U.S. pork still achieved first-half increases in South Korea and Japan.

“USMEF has focused for many years on establishing loyal customers in these markets and impressing upon them the quality and consistency of U.S. pork,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “That loyalty is being tested in this increasingly competitive environment, but our results have held up very well.”

First-half highlights for U.S. pork included:

  • Exports to Korea continued well ahead of last year’s pace, as high domestic pork prices helped fuel imports. First-half volume was up 31 percent to 77,209 mt, while value increased 48 percent to $236.3 million.
  • Pork muscle cut exports to Japan were up 3 percent in volume (213,653 mt), and 5 percent in value ($969.3 million).
  • Exports to Mexico posted a very strong first half, increasing 15 percent in volume (333,072 mt) and 42 percent in value ($751.6 million).
  • Colombia has emerged as the pacesetter for U.S. pork in the Central/South America region, with exports increasing 83 percent in volume (25,779 mt) and nearly doubling in value ($69.7 million, +95 percent). Exports to the entire region increased 12 percent in volume (59,619 mt) and 21 percent in value ($160.8 million).
  • After a down year in 2013, exports to Australia rebounded nicely – increasing 17 percent in volume (33,149 mt) and 25 percent in value ($114.3 million).

U.S. pork regained limited access to the Russian market in March after a 13-month absence, with two slaughter plants resuming shipments to Russia. Exports were large in June (9,371 mt valued at $34.3 million), but have now been suspended (effective Aug. 7) due to retaliatory sanctions announced this week by the Russian government.

Original report on August 8 by


August 25

NPPC insists that Japan eliminate pork tariffs

In a letter sent August 14 to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) asked U.S. negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to insist that Japan eliminate its tariff system for pork imports. 

The letter notes that Japan's current TPP offer includes exemptions from tariff elimination for certain "sensitive" products, including pork.

NPPC President Howard Hill said the tariff system, or “Gate Price,” is associated with a history of fraud and criminal activity. He also said it discriminates against Japanese consumers by putting upward pressure on food prices and has prompted Japanese meat processing companies to translocate to other Asian nations. 

“Additionally, sources in Japan have informed us that there is widespread opposition within Japanese government ministries to the continued operation of the Gate Price,” the letter stated. “Only the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) staunchly supports the continued operation of the Gate Price.”

The TPP is a regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

Froman visited Iowa earlier in August, where he emphasized the importance of agricultural exports to the U.S. economy. Among his stops, Froman visited the Iowa State Fair, where he had lunch with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, at the Iowa Pork Tent.

“Trade has been essential to our economic recovery,” Froman said in a press release. “U.S. exports are hitting record highs and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in Iowa.”

The Obama Administration is working to complete “the most ambitious, far-reaching, cutting-edge trade agenda in history, which will give the U.S. premium access to 2/3 of the world economy,” Froman said.

However, Hill reiterated in his letter that, “Pork producers' support for a final TPP Agreement is conditioned on the elimination of all tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork exports in each of the TPP nations, including the elimination of the Gate Price in Japan.”

Japan is the top export market for U.S. pork, which shipped nearly $2 billion of products to the nation in 2013.

NPPC's letter said Japan's current TPP offer on pork, “Would rob the U.S. pork industry of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual pork exports to Japan…Further, the disposition of this issue will impact our producers for the next 25 years, setting a precedent for future U.S. free trade agreements.”

To view NPPC's letter, click here.

Original article on August 14 by



August 22

Senate Finance hearing on U.S. - Korea FTA implementation

Last week, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) submitted comments on the importance of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) to the U.S. pork industry. The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Trade last week held a hearing to examine the first two years of KORUS, which entered into force March 15, 2012. South Korea is fifth largest overseas market for U.S. pork, with sales valued at $284 million in 2013. In its written testimony to the subcommittee, NPPC said KORUS provides the kind of access opportunities for U.S. pork that the organization would like to see in all U.S. FTAs. South Korean import duties on most U.S. pork cuts of commercial significance were lowered to zero Jan. 1, 2014. Import duties on all U.S. pork products are eliminated over a short timeframe. Safeguards are applied to a very small number of commercially insignificant pork tariff lines, and where they exist, they are phased out over a short time. KORUS, NPPC pointed out, set the stage for the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations by demonstrating to other Asian countries that they can obtain open access to the U.S. market if they are willing to provide the same kind of duty-free market access opportunities to the United States. South Korean tariff commitments on pork under the KORUS are in stark contrast to the position Japan has taken in the TPP negotiations. It is demanding special treatment for five “sensitive” agriculture products, including pork. Allowing Japan to maintain duties on agriculture products in the TPP would not only seriously damage U.S. trading prospects with Japan, said NPPC, it would severely compromise the ability of the United States to seek duty elimination in all other current and future FTA negotiations.

Original article on August 12 by



August 21

Obama Signs in Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act

President Barack Obama has signed into law the long-awaited Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act (H.R. 1528), making it legal for veterinarians to provide complete medical care to their animal patients beyond their clinics and across state lines.

 The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AVMA) Government Relations Division made passage of this legislation a top priority and is to be congratulated on their successful effort.

 By passing and signing this legislation, the president and our legislators recognize the critical role veterinarians play in treating sick animals and relieving their pain and suffering. The health and welfare of our nation’s wildlife, food animals, and even our companion animals depend on veterinarians being allowed to do their jobs wherever the need arises.

What does this new law mean for you?

This law amends a restrictive provision within the Controlled Substances Act, which previously barred veterinarians from transporting, administering and/or dispensing controlled substances—necessary for pain management, anesthesia and euthanasia—beyond their registered locations, often their clinics.

 Specifically, it states: 

“A registrant who is a veterinarian shall not be required to have a separate registration in order to transport and dispense controlled substances in the usual course of veterinary practice at a site other than the registrant’s registered principal place of business or professional practice, so long as the site of transporting and dispensing is located in a State where the veterinarian is licensed to practice veterinary medicine and is not a principal place of business or professional practice.”

Any veterinarians who are unclear on how to comply with the updated regulations should consult the Diversion Control Program Manager at their respective Drug Enforcement Administration field offices for more information.

 Original article on August 7 by



August 20

Threats Beyond PEDV: African Swine Fever and More

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) is on the minds of pork producers, but the U.S. pork industry needs to be vigilant about other disease threats on the horizon.

“A key threat is African Swine Fever (ASF), which continues to spread in Russia. It has moved into Poland and Lithuania, where it was recently found in wild boars,” said Dr. Patrick Webb, director of swine health for the Pork Checkoff.

Russia placed an embargo on European pork when ASF was introduced to the European Union (EU). The European Food Safety Authority’s Panel on Animal Health and Welfare recently assessed the risk of ASF becoming endemic in the EU’s eastern neighboring countries and its spread to unaffected areas. The panel found that the movement of contaminated pork being fed to backyard swine to offset high feed costs was a major challenge in controlling the outbreak of ASF.

Other challenges include disease spread by contaminated vehicles and infected pigs, as well as delays in the detection and reporting of ASF by farmers.

Is the U.S. at Risk?
The threat of ASF spreading further into the EU has European animal health authorities on edge, but could ASF make it to our shores?

“We don’t share a common border with countries that have ASF, but the international movement of people and animal products puts the U.S. pork industry at risk for disease introduction,” Webb said.

This requires constant vigilance, such as during this year’s Sochi Olympics, when USDA warned U.S. residents not to bring home products containing meat. This was done to reduce the risk of introducing foreign animal diseases that exist in Russia, such as ASF, Classical Swine Fever and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), into the United States through contaminated food products.

Visitors from countries with these diseases also present risks, especially if they’ve had contact with infected livestock or farms, Webb said. “Clothing or shoes that are contaminated can pose a risk, if not properly cleaned and disinfected before coming across our borders.”

Not Human Health Issues
It’s important to note that these diseases are not human health issues. However, meat products, clothing or shoes contaminated with viruses can result in a foreign animal disease outbreak. “This would threaten the health and welfare of pigs and have a severe economic impact on pork producers and animal agriculture,” Webb said.

The World Organization for Animal Health maintains a list of foreign animal diseases (FADs) that would limit trade and commerce. Those that can infect pigs are FMD, ASF, Swine Vesicular Disease and Classical Swine Fever, Webb said.

FADs must be reported and are considered regulatory diseases in the United States. If a FAD is detected, state and federal animal health authorities would have regulatory authority to implement response plans, including measures to quarantine farms and stop movement of susceptible livestock in affected areas to limit the spread of the disease.

Nationally coordinated disease surveillance would help determine the extent of a FAD outbreak, Webb said. To reduce the risk of disease spread, new rules would be implemented regarding the movement and biosecurity of healthy susceptible livestock.

Secure Pork Supply
State and federal response plans also provide insight into what information is needed after a FAD outbreak to allow producers in the affected area to move pigs. “This information has been valuable as the Pork Board has helped develop a secure pork supply plan to help maintain business continuity in the event of an outbreak,” Webb said.

The secure pork supply plan is currently under development, he added. The Pork Checkoff provided the initial funding to begin the planning process, with development costs being paid for by USDA’s APHIS Veterinary Services. The plan development is being coordinated through Iowa State University’s Center for Food Security and Public Health.

The producer components of the proposed plan focus on:
• a valid pre-harvest traceability system based on the industry-developed swine ID program standards
• nationally standardized biosecurity
• disease surveillance

Producers Play Key Role
Producers who voluntarily enroll in the plan would agree to implement program standards and allow access by state animal health authorities to the movement, biosecurity and surveillance information necessary to demonstrate the absence of a FAD infection on production sites.

“Instead of doing this after an outbreak, producers would develop this capacity as a preventive measure,” said Webb, who noted that enrollment in the plan will not guarantee movement of pigs after an outbreak.

However, enrolled producers will provide information in advance that state veterinarian
would need to determine if movement will be allowed, which should shorten the time frame for a decision in the event of a FAD outbreak.

“As we move forward in developing a secure pork supply plan, pork producers play a critical role in early disease detection and overall preparedness for a FAD outbreak,” Webb said. “It’s important that we all remain vigilant, even while PEDV continues to dominate the headlines.”

Tools to Help You Be Prepared
Visit the Pork Store at to order FAD Push Packs, including information about biosecurity, FAD surveillance, fact sheets and information on what you should do in the event of a FAD outbreak.

 Original article on August 7 by



August 19

Russia's ban on American food imports

Russia has aimed its latest cross-Atlantic swing at the American food industry.

On Thursday, the country announced the suspension of billions of dollars in food imports from a number of countries — including Norway, Canada, Australia, the United States and the 28-nation European Union — in retaliation for sanctions imposed on it by those nations over the past few weeks. The measure, which targets meat, fish, fruit, vegetable and milk products, and will last a year, is expected to hit food supplies and drive up Russian food prices. Russia spent nearly $10 billion on food from those countries that will now be banned. Going by the Russian agriculture minister's projections, the ban is expect to affect about 10 percent of the country's supply of pork, fish and fruit.

But it's also slated to negatively affect a number of U.S. food industries. Overall, the U.S. exported well over $1 billion of food to Russia last year. Poultry exports, the largest in the food category, amounted to more than $300,000 million in 2013; nut exports to Russia topped $173 million; and soy bean exports were over $156 million.

(Click here for article charts and graphs)

No industry will be affected quite as immediately and widely as the U.S. poultry industry. Russia accounts for roughly 7 percent of U.S. poultry exports, according to estimates by the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council. While that isn't what it used it be — in the mid-1990s, more than 40 percent of the chicken the United States exported went to Russia — it's still a considerable chunk. "Russia is not an insignificant market," Toby Moore, vice president of communications at the council, said in an interview. "It was our second-biggest market in 2013, and our third as of this past June."

But others, including the American nut industry, are likely to be affected as well. Pistachios, in particular, have been hit by the ongoing conflict between the two countries. The United States is the world's largest producer of the tree nut, and Russia is the seventh-largest importer of American pistachios. Exports to the country, however, have fallen steeply this year. Now that they're banned, American pistachio makers will have to shift those exports elsewhere or face the potential for domestic price drops. American peanuts, which haven't seen the same slowdown in Russia, don't appear to be included in the new ban. "At this point, our understanding is that the ban does not include peanuts, raw or processed," Amy Philpott, a spokeswoman for the American Peanut Council, said in an interview.

Even the pork industry, albeit small, is expected to suffer. Pork exports, which amounted to $16.1 million last year, have picked up considerably since Russia lifted a ban on U.S. swine imports in March. "Two U.S. plants regained eligibility and have been shipping since March," Joe Schuele, communications director for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, said in an interview. "And their export totals have grown quickly — they were more than $34 million this past June."

The latest Russian ban, however, pinches that momentum, and with it the hopes of building upon the potential for strong growth going forward. "Demand is quite strong [for pork] in Russia," Schuele said. "It's a market we're interested in serving if we can regain access to it."

American food makers, however, are confident that most of the adjustments they will have to make in the aftermath of Russia's suspension of food imports from the United States will be a matter of redistribution, not downsizing.

Tyson Foods, the largest poultry company in the country, certainly feels that way. "We're disappointed about the loss of the Russian market," Worth Sparkman, manager of public relations for Tyson Foods, said in an interview, "but don't expect the pact to be significant since the volume we ship there can be absorbed by other global markets."

There's reason to believe that the confidence is justified and that the long-term impact of Russia's ban will be negligible. America's beef industry, after all, did last year exactly what the poultry industry has to do now. In February 2013, Russia suspended all imports of beef because of the use of feed additives. The United States went from exporting more than $300 million in beef to Russia in 2012 to almost none the following year. And yet the American beef export industry has fared just fine. "We still don't have any plants supplying beef to Russia," Schuele said. "People who are in the meat export business understand that it can be a volatile business at times."

Original article on August 7 by 


August 15

KPA to host Pork Chop Open Golf Tournament

It’s that time of year again!


It’s time for the Kansas Pork Association Pork Chop Open.

So dust off your clubs, call up your buddies and join us for our annual fall golf tournament!


Brochure Cover


What: 18-hole, 4-man scramble


When: Friday, September 26, 2014

Registration: 9:00 am

Shotgun Start: 10:00 am

Meal provided after the tournament


Where: Cedar Hills Golf Course

1344 Quivira Road

Washington, KS 66968



Why: Fundraising event for the Kansas Pork Association


How to get involved:



$250.00 per team

Registration deadline: September 12, 2014

Download Registration Form Here



Event Sponsor - $250

Hold Sponsor - $50

Include a company gift in player gift bags

Download Sponsorship Form Here



Contact KPA





August 15

KPA publishes Pig Tales Issue 4 

Stay up to date with the Kansas pork industry and what your association is doing for you. Read about the accomplishments of fellow KPA members and friends and enjoy this issue's featured recipe. Pig Tales is the official publication of the Kansas Pork Association

Issue Highlights...

  • Summer Board Meeting, page 5
  • Just For Her, page 10
  • Youth in Pork, page 15

Click HERE to read this issue online!

PT Issue 4 Cover





August 14

U.S. pork weighs in on important trade matters

The National Pork Producers Council weighed in on two important trade matters, insisting that U.S. trade negotiators get from Japan a deal on pork similar to the one the United States got from South Korea and urging lawmakers to exclude South Africa from a U.S. preferential trade measure.

In written testimony submitted to the Senate Finance Committee International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness Subcommittee, NPPC said the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which was implemented in March 2012, “provides the kind of access opportunities for U.S. pork that NPPC would like to see in all U.S. FTAs.” It noted that the deal on pork in the agreement was accomplished despite opposition from South Korean farmers and compared it with the offer from Japan on pork in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Japan’s trade negotiators so far have refused to eliminate tariffs on pork – and number of other “sensitive” agricultural products – because of opposition from Japanese farmers.

“Opening the market to U.S. pork is no more politically sensitive in Japan than it is in South Korea,” said NPPC, which also pointed out that elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers on all products is the hallmark of U.S. FTAs. “There is absolutely no reason Japan should be treated differently from other U.S. FTA partners.”

The organization also sent testimony to the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee on renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which gives African countries preferential treatment for their products in the U.S. market. AGOA expires next year. (The AGOA testimony also was submitted to the Senate Finance Committee.)

NPPC supports renewal of AGOA for countries that abide by their international trade obligations and that allow access to their markets for U.S. products. It said South Africa, which doesn’t meet those criteria, should be excluded, and the United States should not start free trade negotiations with that country.

Despite years of technical discussions between the U.S. and South African governments, NPPC pointed out in its testimony, the African nation has made no effort to eliminate barriers to U.S. trade in pork. The restrictions, said NPPC, are not based on legitimate food-safety concerns and likely violate World Trade Organization rules.

“Given South Africa’sde factoban on U.S. pork and its lack of progress in opening its market,” said NPPC, “South Africa should be excluded from participation in the AGOA program.”

Original article on August 4 by NPPC via


August 13

No Movement on Agriculture Appropriations Bills as Congress Goes on Five-Week Break

Congress broke for the August recess on Friday, August 1 and won’t be back in the Capitol until Sept. 8.

One of the many pieces of legislative business left at a standstill is the Fiscal Year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill, which funds the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

The House of Representatives began debate on its version of the bill on June 11 but has not returned to it on the floor since. One reason is that Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) loss in his re-election primary race and decision to step down as leader changed the floor dynamics. In addition, there was uncertainty about having enough votes to pass the bill considering the school nutrition provisions that Democrats so vehemently opposed.

On the Senate side, the ag appropriations bill was grouped with the Commerce-Justice-Science and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills into a “minibus,” which was first expected to be brought up for a floor debate the week of June 16. The minibus has yet to make it to the floor, mainly because of disagreement between Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) concerning amendments.

Fiscal Year 2015 begins Oct. 1, so the House is considering a vote on a short-term continuing resolution in September that would fund the federal government at current levels until mid-December.

After the midterm election on Nov. 4, Congress could vote on a FY 2015 omnibus bill or a second continuing resolution that funds the federal government for the rest of the next fiscal year, or until Sept. 30, 2015.

Original article on August 4 by



August 12

Lawmakers Support Agriculture's TPP Stance

Nearly one-third of the U.S. House urged the White House to pursue a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement without countries that prove unwilling to fully open their markets to all U.S. agricultural products, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

In a letter sent earlier this month to President Obama, 140 members of the House, led by Ways and Means trade subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Ranking Member Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., indicated that congressional support for the TPP would be jeopardized if U.S. negotiators accept anything less than elimination of all trade barriers to U.S. agricultural goods. They pointed to Japan’s current offer, demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination for certain “sensitive” products, including pork.

(Click here to read the letter.)

“If accepted,” the lawmakers said in the letter, “this unprecedented and objectionable offer would significantly limit access for U.S. farmers and ranchers to the Japanese market and, most likely, to other TPP countries as well.”

They also said that accepting such a deal – as well as a less-than-ambitious offer from Canada – would set a “damaging” precedent for, and compromise, U.S. negotiations with future TPP members and on future free trade agreements, including one with the European Union.

The TPP was envisioned as a high-standard, 21st century trade agreement, so Japan and Canada must be held to the same high standards as other TPP partners, said the House members. “We owe our farmers and ranchers the best deal possible,” they concluded.

NPPC, which has taken a similar position on Japan’s recalcitrance on tariff elimination, welcomed the congressional show of support for U.S. agriculture.

“U.S. pork producers are grateful that Chairman Nunes, Ranking Member Rangel and many other House members are looking out for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, DVM, a veterinarian and hog farmer from Cambridge,IA. “It’s very important that Japan and other countries know that the U.S. Congress isn’t going to agree to a trade deal that would leave on the negotiating table billions of dollars in U.S. sales and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.

“NPPC will not support the TPP unless the Gate Price in Japan is eliminated and all tariffs on pork in Japan and the other TPP nations are abolished,” Hill added.

Japan is the fourth largest market for U.S. agriculture, which shipped $12.1 billion of products to the island nation in 2013; Canada is the second largest export destination for U.S. agricultural goods, importing $21.3 billion worth in 2013.

Original article on August 1 by



August 11

PEDV slowed, but not stopped

Slowed, but not stopped.

That is the progress on PEDV, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, reported Dr. Bill Hollis, a veterinarian with and partner in Carthage Veterinary Services and partner in Professional Swine Management.

“We are at approximately half of the industry has been exposed to the virus. The rate of new breaks has dropped considerably,” Hollis said.

While the rate of PEDV breaks ramped up during the winter months and into early spring, the rate of new breaks has slowed. However, that doesn’t mean the coronavirus, a strain similar to one found in China, has seen its end in the U.S. hog herd.

“There is still activity, and there is still risk. But the activity certainly has gone down,” Hollis said.

He noted that Professional Swine Management is one of the farms involved with a University of Minnesota PEDV reporting project, the UM Swine Health Monitoring Project. The project has a database of around two million sows across farms in the Midwest.

“We know there are approximately five million sows in the whole industry,” Hollis said.

Dr. Lisa Becton of the National Pork Board said research is ongoing and aimed at looking at how the virus might be transferred.

“A lot of the work on transmissibility and survivability was completed last year, so those are the things we’re still basing off of. A lot of our focus right now has been looking at the potential feed risks for the transference of PED. Those are the things that are still under investigation. We’re also really focusing on sow immunity because as we’re trying to clean up herds, we want to know how long it takes to build immunity, then how long does that last.” Becton said.

Hollis said research into the virus, which has a history in Asia and Europe, has produced some results.

“The good news is we’ve learned quite a bit about how to reduce the impact and how to get herds back to good production,” he said.

Harrisvaccines, based in Ames, Iowa, received conditional approval from the Food and Drug Administration on a vaccine to address PEDV.

“They have a second-generation vaccine now, which is presumed to have greater protection over the initial vaccine. There’s a short duration of immunity from the vaccine, but sufficient to provide protection in the farrowing crate to keep baby pigs alive,” Hollis said.

Hollis and Becton both said the industry has its eyes on the fall and winter ahead.

“We know it does not travel as well in warm temperatures, so our risks of transferring are down during the summer, but that will change in the fall and winter. And we do have approximately half the industry that has not seen the virus,” Hollis said.

“Cold weather provides a difficulty for any kind of disease transfer, whether that’s PRRS or PEDV, so it’s just trying to figure out where we are at now, go back and maybe revisit some studies we did last year and compare and work with our packers, work with our truck wash and sanitation and even manure haulers and look at all these different areas, as well as on-farm biosecurity,” Becton said

“I think what PEDV has done is it really told us we need to continue to focus on biosecurity and pretty much 24/7.”

Original article on July 30 by 


August 8

Are You the Face of Farming and Ranching?

Attention pork producers! The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) is looking for the new Faces of Farming & Ranching help represent agriculture, and you’re encouraged to apply.

To help put a real face on agriculture, USFRA will select standout farmers and ranchers later this year who are proud of what they do, eager to share their stories of continuous improvement and who are actively involved in sharing those stories in public and on social media.

“We are proud of the improvements our farmers and ranchers are bringing to America’s food supply and we think it’s imperative that they have a strong voice in addressing consumer questions,” said Randy Krotz, USFRA’s chief executive officer. “The success we experienced with last year’s ambassadors shows us that people want to hear directly from those who are cultivating our food.”

To show the diversity of modern agriculture, farmers and ranchers who grow and raise an assortment of foods through various methods, on differing scale and across all regions of the country are encouraged to apply.

Chris Chinn, a Missouri pork producer, was selected as one of the 2013 Faces of Farming & Ranching.

“My goal is to help more people engage in meaningful conversations about how food is produced and understand why changes are implemented on the farm or ranch,” said Chinn, who raises hogs, cattle, corn, soybeans, hay and rye with her husband, Kevin. “I realize many people are skeptical about technology on the farm, and I want them to see the values that farm and ranch families have, and understand that our intentions are always to improve the quality of care we give to our animals and land.”

Apply Online
Applicants must submit an online application and include a video no longer than three minutes that shows your operation and your role on the farm/ranch. USFRA will accept entries until Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 11:59:59 (central time).

Finalists will be announced by USFRA in early September, and each finalist will be profiled on The general public will be able to vote for their favorite in late October through early November.

A combination of public votes and USFRA judges’ scores will determine the winners, who will be announced on November 12 at a press conference during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City.

Winners will receive a $15,000 stipend to help cover costs at home while they are traveling. They’ll also receive professional media/speaker training and full support from USFRA through their yearlong tenure. Winners will serve in multiple high-visibility roles on behalf of USFRA, participating in a number of activities including national media interviews, advertising and public appearances.

Learn More
For more information, view the FAQ page, or Lisa Cassady,, 636-449-5050.

Original release on July 31 by




August 7

Evolving Consumption Habits Bode Well for U.S. Pork Among Chinese Middle Class

Even though China’s economic growth is slowing, a cooperative research project with China Agricultural University funded by USMEF shows there is room for growth in per capita pork consumption among consumers in the world’s largest pork-producing and pork-consuming nation.

The research results suggest that evolving demographics – as well as consumers’ changing pork buying habits – will result in increased purchases of prepackaged, higher quality branded pork sourced from production systems deemed safe. Funded with support from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the study was based on interviews with 833 supermarket shoppers in four major Chinese cities.

The study examined Chinese urban consumers’ preferences and attitudes towards pork from different origins of production in four urban areas: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou. These preferences were layered over major demographic variables including age, education level, food safety concerns, and knowledge of frozen, chilled and hot pork. These variables were analyzed to derive an estimate of consumers’ willingness to pay for U.S. pork.

In terms of current supermarket purchasing habits, the study found that hot, freshly harvested domestic pork is still the most favored (50 percent) compared to chilled (40 percent) and frozen (10 percent), a finding that demonstrates the persistence of traditional buying habits, even among urban consumers.

This preference was more notable among residents in the southern cities of Guangzhou and Chengdu, where hot pork purchases accounted for 61 and 57 percent of total pork buying, respectively, while in Beijing and Shanghai, hot pork purchases only account for 27 and 45 percent, respectively.

Interestingly, a large segment of supermarket shoppers still lack clarity on the differences between hot and chilled product. According to the survey, less than 60 percent of the survey respondents stated that they were aware of the availability of chilled pork while only 48 percent claimed that they know the differences between chilled and hot pork.

Urban supermarket shoppers also purchase pork at wet markets. The study found that 40 percent of those interviewed purchased pork at wet markets in addition to supermarkets. Wet markets are viewed as offering the freshest product with flavor unique from local pork that the consumers prefer, an implication which could explain both a strong traditional preference for hot pork as well as consumers’ linking pork freshness with safety.

Pork at modern retail stores is generally sold in two ways: 1) at full-service counters where staff cut from primals according to a customer’s specific order, or 2) in prepackaged or “case ready” form. For the latter, some prepackaged product is delivered to the store already tray-wrapped while, in other cases, sub-primals are further broken down and packaged in store. Prepackaged pork is generally not available in wet markets. Although most consumers still purchase pork at the full-service counters, 20 percent of those surveyed stated they prefer prepackaged product. Prepackaged product is usually branded and carries a price premium versus pork sold at the full-service areas.

The research showed a positive correlation between income levels and the preference to purchase prepackaged pork. Among well-known Chinese local pork brands, the Shuanghui brand is the most recognized with 60 percent of survey respondents saying they have heard of the brand and more than 30 percent having bought its products. Although the percentage of consumers preferring prepacked product is low, it is almost certainly above the level of five years ago, when very little prepackaged product was available.

Supermarket shoppers’ experience with imported pork is very limited, which accounts for the low number of respondents (7 percent) reporting such purchases. In general, consumers prefer to buy local pork over that from outside the municipality or province, but those with higher incomes, whom the research shows are more concerned with food safety, are more willing to spend a premium on product that is deemed safe, regardless of its origin.

Consumers with higher education also displayed a propensity to buy imported pork but, given that most imported pork offered to shoppers to date is frozen, any perceived advantages of imported pork in quality or safety may be cancelled out by a perception that the pork is not fresh and, specifically, that it is frozen.

The survey found an inverse relationship between preferences for local pork and the level of shopper education. The research contained a willingness-to-pay simulation, which found that educating consumers on basic facts regarding the differences between hot, chilled and frozen pork also lowered the bias against non-local and imported pork. The authors concluded that a “consumer campaign can be an effective approach to promote the market for chilled, frozen and imported pork in urban China. Our findings from this study indicate that young and highly-educated consumers are more open to imported pork.”

USMEF-China is integrating these research findings into its education process with importers, distributors and retailers so that they better understand how consumer habits and attitudes regarding pork are changing.

With the Chinese government’s ambitious plan for continuing urbanization towards 2020 and beyond (70 percent urban population by 2030, according to the United Nations), and a growing middle-class appetite for safe and quality pork products, the U.S. pork industry can potentially increase its market share and sales value in the vast Chinese pork market through continuing education and exposure to U.S. pork products.

Currently, most U.S. pork sold at retail is sold frozen in vacuum-packed, portion-controlled consumer portions. In the future, more chilled U.S. pork is expected to be merchandized, but the CAU research points to the need to continue education of consumers – even in urban areas – who maintain traditional shopping habits and a preference for “local.”

Demographics – including rising income and education levels – coupled with consumer concerns over food safety, point to the need to promote the safety and wholesomeness attributes of U.S. pork aggressively in order to increase awareness and demand.

The main report can be found here.

Original article on July 18 by USMEF


August 6

Sales Tax Exemption for Swine Operations now available

For those thinking about a building project, we want to make sure you are aware of a sales tax exemption that could save you some money. In the 2014 legislative session, KPA and other agricultural groups successfully lobbied for legislation that provides a sales tax savings to Kansas livestock businesses investing in facility improvements. SB 265 became effective July 1, 2014. 

   Any purchase, not currently exempt as farm machinery and equipment, could be exempt from sales tax if certain conditions are met. 

   In order to qualify, the project must:

1) have a total cost exceeding $50,000 and

2) be “for the purpose of and in conjunction with construction, reconstructing, enlarging or remodeling a business,” including swine facilities.

The tax exemption applies to several types of buildings including those designed for swine production, composting facilities, shops, offices, and other commodity storage. It also includes mills, grain bins and bulk bins.  It also should exempt materials and services needed for the construction process including concrete work, gravel, sand, crushings, millings or other road materials. Other improvements included in the exemption are new or re-drilled livestock water wells, livestock water recycling/reclamation systems, water lines to buildings or effluent lines to sprinkler, and computers to upgrade operations.  


•        Complete an application at:  /producers/resources/

•        Receive a project exemption certificate

•        Use the certificate to purchase goods and services for the project. -- All materials, machinery and equipment, and labor necessary for completion of the project will be exempt from sales tax. 

•        Purchases must be made after July 1, 2014.

In the last issue of Pig Tales, we included a shortened version of the Sales Tax Guide for Swine Operations. The full version is available at  If you have questions, please call Tim at the office – 785-776-0442.


August 5

Luc Dufresne to receive Science in Practice award

Luc Dufresne, D.V.M., senior director of health assurance at Seaboard Foods, will receive the Science in Practice award for his work leading swine health management at Seaboard Foods and keeping science relevant to industry by moving research into the field. Dufresne will receive the award at the 2014 Allen D. Leman Swine Conference on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 at 9:45 a.m. at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.  
The Science in Practice award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated or shows promising research productivity in production and disease, and who has made contributions to the creation and dissemination of new knowledge for the betterment of the swine industry. The award honors a veterinarian whose major responsibility is moving research into the field, rather than creation of the research.
“Dr. Dufresne has exemplified the requirements of the Leman Science in Practice award his entire career,” reported Robert Morrison, Ph.D., professor and researcher at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “He has consistently pursued science-based solutions and used data to guide his decisions. He shares his observations and conclusions with the industry and encourages others to do the same. This attitude has been most apparent in the last 18 months as he and his employer, Seaboard Foods, have led the industry response to the PED virus.”
At Seaboard Foods — an integrated system with nearly 220,000 sows producing 4.5 million market hogs annually on farms located in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Texas – DuFresne’s responsibilities include managing the company’s preventative health programs, biosecurity and diagnostic protocols. He also develops and supervises animal health research projects at Seaboard Foods’ commercial and research farms.
In 1988, Dufresne graduated from the University of Montreal  College of Veterinary Medicine. Dufresne is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners certified in Swine Health Management, a designation earned by certification in clinical practice for a specific species with demonstration of exceptional knowledge, skill and competency.
Prior to joining Seaboard Foods, Dufresne held positions at Shur-Gain, Brown’s of Carolina, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica and PIC. He attributes his successful veterinary medicine career to those mentors and co-workers who recognized the value in applied practical research and challenged him to continually improve pig health and production.

The University of Minnesota, Allen D. Leman Swine Conference is an annual educational event for the global swine industry. The event is internationally acclaimed for bringing science-driven solutions to the complex challenges facing the industry. Each year hundreds of participants from over 20 countries attend the Leman Swine Conference held in St. Paul, Minn.

Original article on July 25 on


August 4

Pork Checkoff Announces New Common Industry Audit Program

After more than a year of industry collaboration, the National Pork Board has shared plans for a new common industry audit platform for pork producers, packers and processors. The program will use the existing Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) program as its foundation and expand on it to serve as a common audit platform for the pork industry.

The overarching goal of the common audit process is to provide consumers greater assurance of the care taken by farmers and pork processors to improve animal care and food safety. The concept of a common audit was first introduced more than one year ago at the 2013 National Pork Industry Forum. The resolution emerging from that conference directed the National Pork Board to convene a coalition of packers and pork producers to explore a credible and affordable solution for assuring animal well-being.

“As an industry, we know that our consumers are demanding a higher level of integrity from the pork industry’s quality assurance processes and procedures,” said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. “We are encouraged by the broad support we have received from all our industry’s partners to develop the framework for this process.”

The common platform seeks to create and standardize a common process that will:

  • Meet individual company and customer needs,
  • Focus on outcome-based criteria that measure animal welfare,
  • Provide clarity to producers with regard to audit standards and expectations,
  • Minimize duplication and prevent over-sampling and
  • Ensure greater integrity of the audit process through consistent application.

The new common audit framework has several key components, including a new audit tool and a platform that will allow audit results to be shared to prevent duplicative audits. The audit tool has been beta-tested on farms across the country and results were used to make final edits to the audit standard and tool which will be made available in August.

“What’s exciting about this common audit framework is that it has truly been the industry coming together to better serve the needs of farmers, customers and consumers,” Novak said. “This is not a new Pork Checkoff program, but rather an initiative that will be led by producers and packers working together to enhance animal care. We're grateful to the packers who have been members of this task force for their leadership with this effort.” The National Pork Board cannot fully deploy the standards of the program without the direct involvement of packers and processors. Many packers have agreed to support the new common industry audit, which will mean that they will utilize the common audit standard when conducting third-party audits.

The next steps will be to align the PQA Plus education and assessment content with the new common audit platform. This includes updates the animal care and food safety portions of the program. We will be communicating with you later this year as to how it will affect you as PQA Plus Advisors, the PQA Plus education side to the program as well as the points you will assessing during a Site Assessment.

For more information contact Dinah Peebles at or Sherrie Webb at

Original release on July 28 by pork .org


 August 1

Show your #FairThanks

Ribbons and trophies and banners and premiums—oh my.

Whenever we tell the story of youth programs, we tend to focus on who won the rosette, whose name will be engraved on the trophy, who gets to place that placard above their stall reading, “Grand Champion Market Beef.”

It’s too easy to take for granted, however, the small business owners and individuals who make those rewards possible for our youth.

You know them. They’re your neighbors who have the beauty shops on main street, the local bank or hardware store. They’re the rancher down the way who sponsors the plaque for the champion heifer in the breed they raise. They are the bidders at the premium sale who may not know how to judge livestock, but they make sure even a red ribbon pig gets a little bump for the kid who tried so hard.

They don’t do it for fame. No one writes a check year after year after year for glory or a photo in the community newspaper. They do it because they are members of the community and they feel it’s their duty. Those local donors—big and small—do it because they see how these programs build skills in the next generation.

Donors see the rate of return on their investment not in currency but in intrinsic things. See, it may look like a trophy to you, but to them it looks like a child’s self-esteem and recognition of their hard work and leadership.

Oh sure, we make sure the kids write sweet thank you notes. (Let me tell you, a sweet thank you note in crayon in a youngster’s own printing makes even the gruffest rancher melt.) Our fair boards hand out sponsor ribbons for businesses to display. We might list them in show programs, and we host yearly thank you barbecue dinners before the premium auction.

Those are all wonderful ways of showing our appreciation, to be sure.

But this summer, when you post those pictures to Facebook of your kids and their prize-winning projects, why not recognize the local sponsors who made that honor possible, in a new way? Why not go beyond the usual to show your support of their businesses to your extended networks of friends?

All you have to do is tag the sponsors who made those prizes possible in your photos. Just search if they have a Facebook or Twitter account for their business, and then tag it in your photo caption.

You could even share pictures of your kids and their prize-winning projects to their Facebook business pages. Share links to their company websites in the captions of the photos you post. Post pictures of your youth thanking them with plates of cookies or handwritten notes. The ways are endless and bound only by your creativity.

Let’s make this a movement. You’re already posting pictures all over social media, just add one more thing to those posts. And, if you use the #FairThanks hashtag, I will retweet a few with my Twitter account, @Latzke, and High Plains Journal will retweet a few as well. I might even feature your post in an upcoming column if it’s really creative.

Let’s come together and show our local businesses our #FairThanks for their support.

Original article on July 21 by



July 31

Why an Online Presence Matters for Pork

When you’re unsure of a company name you’ve heard, do you still go to the phone book for clarity? For most of America, the answer is no longer the yellow pages; we go online to search for a company’s presence.

“If we don’t find a presence for a company, brand or product online, we are likely to quickly move on,” said Amy Busch, digital marketing manager for the Pork Checkoff.

Here are a few reasons why pork is online:
• Pork is being Googled. Whether people are looking for recipes, pork brands, production issues or training and certification requirements, pork is being typed into a search engine. In fact, 48 percent of consumers begin any online research on a search engine, Busch said.

• Pork is building trust. People like to feel known, important and heard. “The same applies when consumers are able to follow us or be our friend online,” Busch said. “When we find opportunities to personally engage with our fans, they appreciate the effort and are more likely to become or remain pork-loyal and spread the word.”

• Pork’s reach is expanding. On the Internet, information travels quickly. One example is the Checkoff’s bacon rose how-to photo, which was posted on Facebook Feb. 10. “We allow people near and far to engage with our brand by simply giving them online access,” Busch said. “By having a branded website and social network communities, pork producers gain an opportunity to educate America about pork.”

• Pork consumers can be found online. Looking at two million social conversations about meat between October of 2012 and September of 2013, nearly a quarter of the conversations centered on pork. From that slice, 58 percent of the conversations were among consumers in the Pork Checkoff’s target. These consumers are most often discussing recipes and cooking tips on Facebook, Busch said. “Knowing that this platform is where consumers are most engaged, the Checkoff develops specific content to reach these pork consumers.”

• Pork is taking action online based on how consumers use the Internet. It’s projected that this year, mobile Internet usage will overtake that of desktop computers. “We need to be where the action is,” Busch said. “We’re making sure people can find us on their mobile phones or tablets, too.” Earlier this year, an updated mobile website for was released so people could more easily find current promotions and pork recipes on the go.
Building Influence That Matters
To make it even easier for people to find the information they’re seeking, the Pork Checkoff will launch the responsively designed website this fall. Responsive design means that the best version of the site’s content is displayed no matter what device is used to view it, including mobile phones, tablets or desktop computers.

One benefit of responsively designed websites is that they are “rewarded” by Google search results, Busch said. “The site scores higher in search engine optimization rankings, allowing more people to find us when searching for recipes, pork production information, pork brands and more.”

Enhancing pork’s online presence is important, Busch added. “By implementing online marketing efforts designed to align with the Checkoff’s goals, we’re building influence that matters, and ultimately growing our consumer reach.”

Original article on July 24 by



July 30

Pork Checkoff Publishes Summer 2014 Report

Have you read your copy yet? The Pork Checkoff Report is a quarterly magazine published by the National Pork Board.

Issue highlights

    • Special Report- PEDV: A Year of Pain and Progress,page 8
    • Rising Tide Lifts All Boats,page 30
    • Why an Online Presence Matters for Pork, page 36 

Click the image to read this issue online!

 Checkoff Summer Report





July 29

U.S. Pork Center of Excellence offers resources and continuing education courses

National Swine Reproduction Guide

To order annual license:

The National Swine Reproduction Guide is a web-based troubleshooting guide on swine reproduction problems. The Reproduction Guide is only available as a web application and easily accessed through computer, smart phones and tablets. To order an annual license go to our Store.

Are you an instructor teaching about swine production or reproduction? Sign up for a Free Academic License to use in your class room. Click here for details.

NEW: One week FREE trial now available!
Curious about what's inside the National Swine Reproduction Guide? Sign up for a Free One Week Test Trial today!

Professional Swine Manager

Ready to take the next steps up the career ladder?

The Professional Swine Manager (PSM) education program comprehensive work-study program focusing on modern pork production will help prepare you to manage a sow farm, grow-finish units or departments within each type of production system.

The PSM’s classroom sessions are delivered online by community college instructors who are experienced in pork production. Because the classes are offered online, the PSM curriculum is available nationwide to help you master core skills demanded by the industry.

The PSM courses, which qualify as credit towards an associate’s degree, cover all aspects of swine production and management-level responsibilities.

The classroom instruction is enhanced through the PSM program’s on-farm learning component where you gain practical, hands-on experience in the barns.

Check out the Professional Swine Manager education program course sequence! This sequence enables students to not have to wait before starting the program. The rotation allows you to “jump” into the program any semester. Courses are taught at a scheduled time each week to enhance student participation and discussion with the course instructor.

For more information about the Professional Swine Manager courses or to enroll:

Swine Science Online

Interested in furthering your knowledge of swine science? Swine Science Online offers courses in an array of topics and will give you a deeper understanding of the science and management used in the swine industry. All courses are taught by leading university instructors across the country.

When taking these courses you may also obtain a USPCE Swine Science Online Certificate. To obtain the certificate, a student must complete five required courses and seven electives for a total of 12 credits.

For more information about this program visit


July 28

KPA Partners with Kansas Soybean to provide bingo classroom kits

In 2014, the Kansas Pork Association set new goals to reach out to influencers in education, dietetics and consumer outreach to build relationships and pork education programs. In a step toward those goals, KPA partnered with the Kansas Soybean Commission to fund and create educational materials for teachers to use in their classrooms. The association then worked closely with the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Commission to rebrand a bingo game, worksheet and poster kit they had previously developed.

Pork Bingo Card KS Print _Page _01

“Thanks to our friends at Nebraska Pork we are able to maximize the use of our Checkoff funds and provide a great educational resource free of charge for teachers,” says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach.

The kits focus on helping students learn about the variety of products people  use every day at home, in school and in medications that come from pigs and soybeans grown in Kansas. Each kit includes supplies for 25 students and comes with 25 game cards, tokens and call out cards; 25 worksheets and one classroom poster. The materials are designed to accompany a 3-7 grade curriculum level. This educational program is offered to Kansas educators free of charge by the Kansas Pork Association and the Kansas Soybean Commission.

Quantities are limited so order yours today! Go to

July 25

USDA Offers PEDV Reporting Instructions

The USDA has followed up with more specifics on how to understand and comply with its Federal Order on June 5 that requires pork producers, veterinarians and diagnostic labs to report presumptive or confirmed positive occurrences of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), Porcine Deltacoronavirus, (PDCoV) or other  swine enteric coronavirus diseases (SECDs) that meet the case definition. The details currently available, including the newly revised SECD Herd Plan Requirements and other instructions on potentially reimbursable expenses, can be found here 

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working to address these infections with a plan that includes: 1) required disease reporting and 2) development of herd management plans that will indicate the producer is taking actions to implement biosecurity steps designed to reduce further dissemination of PEDV or PDCoV. To this end, APHIS will provide subsidized funding for biosecurity actions by producers described in the herd plans, such as the costs of truck washing and disinfecting agents.

According to APHIS, some of the work to be performed by producers in fighting SECDs that may be reimbursable includes laboratory testing fees for SECD samples, continued monitoring of pigs post-sampling, livestock vehicle washing if called for in an approved herd health plan and the use of disinfectants for cleaning premises, provided funding is available.

Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of the National Pork Board’s science and technology department, says, “Continued monitoring of farms through submissions to the veterinary diagnostic laboratories is important and those specific tests will be paid for by USDA at this point. If producers plan to take advantage of the money USDA is making available for cleaning and disinfection, they should work with their herd veterinarian to ensure that their herd management plan indicates that they have the required protocols in place before they fill out the paperwork and submit it to USDA.”

To date, U.S. research into SECDs has confirmed that they are spread by fecal-oral contact with infected swine or contaminated materials. These diseases require strong biosecurity at farms through diligent cleaning and disinfection by transporters, renderers, processors and other service providers and developing herd immunity to reduce clinical signs.

Since the occurrence of PEDV in the United States during the past year, the disease has been confirmed in 30 states and has led to more than 7 million piglet deaths. In that time, the Pork Checkoff has invested about $3 million in PEDV-related research, including feed-related research, all of which can be found at, along with PEDV-related fact sheets in English and Spanish.

Original release on July 24 by


July 24

Goodband Receives Animal Management Award

Robert “Bob” Goodband, Professor of Animal Science at Kansas State University, has been honored with the Animal Management Award presented by the American Society of Animal Science. 

Goodband was selected for the award based on his excellence in research in production management. He is part of a progressive swine extension team that focuses on developing, evaluating and disseminating the latest research to increase the profitability of pork producers and has played an important role in developing an intensive applied research program that has conducted numerous on-farm trials in several states.

Along with his dedication to research, Goodband is a trusted advisor to many graduate and undergraduate students.

Goodband received his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University and earned his MS and PhD in Swine Nutrition at Kansas State University, where he then joined the Department of Animal Science and Industry as an Assistant Professor. In 2001, Goodband made full professor where he remains teaching today.

The ASAS Animal Management Award is given to animal scientists who have made significant contributions to basic or applied research in animal behavior, environmental science, economics or other biological or production management. The American Society of Animal Science is a professional organization that serves more that 5,000 animal scientists and producers around the world.

Original release on July 21 by 


July 23

American Red Cross recognizes KPA for its partnership

Kansas pork farmers were recently recognized for their partnership with the American Red Cross.

Kristi Ingalls, senior donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cros,s joined KPA at its executive board meeting on July 18 to award the members with a certificate stating their "grateful appreciation of your outstanding contribution to the American Red Cross blood program."

 Red Cross Award 1

(Caption:Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Relations accepts a certificate of appreciation from the American Red Cross on behalf of Kansas pork farmers.)

For the past two years, KPA has partnered with the American Red Cross to provide blood donors with pulled pork sandwiches and door prizes. Often, a Kansas pork farmer will join each drive to help greet and serve donors, and answer any questions they have about pork and farming.

"This partnership has grown our regular drives by bringing in countless first time donors, as well as past blood donors who we have not seen in years," Ingalls says. "We've been able to increase our blood donation goals, with the confidence that we'll have many more donors at each drive and then end up exceeding those goals."

Since its beginning, the partnership has helped save over 9,000  lives.

"We look forward  to continuing this partnership and cannot thank the board, all pork farmers and KPA staff enough for their hard work to ensure that blood is on the shelves in hospitals when it's needed," Ingalls says.



July 22

KPA hosts summer board meetings

On Friday, July 18, the Kansas Pork Association and Kansas GOLD executive board meetings were held in Manhattan at the International Grains Program. The 13 members and staff reviewed and approved Checkoff and non-Checkoff programming for the second half of 2014 and 2015.

Joining the group via teleconference was Chris Novak, CEO, National Pork Board, who provided his thoughts on pork industry program priorities. Novak shared plans for the upcoming year and a projected five year plan, as well as an update on PEDV and market forecasts.

Summer Board Mtg Collage

The board also met and visited with Bill Brown, DVM, Kansas Animal Health Commissioner. Brown utilized his time to elaborate on the USDA’s recent PEDV initiatives and answer questions on the use of premise identification. Brown also commented on the success and continuation of the state’s feral swine control, saying, “I am very pleased with how the feral swine program in Kansas has worked. The state has become a leader on this issue, and other states are looking to us for solutions.”

An election for the 2015 National Pork Producers Pork Act delegates was held. Representing Kansas next year in San Antonio at the 2015 National Pork Industry Forum are: Alan Haverkamp, Bern; Kent Condray, Clifton; Scott Pfortmiller, Stafford; and Michael Springer, Neodesha. 


July 18

Full Compliance of Growth Promotion Phase-out

In the first progress report on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) strategy to curb antibiotic use in animals, the FDA announced that all 26 drug companies have agreed to phase-out use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals (growth promotion).

The FDA said all 26 companies have agreed to “fully engage in the strategy by phasing out other use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals for food production purposes and phasing in the oversight of a veterinarian for the remaining therapeutic uses of such drugs.”

However, critics of the industry said more needs to be done. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said, “It would take an extraordinary leap of faith to believe that asking pharmaceutical companies to change the labeling on packages of antibiotics will result in a tangible reduction of antibiotic overuse on the farm.”

Slaughter is the sponsor of legislation that would ban the use of antibiotics for animals except for treatment when the animal is sick. Companies have until December 2016 to make the changes to their products. The FDA plans to issue a progress report every six months.  

Original article on July 7 by



July 17

Taste the Revolution

Top restaurateurs know that pork is the perfect way to create menu excitement. From pulled pork and crave-worthy bacon, pork is a standout in new dishes that highlight its flavor and versatility.

“The pork buzz is strong in foodservice, and pork has become a menu must-have at restaurants around the country,” said Stephen Gerike, director of foodservice marketing for the Pork Checkoff.

National sandwich restaurants that have recently been making the most of pork include:

• Subway. The chain tested a Kung Pao Pulled Pork sandwiches in select Midwest markets. The sandwich featured pulled pork in a Kung Pao sauce, a savory blend of garlic and ginger for a sweet-and-spicy flavor.

• Wendy’s. Select restaurants in Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts tested a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. There were three BBQ sauce choices: spicy, smoky, or sweet. The sandwich was topped with slaw and comes on a brioche bun. Customers could also get the pulled pork on cheese fries, or a burger.

• Firehouse Subs. For a limited time, Firehouse Subs featured its new Sweet Thai Chili Pork Sub. The sandwich showcased premium 12-hour smoked pulled pork, Wisconsin pepper Jack cheese, sweet Thai chili sauce, and mayonnaise.
• Cousins Subs. This Wisconsin-based chain brought back its popular Cubano and Pulled Pork & Slaw subs for a limited time only. The Cubano featured ham, genoa salami, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, mayo, brown mustard, sliced dill pickles, onions, and tomatoes on Italian bread. The Pulled Pork & Slaw offered pulled pork, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw piled high on Italian bread.

• Quiznos. The chain rolled out a line of Toasty Pastas at participating locations. Options included Bacon Mac & Cheese, featuring cavatappi macaroni with Romano, Parmesan, provolone and fontina cheeses, topped with bacon and breadcrumbs. Customers could also enjoy Spicy Sausage Marinara Pasta, cavatappi topped with light basil-marinara sauce, mozzarella and spicy pork sausage. A third option included Meatballs Marinara Pasta, with cavatappi topped with mozzarella, marinara sauce and pork-and-beef meatballs filled with grated Romano and ricotta cheeses and a blend of Italian seasonings.
• Togo’s Eateries Inc. This California-based chain introduced the #16 Primo Italian, a flavor-packed Italian sandwich with four premium hand-sliced Italian meats – Fiorucci hot capicola, Margherita pepperoni, Fiorucci dry salami, and Hormel ham. The meat was topped with provolone cheese and Togo’s Italian vinaigrette and served on artisan bread with shredded lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles and pepperoncinis.

• Taco John’s. Pork is hot at hundreds of Taco John’s restaurants thanks to the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Burrito. Packed with spicy chorizo, melted nacho cheese, sliced jalapeños and chile de arbol salsa, these burritos also included a generous layer of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

• Whataburger. Customers could try a new spin on an old favorite with the brand’s new Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuit, available for a limited time. The biscuit sandwich was served with sausage or bacon, egg and cheese.

Pulled Pork Maintains Momentum
Pork continues to make a flavorful statement on restaurant menus this summer. Through Sept. 30, Togo’s Eateries Inc. is featuring a Cuban sandwich with pulled pork, Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese and tangy pickles with a tangy Cuban mustard dressing on classic white bread.
BBQ is back at Quiznos’, which is featuring two new sandwiches. The Southern BBQ Pulled Pork showcases slow-roasted pulled pork, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, pickles, yellow mustard and Quiznos’ signature BBQ sauce served on a choice of artisan breads, including white, wheat, rosemary parmesan or jalapeno cheddar. The Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich includes slow-roasted pulled pork, smoky bacon, aged cheddar, cilantro-jalapeno slaw and BBQ sauce on jalapeno cheddar bread.

“Pork’s flavor and versatility make it a top performer in restaurants nationwide,” Gerike said. “We’re onto something big with pork’s potential throughout foodservice.”

Original article on July 10 by


July 16

Debate Over School Lunch Nutrition Standards Delays Agriculture Spending Bill

Nutrition standards for school lunches have turned into one of the most contentious issues in this year’s appropriations debate.

The lunch standards helped prompt House leaders to abruptly pull the Agriculture spending bill from the House floor last month, and they are shaping up as a potentially big vote in the Senate too.

Republicans in the House and Senate want to use the fiscal 2015 Agriculture spending bill to delay — or allow waivers from — rules aimed at putting more fruits, vegetables and whole grains on school menus and reducing sodium, sugar and fat.

Upping the ante, first lady Michelle Obama has thrown herself into the congressional battle over nutrition standards, as lawmakers grapple with child obesity issues and the food industry worries that new rules could eat into profits.

“We’re now seeing efforts in Congress to roll back these new standards and the hard work that all of you, all of us, have done on behalf of our kids,” the first lady told a school meal nutrition roundtable at the White House late last month. “This is unacceptable.”

Easily overlooked in the debate over whether the nutrition rules are necessary for public health, or are unwarranted government intrusions in local matters, is that school meals are also very much about money.

The K-12 food service industry generates $18 billion to $20 billion a year in business, with federal meal reimbursements accounting for about 60 percent of the money, according to a June report by the trade publication Food Management. That’s an educated guess, because the food service umbrella covers colleges and universities, restaurants and institutions. Even publicly traded companies provide few details.

Companies ranging from distribution giant Sysco Corp., to the leading chicken and pork processor Tyson Foods, to cereal- and food-maker General Mills Inc. have a stake in this niche food service industry. Regional and smaller companies are also players in the field.

With the stakes so high for the industry and the White House, particularly with the first lady’s personal involvement, the fight is only intensifying. The Obama administration issued a veto threat against the House bill just before floor debate started on June 11. Republican leaders took the measure off the floor the next day, before Democrats got a vote on an amendment to remove the bill’s one-year grace period from upcoming nutrition standards for school cafeteria directors who can show a six-month operating loss. The bill might come up again later this summer.

On the Senate side, Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota filed an amendment last month to a planned “minibus” spending bill — which included the Agriculture title — that would have given schools waivers from the whole-grain foods rules if the rules would cause hardship. Unlike the House bill, his amendment would not have required proof of operating losses. The bill, however, was pulled from the floor amid disagreements over amendment votes.

Thin Margins

For parts of the food industry, a delay — or broad waivers — would make a huge difference to their bottom lines.

Patty Johnson, a global food and beverage analyst for Mintel Group in Chicago, says tougher nutrition rules at both the state and federal levels would mean fewer snack sales for a la carte lines and greater reliance on food for federally subsidized meals.

“As these changes come through with the requirements for fat and sodium and those types of things, that requires reformulation and that requires investment. Not always, but typically, selling into the schools is not the highest margin sale for the manufacturers,” Johnson says. “The more reformulations and changes and changes, the more costs.”

Big companies with sales to grocery stores, convenience stores and other retail markers can better absorb the added costs, but there are limits.

“I’m selling a quarter of this product to the schools and I’m already putting it into special packaging and now I have to go back to the bench and redesign the product,” she says. “Now I got a pizza that is not performing and it doesn’t taste good. You’re a couple of years down the road before you can execute the product.”

Johnson says that, ultimately, a company with a school food service business is “interested in maintaining sales at the highest margin that they can so they can remain profitable in their business ventures.”

Several large food companies include the nutrition rules as an area of concern on lobbying reports, although they list several others issues as well, such as taxes, labeling of genetically modified foods and ingredients, or the 2010 health care law.

For school cafeteria managers, though, the issue seems to top the list of concerns. They run their operations on thin margins where the smallest drop in student participation means cutting back or operating in the red.

The School Nutrition Association, which represents cafeteria operators and their suppliers, says the additional 6 cents per meal in federal subsidies for meeting the new rules is not enough. Becky Domokos-Bays — a top officer with the School Nutrition Association and school meal director for Alexandria, Va. — says her organization has requested 35 cents per meal in additional reimbursement in the past. But this year, Domokos-Bays says congressional contacts suggested that the association not bother seeking additional money.

Instead, the association has embraced the waiver provision that House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert B. Aderholt, an Alabama Republican, put in his committee’s bill.

Sara Gasiorowski, food service director for the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, Ind., says high school students rejected a 100 percent whole-grain enriched biscuit as a breakfast food, and that some students no longer buy school lunches. Gasiorowski praises the waivers because “we need flexibility and a level of reasonableness” in meeting requirements.

Some Dissent

The issue has divided the School Nutrition Association. Nineteen former presidents of the group have voiced concerns about the organization’s efforts to slow implementation of the next phase of the Agriculture Department nutrition rules that took effect July 1.

The first lady, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, public health advocates and retired military leaders consider the waivers as avoiding nutrition standards that they see as essential tools for combating child obesity.

Supporters of the school meal rules say corporations are behind the push for delaying nutrition standards for snack foods sold in school vending machines or in a la carte lines. But they have not been able to cite specific examples of corporate influence, beyond suggesting that the Minnesota-based Schwan Food Company had urged the SNA to push back against the meal standards.

Chuck Blomberg, a Schwan spokesman, denied via email that his company prodded the SNA to pursue the waiver proposal. “Contrary to what’s been implied in some reports, our company has not taken a position on the proposed waiver,” Blomberg wrote. “We also have not advocated for a waiver with any lawmakers or other organizations.”

The company, whose brands include Red Baron and Big Daddy’s pizza, LiveSmart, Mrs. Smith’s desserts and Minh Asian products, is reformulating products to meet school meal requirements, he said.

Either way, it shouldn’t be surprising that a money crunch is helping drive the debate over school meal rules, given the history of the 2010 health care law that set the mandates in motion. The law renewed school lunch and breakfast programs, as well as the Women, Infants and Children program and several smaller food programs.

Groups dissatisfied with portions of the House and Senate bills thought they could make changes once the legislation went to negotiations between the two chambers. Although the House Education and Labor Committee reported the bill out, it never went to the floor. The Senate Agriculture Committee got its version through the Senate and that was the version that became law.

In June, the School Nutrition Association had requested a meeting with the first lady and Vilsack to detail their major concerns and to lay out suggested remedies. Instead, the organization and its ally, the National School Boards Association, got a roundtable discussion on July 10 with Vilsack, Let’s Move Executive Director Sam Kass and several organizations that generally support the nutrition standards.

Original article on July 11 by




July 15

New Social Media Project Launched

The Pork Checkoff launched a new social media outreach program to share real stories from real farmers with consumers. This new initiative is a social movement to create and own the conversation around modern pig farming. Our goal is to empower pig farmers to have meaningful and impactful conversations on social media with consumers about what happens on their farms. Choosing to tell the story of #RealPigFarming via social networks helps bring consumers and pig farmers together in a way that was not possible just a few years ago. In networks that are powered by images and videos, producers can tell their story in multiple different ways.
An elite team of social media “agvocates” called Social Forces has been selected for this mission. This team includes not only producers from more than 10 states, but animal science and Ag university students from across the U.S. Our Social Forces team is being asked to go above and beyond when telling their farming stories on social media.

The Pork Checkoff is encouraging everyone who has a passion for agriculture or a positive story to share about real pig farming to please use the #RealPigFarming in status updates, tweets, Instagram photos, blogs, vlogs and any other social media update. Check us out today by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.
For more information, please visit or follow @RealPigFarming on Twitter. If you have any questions, please contact Claire Masker,


Original article on July 10 by

July 14

Groups Want 'Notice, Comment Period' on Water Rule

A group of agricultural organizations, led by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation, said an interpretive rule that accompanies a proposed Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation is a legislative rule that must go through notice and comment rulemaking.

In comments submitted on July 7 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 90 organizations said the interpretive rule “binds farmers and ranchers with new, specific legal obligations under the CWA. It modifies existing regulations interpreting the statutory term ‘normal farming, ranching and silviculture.’”

The interpretive rule would exempt 56 agricultural activities from a proposed rule that would expand the jurisdiction and authority of EPA and the Corps of Engineers over certain waters. Currently, based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, that includes “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The proposed regulation would redefine “waters of the United States” to include, among other water bodies, intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation.

The groups said they are concerned that the interpretive rule, as written, will be construed by the agencies to require compliance with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation practice standards if a covered activity is within a water of the United States – which the agencies will determine – and that a practice that fails to comply with the standards will be viewed as resulting in a discharge to a water of the United States, which requires a CWA permit.

The practical effect of the interpretive rule, said the groups, is to require compliance with NRCS standards when undertaking any normal farming, silviculture or ranching activity that federal officials consider to be located in a water of the United States.

NPPC previously requested that EPA and the Corps of Engineers withdraw the interpretive rule. To read the organizations’ comments,click here.

Original release on July 8 by


July 11

Lysozyme as an alternative to antibiotics in swine

Lysozyme, also known as muramidase, is a naturally occurring enzyme found in bodily secretions such as tears, saliva, and milk. It functions as an antimicrobial by cleaving the peptidoglycan (amino acid/ sugar) component of bacterial cell walls,
which leads to cell death. Antibiotics are also antimicrobials and have been fed at subtherapeutic levels to swine as growth promoters for more than 50 years, and the majority of swine produced in the US receive antibiotics in their feed at some point in their production cycle. These compounds benefit the producers by minimising production losses by increasing feed efficiency and decreasing susceptibility to bacterial infection and disease. It is known that increased pathogen shedding
in pigs is associated with reduced performance. Reducing this pathogen load ultimately leads to increased growth rates, likely due to a less active immune system, and increased profitability. However, swine producers are currently under tremendous pressure to eliminate subtherapeutic antibiotic use throughout the production cycle. Finding safe and effective alternatives to traditional antibiotics will allow swine producers to keep the animal health and growth aspects of antibiotics without the stigma associated with their use.

Lysozyme was first used experimentally in pigs in the mid-2000s. In a few studies, human lysozyme derived from transgenic goats' milk was shown to change metabolite profiles, intestinal microflora, and intestinal morphology. However, due to the nature of these experiments, improvements in growth performance due to lysozyme were not detectable. In research, the USDA-ARS research team in Clay Center used a different source of lysozyme (chicken eggs; Entegard, Neova Technologies, Abbotsford, BC, Canada) and designed experiments to determine any effect on growth performance. The first trial was a proof of concept experiment feeding milk replacer to tenday old pigs. In total 48 pigs were fed a non-medicated milk replacer, milk replacer plus antibiotics, or milk replacer plus lysozyme for two weeks. Pigs consuming lysozyme or antibiotics grew approximately 12% faster than pigs consuming the non-medicated milk replacer, which is, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of improved growth performance in response to lysozyme consumption in pigs. In addition, pigs consuming the lysozyme liquid diet had improved small intestinal morphology and decreased Campylobacter prevalence in the gastrointestinal tract. Due to the study design, it was impossible to determine the effects of lysozyme on feed intake or feed efficiency, which is of obvious importance to the swine industry. Nonetheless, it was concluded that lysozyme is a suitable alternative to antibiotics, at least in ten-day-old pigs consuming liquid diets.

Good replacement 
It was obvious that lysozyme potentially was a good replacement for antibiotics used in swine diets, but needed to be tested in more practical diets. The second study was conducted in pigs consuming typical US nursery diets (corn/ soybean meal/ specialty protein). The study design was similar to the proof of concept experiment, but with more animals and the ability to determine the effect on feed intake and feed efficiency. Altogether 192 pigs were weaned at 24 days of age and fed control diets, control diets plus carbadox/ copper sulfate, or control diets plus lysozyme. Similarly to the milk study, lysozyme and carbadox/ copper sulfate improved growth rates of nursery pigs. In addition, to our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate improved feed efficiency in response to lysozyme consumption in pigs. Detecting differences in small intestinal morphology is difficult in pigs as they age due to the increased variation in villi height both between and within pigs. Because it was possible to sample a significant number of pigs, a 28% increase in villi height was detected, as well as a 23% decrease in crypt depth, in pigs consuming lysozyme.

Recent study 
The most recent study, partially funded by the National Pork Board, was designed to determine the efficacy of lysozyme in ameliorating the effect of an immune response in nursery pigs. In addition to regulating the immune response, cytokines have a profound effect on nutrient metabolism. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6 and TNF-α, redirect nutrients toward the immune response and away from growth processes. This is due to, among other factors, increases in muscle protein degradation and acute phase protein production. A total of 1,200 pigs were weaned from the sow at 26 days of age. To induce an indirect immune challenge, half the pigs were weaned into a nursery room left unclean since the previous group of pigs. The 'clean' pigs were weaned into a nursery room that had been fully cleaned and disinfected. Within each room, pigs were fed identical diets to our first nursery study, except that carbadox/ copper sulfate was replaced with chlortetracycline and Denagard (Novartis). Similarly to the previous work, antibiotics or lysozyme improved pig performance, and it did so both in pigs with a chronic immune stimulation and pigs in the clean nursery (Figure 1).

In spite of their long history of use in the industry, the mechanism by which subtherapeutic antibiotics improve the performance of pigs is not completely understood. Presumably, lysozyme would work similarly to subtherapeutic antibiotics. Many potential mechanisms have been hypothesised, including increased beneficial microbes, reduced pathogen load, and improved gastrointestinal function. This research has shown that Campylobacter shedding is reduced by lysozyme. It remains to be seen if beneficial bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract are improved.

Small intestine 
A major effect of both antibiotics and lysozyme is on the small intestine. Both antibiotics and lysozyme increase villi height and decrease crypt depth in the jejunum of the small intestine, as shown by an increase in the villi height/ crypt depth ratio (Figure 2). Villi height is a major determinant of absorptive ability and most absorption takes place in the jejunum of the small intestine in pigs. Thus, it is likely that much of the benefit from antibiotics and lysozyme is due to improvements in small intestinal morphology. Although the USDA-ARS research team in Clay Center demonstrated a correlated response between lysozyme feeding and improved growth performance and intestinal health, it remains to be seen if there is a direct causative effect. Ongoing work in the laboratories is designed to determine the rate of nutrient flux across the gut, as well as to determine the whole body use of nutrients in pigs fed lysozyme-supplemented diets. There is tremendous pressure to eliminate or reduce subtherapeutic antibiotic use in the swine industry. This is due to the perceived contribution of their use to increased levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment and increased human infections with antibiotic resistant bacteria. Lysozyme has proven to be an effective alternative to subtherapeutic antibiotics. In the event that antibiotics are regulated out of use, safe and effective alternatives, such as lysozyme, will allow swine producers to maintain current levels of animal health, efficiency, and profitability.

Original article on June 24 by



July 10

Register for Animal Research Webinars

The Animal Science Research Webinar Series is designed to highlight results of completed research projects that were funded through the National Pork Board’s Animal Science Committee.  Each Tuesday during the month of August at 12 PM Central, one principle investigator will present the results of their project.  Each webinar is designed to last approximately 45 minutes with a 35 minute presentation and 10 minutes of question and answer.  The schedule for August 2014 is listed below:

• August 5: Preparing for the Inevitable Increase In Fiber Content in  Practical Swine Diets -Dr. John Patience             
• August 12: Maximizing Co-product Feeding in Finishing Diets - Dr. Joel DeRouchey       

• August 19: Improving Fiber Digestibility in Swine Diets - Dr. Sabrina Trupia         

 August 26: Impact of Decreasing Corn Particle Size on Energy, Phosphorous and Amino Acid Digestibility - Dr. Hans Stein              

The webinars are free but participants are required to register in advance.  Please for additional details and to register.

Original article on June 26 by


July 9

USDA seeks input for 2017 Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now inviting suggestions for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted once every five years by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture down to the county level.

"The recent release of the 2012 Census of Agriculture is the end of an ongoing five-year cycle that has started anew with the first stage of the 2017 Census - asking what changes to make in the next questionnaire," NASS administrator Joseph T. Reilly said. "This is the perfect time to ask for suggestions since the 2012 data are fresh on our minds."

NASS released the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results on May 2. The agency is now planning the content for the 2017 agriculture census and is accepting input. Any individual or organization may submit suggestions on questionnaire items to add or delete, as well as any other ideas concerning the census. There will be another opportunity to provide official comment through the Federal Register process in the coming weeks.

"There are many industries looking for data that we don't already collect," said NASS census and survey division director Renee Picanso. "There are also some items that people may think are no longer relevant with changing trends in agriculture. Now is the time to express those ideas and concerns."

Content suggestions for the 2017 Census will be accepted until Aug. 4, 2014. Comments can be submitted online

Written suggestions may be mailed to: Census Content Team, Room 6451, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250.

To learn more and to access the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results, including state and county profiles and all the other census data and tools, visit

Original article on June 25 by

July 8

Recommit to Biosecurity

An industry-wide renewed focus on biosecurity is critical in controlling the spread and reinfection of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV). It’s important to review biosecurity protocols with your herd veterinarian and enhance your farm’s biosecurity efforts, says Lisa Becton, DVM, director of swine health information and research for the Pork Checkoff.

Recommendations include:

• Establish and visibly mark a “line of separation” that defines the areas to be used by off-farm workers and the areas to be used by farm or market personnel. There may be several such lines throughout a farm.

• Talk to all service providers to ensure they understand the critical nature of PEDV and your new site-access restrictions. Don’t forget to include the farm’s non-production staff.

• Completely clean, disinfect and dry trucks and trailers, inside and out, after every use. This starts by removing all bedding and debris, as well as using soap, detergent and disinfectant. Don’t forget to clean the cab. Several virucidal disinfectants can inactivate PEDV. Go to or for listings.

• Wear coveralls and boots (both can be disposable) when going to a production site or packing plant. When leaving, remove protective clothing before entering the truck cab.

• After transporting pigs, isolate and wash coveralls at a non-production site or throw disposables away off farm.

• Restrict animal haulers’ access to the truck or trailer only. Load-out crews should not reenter buildings without washing, changing coveralls and boots first.

For detailed biosecurity information, go

Original article by


July 7

USDA announces new measures to help beginning farmers

USDA on Monday, June 23, announced the implementation of policy changes and measures authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill designed to help new farmers and ranchers get started in an occupation where the average age is 58 and rising.

“The new policies will help give beginning farmers the financial security they need to succeed,” said Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden, who released details of the measures at meeting of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee at the University of California, Davis. The 20-member panel, including Extension agents, lenders, farmers, ranchers and academics, will meet through 2015 to devise recommendations to USDA on how to support new and beginning farmers.

The policy announcements include:

--Waiving service fees for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2014 crop year. NAP provides risk management tools to farmers who grow crops for which there is no crop insurance product.

-- Eliminating payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for new and beginning farmers that will allow routine, prescribed, and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent with approved conservation plans. Previously, farmers and ranchers grazing on CRP land were subject to a reduction in CRP payments of up to 25 percent.

--Increasing payment rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). Under this provision, beginning farmers can claim up 90 percent of losses for lost livestock, including bees, under ELAP. This is a fifty percent increase over previously available payment amounts to new and beginning farmers.

The USDA said it also plans to announce in the near future additional crop insurance program changes for beginning farmers and ranchers - including discounted premiums, waiver of administrative fees, and other benefits.

Harden also unveiled a new website that will provide a one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.

“Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive,” Harden said in a news release.

Original article on June 24 by


July 3

Researchers continue to search for PEDv answers

The introduction of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus into the United States in May 2013 has caused severe harm to the pork industry, with nearly 7,000 operations affected in 30 states.

Lisa Becton, director of swine health and information for the National Pork Board, said the research continues to develop producer resources and containment strategies. Becton spoke during a standing-room-only session at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa.

“When the virus became a problem last year, the National Pork Board’s swine health committee met to help make decisions on what research needed done and what the timeline could be to get results,” Becton said. “A strategic task force was also formed with input from the American Association of Swine Practitioners, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Pork Board, along with state and international associations to see how to best handle this outbreak.”

The initial research started in June 2013 to determine what the virus looked like, how it affected the hogs, the environmental stability and what kind of diagnostic test would be the best option to determine if the disease was present.

In the fall of 2013, sow immunity was a high priority for researchers in order to determine how long immunity lasts and what type of immunity is given to the piglets. Other concerns were risk factors of feed and if the virus is present in feed ingredients.

“Since we needed information fast on PEDv, we asked for research results within six months, when normal research would take 12 to 18 months,” Becton said. “The exception was with sow immunity, as we knew that research would take about 12 months to complete.”

The severity of the PEDv symptoms is age dependent, with neonatal piglets being the most affected and having the highest fatality rate. Becton said the diarrhea symptoms start about two to three days post infection and stops after 10 days post infection. Fecal virus shed starts at 24 to 48 hours and peaks at five to six days post infection, but it can shed for up to 35 days post infection.

Research shows that the virus is not exhaled from the pigs but still could spread in the air.

“Since the virus is difficult to grow in a petri dish, developing a vaccine to fight it is also difficult,” Becton said.

Citing a source of the virus on each farm can be very difficult. The main way PEDv spreads is via fecal-oral exposure. While a diagnostic test needed to be developed quickly, researchers wanted to be able to develop a test for multiple viruses.

Survivability of the virus was an issue as well. Numerous parts of the system had to be looked at to determine where the virus was lurking. These included feed, water, type of feed, storage, and manure slurries.

Initial research results show that the virus survives longer at cooler temperatures in both manure and feed. PEDv was detected in drinking water for up to seven days.

“Research was also conducted on how long the virus can survive in a metal trailer. Extremely hot water wash outs of 160 degrees Fahrenheit can kill the virus after about 10 minutes. Leaving the trailer set for seven days at a room temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit will also kill the virus,” Becton said.

With numerous ways for the disease to spread, Becton said the closer hog farms are to each other, the higher likeliness for one to have the disease if another does. Currently several studies are being conducted to see if the virus can be carried in the wind.

Transportation continues to be an issue. Virus was found in all packing plants in the Midwest and buying stations in North Carolina. Vehicles seem to be a vector for the virus as well as loading chutes and other areas where manure is found.

“Cleanliness of barns and good biosecurity are very important to helping reduce disease load,” Becton said.

Research priorities have been set for 2014, which include length of immunity, feed sources and transportation. Information is starting to be collected on sow immunity and comparing it to immunity in other diseases.

“Research is being conducted on feed ingredient treatments to see if how feed is stored, how it is prepared, and how it is delivered to see if any of those are affecting the virus,” Becton said.

Since the discovery of PEDv, pork producers have also seen a rise in the cases of porcine deltacoronavirus.

“We want to be able to determine if we can find out more about these other viruses at the same time and if there are similarities,” Becton said.

The complexity of the virus has researchers busy looking at all angles of the disease and how it is affected by other factors in the environment.

“PEDv seems to be a seasonal virus, with fewer cases in the summer months, but that doesn’t mean that it will go away,” Becton said. “We will continue to conduct research and get results out as quickly as possible to prevent the increase in disease during the cooler months.”

Original article on June 23 by

July 2

Pork Academy Sessions Online

The Pork Academy Sessions that were held at the Word Pork Expo in June can now be viewed online.

The sessions covered:

-          Safe Pig Handling

-          Industry Productivity Analysis

-          Sow Bridge/Pork Bridge, Reproductive Decision Tree

-          World Market Economics and the Importance of Trade

-          PEDV Research Update

-          PEDV-Lessons Learned and Next Steps

-           Sustainability in Pork Production

-           Pain Management

To view the sessions online, click here.  For more information contact Sharlotte Peterson,, (515) 223-2614.


July 1

Public Notice by Kansas Pork Association and the National Pork Board

The election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2015 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at 1:00 p.m., Monday, July 18, 2014, in conjunction with an Executive Board meeting of the Kansas Pork Association at the IGP Executive Conference Center, 1980 Kimball Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66506. All Kansas pork producers are invited to attend.

Any producer, age 18 or older, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted. For more information, contact Kansas Pork Association, 2601 Farm Bureau Road, Manhattan, KS, telephone 785/776-0442.



June 30

Economic Growth, Effects of PEDV Help Fuel U.S. Pork Growth to Mexico

The challenges that the U.S. pork industry is seeing this year – in terms of livestock numbers, product supply, pricing and the uncertainty caused by the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) – are also in play in the Mexican pork market.

And, as the U.S. pork industry has seen its export numbers rise 11 percent globally through April, exports of U.S. pork to Mexico have increased 16 percent, driven in part by the PEDV situation in Mexico’s own pork industry and increasing per capita consumption of pork.

While PEDV has had a significant impact on the U.S. market, the effects may be even more dramatic in Mexico, where the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) reports Mexican officials have found the virus in 17 of the 19 states where testing has been conducted. That has led to reduced domestic pork supplies at a time when the economy here continues its rebound from the peso devaluation in the fall of 2008 and the subsequent economic downturn. That rebound is creating a growing appetite for protein meat products, including pork, and imports are being relied upon to fill the gap in domestic supply as well as to satisfy an increasing per capita demand for pork meat.

Consequently, the first four months of 2014 show a 16 percent increase in volume of U.S. pork sales to Mexico, reaching 221,249 metric tons (487.8 million pounds). Those exports are valued at $475.3 million, a 37 percent rise over 2013 levels. Collectively, those make Mexico the top volume market and No. 2 value market for U.S. pork exports.

While higher pork weights have somewhat offset the decline in piglet numbers, one interesting fact is that all of the volume growth in U.S. pork exports to Mexico so far in 2014 is in muscle cuts – up 22 percent in volume and 45 percent in value. Since variety meat sales are not driven by animal size but by the number of animals, the PEDV impact is easier seen here. Regardless of animal size, the number of feet, kidneys, livers, etc., remains the same. Variety meat exports to Mexico in 2014 are level in volume year-over-year while higher prices have driven values up 11 percent.

The U.S. pork export numbers to Mexico are mirrored by those from Canada, which has been aided by a lower-valued Canadian dollar that has eased down Canadian pork prices. Earlier in the year, the Canadian dollar dipped to its lowest value in six years, giving a price advantage to exports from Mexico’s other NAFTA trading partner.

PEDV in Mexico

PEDV was first reported in Mexico in July 2013 and has since spread to Jalisco, Mexico’s leading pork-producing state, and to other states as well. At this point, the industry does not have a firm estimate of the impact of the virus or the long-range effects on the domestic industry.

However, for those pork producers whose animals remain unaffected, the run-up in hog prices has made for a very profitable year. In every month but February of this year, hog prices have increased by double digits. In Jalisco, for example, year-over-year carcass prices are up about 40 percent. And with feed prices down, that has led to healthy profits for those with healthy pigs.

Certainly the domestic supply situation is a key factor driving pork imports, although it is interesting to watch a traditionally price-sensitive market increasing its purchases of U.S. pork 16 percent in volume and 37 percent in value. One indication that there may be a larger increase in Mexico’s per-capita pork consumption is that pork purchases from all sources are rising. One major retailer that USMEF works closely with is importing 36 percent more pork this year, indicating higher demand.

Impact of pork campaign

USMEF-Mexico will soon be concluding the third year of a consumer campaign designed to increase per capita consumption of pork by helping consumers better understand the taste and eating pleasure of pork. The campaign does not specifically highlight U.S. pork, since much of the pork imported from the U.S. is sold to processors and is not identified by country of origin. The same is true for U.S. pork and pork products sold through the retail sector. However, since the U.S. accounts for about 90 percent of all pork imported into Mexico – and Mexico imports over one-third of all the pork it consumes – the concept of “a rising tide lifts all boats” is helping to grow our exports.

Since the beginning of the campaign in mid 2011, exports of U.S. pork to Mexico reached consecutive records in 2012 and 2013 and, as mentioned above, exports in 2014 are off to a sizzling start. While certainly not all this good news is attributable to the campaign, based on annual survey data consumers in the targeted audience have significantly changed their perceptions of pork as a healthy meat alternative and are regularly purchasing more pork. According to USDA, per capita consumption of pork in Mexico has increased from 14.8 kilograms (32.6 pounds) in 2011 to 15.8 kilograms (34.8 pounds) in 2012 and 16.4 kilograms (36.1 pounds) in 2013.

The pork outlook

The outlook for the Mexican pork market is challenging to predict for the balance of 2014. Given the uncertainty regarding domestic supply and the PEDV impact, import growth should remain positive.

One factor that has the potential to affect imports is whether the Mexican government will move forward with establishing zero-duty tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for several European pork-producing countries. If implemented, that would be a means of helping to moderate pork prices and reduce price speculation. However, the cost of shipping frozen pork from the EU to Mexico could be a barrier to making imports of EU pork economically viable.

In the meantime, while the recovery of the Mexican economy has been slower than anticipated, GDP growth is more than double what it was last year (about 2.7 percent versus 1.2 percent), and that bodes well for continued growth in protein demand and for U.S. pork exports

Original article on June 17 by


June 27

Statewide Water Vision Tour Announced

During July Governor Sam Brownback’s Water Vision Team will be traveling the state to receive input on the first draft of the Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas. 

“Water is one of my top priorities for Kansas and the entire state is affected by what happens with water,” said Gov. Brownback. “We need everyone to care about this issue and I encourage you to attend one of these meetings to share your input and feedback with my Water Vision Team.”

The Team will be visiting 12 locations during the week of July 7-11, 2014 with exact locations to be announced soon. To date the Vision Team has attended more than 160 meetings with more than 9,000 Kansans to gather insight on water issues.

“As we have traveled the state, we know this Vision cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ solution,” said Tracy Streeter, Kansas Water Office Director. “Based on input to date we have established four categories to organize the themes and strategies of this first Vision draft –Water Conservation, Water Management, Technology and Crop Varieties and New Sources of Supply.” 

For more information about the Governor’s Call to Action for a 50-Year Vision, and a list of towns for the tour, visit

Original release on June 10 by


June 26

Kansas NRCS Provides Assistance to Producers in Drought Areas

Eric Banks, State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today that NRCS has assistance available for producers in Kansas suffering from ongoing drought conditions. Drought recovery funding assistance will be under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

This assistance will be available for land where any portion of the county has been designated a D3 (Extreme) or D4 (Exceptional) drought zone according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map as of  May 27, 2014.  Contact your local NRCS office for specific drought area designation.

Kansas has received an additional $300,000 drought recovery allocation for existing unfunded EQIP applications.  This may be a source of additional assistance to producers to mitigate the short-term or long-term effects of the drought.   

“It’s important for livestock producers to have a contingency plan which addresses drought in ways such as deferred or rotational grazing, alternative water sources, combining herds, or possibly reducing livestock numbers,” said Banks.  Conservation plans can include decisions made which address the impacts of drought, or better yet, alternatives to prepare land for drought when climatic conditions are favorable.  NRCS has grazing specialists that provide recommendations about range and pasture management and options to consider for forage and water management.

EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to eligible participants to install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land.  Conservation practices must be implemented to NRCS standards and specifications.  In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for eligible conservation practices applied.  For applicants wishing to install practices prior to receiving a funded contract, a waiver from the State Conservationist must be obtained at the local USDA Service Center.


June 25

Export Statistics: Pork Exports Continue Growth Trend

U.S. beef and pork exports continued their positive growth trend in April, increasing by double digits in volume and by an even healthier margin in value, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Higher prices commanded in the global market have driven up per-head export values for both U.S. beef and pork, as international customers have, so far, been willing to pay higher prices for larger volumes.

For the month of April, total U.S. pork exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) rose 11 percent over year-ago levels in volume to 192,924 metric tons (mt) valued at $596 million, a 26 percent increase. For the first four months of 2014, pork exports are up 11 percent in volume to 776,601 mt valued at $2.25 billion, a 14 percent rise.

The U.S. exported 99,297 mt of beef in April valued at $537.4 million, increases of 15 and 24 percent, respectively. Year-to-date, beef exports are up 10 percent in volume and 17 percent in value to 376,377 mt valued at $2.05 billion.

“Even with a plentiful supply of EU pork products in the marketplace and large volumes of Australian beef, we are still seeing demand grow in most of our key markets and remain steady in others,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “It is encouraging to see solid growth in sales to markets where the U.S. industry has made the biggest commitment in resources. A good example would be Korea, where export volumes have struggled since 2012 but, as Korea’s domestic supply levels of beef and pork normalize, we are seeing a robust rebound in demand for U.S. products.”

Pork notes

Pork exports in April accounted for 28 percent of total U.S. pork production and 23 percent of muscle cuts alone, increases from 25 and 21 percent, respectively, over last April. Export value per head slaughtered equated to $67.35 for the month, up from $50.75 a year ago.

Pork export markets of note in April included:

• Mexico: the top volume market was up 42 percent in value to $132 million on 1 percent higher volume (53,288 mt), helping support record ham prices.

• Japan: export volume set a new monthly record of 48,507 mt (up 39 percent). Sales to the top pork export value market rose 26 percent to $193.9 million.

• South Korea: imported its largest volume of U.S. pork since March 2012: 17,126 mt (up 95 percent) valued at $51 million (up 122 percent).

• Canada: the No. 4 export market for U.S. pork rebounded slightly in April with volume up 4 percent (17,384 mt) and value up 27 percent ($75.6 million).

• Colombia: the top market in the Central/South America region continues to sizzle, up 76 percent in volume in April (4,398 mt) and 74 percent in value ($11.4 million).

Original report on June 5 by


June 24

Red Cross blood donors get special thanks from pork farmers

American Red Cross blood donors give hope and Kansas Pork Association (KPA) farmers give thanks – it’s all about a partnership between the two organizations which has helped collect enough blood to help more than 9,000 patients since 2012.

Donors participating in the upcoming Community Blood Drives will receive special thanks from Kansas pork farmers during the KPA’s 2014 Be Inspired to Make a Difference community program. The KPA program is providing support to the Red Cross and other organizations that are making a difference by working to build stronger communities and a stronger Kansas. KPA’s goal is to collect 708 pints of blood. Because each pint could help save up to three lives, up to 2,124 patients could benefit.

Blood donors will be greeted by Kansas pork farmers serving free pulled pork sandwiches and giving away pig-shaped stress relievers. A free raffle will also be held for two grocery gift cards valued at $25 each, courtesy of the KPA.

            There are 1,000 pork farmers in Kansas. In 2013, they produced more than 500 million pounds of pork, while providing more than $574 million in income to Kansas communities. Learn more about Kansas Pork Farmers at


June 26 from 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. at First Church of the Nazarene, 1000 N. Main, Newton

June 27 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Church of the Nazarene, 1000 N. Main, Newton


July 3 from 9:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 902 5th St., Clay Center


 Aug. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 700 N. Jefferson, Junction City

Aug. 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 700 N. Jefferson, Junction City


Oct. 15 from noon- 6:00 p.m. at the National Guard Armory, 101 Armory Road, Smith Center


Oct. 23 from 11:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Civic Center, Penn & Locust, Independence


Nov. 18 from noon - 6:00 p.m. at the National Guard Armory, 1200 N. State St., Norton


Nov. 7 from noon - 6:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 2448 Edgemont, Arkansas City


Dec. 23 from noon - 6:00 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Church, 638 W. D. Ave. Kingman

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Kansas), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. 

Original release on June 13 from redcrossblood .org


June 23

New resource for safe pig handling

The focus on animal welfare is a hot topic in the livestock business, but what about the welfare of workers who are handling farm animals? The Pork Checkoff has worked to create a new Safe Pig Handling education series that was released at the World Pork Expo. And during Pork Academy at the big Des Moines event, Bill Winkelman, National Pork Board, walked through the features of this new multimedia training tool.

"Two years ago we sat down with producers at the employee safety summit," Winkelman recalls. "We determined what we needed most was training to help ensure employee safety." The result is the new multimedia Safe Pig Handling course.

The industry has developed a safety benchmarking resource that producers can use to gauge their progress on providing a safe working environment on the farm. Winkelman says the changing nature of the labor pool comes into play as well.

"With so many new employees having no background, we needed a resource for onboarding employees and ways to employ safety programs," He notes.

The new tool is interactive, and Winkelman stressed that interactivity of the new training tool was critical.

The Safe Pig Handling tool provides a full-fledged training program designed to be used by swine operations to engage employees and help improve their safety around animals. The developers at AgCreate who worked with the Pork Checkoff, have created a tool that can be used with our without Internet access to facilitate training.

"With this program a manager can play it for a group of employees and when needed stop the presentation to provide the farm's own standard operating procedures," Winkelman says. In addition, the program doesn't need a web hookup to work. He explains the varied access to the Web around the country makes true interactivity difficult.

The program provides materials and information in both English and Spanish, which Winkelman says was essential, but this first project brought its own learning curve. "We learned a lot on this process, if you  made a change in one version you would have to make the translation change," he notes. "It was complicated getting this first project done."

The Safe Pig Handling series also incorporates key practices from the Transport Quality Assurance program and the Pork Quality Assurance programs which provide a cohesive message to workers too.

The first six chapters for this first training program include:

* Pig Behavior and You
* Training and Handling Boars
* Moving Pregnant Sows and Gilts to Farrowing
* Weaning Sows
* Weaning Pigs
*Loading Market Hogs

The program will expand from this first series, but Winkelman says they wanted to get this one complete fist. 

"We want feedback on this first program to help improve the rest," says Winkleman. "And we're only distributing it on a thumb drive that producers will have to order online. The program is free, but the requirement to order will allow the Pork Board to track downloads so they can learn where the system is going." It's important for the organization to understand how training tools may be incorporated into different operations. The Safe Pig Handling program is just the start of what could be a range of training tools for the future.

You can learn more by visiting National Pork Board where you can find a past release of the story at

Original article on June 4 by


June 20

Livestock Haulers Get Exemption from DOT Rule

The U.S. Department of Transportation today granted to truck drivers hauling livestock and poultry a one-year exemption from an hours-of-service rule that took effect last July 1. The National Pork Producers Council, on behalf of a coalition of livestock and poultry organizations, requested the exemption.

The regulation requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after eight hours of service. For drivers transporting livestock and poultry, the hours of service included loading and unloading animals.

"This is an important development for the food-animal industry, particularly the pork industry" said NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. "Pigs don't sweat, so we can't have them sitting on a truck for 30 minutes in the height of summer.

"We recognize the need for our drivers to be safe on the road, and we're pleased that D.O.T recognized that the rule presented an animal welfare issue for us," said Hill, who thanked Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx for recognizing the importance of the issue for livestock farmers and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for his efforts to secure the exemption. 

Original article on June 6 by


June 19

KPA sponsors Kansas FFA and 4-H awards


The Kansas Pork Association has continued it sponsorship of FFA and 4-H award programs in 2014.

At the 86th Kansas FFA State Convention held May 28-30, two members were recognized in the area of Swine Production. KPA President-CEO, Tim Stroda, was there to present the awards.

June 19 - Picture 1 Brett Mc Gee
(Brett McGee pictured with Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO) 

Brett McGee, a member of the Yates Center FFA Chapter, was recognized as the proficiency winner in Swine Production Entrepreneurship. Brett started showing hogs when he was 7 years old. He then decided that he wanted to raise his own show pigs. His SAE consists of one sow, two bred gilts and one boar. Brett sells his feeder pigs to youth to show at county fairs and also markets his pigs on Craigslist. In the future Brett hopes to continue to grow his show pig business and plans to pursue a degree in agriculture education at Kansas State University. Brett is the son of Ron and Valerie McGee. His advisor is Tanner Davis.

 June 19 - Picture 2 Tristan Davis
(Tristan Davis pictured with Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO) 

Tristan Davis, a member of the Central Heights FFA Chapter, was recognized as the proficiency winner in Swine Production Placement. Tristan works for J/L Show Pigs, a family-owned, 50 sow, farrow-to-finish farm. Tristan helps sell the top-end hogs as show stock and the lower-quality animals are fed out. As a young farmer, Tristan enjoys seeing others have success in the show ring with hogs he has produced. He plans to continue his show pig business even after college, eventually selling show stock on a national level. Tristan was also named as the State Star in Agricultural Placement. In the future Tristan plans to attend Kansas State University to earn a degree in animal science. Tristan is the son of Jack and Lisa Davis. His advisors are Aaron Cubit and Trent Page. 

At the 31st Kansas 4-H Emerald Circle Banquet, held June 5, Stroda was also present to recognize the 2014 Swine Project winner.

 June 19 - Picture 3 Campbell Martin
(Campbell Martin pictured with Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO and Kansas 4-H representatives) 

Campbell Martin, a 10 year old 4-H member from Ford County was the recipient of this year’s medallion. Campbell was an exhibitor at the World Pork Expo the week of the banquet and made a quick trip back from Des Moines in order to attend, only to be back in the show ring the following morning. In addition to showing pigs, Campbell expanded his project to a meat business, selling pork bundles and seasoning. 



June 18, 2014

KPA participates in Huelskamp meeting with Taiwan Director General

Thursday, June 5, Congressman Tim Huelskamp (KS-01) discussed trade issues and opportunities between the United States and Taiwan with Mr. Jack J.C. Yang, Director General of the Taiwan Consulate in Kansas City.

Representative Huelskamp also participated in a roundtable discussion with Mr. Yang and members from the Kansas Pork Association, Kansas Grain & Feed Association, Kansas Cooperative Council and Seaboard Foods. Following the meeting and roundtable discussion, the group toured the Manhattan Elevator facility of the Mid Kansas Cooperative Association.

(caption: (L) to (R): David Peterson, Seaboard Foods; Representative Tim Huelskamp; Jack J.C. Yang, Taiwan Consulate in Kansas City; and Tim Stroda, Kansas Pork Association.)


Rep. Huelskamp released the following statement:

“I consider it always an honor to meet with representatives from countries who purchase our agriculture exports. Today, Director General Yang of Taiwan, Kansas producers, co-ops, exports, retailers, and I discussed our Kansan commitment to the safety and quality of our farm products.  The Director General expressed his high regards and understanding of our efforts. With meetings like this to highlight our producers and their products, I believe we have an opportunity to develop even stronger ties with Taiwan. I look forward to continued and deepening agriculture relations between Kansas and Taiwan.”

Congressman Huelskamp is excited about the prospects for growing the markets for Kansas products in other parts of Asia, including in Vietnam and Japan. In August 2011, Rep. Huelskamp hosted the Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States for a visit to Washington County, Kansas. During the visit, the Ambassador and Congressman Huelskamp toured a pig farm and a processing facility. In April 2013 he met with Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, thanking him for his government’s decision to open their country’s market to more Kansas beef and agreeing to improve the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Huelskamp was also a leader in successful completion of trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia that opened the door to millions more in exports for Kansas agriculture. 




June 17, 2014

2014 World Pork Expo reflects positive producer outlook

Wrapping up its 26th year, the 2014 World Pork Expo attracted nearly 20,000 pork producers and other professionals from 32 countries to Des Moines, Iowa, June 4-6. Brought to you by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Expo featured the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, with some 375 commercial exhibits from companies throughout the world. The three-day event also set records for number of pigs entered in the World Pork Expo Junior National and creation of the world’s largest pork burger, while attracting standing-room-only crowds in some of its educational seminars. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also visited Expo to announce a new reporting program for porcine endemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).

“World Pork Expo is a place where producers can get together, share ideas and see what’s new, whether it involves herd health and management, or technology and equipment,” says Howard Hill, NPPC president and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “It’s a showcase of our business and this year, producers had a truly positive outlook about what the future holds. Expo probably offers the best display of what modern pork production is all about.”

Upbeat and looking to the future

Featuring more than 310,000 square feet of exhibit space, the trade show is the heart of World Pork Expo. Producers shopped the aisles for new products, services and technologies for three action-packed days, with Expo exhibitors commenting on the brisk activity.

“Expo is a showcase of not only the United States, but also the world,” says Craig Jarolimek, manager of marketing development, USA, for Topigs Norsvin, which is based in Vught, the Netherlands. “As you walk through the trade show, you see producers and companies from all over the world — it’s truly a world-class event.”

With record-setting U.S. hog prices and reduced feed costs offering a profitable outlook, Expo exhibitors reported that producers are optimistic about U.S. pork production and are formulating plans for the future. The general consensus is that producers are focused on upgrading, remodeling and reinvesting.

“Today’s producers are very professional and precise,” says Mark Hayden, national sales manager for Automated Production Systems, which is headquartered in Assumption, Illinois. “They are looking for new technologies and innovative ways to make their jobs easier and more efficient.”

Another record-setting youth show

In just 11 years, the World Pork Expo Junior National has grown from 120 hogs to this year’s record of more than 1,600 head exhibited by nearly 750 youth from 25 states. Hosted by theNational Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, the World Pork Expo Junior National has become a premier event for young swine exhibitors, and includes showmanship competitions, judging contests and educational sessions.

Concluding Expo’s swine exhibition was the open show, with nearly 600 hogs. At the sales on Saturday, June 7, a crossbred gilt shown by Ashlee Daniels of McKinney, Texas, was the top-selling gilt, setting a world record at $50,000. The highest-selling boar was the reserve champion Duroc shown by Nathan Weisinger, Fort Madison, Iowa; it sold for $90,000.

More 2014 Expo highlights

The world’s largest pork burger was assembled at this year’s Expo as part of a special outreach to the community, thanks to the joint efforts of Hog Slat, NPPC and Vinny’s BBQ. The precooked weight of the mammoth burger, including bun, was 348 pounds — breaking the record set at the 2012 World Pork Expo. The majority of the burger was donated to Des Moines’ Youth Emergency Services & Shelter, with MusicFest attendees also able to sample the record-breaking burger.

Every year, Expo features lots of tasty pork, including at the Big Grill. Volunteers of the Tama County Pork Producers Association once again manned the grill and served up more than 10,000 free pork lunches.

Always popular, and a vital part of Expo, were the nearly 20 free business and PORK Academy seminars providing insights into animal handling, marketing and production management, as well as updates about PEDV infection rates, research efforts and prevention strategies.

Looking ahead to next year, NPPC announced the dates for the 2015 World Pork Expo — June 3-5, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

“World Pork Expo is certainly an event that everyone in pork production needs to put on their calendar,” Hill says. “It is the place to learn about new innovations, designs and engineering that help us raise our animals responsibly wherever we farm.”

World Pork Expo, the world's largest pork-specific trade show, is brought to you by NPPC. On behalf of its members, NPPC develops and defends export markets, fights for reasonable legislation and regulation, and informs and educates legislators. For more information, visit


June 16, 2014

KPA Publishes Pig Tales Issue 3

Stay up to date with the Kansas pork industry and what your association is doing for you. Read about the accomplishments of fellow KPA members and friends and enjoy this issue's featured recipe. Pig Tales is the official publication of the Kansas Pork Association

Issue Highlights...

  • Sales Tax Guide For Swine Operations, page 5
  • Farmland, page 7
  • What's in a Label, page 10

Click the image to read this issue online!

Pig Tales Issue 3 2014 FINAL Cover _Page _01

All Pig Tales inquiries should be directed to the Kansas Pork Association at (785) 776-0442 or 


June 13, 2014

Kansas Animal Health Officials working with USDA officials; PEDv is now classified as reportable disease under Federal Order

In response to the ongoing outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV) and the impact the diseases are having on the U.S. pork industry, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on June 5, announced $26.2 million in funding to combat these diseases and issued a Federal Order requiring the report of any new detections of these viruses to State animal health officials.

These viruses do not pose any risk to human health or food safety.

Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health is working with animal health industry officials at Kansas State University and around the country to provide a coordinated response to help control and mitigate this disease.

"In the last year, PEDv has caused tremendous hardship for many Kansas pork producers," said Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Dr. Bill Brown.  “We are prepared to respond to the Federal Order for the official reporting of PEDv and will be working with veterinarians and the swine industry to best develop protocols to address disease concerns.”

The Federal Order requires producers, veterinarians and diagnostic laboratories to report all new positive cases of PEDv and other new swine enteric coronavirus diseases that are confirmed after June 5, 2014 to state or federal animal health officials. The industry is already seeing herds previously impacted by the virus become re-infected. Routine and standard disease reporting will help identify the magnitude of the disease in the U.S. and can help determine whether additional actions are needed.

The Federal Order also requires those reporting these viruses to work with their veterinarian and State or USDA animal health officials to develop and implement a reasonable management plan to address the detected virus and prevent its spread. Plans will be based on industry-recommended best practices and include disease monitoring through testing and biosecurity measures. These steps will help to reduce virus shed in affected animals, prevent further spread of the disease and enable continued movement of animals for production and processing.

For full details of the Federal Order and program requirements, along with a Q&A on this topic, visit the website at:  

Original release on June 12 by



June 12, 2014

KPA Inspires Ladies Once Again

The Kansas Pork Association served as the Food Sponsor for the Just For Her Expo, held May 30-31 in Kansas City. This was KPA’s fourth time sponsoring intended for women to shop, pamper and treat themselves. Over the course of its three days, the expo saw more than 9,000 attendees.

 JFH Collage

Your association embraces this fun event as an opportunity to connect with a target audience and to inspire them to cook pork at home. KPA volunteers and staff set up the “Pork Inspiration Café” as a place to talk with attendees and give away coupons, recipes, and a chance to win a $1,000 grocery-shopping spree. Chef Alli even shared a taste of the delicious pork she cooks in KPA’s traveling kitchen.

“Exposure at the Just For Her Expo is priceless, in my opinion.  Often, women walk up and ask, ‘What are you selling?’ Being able to say, ‘Not a thing, just Kansas pork farmers and their enthusiasm for pork.’ Follow that statement up with a bite of a delicious pork dish, recipes and coupons, and you’ve just made a friend, and many times, a pork lover,” Chef Alli says.

Beyond hosting the booth, KPA sponsored two cooking demonstrations on the main stage of the event, one featuring Chef Alli, and the other featuring celebrity, Chef Renee Kelly.  Both chefs made sure to teach audience members about the newly renamed pork cuts, including the Porterhouse Pork Chop and the New York Pork Chop. The chefs also highlighted the recommended internal temperature for cooking pork, 145 degrees Fahrenheit with three minutes rest. Each demonstration also allowed a lucky viewer to win a $100 grocery card giveaway.

KPA made sure the ladies at the Just For Her Expo had the inspiration and information needed for their home kitchen. “Women stop by our booth and are excited to see what's cookin’ because they remember how good their experience was last year.  This is the enthusiasm we need to keep women returning for more and more exposure to good pork recipes that lead to tasty, happy pork meals at home,” says Chef Alli.


June 11, 2014

Pork Checkoff Announces New Common Industry Audit Platform
Commitment to continuous improvement and tested PQA Plus program will serve as foundation  

After more than a year of industry collaboration, the National Pork Board today shared plans for a new common industry audit platform for pork producers, packers and processors. The program will use the existing
Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) program as its foundation and expand on it to serve as a common audit platform for the pork industry.

The overarching goal of the common audit process is to provide consumers greater assurance of the care taken by farmers and pork processors to improve animal care and food safety. The concept of a common audit was first introduced more than one year ago at the 2013 National Pork Industry Forum. The resolution emerging from that conference directed the National Pork Board to convene a coalition of packers and pork producers to explore a credible and affordable solution for assuring animal well-being.

"As an industry, we know that our consumers are demanding a higher level of integrity from the pork industry's quality assurance processes and procedures," said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "We are encouraged by the broad support we have received from all our industry's partners to develop the framework for this process."

In 2011, the Pork Checkoff's Board of Directors met with European counterparts who complained about audit programs in their countries that were duplicative, costly and inefficient. Utilizing that experience, the common platform announced today seeks to create and standardize a common process that will:

·        Meet individual company and customer needs,

·        Focus on outcome-based criteria that measure animal welfare,

·        Provide clarity to producers with regard to audit standards and expectations,

·        Minimize duplication and prevent over-sampling and

·        Ensure greater integrity of the audit process through consistent application.

The new common audit framework has several key components, including a new audit tool, requirements for auditor training and biosecurity and a platform that will allow audit results to be shared to prevent duplicative audits. The audit tool is currently being beta-tested on farms across the country. The Industry Audit Task Force will review the results of this test in early July before finalizing the audit.

"What's exciting about this common audit framework is that it has truly been the industry coming together to better serve the needs of farmers, customers and consumers," Novak said.  "This is not a new Pork Checkoff program, but rather an initiative that will be led by producers and packers working together to enhance animal care. We're grateful to the packers who have been members of this task force for their leadership with this effort."

The Industry Audit Task Force includes producers and veterinarians representing the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, as well as packer representatives from Cargill, Farmland/Smithfield, Hatfield, Hormel, JBS, Seaboard, Triumph and Tyson.

 "As packers, we operate between our suppliers - the pork producers - and our customers - those who are selling pork to consumers," said Chris Hodges, chairman of the Packer Processer Industry Council and senior vice president of fresh pork at Smithfield-Farmland. "The eye of the public is on where their food comes from and how it is raised. Meeting the demands of our customers while still appreciating the challenges of our producers is tough. That's why this new common audit platform is needed now."

Hodges added that the National Pork Board cannot fully deploy the standards of the program without the direct involvement of packers and processors. Many packers have agreed to support the new common industry audit, which will mean that they will
utilize the common audit standard when conducting third-party audits.

"This approach has never been more critical," said Emily Erickson, a member of the Industry Audit Task Force and a pig farmer from Jackson, Minn. "As pork producers, we know that we must do more to reassure consumers about our commitment to improving animal care. At the same time, we need a clear and consistent approach that can ensure that we're doing the right thing every day for our animals, our farmers and our customers. This new framework delivers on that promise."

Incoming National Pork Board President Dale Norton agreed. "As a pork producer, I am excited about this new, innovative direction," he said. "This common audit platform will set a clear vision that challenges the status quo and meets domestic and international consumer needs. It's the right tool at the right time to ensure that we provide high-quality pork from well-cared-for pigs."

Original article on June 4 at



June 10, 2014

U.S. Orders Farmers to Report Deadly Pig Virus Cases

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday, June 5, ordered farmers to start reporting cases of a deadly pig virus and pledged over $26 million in funding to combat the disease, pushing back against criticism of his handling of a widespread outbreak. 

Vilsack, speaking to a roomful of farmers at an industry gathering in Iowa, said they must tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture about outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) effective immediately to help control the spread of the disease. 

The USDA had said in April it would require reporting of cases of PEDv and Swine Delta Coronavirus, but provided few details. 

PEDv first appeared in the United States over a year ago and has wiped out an estimated 10 percent of U.S. pigs. The virus causes diarrhea and vomiting and is nearly always lethal to baby piglets. 

Veterinarians have said the USDA failed to protect the nation from the virus, which had never been in the country before it was found in Ohio in April 2013 and whose origins remain unknown. 

"It's not a failure," Vilsack told reporters at the World Pork Expo about the spread of PEDv. "It's a challenge." 

Vilsack said that requiring farmers to report the disease should help ease concerns among importers. Already, 11 countries have limited imports of live U.S. hogs and one country has banned pork imports because of concerns about the virus. 

"We're seeing record exports in pork. Why would we want to jeopardize that?" Vilsack said. 

The United States last year exported about $6 billion worth of pork and $30.5 million worth of live hogs. 

The emergence of the virulent, fast-moving virus caught the USDA and hog industry off guard. It has killed about 8 million piglets so far and helped to push pork prices to record highs. 

PEDv is not a threat to humans or to food safety, according to the USDA. 

However, farmers and veterinarians fear that other diseases could enter the country because the USDA does not know how PEDv entered, fueling concerns about the measures used to protect the U.S. food supply. 

"The department in charge of protecting our nation's food supply should not have taken a year to act," U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said. "But I hope with resources finally being put in to monitoring PEDv, we will at long last be able to track the cause of this virus and stop it in its tracks." 

Vilsack said the outbreaks raised questions about "whether or not we are as prepared as we need to be" to check diseases at national borders. 

Since PEDv was discovered spring last year, a second strain of the virus and a different disease called Swine Delta Coronavirus have also been identified. 

Vilsack pledged $26.2 million in funding to combat all the diseases, including $11.1 million to support strengthened bio-security practices at farms. 

"More money may be needed in the future, but $26 million in an environment like we have right now is new money," said Howard Hill, president of the National Pork Producers Council and an Iowa hog farmer. 

Original article on June 6 by

June 9, 2014

USDA seeks partnerships to protect soil, water

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is teaming with businesses, nonprofits and others on a five-year, $2.4 billion program that will fund locally designed soil and water conservation projects nationwide, Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.

Authorized by the new farm law enacted earlier this year, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program is intended to involve the private sector more directly in planning and funding environmental protection initiatives tied to agriculture.

"It's a new approach to conservation that is really going to encourage people to think in very innovative and creative ways," Vilsack said.

He described the projects to be funded as "clean water startup operations" that will benefit communities and watersheds, a departure from the department's more traditional approach of focusing on individual operators adopting practices such as no-till cultivation or planting buffer strips to prevent runoff into streams.

Universities, local and tribal governments, companies and sporting groups are among those eligible to devise plans and seek grants.

"By establishing new public-private partnerships, we can have an impact that's well beyond what the federal government could accomplish on its own," Vilsack said. "These efforts keep our land resilient and water clean, and promote tremendous economic growth in agriculture, construction, tourism and outdoor recreation and other industries."

In addition to protecting the environment, the projects will bolster the rural economy by supporting tourism and outdoor recreation jobs while avoiding pollution that would cost more to clean up, he said.

USDA will spend $1.2 billion — including $400 million the first year — and raise an equal amount from participants. Successful applications will include offers of cash, labor or other contributions, as well as plans for achieving measurable solutions and using new approaches, said Jason Weller, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Vilsack announced the program in Michigan, home state of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, primary writer of the farm bill with Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. They held a news conference in Bay City near Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay, where nutrient runoff from croplands causes algae blooms that degrade water quality.

Stabenow said she expected the area to generate several funding proposals.

Kellogg Co. is working with The Nature Conservancy on a project designed to reduce runoff in the Saginaw Bay watershed, said Diane Holdorf, the cereal company's chief sustainability officer. Kellogg, based in Battle Creek, buys wheat for its cereals from farms in the area.

The program establishes three pots of money for grants. Thirty-five percent of total funding will be divided among "critical" areas including the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Columbia, Colorado and Mississippi river basins, the Longleaf Pine Range, prairie grasslands and the California Bay Delta.

Additionally, 40 percent will go to regional or multi-state projects selected on a competitive basis and 25 percent to state-level projects.

The California Rice Commission plans to seek funding of initiatives to expand water bird habitat in flooded Central Valley rice fields, said Paul Buttner, manager of environmental affairs. Rice farms are an indispensable waterfowl refuge because most of the original wetlands have been developed, he said.

Working with the USDA and other partners, the rice commission has developed practices that can make fields more hospitable for birds such as draining them more gradually ahead of planting season and building nesting islands, Buttner said. The new program could attract more participants, he said.

The New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts will develop proposals for combating invasive plants that suck too much water from the ground and ranching practices that could slow the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, Executive Director Debbie Hughes said.

Original article May 27 by

June 6, 2014

KFFC Urges Members to Reach Out to Non-Farming Friends

With farm populations declining, fewer people have the chance to visit a farm and get the opportunity to harvest a Kansas wheat field or help feed cattle on a beef operation. But the Kansas Farm Food Connection wants to help change that by sponsoring a sweepstakes to bring consumers back to the farm for a day.

The catch is, KFFC needs your help. In order to maximize our reach among the general public, we are asking all KPA members to share this opportunity with your community. Not sure who needs to know? Share the opportunity at your church, at a ball game or on your favorite social media channel. 

"People care about where their food comes from and farmers are eager to tell the story of how they raise that food," says Tim Stroda, KFFC chairman. "By sponsoring this event, we're bringing those two groups together to learn from one another."

The event is the first of its kind and represents an important effort on the part of the eight-member coalition of Kansas farm organizations to help consumers learn more about how their food is produced. The organization is proud to collaborate with Cow Camp Feedyard in Ramona, KS and Knopf Family Farms near Gypsum, KS for the contest.

Winners will roll up their sleeves and participate in regular farm chores on both a Kansas beef operation and a Kansas wheat farm on Saturday, June 28. The sweepstakes is open to all Kansas moms (and dads) and their families who want to learn more about agriculture. Children must be eight years or older to participate.

For sweepstakes information, visit the KFFC Facebook page at

The final date to enter will be June 16 and winner will be contacted on June 18.

About KFFC

The mission of the Kansas Farm Food Connection is to connect farms to families and families to farms, through education and first-hand experience to learn, eat and grow together.

No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the State of KS, 21 or older. Void everywhere outside of the State of KS. Transportation between winner's residence and the farm is not part of the prize. Subject to official rules at:


June 5, 2014

Agriculture Groups Urge TPP Deal Without Japan

The National Pork Producers Council today joined the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the USA Rice Federation and the U.S. Wheat Association in calling on the Obama administration to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations without Japan unless that nation agrees to provide significant market access for the United States. For U.S. pork that means elimination of Japan’s gate price system and all tariffs.

The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

According to reports from the recent TPP trade ministerial meeting in Singapore, Japanese Minister of the Economy Akira Amari said Japan will not abolish tariffs in the agricultural sectors it considers “sacred” – dairy, sugar, rice, beef, pork, wheat and barley.

“The U.S. pork industry is very disappointed that Japan continues to refuse to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, who pointed out that the U.S. meat sector strongly supported Japan’s entry into the TPP talks, as did most of American agriculture. “A country can’t shield its primary agricultural products from competition and still claim to be committed to a high-standard agreement that liberalizes essentially all goods.”

Japan is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exempting pork and other “sensitive” products from tariff elimination. The United States never has agreed to let a trading partner exempt as many tariff lines as Japan is requesting – 586. In fact, in the 17 free trade agreements the United States has concluded since 2000, only 233 tariff lines combined have been exempted from having tariff elimination.

“Allowing Japan to exempt products from going to a zero tariff and preserving the gate price on pork sets a horrible precedent,” Hill said. “Other TPP countries may demand similar treatment, which could jeopardize the entire agreement, and that precedent would make it much harder to obtain a good outcome for pork and other agricultural products in future trade deals.”

Original release on May 28 by

June 4, 2014

Review finds flaws with EPA analysis of proposed CWA rule

review of the EPA’s economic analysis of its proposed rule to expand the definition “waters of the United States” has an economist and University of California-Berkley faculty member urging the federal agency to go back to the drawing table in its estimation of the proposal’s economic impact.

The proposed rule would expand the definition of “waters of the United States” to include previously unregulated waters, including streams, wetlands, all waters in floodplains, riparian areas, and some ditches. In the agency’s analysis, it was determined that the proposed rule would result in a 2.7 percent increase in jurisdictional determinations and would impact an additional 1,332 acres nationwide under Section 404. They applied that 2.7 percent increase across other EPA permitting programs. They determined that the draft proposed rule would result in costs between $133 million and $231 million annually but would result in benefits between $300 million and $397.6 million annually.

The review, which was conducted for the Waters Advocacy Coalition, says the inclusion of these waters will expand the scope of the Clean Water Act and, thus, increase costs associated with programs under the Act. According to the review, EPA relied on flawed methodology for estimating the extent of its jurisdiction under the proposed rule and failed to include several types of costs in its analysis, resulting in an analysis that is not accurate in its estimate of the rule’s impact on affected communities and businesses and under-represents its expanded jurisdiction.

“The errors, omissions, and lack of transparency in EPA’s study are so severe as to render it virtually meaningless. The agency should withdraw the economic analysis and prepare an adequate study of this major change in the implementation of the CWA,” the review concludes and encourages EPA to withdraw the current analysis and conduct a new, more thorough economic analysis.

Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, which is a part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, says the rule will impact “everything from local governments trying to start or expand infrastructure projects to community gardens.”

“The rule will dictate land use across the United States. And EPA has not been forthright about the costs to our communities and businesses, including countless small businesses,” Stallman said.

AFBF has been vocal in its opposition to the proposed rule and earlier this spring launched a “Ditch the Rule” campaign to educate people about the proposal and its potential impact on farms and ranches and throughout the country. Missouri Farm Bureau members are taking the campaign seriously.  Missouri Farm Bureau members Kacey and Andy Clay recently released “That’s Enough,” a parody of “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen, which shows scenes of the family in a canoe in a dry ditch.  

More information about the proposed rule is available here. Comments are due by July 21, 2014. 

Original article on May 29 by


June 3, 2014

Proposed Water Rule Could Hurt Farmers, Ranchers

The National Pork Producers Council and 71 national and state agricultural organizations are requesting extensions of the comment periods on a proposed regulation and accompanying agricultural exemptions rule related to changes in the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) that could negatively affect farmers and ranchers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in April issued a proposed rule that would greatly expand the agencies’ authority under the CWA over various waters. Currently, that jurisdiction includes “navigable” waters and waterways with a hydrologic connection to navigable waters.

The rule would redefine “waters of the United States” to include intermittent and ephemeral streams, which could potentially affect agriculture. Application of manure on lands near such streams, for example, could be considered a discharge and require a CWA permit.

In requesting the extensions, the agricultural groups pointed out that an EPA study of the connection between intermittent waters and wetlands and larger bodies of water has yet to be completed. They also said the timing of the comment period and stakeholder public meetings coincide with one of the busiest times for farmers, who are “preparing soil for planting, planting and replanting seed, applying crop nutrients and crop protection products, and harvesting hay and winter wheat crops.”

“For most farmers and ranchers,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and hog farmer from Cambridge, Iowa, “more than two-thirds of the comment period for the proposed rule occurs when we are in the fields round the clock, not sitting at our computers reading regulatory proposals.”

The agricultural groups also raised in their request concerns that EPA has made during stakeholder meetings statements on the rules that it then has contradicted in public pronouncements, complicating the groups’ ability to develop meaningful comments.

The organizations are asking for an additional 90 days beyond the July 21, 2014, deadline for submitting comments on the proposed rule, or 90 days after EPA releases its “Connectivity Report,” which is supposed to serve as the scientific basis for any expansion of CWA jurisdiction. For the agricultural exemptions rule, the groups are requesting that the comment deadline coincide with the closing date for the proposed rule but be at least an additional 45 days beyond the current June 5, 2014, deadline.


Original release on May 30 by


June 2, 2014

Social Media Trends Addressed at USMEF Conference

A panel of leading social media communicators, including a popular Tokyo-based blogger, provided insights into global trends in social media during Thursday's general session of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Board of Directors Meeting in Kansas City.

Japanese blogger and cookbook author Rika Yukimasa, who averages more than 14,000 daily visitors to her food-oriented blog, was joined on a panel by Rachel Chou, senior manager for consumer communications for the Texas Beef Council; USMEF-Korea Director Jihae Yang and Tazuko Hijikata, USMEF-Japan's senior manager of consumer affairs.

"People today do not want to read," said Yukimasa. "If they don't like your photos, they won't read your blog." Yukimasa, who posted photos and commentary to her readers in Japan about her steak dinner the previous night in Kansas City, noted that social media marketers must remain conscious of both the short attention span of their audience as well as the readers' sensitivity to the feeling that they are being given a commercial message.

"I write about food and family, and am careful to always change my (blog) content," Yukimasa said.

The panelists noted the dramatic growth of social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, evidenced by the following statistics:

"The Millennials represent tomorrow's consumer," said Chou. "There are 80 million consumers in that group – which is bigger than the Boomer generation, and 97 percent own computers and 94 percent carry cell phones. They live on their phones. They are more likely to look online for information on food and food preparation than they are to call their own mothers for help in cooking."

Chou noted that older Millennials with children will have a collective spending power of $1.4 trillion per year by 2020, and they are twice as likely as older Americans to purchase online and twice as likely to click on links shared by friends.

USMEF staff shared their experiences with social media. Yang noted that USMEF-Korea became involved with bloggers in December of 2007 after public protests against U.S. beef prevented any advertising or promotion through traditional media channels. Since that time, USMEF-Korea has developed relationships with more than 130 influential bloggers who continue to post positive news about U.S. red meat products, both about recipes and the meat's safety and quality.

Hijikata discussed USMEF-Japan's experiences with Facebook and Twitter, including a cost-effective "Tweet While You Eat U.S. Meat" campaign that encouraged diners to send tweets to their friends and family when they were dining out at a restaurant that served U.S. red meat.

The campaign generated 11,244 tweets that reached an estimated 3.5 million readers, frequently resulting in meals by those individuals at the participating restaurants.

Working with Yukimasa, Hijikata also produced a 30-second video on preparation styles for thick-cut U.S. pork that was viewed by an estimated 250,000 Japanese consumers through YouTube.

Later on Thursday, USMEF members participated in committee meetings broken down by the organization's various member sectors, and USMEF hosted a Product Showcase that brought together 120 international meat buyers with 21 U.S.-based meat exporters to help establish new customer relationships.

The USMEF meeting closes Friday with the organization's business session.

Original article on May 23 by

May 30, 2014

More American choosing foods based on healthfulness

While taste and price consistently have been the top two factors that impact consumers' food and beverage purchases, concerns about “healthfulness” are on the rise, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation's 2014 Food and Health Survey.

Taste remained the top factor in food purchases, according to 90 percent of the 1,005 Americans surveyed, followed by 73 percent who noted the importance of price. But healthfulness in 2014 almost entirely closed the gap with price, rising from 61 percent of consumers in 2012 to 71 percent this year, a 10 percentage-point increase, IFIC's survey noted.

Certain subpopulations saw greater relative increases than others. Consumers aged 18-34, who cite healthfulness as a driver of food and beverage purchases, increased from 55 percent in 2013 to 66 percent in 2014, significantly narrowing the gap with other age groups.

The number of men concerned about healthfulness climbed nine points, from 56 percent last year to 65 percent this year as did the number of survey respondents who are not college graduates, with 67 percent of those reporting that their purchasing decisions were impacted by healthfulness, up from 61 percent.

“While people's attitudes about healthfulness in their food and beverage purchases and consumption alone don't necessarily mean we are a healthier country today than we were a year or two ago, it could signal that we are moving in the right direction,” said Marianne Smith Edge, senior vice president for nutrition and food safety at the International Food Information Council Foundation. “If perceptions translate into actions, the impact on the health and wellness of our nation could be significant and long-lasting.”

As in previous years, consumers report other areas where they are trying to improve the healthfulness of their diets. More than four out of five (83 percent) report that they've tried to eat more fruits and vegetables either within the past year or for more than a year. Seventy-nine percent say they have cut calories by drinking water or low- and no-calorie beverages. Seventy-two percent are eating more whole grains. In addition, four in five report that they are trying either to lose weight (54 percent) or maintain their weight (25 percent).

Topping the list of what respondents believe to be the most effective weight-management strategy is tracking and increasing the amount of time of physical activity at 27 percent, followed closely by eating smaller portions at 26 percent, and eating smaller and more frequent meals or snacks at 23 percent.

Consumers also evaluated which sources they trusted most for information about nutrition, physical activity, and weight loss. Health professionals were far and away the top choice (50 percent, 53 percent, and 59 percent respectively). Health-focused websites follow behind (15 percent, 17 percent, and 14 percent), and scientific journals (11 percent, 11 percent, and 9 percent).  No other source rated in double digits. Social media, news media, and TV personalities were in the low single-digits across all three information categories.

Public dialogue reviews conducted by the IFIC Foundation (independent of the Food and Health Survey) suggest growing intensity both online and in traditional media in conversations about food and the food production system, particularly among those with negative perceptions.

However, given that only 23 percent of respondents report having had an “emotional conversation” about food in the past six months, it could suggest that those who are dominating the discussions and perpetuating negativity about food are a distinct minority. Half of respondents (50 percent) report having conversations about food that are not emotional.

“While it is a classic example of the most sensational and entertaining reports getting attention, our data show the vast majority of consumers are not swayed by the rhetoric,” said David B. Schmidt, president and CEO of the IFIC Foundation. “Most consumers are making health a conscious decision and trust those experts and organizations with the most authoritative training and expertise.”

Additional findings from the IFIC Foundation's 2014 Food and Health Survey:

Confidence in food safety: While a solid majority remain confident in the safety of the U.S. food supply, there nevertheless has been a steady erosion since 2012. This year, 66 percent of consumers are at least somewhat confident in the food supply, while 30 percent are not too confident or not at all confident. In 2012, the former figure stood at 78 percent, while the latter stood at 18 percent, an overall negative swing of 24 points over three years.

When it comes to information about food safety, food ingredients, and the way foods and beverages are farmed and produced, government agencies are consumers' go-to source, chosen as most trusted by 39 percent, 26 percent, and 28 percent respectively. Social media and TV personalities were considered the most-trusted resource for all three information categories by only 2 percent or fewer consumers. The news media rated 5 percent, 3 percent, and 12 percent respectively. 

Planning what we eat: When it comes to what consumers use on a regular basis to help plan what they eat, shopping lists ranked the highest at 59 percent, followed by coupons (53 percent), in-store discounts (49 percent), recipes (45 percent) and meal plans (24 percent).

Checking the label: Between 2013 and 2014, there were decreases-some of them substantial-in the categories of information consumers say they look for on the label of a food or beverage. “Expiration date” still leads the list at 66 percent, returning to traditional levels after a spike last year to 82 percent. The percentage of consumers who check theNutrition Facts Panel was relatively unchanged this year at 65 percent, along with the ingredients list at 52 percent and calorie/nutrition information at 42 percent.

Significant decreases in label-reading behavior were found with serving sizes and amount per container (44 percent in 2014 vs. 55 percent in 2013), brand name (35 percent in 2014 vs. 53 percent in 2013), cooking instructions (32 percent vs. 45 percent), and statements about nutrition benefits (30 percent vs. 43 percent).

Consumption of nutrients and food components: The survey also revealed what nutrients or food components consumers are trying to limit or increase consumption of. The components and the number of respondents who are trying to get a certain amount or as much as possible of them are: fiber (53 percent), whole grains (53 percent), protein (50 percent), calcium (36 percent), omega-3 fats (21 percent), potassium (19 percent), and probiotics (18 percent).

In terms of those nutrients or components consumers are trying to limit or avoid entirely: sodium/salt (53 percent), sugars in general (50 percent), calories (48 percent), fats/oils (29 percent), caffeine (31 percent), and mono/polyunsaturated fats (26 percent).

Dining out: About half of all consumers (51 percent) use nutrition information such as calorie counts when eating out at restaurants, while 23 percent have noticed such information but don't pay attention to it, and 26 percent haven't noticed such information at all.

Sugars in our diets: While still a majority, significant declines were seen among respondents who believe moderate amounts of sugar can be part of an overall healthful diet (74 percent in 2014 vs. 84 percent in 2013) and those who believe people with diabetes can include some foods with sugar as part of their total diet (54 percent in 2014 vs. 71 percent in 2013). Half of consumers (51 percent) report that they are getting “pretty close to” or less than what they believe is the appropriate amount of sugars in their diets.

Caffeine: Three out of five consumers (60 percent) agree at least somewhat that they know the amount of caffeine in the foods and beverages they consume. On the other hand, when asked if they believe an 8-ounce cup of home-brewed coffee has roughly the same amount of caffeine as an 8-ounce energy drink, only 18 percent correctly answered “true,” while 45 percent answered “false.”

Sustainability: Over the past year, 62 percent of respondents say they have given at least a little thought to the environmental sustainability of their foods and beverages, with 35 percent giving it no thought. That's down slightly from both 2012 and 2013 when 66 percent gave sustainability at least a little thought and 30 percent gave it no thought.

“Natural,” “organic,” and “local”: More than a third of consumers report regularly buying food that is labeled as “natural” (37 percent) or “local” (35 percent), with 32 percent who regularly buy products advertised as “organic.”

The 2014 Food and Health Survey was fielded by Greenwald & Associates of Washington, D.C., between March 26 and April 7, 2014, and involved 1,005 Americans aged 18 to 80. Results were weighted to match the U.S. Census based on age, education, gender, race/ethnicity, and region to be nationally reflective.

For a copy of the full report:

Original article on May 16 by

May 29, 2014

Ebbs and Flows in South Korean Pork Market


Volatile is one way to describe the pork market in South Korea. For the past several years, U.S. pork exports to this country have experienced peaks and valleys driven, to a great extent, by changing market conditions within Korea.

The first quarter of 2014 has been promising, with U.S. pork sales to Korea climbing 15 percent in volume and 21 percent in value to 40,143 metric tons (88.5 million pounds) valued at $116.2 million. March was a strong month, with growth of 73 percent in volume and nearly 83 percent in value.

The United States share of the pork export market to Korea also has grown, from 34.4 percent last year at this time to 36.7 percent this year. That is a positive development that is being supported by new USMEF initiatives in Korea, but conditions within the country will make it challenging for all imported pork products in the months ahead.

The mid-April ferry disaster off the southern coast of Korea, which claimed 276 lives and left several dozen people still unaccounted for, has led to a national state of mourning. That single event has created a domino-like series of effects that continues to affect the pork industry as well as the overall economy.

In the aftermath of the accident, the Korean Government canceled national festivals while the country mourns. In parallel developments, local festivals have been canceled, all school field trips have been halted by the Ministry of Education and many company outings and events have been canceled.

The increase in pork purchases in Korea in the weeks leading up to the spring event season are largely sitting in cold storage, which will put a damper on near-term purchases. The overall downturn in economic activity has been attributed to “vicarious trauma,” and the government is looking at steps to invigorate consumption, particularly to support the small and medium-size businesses that are being affected. On the positive side, a cluster of three holidays in the first week of May has helped boost retail and food service purchases.

The ferry disaster is not the first event to impact the Korean pork market this year. There is a lingering PED virus issue – which has affected the Korean industry for a number of years – that has resulted in an estimated 5.1 percent of piglets lost during the first quarter of 2014. By all indicators, the virus peaked in February and has declined sharply since then but, as in other countries with PEDV, there is always a risk of reoccurrence.

According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI), domestic pork production is down 4 percent from 2013 levels, a decline considered “not significant.” The Korean Government has allocated funds to support the cost of PEDV vaccines for local farmers, but many have complained that the vaccine has not been effective.

Higher pork prices have encouraged pork producers to increase the swine herd once again – as they did in the aftermath of the 2010-2011 FMD outbreak – which likely will contribute to another domestic oversupply situation. We will continue to watch that closely.

In the meantime, there are niches in the Korean pork market that we continue to aggressively pursue for U.S. pork exports. Those include:

  • Chilled pork – the U.S. has an advantage over the European Union, which cannot provide chilled product because of transportation challenges. Chile has not been a substantial player in this segment, and Canada has lost half of its volume year-over year, in great part because it does not have a free trade agreement with South Korea. While dealing in smaller numbers – about one-quarter the size of U.S. chilled pork exports – Mexico has seen its chilled sales jump 63 percent in the past year.

USMEF is working closely with Korean retailers, such as Home Plus, to expand chilled pork sales to year-around. Branded pork sales remain a target on the horizon. Korea follows behind the Japanese retail market in this regard, but it will be a focus in the future.

  • Collar butt steak – this thick-cut pork steak is gaining popularity in Western-style and family-style restaurants. When paired with vegetables and a starch, and served in a large pan, it is a very satisfying and affordable meal.


Original article on May 22 by

May 28, 2014

Is PEDV Really Impacting Slaughter Numbers

Last week’s slaughter total fell short of 2 million head once again – but just barely.  That total is, in fact, large enough to be causing some questions regarding the impact of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).  Slaughter numbers since the week ending May 2 have been within 4% of one year ago, and last week’s 1.999 million-head total was only 1.9% lower than last year.  The slaughter runs for that period would be comprised primarily of pigs born from late November through the first half of December.  And the year of their birth is still 2013 in spite of the fact that their average size suggests some may, in fact, be yearlings!  Or old enough to vote!

So have we all been too alarmed about PEDV?  I guess that is possible, and some may consider me the chief alarmist, but let’s look at everything that has gone on in the past few months to see if any judgment can be reasonably made at this point.

Figure 1 shows the year-on-year percentage change in federally-inspected (FI) hog slaughter (right axis) and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network’s (NAHLN) weekly PEDV case accession numbers from 26 weeks earlier (values on the left axis).  So, last week’s year-on-year slaughter total was 1.9% lower than one year ago, and its corresponding 92 case accessions occurred in the week that ended November 16. 

It is clear that the relationship so far is anything but tight.  Slaughter plunged compared to year-earlier levels for the first week in March.  That week corresponded to births from the first week in September when PEDV case accessions were sort of bouncing along in the range of 25 to 35 each week.  Conversely, case accessions broke above 50 and started their fall increase during the week of October 19, almost 6 weeks later than one would have expected the pigs from the first very short-slaughter week to have been born – on average. 

Further, the year-on-year slaughter changes have been getting smaller. Last week’s figure was the smallest year-on-year decline since the very last week of February--even though the case accessions were climbing steadily for these pigs’ normal birth period in November.  What gives?

First, it is possible that the case accession data have misled us (or at least me!) to expect larger losses than have actually occurred.  Our ongoing discussion of not knowing much about source farms for the PEDV samples, possible duplications, etc. fits here and still could be true.

But second – and in my mind more important – is the fact that any event that creates an economic incentive also, by its very nature, creates potential solutions to that incentive that can make it appear that the first event may not have happened.   I know that sounds like economist gobble-de-gook but . . . okay it is economist gobble-de-gook but it’s still true! 


  1. Lower hog supplies lit off a price rise that made it profitable to feed pigs to heavier weights.
  2. That action shorted the immediate market of hogs, pushing prices even higher.
  3. The rapid rise in prices drove some end-users to buy product in order to build inventories before prices went yet higher.  This buying pushed up cut values and further exaggerated the price increase by pushing packer margins higher. 
  4. News coverage of pig losses fueled the buying frenzy by causing fear of shorter numbers this summer.
  5. Producers couldn’t feed the hogs forever, so they finally started making their way to town at the aforementioned large weights.  Slaughter has caught up relative to year-earlier levels and supply reductions have gotten smaller, pushing prices lower.  Weights have stopped increasing.

But do any of the actions so far actually say anything about the next 4-to-6 months?  Maybe plenty, and maybe nothing.  Every one of these actions could be written off as fear reactions to misinformation.  Or, they can all be explained as very rational reactions to accurate information.  The truth is that all have been a mixture of the rational and irrational, in response to data that are neither all bad nor all good.  Such is always the case in our business.  This is just “normal on steroids” I think. 

With all that said, though, we are at a critical juncture.  It appears in order for packers to keep slaughter levels just under 2 million hogs per week, they will have to dip deeper into the slaughter supply.  And if the vet lab data mean anything at all, that supply should be falling pretty rapidly over the next few weeks, with the impact peaking in August. 

I think there will be two key indicator variables.  The first, of course, will be prices.  Last week, base prices declined by their smallest amount in six weeks, while producer-sold net prices actually gained $0.20/cwt. carcass.  Both of those suggest the downward adjustment may be over.

The second indicator variable is slaughter weights.  Watch them closely in coming weeks.  If big slaughter reductions are coming, I would expect weights to fall at rates slightly faster than the average of the past five years.

To view all Figures and Graphs for this article CLICK HERE

Original article on May 19 by

May 27, 2014

Checkoff Research Provides a Predictable Return on Investment

In times of uncertainty, one thing that U.S. pork producers can bank on year after year is the investment they make through the Pork Checkoff in science- and technology-based research.

“Our long-term focus on research, education and the sharing of information has continued to pay off,” said Karen Richter, National Pork Board president and Montgomery, Minn., producer. “The ongoing investment in the Checkoff has provided us with solutions that contribute to a stronger pork industry.”

From a financial perspective, Checkoff funds allocated to research in science and technology don’t work alone. The investment draws outside funding from sources such as land-grant universities and allied industry.

A Multiplying Effect 
To determine the return on investment in research made by America’s pork producers during a multi-year period, the Checkoff reviewed science and technology projects funded from 2006 to 2010, which is the latest time period available for analysis. The Checkoff contacted researchers who worked on the projects. More than 80 percent of the 267 who were reached offered feedback on 389 Checkoff-funded projects.

The results showed that for every dollar of Checkoff investment, nearly two additional dollars were drawn from outside sources to help find solutions to mutual challenges that face the industry.

Specifically, the $23.7 million invested in research from 2006 to 2010 directly resulted in more than $46.6 million of additional research – an increase of 97 percent in additional research value that benefited producers.

An Ongoing ROI
Sometimes the Pork Checkoff’s role in funding research projects isn’t readily apparent. This is especially true when research is applicable, scientifically sound and builds the foundation for research that results in production efficiencies.

Results from Checkoff research give vital information to help veterinarians, nutritionists, production managers and other specialists that provide services to producers every day. This is critical to finding solutions to new challenges.

“The ongoing flow of information and science-based data from Checkoff-funded research helps meet the demand for practical on-farm solutions,” Richter said. “At the end of the day, it’s about getting the maximum return on pork producers’ investment– and we’ve got a good track record of achieving that goal.”

Original article on May 15 by


May 23, 2014

KPA sponsors dietetic and nutrition conferences

Last month, the Kansas Pork Association was a sponsor and participant at both the Kansas Nutrition Council and the Kansas Dietetic Association annual conferences, held April 25-26, in Manhattan.

Swine Day Collage

At the Kansas Nutrition Council's conference, KPA sponsored a session featuring Janeal Yancey, meat scientist at the University of Arkansas and author of the blog, "Mom at the Meat Counter." In her session titled, "What's in a Food Label: Regulation or Marketing Hype?" Yancey broke down and explained common food label trends. KPA collaborated with the Kansas Beef Council, Midwest Dairy Association and the Egg Nutrition Council to bring the session and materials to 97 people in attendance at the conference. The audience's practice areas ranged from WIC, extension agents and college students to dietitians  working in clinical nutrition, community outreach and education.

"It all goes back to feeling confident in the food you buy. When people get to the meat counter or the dairy aisle, they are bombarded with labels and claims about how food was raised and produced," Yancey says. "It's great because, in the U.S., we have lots of choices, but it can all be so confusing."

The following day, on April 26, KPA also joined the Kansas Dietetic Association's conference to participate in the exhibit hall, featuring a booth that allowed the conference's 120 attendees to ask questions and pick up continuing education materials.

"These relationships connect dietetic professionals to their state producers and will enable them to develop strategic plans for nutrition education that the state of Kansas needs," says Abby Heidari, RDN, LD, Kansas Dietetic Association executive director.

May 22, 2014

World Pork Expo seminars provide information, insights

World Pork Expo is a hub of information for pork producers and related professionals, and at the forefront are more than a dozen free seminars scheduled for Wednesday, June 4, and Thursday, June 5. From on-farm management ideas, to research updates and technology insights, the seminars provide useful information that Expo attendees can apply to their pork-production businesses back home. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Expo will take place June 4-6 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The seminars provide valuable information and address the most current and pertinent topics that pork producers face,” says Howard Hill, DVM, NPPC president and Iowa pork producer. “You can pick and choose which seminars to attend — there’s something for everyone.”

Kicking off the business seminars at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, DSM will present a session on eubiotics. The discussion will center on how these feed ingredients enhance nutritional welfare and promote profitable pig production.

Wednesday at 3 p.m., Purina Animal NutritionZinpro Corporation and DSM will present Feeding for 30® — A focus on sow longevity. Producers, nutritionists and industry experts will share advice on consistent parity structures and achieving the goal of 30 pigs per sow per year.

On Thursday, SFP will sponsor two sessions, at 9:30 a.m. and again at 10:45 a.m., featuring a panel discussion on cost-efficient manure management. Panelists will talk about minimizing phosphorus and nitrogen loss, and maximizing the agronomic benefits of applied manure.

Thursday at 3 p.m., Purina Animal Nutrition will present tips for getting pigs off to the right start. Experts will share new research and proven strategies for employee training, piglet health and organizing a pre-weaning toolbox.

PORK Academy Details AvailableThe Pork Checkoff will sponsor PORK Academy seminars on both Wednesday and Thursday. These seminars will cover timely topics ranging from tips on safe pig handling and using a reproductive decision tree, to the economics of world markets.

All seminars will take place in the Varied Industries Building. More details about the business seminars and PORK Academy are available at

Among its many attractions, World Pork Expo features the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, with more than 375 commercial exhibits, and at least 310,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space. Trade show hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4, and Thursday, June 5, as well as from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 7. The swine shows begin Tuesday, June 3, and conclude with the breeding-stock sales on Saturday, June 7.

PorkNetwork at VIB #763
Be sure to come see us at the PorkNetwork booth in the Varied Industries Building, on the south side of the building, just west of the middle-door exit. We'd love to visit with you!

Original article on May 12 by


May 21, 2014

HSUS to pay $15.75 million to settle racketeering lawsuit

Will Coggin, senior research analyst for the Center for Consumer Freedom, responded to the recent announcement that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other co-defendants will pay $15.75 million to settle a racketeering lawsuit brought by Feld Entertainment. This company is the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The activist animal rights group was involved in alleged illegal witness payments as part of a scheme to pursue malicious litigation against the circus.

“This historic case has exposed the despicable tactics of the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights fanatics, and the settlement sends a message they will be held accountable for their actions,” says Coggin. “Most troubling is that this settlement will be paid with donations intended to help animals.

“Americans should think twice before donating any money to HSUS,” he continues. “It’s likely not being spent the way its ads lead people to believe.”

According to The Republic in Columbus, Ind., the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals already had agreed separately to pay more than $9 million to settle. Further, it noted that Feld issued a statement saying the final settlement this week is "a vindication of its practices."

The case originally stemmed from a complaint filed under the Endangered Species Act, alleging misconduct by Feld toward its Asian elephants. A U.S. District Court ultimately ruled the case was "frivolous," "vexatious," and "groundless and unreasonable from its inception." This stunning settlement finally brings to a close litigation that's dragged on for 14 years.

Original article on May 15 by


May 20, 2014

PORK Academy Features Full Slate of Producers Seminars

Pork producers should make plans now to attend the Pork Checkoff'sProducer Opportunity for Revenue and Knowledge(PORK) Academysessions on Wednesday, June 4, and Thursday, June 5, during World Pork Expo, June 4-6, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.

"PORK Academy offers an outstanding lineup of leading experts who will address issues facing producers today," said David Ray, chair of the Checkoff's Producer and State Services Committee and a pork producer from Edenton, N.C. "These sessions will provide attendees with information to help operate their farms more effectively and to stay current on industry trends and challenges."

2014 PORK Academy seminar topics include:

Wednesday, June 4:

Thursday, June 5:

"Producers won't want to miss the Business Seminar Luncheon, which will now be located in the Pork Checkoff hospitality tent, sponsored by the Pork Checkoff, featuring a weather outlook from Elwynn Taylor of Iowa State University and an economic outlook from Steve Meyer of Paragon Economics. The popular and entertaining speakers always draw a packed crowd," Ray adds.

For more information on PORK Academy and other Pork Checkoff-sponsored events at World Pork Expo, visit, or call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675.

Original post on May 12 by


May 19, 2014

K-State panel outlines global food challenges

Just in case feeding 7 billion people isn’t daunting enough, consider that in the next 30-40 years, the world’s population likely will grow another 2 billion.

“It’s a very large amount of food that we will have to produce in a very short time in order to feed everybody,” said John Floros, dean of the Kansas State University College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension.

Floros noted that even with today’s highly productive agriculture system, 1 billion people do not have adequate food or nutrition.

“(The world’s farmers) will have to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we’ve produced in the history of our planet,” approximately 10,000 years of human existence, he said.

Floros made his comments as moderator of an expert panel that discussed world food challenges at K-State on May 5. The university also hosted an interactive mobile display, Hunger U, in the courtyard of the Student Union, to help connect college students and share the story of agriculture’s role in tackling world hunger.

Producing more food is much more complex than putting more seeds in the ground or raising more livestock. Floros noted that it involves coordinating many food systems, including pre- and post-harvest safety, food science, animal health, processing, nutrition, transportation and more.

“All of these systems are becoming very strained when you look at world resources and the world population,” said Randy Phebus, a K-State professor of food science and one of the panelists. “We’re going to have to become more efficient and much more focused on how we meet these challenges in the future.”

K-State President Kirk Schulz recently announced the university’s global food systems initiative, which signified a move for K-State to become a leader in understanding and improving the world’s food system.

As such, the university’s commitment extends beyond agriculture, food science and nutrition to include such areas as sociology, anthropology, history and more.

“We have been doing this already, but it’s not been packaged in a way that shows the integration of all of our programs across colleges, across departments and now across campuses,” Phebus said.

The soon-to-be-built National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) is making headlines currently, but Phebus noted that K-State has long had facilities conducting research to support food and agriculture, including the Biosecurity Research Institute, K-State Olathe, the O.H. Kruse Feed Mill, veterinary diagnostic labs, the Food Science Institute, the Kansas Value Added Foods lab and more.

Last year, K-State also won three large grants totaling more than $27 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to build facilities and advance science in post-harvest food loss, sorghum and millet development, and wheat genetics.

Dirk Maier, head of K-State’s Department of Grain Science and Industry, is the project leader for the USAID’s Innovation Lab for Post-Harvest Loss. His project is an important piece in feeding the world in the future: one-third of the food produced for human consumption worldwide is lost or wasted somewhere between the farm and the dinner table.

“That’s a huge amount,” said Maier, who was on the May 5 panel at K-State. “I think the message we want to get across is that there’s something each one of us can do with regard to reducing post-harvest loss or food waste in our homes, and in our own ways of thinking about food as a valuable resource like energy and water.”

In the United States and other developed nations, 56 percent of food loss is at the consumer’s level—such as throwing food away in the cafeteria line or in homes. In developing countries, food loss happens earlier in the value chain—such as during production, post-harvest handling and storage.

K-State sociologist Gerad Middendorf is studying differences in food needs between “developed” and “developing” nations.

Many people in the wealthier, industrial world want to know more about where their food comes from and can enjoy the benefits of having more local foods and access to healthier foods.

Developing countries—especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia—rely on land and water to sustain a simple livelihood. About one in eight people (870 million) in developing countries experience chronic hunger.

Floros said K-State’s commitment is about developing a better understanding on how to produce the right amount and type of food that is safe and nutritious, “and getting it to the people.”

“When you put all of this together, with the complexity of the food system…it is extremely important that the decisions we make from here on out are the right decisions,” he said. “One wrong decision can truly take us down the wrong path, and a few years from now we might not be able to produce enough food to feed all the people on the planet.”

More information about K-State’s global food systems initiative is available online at Global Food Systems.

Original article on May 11 by

May 15, 2014

U.S. Pork Exports Increases Pace in March

The pace of U.S. beef and pork exports increased sharply in March, driven by double-digit increases to leading markets Mexico, the China/Hong Kong region and South Korea, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by USMEF.

U.S. pork exports reached their highest monthly total since October 2012: 209,704 metric tons (mt) valued at $606.7 million, increasing 29 percent in both volume and value over March 2013.

Exports of U.S. beef rose 12 percent in volume to 93,380 mt valued at $516.2 million, an increase of 17 percent.

When measured in proportion to overall U.S. beef and pork production, March exports also showed gains. Total pork exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) equated to 31.5 percent of total U.S. pork production in March (26 percent of muscle cuts alone) versus 28 and 23.5 percent, respectively, a year ago. Beef exports accounted for 14 percent of total production and 11 percent of muscle cuts – up from 12 and 9 percent in 2013.

The export value per head slaughtered set a new record of $69.93 for pork in March, topping the $60 per head mark for the first time and up from $50.38 last year. The export value per head of fed slaughter for beef was $271.57, up from $222.20 a year ago.

“Even with high prices and supply concerns, we are working to keep the visibility of U.S. beef and pork high in our key export markets, and they continue to respond positively,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “Among the many encouraging signs are the continued strength of the Mexican market in both pork and beef, and the rebound of South Korea, which has been an area of focus for USMEF as that market has been challenged over the past year by an over-supply of domestic product.”

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has been a factor both in the United States and in a number of export markets, creating supply concerns going into the summer. But exports remained strong in March to virtually all key markets, despite a 4 percent decline in U.S. pork production for the month. Thus, the export increase likely reflects the fact that some product was shipped out of cold storage from previous months’ production.

Original article on May 7 by


 May 14, 2014

China's Hog Prices Still Falling, but Showing Some Signs of Stabilization

China’s hog prices have fallen by more than 30 percent since December as large production has outweighed demand. Data from China’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) show that prices continued to drift lower at the end of April – averaging about $0.80 per pound, which is down 12.5 percent from year ago. U.S. hog prices have exceeded China’s prices for nearly two months, an inversion that has not occurred since a brief period in May 2010, as the supply situation in China has been in dramatic contrast to that of North America and other key Asian markets. The Chinese government has recently announced a second round of carcass buying for the strategic reserves in an effort to bolster prices, but the 88,000 mt that will be procured in this round will probably have a limited impact on the market.

China’s hog:corn ratio is at 4.6:1, significantly lower than the profitability level of 6:1. China’s piglet prices have been in slow decline since September, and were also down 12.5 percent year-over-year at the end of April. Despite the negative price situation, China’s pork imports have held up relatively well. China/Hong Kong pork/pork variety meat imports in March totaled 138,843 mt, down 8 percent from last year but up 32 percent from the seasonal low in February. First-quarter imports were 379,534 mt, down 10 percent from last year. Somewhat surprisingly given the relative price situation, U.S. exports to China/Hong Kong in March totaled at 41,294 mt, up 49 percent from a year ago and 10 percent higher than in February.

There are glimmers of hope that China’s hog market is finally bottoming, as some analysts estimate that prices stabilized and even increased slightly following the early May Labor Day holiday. Others in the industry project that further sow liquidation will be necessary to bring the market into alignment.

NOTE: Import totals exclude Hong Kong imports from China and Hong Kong re-exports.

Original article on May 9 by

May 13, 2014

Learn all about manure managemnt in Missouri

For two days in early-July, life in Springfield, Missouri, is becoming all about manure management.

July 8 and 9, 2014 the North American Manure Expo is being hosted at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, 3001 North Grant Ave., Springfield, MO.

The theme for the 2014 event is Valuing Manure and the Environment.

On July 8, interested parties can register online to take part in a free bus tour featuring stops at a local dairy operation plus a wastewater treatment and biosolids facility.

The first stop on the tour will be a pasture-based dairy with concrete manure storage and lagoon. There, tour attendees will learn more about the farm’s unique needs in the area of manure management.

The dairy will also be the location of several agitation equipment demonstrations utilizing both a lagoon storage system and a concrete tank storage system.

The second stop will be at the Southwest Clean Water Treatment Plant in Springfield, MO. This award-winning facility can handle 42.5 million gallons of wastewater per day. The facility removes approximately 70,000 pounds of pollutants from the wastewater per day before it is discharged. The Southwest plant also generates about 15 dry tons of biosolids per day. The biosolids are processed and utilized as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.

During this stop, tour participants will have an opportunity to tour the treatment facility and learn more about biosolids, anaerobic digestion, nutrient management plans and field mapping.

The tour buses plan to return to the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds by 3 p.m. when the North American Manure Expo tradeshow will open, providing attendees an opportunity to see the latest technology and innovations involving manure handling, management, environment protection, and treatments and services. More than 80 exhibitors are taking part in the indoor and outdoor event.

At 4:30 p.m., a tour day and exhibitor appreciation dinner is scheduled, and, starting at 5:30 p.m., visitors can take part in one of the three information sessions: Pump school, recycling dairy bedding, and precision nutrient management.

Attendance is free for both the tour day (July 8) and all events attached to the North American Manure Expo (July 9) but pre-registration is required. To register or for more information visit

Original article on May 7 by

May 12, 2014

Pork Checkoff Offers Pork Management Conference in June

Annual event unites industry experts to address current business trends and challenges. 

The Pork Checkoff will host the 2014 Pork Management Conference, Your Pork Industry Investment, June 17-20 in Tampa, Florida.

This annual conference brings together experts from across the industry to speak on current business trends and challenges that help pork producers gain important insight and financial sophistication to manage their operation.

"The Pork Management Conference combines the latest production trends and business information with opportunities for pork producers to interact with knowledgeable financial professionals dedicated to helping them succeed," said David Ray, chair of the Checkoff's Producer and State Services Committee and a pork producer from Edenton, N.C. "Each attendee will come away from this three-day conference armed with tools they can use immediately to improve their farm."

In addition to the general sessions open to all attendees on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, two concurrent sessions are planned for Thursday. Topics include establishing a barn culture panel, antibiotics used in animals raised for food, audit overload panel, a focus on corporate and social responsibility, a PEDV panel, and new resources for creating a safe work environment.

The registration fee is $395 per person through May 30, 2014, and rises to $435 after that date. The first 10 pork producers to register who have not previously attended the conference in the past two years will receive a $300 discount on registration, courtesy of Pork Checkoff.  A registration form and a detailed list of events are available at

Original release on May 5 by

May 9, 2014

OMS training to be held at the 2014 World Pork Expo

Training for the Operation Main Street speakers program will be held during this year’s World Pork Expo, held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. Deadline for registration is May 15. Please contact Ernie Barnes, with questions

Trainings available:

OMS 1.0

- Wednesday, June 4, 9:30 am - 6:30 pm, continues Thursday, June 5, 10:00 am - 11:00 am

OMS 2.0 (2 sessions)
- Tuesday, June 3, 11:00 am - 7:00 pm, continues Wednesday, June 4, 7:00 am - 9:00

- Thursday, June 5, 11:30 am - 6:00 pm, continues Friday, June 6, 7:30 am - 11:30 am

Veterinarian Short Course 2.0 (2 sessions)
- Wednesday, June 4, 10:00 am - 12:00 noon

- Friday, June 6, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Social Media: (2 sessions)
- Tuesday, June 3, 8:00 am - 10:00 am

- Friday, June 6, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Click here for a registration form

OMS has facilitated over 6,700 presentations to key decision-makers and influencers such as youth and classroom education, culinary arts and nutrition classes, citizen groups, dieticians, county commissioners and small animal veterinarians. Since January 2008, OMS presentations have received coverage in print, online, television and radio media outlets resulting in an audience reach of over 31 million. OMS serves three roles: familiarizes you with conversation techniques to connect with customers and consumers; provides a media training and messaging strategy short course; and facilitates grass-roots speaking opportunities in Kansas.

Click here to learn more about OMS.


May 8, 2014

DASH Eating Plan Taps Lean Pork as Menu Item

New research from one of the best-studied eating plans says adding lean pork can help improve blood pressure

Adults following the well-documentedDietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, eating plan  can also  include lean pork to help lower blood pressure. According to new research funded by the Pork Checkoff, people with high blood pressure can benefit from a DASH eating plan that uses nutrient-rich lean pork as the predominant source of protein.

"This new Pork Checkoff-funded study further validates the important role of lean pork in a balanced diet," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. "Lean, nutrient-rich pork has many beneficial qualities that make it easy to incorporate into any healthy diet."

Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork instead of chicken and fish as their main protein source, the blood pressure benefits were the same. Regardless of the protein source, study participants' systolic blood pressure dropped about eight to nine points and their diastolic number decrease about four to five points after six weeks. Participants had their blood pressure consistently checked through a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.

"The DASH diet has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote health and help decrease the risk of chronic diseases," said study lead author Dr. Wayne Campbell, nutrition science professor at Purdue University. "While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork may also be a part of this healthy eating pattern."

The study included 19 overweight or obese older adults - 13 women and six men - all with elevated blood pressure. Participants were randomly assigned to consume the DASH diet for two six-week periods, which included either chicken and fish or lean pork as the major protein source, or about 55 percent of their total protein intake. The DASH diet emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.

For the latest pork nutrition information, recipes and more, visit

Original release on May 1 by



May 7, 2014

USMEF Finds Success in Korea's Second-largest Market for U.S. Beef & Pork

Lately, South Korean consumers have enjoyed an abundance of affordable options when it comes to red meat dishes due to domestic oversupply, but high-quality U.S. beef and pork continue to earn new followers through a regional USMEF strategy targeting unique niches in the Korean economy.

The second-biggest city in Korea, Busan is a burgeoning business and tourism destination, the world’s fifth-busiest seaport and home to the world’s largest department store, the Shinsegae Centum City. Economic growth and a relatively affordable cost of living combine to create an environment that supports growth opportunities for U.S. red meat products, and USMEF’s team in Korea is aggressively pursuing relationships in Busan to create a stronger connection with consumers.

One such opportunity developed by USMEF-Korea’s team involved first-time sales of U.S. beef through an important regional retail chain.

“There are a number of leading retail chains that serve the Busan region, and USMEF is partnering with Mega Mart to help differentiate it from the other national retailers and, at the same time, create a branded program for U.S. beef,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director. “The chain operates 13 discount stores in the area, and USMEF has supported store-specific chilled U.S. beef promotions in about half of the stores each month since tight U.S. beef supplies don’t currently allow for a national promotion.”

USDA Market Access Program (MAP) funds were used for the program to introduce U.S. beef to Mega Mart’s customers through tasting promotions and point-of-sale materials.

Expanding U.S. chilled pork sales

Yet another Busan-based supermarket chain, Top Mart has featured chilled U.S. pork since 2008. The most recent USMEF promotion, funded with support from the Pork Checkoff, the Soybean Checkoff, Iowa Pork Producers Association and USDA’s MAP funds, utilized radio advertising and in-store tasting promotions as the 87-store chain has expanded its U.S. chilled pork sales to year-around. Last year Top Mart sold 640 metric tons (1.4 million pounds) of American pork, a 12 percent increase over the previous year, including 280 metric tons (nearly 794,000 pounds) of chilled pork.

“Eighteen countries compete for the Korean pork market,” said Yang. “Our goal is to capitalize on U.S. pork’s high-quality image and increase awareness among consumers.”

Yang also noted that while chilled U.S. beef is a relatively new commodity for Top Mart, it is beginning to make headway with the influential chain.

Pursuing food service opportunities

The retail sector is not the only avenue that USMEF is pursuing in Busan. The popular restaurant chain Irya Irya has adopted U.S. beef for the majority of its beef dishes, purchasing about 110 metric tons (242,000 pounds) annually, primarily rib fingers and outside skirt cuts for its lightly marinated Beef Joomuleok specialty. A two-week USMEF promotion of a barbecued outside skirt dish helped boost sales by 69 percent.

Yet another popular regional restaurant, Oryukdo Gawon, worked with USMEF and distributor Jinmi Foods to convert its barbecue duck meat menu to U.S. beef and pork after a trade team visit to the United States provided Jinmi Foods’ representatives with the confidence to support American red meat products for their quality and safety.

As a result, Mr. Choi of Jinmi Foods has become an advocate in the region for U.S. beef and pork, and Oryukdo Gawon alone has purchased more than 7 metric tons (nearly 16,000 pounds) of U.S. beef annually, and is in the process of changing its Canadian pork menu to U.S. pork.

“Since we are facing an oversupply of domestic beef and pork driving down Korean prices, we must look for opportunities to position chilled U.S. pork and beef where quality is more important than price difference,” said Yang. “In markets like Busan that approach is succeeding.”

South Korea is the sixth-largest market for U.S. beef in volume (No. 5 in value) through the first two months of 2014, purchasing 19,250 metric tons (42.4 million pounds) valued at $133.8 million, an increase of 17 percent in value on 14 percent lower volumes.

Korea is the No. 5 market for U.S. pork exports. So far in 2014 it has purchased 24,039 metric tons (53 million pounds) valued at $69.8 million, a 1 percent dip in value year-over-year on 6 percent lower volumes

Original article on April 30 by

May 6, 2014

Farmland film to play in Kansas theaters on May 8

On May 1, the new feature-length documentary “Farmland” was nationally released. The film, led by Academy Award-winning director James Moll, follows the stories of six young American farmers and ranchers, giving audiences an intimate and firsthand look into the daily challenges and rewards of those who produce their food.

Moll hopes urban audiences can learn just as much as he did while making the film.

“Audiences will hear thoughts and opinions about agriculture, but not from me and not from a narrator. They’re from the mouths of the farmers and ranchers themselves,” Moll says. “I want everyone who eats to see this movie.”

“Farmland” was produced with generous support from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and is being distributed in more than 60 major markets. National exhibitors carrying the film include Regal Cinemas, Marcus Theatres, Carmike Cinemas, Landmark Theatres and many key independent theaters. The film was also selected for multiple film festivals including the Tribeca Film Festival.

Kansas theaters showing “Farmland” include:

For more information and an updated list please visit

May 5, 2014

Agvocating: Stepping out and speaking up

Ad●vo●cate – (noun) a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. Or in the agriculture community, more commonly referred to as “agvocate.”

At every cattle producer meeting, pork conference, dairy expo and crop seminar there seems to be a common theme – telling your agriculture story. Agvocating. Yet, there still seems to be a confusion of sorts on what is the best way to agvocate.

On one side of the spectrum are the social media wizzes such as Agriculture Proud,The Adventures of Dairy CarrieFarm Girl Facts of Life and the up and coming The Idaho Rancher's Wife (to name a small few), sharing their personal agriculture experiences through blogging, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – basically if there is a social media site, they have it covered.

On the other side are producers who have no idea what some of these sites are – if anything is going to be doing any sort of “tweeting,” it’s a bird. And here is where the lines tend to get blurred, a lot of times these people are under the assumption that since they aren’t active on the internet, they can’t agvocate.

And they are dead wrong.

Food●ie– (noun) a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet.

Last night the Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Soybean Board hosted “Zest and Zing a foodie and farmer event” at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.

Around 100 Kansas City foodie’s crowded together as Chef Gary Hild and Chef Richard McPeake went head-to-head in a culinary showdown.

The diverse group networked over cocktails, steak kabobs, pulled pork sandwiches, cucumbers stuffed with pesto and cheese so fine it smelled like stinky feet.  

Here’s the best part.

Five farmers and ranchers were present to speak about their agriculture operations and answer questions directly from consumers.

Derek and Katie Sawyer were on hand to discuss their cow-calf and stocker operation, along with growing corn, soybeans, sorghum and wheat. Derek said he spoke with several consumers who had diverse backgrounds, but all seemed to be connected to agriculture by a couple generations. Katie, who is part of the CommonGround agvocate group, has a New To The Farm blog which shares her experiences as a town girl marrying a farmer and cattle rancher.

“Everyone involved in agriculture needs to get out and tell their story to the consumer,” she and Derek both said.

Nick Guetterman, a fourth-generation farmer who grows corn, soybeans and wheat spoke to the group about how his family’s farm was started and how the corn he grows is turned into livestock feed.

Craig and Amy Good spend the evening speaking to consumers about their purebred Angus operation and specialized pork production for Heritage Foods USA. Heritage Foods provided pork from the Good’s farm that was used in the culinary showdown.

When asked why they took the time to be part of the event, Craig responded, “There is such a need to bridge the gap between the producer and consumer. When opportunities present themselves to help communicate what you do for a living, you have to take them.”

Priceless education and communication for the agriculture industry happened in one short evening. Consumers were able to put a face to the product and hear the truth about where their food comes from, from the people who grow it – all because a handful of producers took the time to step out and speak up.

Original article on May 1 by

May 2, 2014

KPA participates in practice disease mock exercise

 Amanda Spoo, KPA Director of Communications, participated last week in a exercise led by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, testing public information and social media capabilities during an animal disease outbreak. The exercise included responding to consumer and industry questions surrounding a mock foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. Other participants in the exercise included representatives of many state agencies and state livestock groups.

In the event of an actual animal health emergency, public information that is timely and accurate would be critical to efforts to not only eradicate the disease, but also ensure business continuity and reassure the general public. KPA believes that this and other text exercises are vital to an effective response and a successful coordinated effort between government and industry sources.

May 1, 2014

NPPC Details Challenges Faced by Hog Farmers

Hog farmers are dealing with a deadly pig disease and the threat of trade retaliation against their products, both of which will have a negative impact on the U.S. pork industry, the National Pork Producers Council told congressional lawmakers today in testimony before a House Agriculture subcommittee.

In a hearing on the state of the U.S. livestock industry held by the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit, NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and hog farmer from Cambridge, Iowa, detailed the effects on hog farmers of the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law and of the porcine endemic diarrhea virus (PEDv).

COOL, which requires meat to be labeled with the country where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered, caused the Canadian pork industry to reduce production as U.S. hog farmers sought to avoid the costs and complications associated with the law, Hill pointed out. Additionally, the statute prompted Canada and Mexico to bring trade cases to the World Trade Organization, which is expected to rule on them this summer.

Should the WTO decide that the COOL law doesn’t meet U.S. international trade obligations, Canada and Mexico would be allowed to place retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. NPPC is urging Congress to consider a legislative fix to the labeling law.

PEDv, said Hill, has killed about 7 million pigs in 30 states since last April, losses that likely will reduce slaughter this summer by more than 10 percent. Such reductions would push U.S. hog prices up by 15 to 25 percent and force consumer pork prices up, according to economist Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics in Adel, Iowa.

Additionally, reduced hog numbers mean less feed, less medicine, fewer veterinary services and shortened hours at packing and processing plants, Hill testified.

NPPC wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a thorough investigation on the pathway PEDv and another virus used to gain entry into the U.S. swine herd, to conduct more research on the viral propagation of the diseases and to commit more resources to determining the pathogenesis of and ways to control the viruses.


The U.S. pork industry also urged USDA to “take a thoughtful and measured approach” to developing the PEDv reporting program it announced last week. Hog farmers need a program that is “practical, workable and that can be successful,” Hill said.

Original release on April 30 by


April 30, 2014

Pork Checkoff Updates Its Transport Quality Assurance Program

Input from industry experts, program participants bolster commitment to safe transport of animals

Since 2001, the pork industry's Transport Quality Assurance program (TQA) has promoted responsible practices when handling and transporting pigs. In that time, TQA has undergone five revisions - always striving to offer the most current, science-based information on humane handling, biosecurity and proper transportation of swine.

The mission of the TQA program remains unchanged: to continuously build a culture of protecting and promoting animal well-being through training and certification of animal handlers and transport personnel. In that process, TQA uses the most current industry-proven techniques in an effort to build consumer confidence and understanding of the high-quality pork products delivered to market every day.   

"Consumers are hungry for information on how their pork is raised - from the farm to the table," said Sherrie Webb, animal welfare director at The National Pork Board. "That need for information is about more than what happens on the farm and extends to how that animal is safely and humanely transported from farm to market. That's why keeping current on transportation trends is so critical."

Staying current on transportation trends requires continuous evaluation and commitment. The Pork Checkoff's pioneering TQA curriculum focuses not only on safe handling, but also emerging diseases such as PEDV and biosecurity. In 2014, each was a major focus in revising the program.

"Everyone involved in pork production - from producers, their employees, veterinarians and transporters - needs to develop a biosecurity plan that helps them to make good decisions and take sound action that reduces the risk of disease spread," said Brad Knadler, director of hog procurement, Triumph Foods. "The Pork Checkoff's TQA program specifically addresses the need for serious biosecurity protocols to be in place and helps the pork industry further fight and reduce the spread of these industry-impacting diseases."

The updated program also provides a new approach to understanding basic pig behavior and body language, and how it contributes to a safe and positive experience for both the pig and the handler. 

"Calm pigs are easier to handle than excited, agitated pigs. Handling will be easier, and pigs less likely to become agitated and bunch together, if handlers use basic pig behavioral principles," said Webb. "An important part of effectively using pig behavior during handling procedures is learning how the pig perceives and responds to the handler in different situations and environments."

Additionally, adapting to changes in weather, especially temperature extremes, costs the U.S. pork industry millions of dollars annually. Handlers and transporters must understand the affect weather can have on pigs during transport, and how best to protect them during extreme weather. The revised TQA program teaches transporters the importance of planning ahead and properly bedding and boarding trailers.

Original article on April 29 by

April 29, 2014

Pork Checkoff Announces Recipients of the 2014 Pork Industry Scholarship

The National Pork Board has awarded 18 scholarships to college students around the United States as part of its strategy to develop the pork industry's human capital for the future. The scholarship winners were selected from a pool of 21 applicants based on scholastic merit, leadership activities, pork production industry involvement and future pork production career plans.

"Helping develop the next generation of pork professionals is one of the top issues that the Pork Checkoff has identified as critical for the industry's future," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a producer from Montgomery, Minn. "Our ongoing service and obligation to producers includes ensuring that there is a sustainable source of young people ready to take on the industry's charge of producing safe, wholesome pork in a socially responsible way."

The 18 student recipients represent 12 states, 10 universities and 13 swine-related career paths. 

Three students from Kansas State University are among the recipients:

Erceg was recognized as one of three top candidates receiving a $5,000 scholarship. Mumm and Gourley will each receive $2,000. 

Original article on April 24 by

April 28, 2014

Producers double up industry support

Participation in the pork checkoff is mandatory, but like thousands of other pork producers, John Weber kicks into the kitty twice.

Weber, who farms near here in Tama County, also participates in the National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC) Strategic Investment Program (SIP).

Producers who contribute to SIP pay 10 cents per $100 in value in addition to the 40 cents per $100 value required by the pork checkoff.

Weber, the NPPC vice president, says the SIP program represents 67 percent of all pigs raised in the United States. A large portion is returned to state groups, he adds.

“I don’t think anyone wants to raise the checkoff,” he says.

“With the SIP program, we are working with producers to convince them that the money contributed to it is just as important to our industry as checkoff dollars. We are all working together to keep the pork industry in a strong position.”

Funds from the mandatory checkoff are dispensed by the National Pork Board and used primarily for promotion and research, says pork board CEO Chris Novak.

He says a couple years of strong hog prices has eliminated talk of raising the checkoff.

“Four years ago, just before we launched the ‘Pork. Be Inspired’ campaign, we had the need for an additional $8 to $10 million, but since then hog prices have risen significantly,” Novak says.

“In spite of the PED (porcine epidemic diarrhea) virus, we’ve had increased revenue this year, so we are in good shape. No one is talking about increasing the checkoff.”

While pork-checkoff revenue has been strong, falling cattle numbers have cut into the beef checkoff program.

Nancy Degner, executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, says the $1 per head checkoff does not stretch as far as it once did.

“There is talk of trying to raise it, particularly Iowa bringing back its state checkoff,” she says.

“It would be an additional 50 cents per head, and it would be refundable. Money would be spent in Iowa.”

The national beef checkoff requires $1 per head be paid by producers and was signed into law in 1986. With inflation over the past 28 years, Degner says that value is about 44 cents per head.

Money raised through the checkoff is shared with the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils, Degner says.

“We’re really limited to what we can use the money for,” she notes.

“For example, the pork board can use checkoff funds for research. We can spend it on research, but it has to have some direct connection to the consumer.

“While we can spend it on E. coli research, it can’t be spent on brucellosis or something of that nature.”

The dairy industry collects 15 cents for every 100 pounds of milk, says Sherry Newell, senior communication manger for Midwest Dairy Association (MDA).

Ten cents is retained by the MDA with a nickel going to state associations.

While dairy checkoff funds are not used for advertising, Newell says they are used to help establish partnerships with customers, such as Quaker Oats and McDonald’s.

“We are working to market more dairy that way. The McCafe drink at McDonald’s is a good example of what we are doing,” she says.

“We are working with companies, such as Domino’s Pizza and Taco Bell, to use more dairy products. We are very engaged in these efforts to help increase the dairy market.”

Newell says checkoff money also is used to help increase consumer awareness of the quality and safety of dairy products.

“We are involved with USDA and the National Football League with the Play 60 campaign,” she says. “That has really been very successful.”

Iowa’s sheep producers were unsuccessful in raising the state checkoff last year, says Mark Van Roekel, a producer from Sioux County and chairman of the Iowa Sheep and Wool Promotion Board.

The mandatory lamb checkoff requires producers to pay .007 of a cent per pound with funds overseen by the American Lamb Board.

Van Roekel says Iowa’s state checkoff is 10 cents per head each time the animal is sold.

“We were looking to raise it 5 cents per head every three years with a limit of 50 cents,” he says. “But, there was not enough support to pass it.”

Five years ago, Van Roekel says the state had $100,000 to promote lamb. He says fewer lambs have whittled that figured to $25,000 to $30,000.

“Iowa has a lot of flocks, and some are very small,” Van Roekel says.

“The auction barns and packing plants are very good about collecting the checkoff, but a lot of lambs are sold privately, and we aren’t collecting some of that money.”

Weber says he cannot speak for all livestock producers, but he believes pork producers feel the checkoff is working.

“The price of pork has steadily increased, and demand is holding strong,” he says. “You have to attribute some of that to both the checkoff and the SIP programs.

“Both NPPC and the pork board are working together better than ever, and our industry is moving in the right direction.”

Original article on April 17 by

April 25, 2014

Online Chinese Pork Promotion Draws Rave Reviews


A recent online promotion for U.S. pork conducted with China’s leading business-to-consumer platform,, drew rave reviews from Chinese consumers and strong results for U.S. pork suppliers.

The seven-day promotion, developed with support from the Pork Checkoff, highlighted’s nationwide 24- to 48-hour delivery service and gave thousands of Chinese consumers the opportunity to learn about U.S. pork through videos and recipes developed by master chefs, and to order U.S. pork for home delivery.

Within the first five days, the three participating U.S. suppliers had sold nearly 3,000 one-kilo orders (2.2 pounds per kilo) — 6,600 pounds — of U.S. pork. Within five more days, total orders jumped to 7,000. Equally impressive were the consumer reactions posted on the website:

  • ”I got delivery on the next morning. The pork looks red and fresh. The pork tasted very tender and far better than the normal pork. Several minutes later, we finished the pork.”
  • “The delivery was so fast that it was sent to my home the next morning around 9 o’clock. I couldn’t wait until dinner, so I had the U.S. pork for lunch. The pork was thin and tender. I finished all the pork very soon.”
  • “The pork looks very fresh – different from the pork on the wet market. I can’t wait to put the pork on the electric grill and make barbecue pork. The barbecue pork was very fresh and tender – very good taste.”
  • “The pork is fresh and of good taste. It’s a good choice to make barbecue with U.S. pork. I would strongly recommend you taste it.”

“This shopping channel creates different buying experiences for consumers,” said Joel Haggard, senior vice president for USMEF-Asia-Pacific. “It opens up sales of U.S. pork to the whole of China.”

Haggard also noted that the enthusiastic comments made by shoppers serve as a positive reference for U.S. pork, and quick feedback from the first satisfied shoppers likely helped inspire some of the subsequent purchases.

“The expanded brand recognition certainly helps boost the confidence level of retail and food service distributors of U.S. pork,” he said. And the convenience of being able to order and ship products online is expected to boost the sales of meat products during the holiday season. Gifts of meat are popular in many Asian countries, including China.

USMEF-China and are exploring additional collaborative efforts. While U.S. pork was the first imported pork to take advantage of the e-commerce channel, competitors from Australia, New Zealand and other markets are also beginning to utilize it for their sales and marketing.

Sales from online shopping in China last year reportedly reached an estimated 1.84 trillion yuan (nearly $296 billion) in gross merchandise value, according to iResearch, an increase of 39.4 percent over 2012. is the leading business-to-consumer e-commerce platform in China, with more than 50 percent market share, according to iResearch.

The China/Hong Kong region was the third-largest export market for U.S. pork in 2013, according to USMEF, purchasing 417,306 metric tons (920 million pounds) valued at $903.4 million, an increase of 2 percent in value on 3 percent lower volumes versus 2012 levels. In the first two months of 2014 the region has purchased 72,197 metric tons (159 million pounds) of U.S. pork (down 6 percent) valued at $166.8 million (up 4 percent).


Original article on April 21 by

April 24, 2014

Cargill Gives $150,000 to National Pork Board for PEDV Feed Research

As the first anniversary of confirmation of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) in the United States nears, the National Pork Board continues to build an arsenal of information based on its nearly $2 million in Pork Checkoff-funded research funded to date. This work will be aided by a decision by Cargill's Animal Nutrition and Pork Businesses to donate $150,000 for additional PEDV research directed by the National Pork Board.

"Cargill is committed to supporting research priorities related to PEDV," said Douglas Cook, director of innovation at Cargill's Provimi North America business, which includes the Akey brand, in Brookville, Ohio. "Cargill's Animal Nutrition and Pork businesses are pleased to provide the National Pork Board with funding to be used for PEDV feed-related research priorities to advance knowledge on this critical topic for everyone in the pork industry."

Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board's vice president of science and technology, said this investment is a welcome addition to the series of funding coming from groups outside of Pork Checkoff that will help further leverage Checkoff-funded research into the costly disease.

"Our main goal with this round of research is to find answers to PEDV and feed-related questions as quickly and efficiently as possible," Sundberg said. "We appreciate the funding by Cargill and will continue to collaborate with all pork industry stakeholders to get practical results for farmers to use to save their pigs."

The top research priorities for this group of projects are: 1) to investigate the effectiveness and cost of treatments that could be used to mitigate the survival of PEDV and other viruses in feeds, 2) to conduct contamination risk assessments at all steps within the feed processing and delivery chain, 3) to develop a substitute for the currently used swine bioassay procedures and 4) to continue to investigate the risk of feed systems and other pathways for pathogen entry into the U.S.

To view the National Pork Board's PEDV-related research and resources, go to

Original release on April 16 by


April 23, 2014

Senators Fighting to Protect Meat Names

A group of 45 Senators led by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) are leading the effort to fight attempts by the European Union (EU) to limit the use of common names of meat products.

In a letter to US Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the Senators urged the administration to hold firm against the EU’s attempt to include Geographical Indication (GI) restrictions as part of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations.

If the EU were successful, U.S. companies would be restricted in the use of common names of meat products such as bologna, black forest ham, bratwurst, wiener schnitzel and many others.

This would apply to domestic markets as well as foreign markets.  Senator Roberts said, “We cannot let the European Union slant the playing field to their advantage through absurd restrictions on what a food can be named.  American Producers should not be blocked from trading with other nations, especially those we have free-trade agreements with, based simply on what we name our product.” 

The EU would also like to place similar restrictions on dairy products.

Original article on April 14 by 

April 22, 2014

USDA orders reporting of pig virus infection in bid to control outbreak

Farms stricken with a deadly pig virus must report outbreaks as part of a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of the disease, the federal government announced Friday.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea has killed millions of pigs in 27 states since showing up in the U.S. last May, with Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina being hit hardest. The disease has been blamed for recent increases in bacon and pork prices. Farmers have struggled to control the virus, because little is known about how it spreads and there is not yet a federally approved vaccine.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it would step up efforts by requiring farms to report infections and labs to report positive tests from submitted tissue and fecal samples. Farms that suffer an outbreak also will have to participate in a program to help control the spread of the disease; details of that program have not yet been worked out.

Previously, the USDA and the nation’s pork industry tracked PED with voluntary reports from the labs.

The USDA said Friday that it would commit $5 million to fight the disease, boosting the $1.7 million research effort already begun by the pork industry. It also will require farmers to report cases of a similar disease, swine delta coronavirus.

“Today’s actions will help identify gaps in biosecurity and help us as we work together to stop the spread of these diseases and the damage caused to producers, industry and ultimately consumers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

Believed to be from China, PED poses the most risk to newborn piglets, which die from dehydration. It does not infect humans or other animals.

Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board, said the new reporting requirements would provide better information on how many farms have been infected by PED and where. They also set a model for how similar diseases could be handled.

“The issue of accuracy of information is a really important one for the future of PED as well as other diseases,” Sundberg said. “The issue of being able to analyze data to control disease, and to analyze data, you have to have good data.”

The USDA has already been looking at how diseases like PED could spread within the United States, and said it will work with state agriculture departments to track the disease and keep tabs on the movement of animals, vehicles and other equipment from infected farms.

Some states now require a veterinarian to certify that pigs coming to farms or slaughterhouses are virus-free.

Sundberg said one important aspect of the announcement was that the USDA did not appear likely to institute quarantines, which could cripple the pork industry by stopping the movement of animals to slaughter.

Original post on April 19 by Associated Press.

April 21, 2014

U.S. Farm Industry Seeks Rules on Data Privacy, No Consensus Yet

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said earlier this month it had more work to do to find consensus on a set of standards aimed at protecting farm data privacy, after meeting in Kansas City with a dozen leading U.S. agricultural industry players.

At stake is who will spearhead the drive toward a common standard for data produced on farms as the industry aims to turn information into profit and productivity, projected to be a multi-billion dollar industry in the coming years.

Over the last year, there has been a surge in the collection and analyses of farm data across the United States.

Corporate giants in agriculture, as well as small start-ups and Silicon Valley tech experts, are rolling out products and services that combine analysis of everything from the row spacing a farmer might use to plant his corn, to the soil conditions of various spots in a field, and local weather patterns.

The companies say there are big profits to be made in helping farmers increase crop production.

But with the explosion of interest in farm data have come concerns, and the AFBF, the national independent farmers' group, has been seeking input on a set of standards from a range of industry participants. Consistent rules are crucial to ensuring that the data is not misused, according to those engaged in the discussions.

Universal guidelines on data ownership and licensing would make data services contracts easier to understand. Common technical standards for data could make high-tech farm machines of different brands more inter operable, transmit critical farm data more securely, and make that data easier to analyze.

Some fear commodity markets and farmland values could be manipulated or exploited if the data winds up in the hands of traders or land brokers. Others fear that large seed and chemical companies could use the information to sell more fertilizer and seeds.


The April 10 gathering, hosted by the AFBF and attended by executives from equipment maker John Deere, seed companies Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer and other farm products companies, and representatives from key U.S. crop producer groups, was the first of what could be several meetings aimed at securing industry standards on farm data.

"There were a lot of questions answered and a lot more questions asked," said Martin Barbre, president of the National Corn Growers Association and one of about 35 meeting participants. "We're going to continue this dialogue and hopefully have more definitive answers in the future."

Executives from Monsanto that attended the meeting said afterward that they saw the meeting as "valuable dialogue" that they see continuing.

"The meeting was a clear indication of the opportunities that the proper management of data holds for agriculture across the board," said Monsanto spokeswoman Christy Toedebusch.

Participants disagreed on which of several existing data security and privacy standards platforms should the template for the industry be based on. Monsanto-owned Climate Corporation helped to launch the Open Ag Data Alliance, the seed maker's preferred platform for data standards.

But John Deere has not joined that group and currently chairs the board of another standards group called AgGateway.

"We need clarity so everyone knows what the rules are," said Ron LeMay, chairman of Kansas City-based FarmLink, a farm data analyses provider. "There is a lot at stake here. There is a huge benefit by being able to muster all the information. We need to get it right."

LeMay, who served as CEO of telecom giant Sprint Corp. before entering into farm data, said that one of the issues deals with permissioning when farmers sign up for an app and agree to certain terms and conditions.

"This ultimately will be made part of the contracts between farmers and contractors," he said. 

Original article on April 11 by

April 18, 2014

Pork Checkoff Updates Youth PQA Plus Program

New online certification tool offers broader appeal to young learners

Des Moines, Iowa -- Consumers want to know how their food is produced. Through its Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus® program (PQA), the National Pork Board will make training available to young producers so they can continue to earn the trust of consumers through transparency and training. Recent changes to Youth PQA Plus include an online training, testing, and certification option to accompany the current in-person process. Delivered to students in the form of an engaging, interactive online learning module, the new online option allows participants to learn, test, and become certified in Youth PQA Plus. For youth age 12 and under, there is a parent log-in for security as well.

Youth PQA Plus is one part of the pork industry's We CareSM initiative, which reflects the ongoing commitment to responsible farming and fosters continuous improvement. Youth PQA Plus consists of two main elements: food safety and animal well-being training. The new online certification option for Youth PQA Plus was made available on April 15, 2014. Because it is interactive, it engages students, making learning fun.

"Consumers are paying more and more attention to how animals are raised and cared for. As such, we must prepare all producers - newcomers and veterans - to assure they're aware of the best on-farm practices available," said Jodi Sterle of Iowa State University. "I think it is extremely important for youth swine exhibitors to understand they are part of something bigger; they are part of the overall swine industry, producing food to feed the world."

Sterle is the Harman Endowed Professor in Teaching and Learning and Undergraduate Teaching Coordinator in Iowa State's Department of Animal Science and an advisor to the Pork Checkoff's YPQA Plus curriculum.

"There's a lot of pride that comes along with producing food - and understandably - a lot of responsibility. Youth PQA Plus helps make today's young farmers more aware of their personal responsibility, and the tools available to meet this duty."

Austin Langemeier is a third-generation livestock producer from Texas. As a young producer, he has shown livestock in state and national swine shows where Youth PQA Plus certification has been required. To Austin, the benefits of certification continue to grow.

"Youth PQA Plus is a unique experience and allows me to better understand my purpose in raising swine with a focus on the big picture. I understand the true endpoint and meaning of market animals - feeding the world - creating the protein necessary in any person's diet," Langemeier said. "Youth PQA Plus really hit home for me. My show pig is not an animal for my personal enjoyment, but serves a larger purpose.

When the community and consumers come to shows across the nation, they personally see how their food is raised and the care that goes into it. Youth PQA Plus training has enhanced my personal understanding and role as a swine producer."

More information on the revised Youth PQA Plus program is available at Click on the Youth PQA Plus link.

Original release on April 16 by

April 17, 2014

U.S. Pork Making Gains in South Amerian Markets

The South American nation of Colombia naturally has looked to neighboring Chile – one of the world’s top pork exporters – for a steady supply of pork to meet the needs of its nearly 50 million consumers. As recently as 2009, Chile was the dominant pork supplier to Colombia, but the playing field is changing, not only in Colombia but in Chile as well.

A number of factors are driving the explosive growth of U.S. pork exports to both markets, not the least of which is the free trade agreement that the United States and Colombia inked two years ago. That agreement will reduce duties on virtually all U.S. pork products from 30 percent (for fresh and frozen muscle cuts) to zero by 2016.

Among the striking differences between the two South American neighbors is their traditional attitude toward pork. In Chile, a nation of 17 million with a Pacific Ocean coastline that stretches more than half the length of the continent, pork is considered a staple. Per-capita annual pork consumption is a robust 23 kilograms (kg), or more than 50 pounds.

Colombia, on the other hand, has a less well-developed pork industry and a populace nearly triple that of Chile that tends to view pork as a lesser protein option because of health and/or safety concerns. Part of that equation is a lack of confidence in the Colombian government’s oversight of the industry.

U.S. pork has become a wildcard in the equation. Looking back at 2009, the pork import market in these two nations looked like this:

Fast-forward four years and the pork landscape looked like this at the close of 2013:

Part of the reason behind the change is the economic growth of both pork markets. While Chile’s appetite for commodity pork has not waned, it has developed a growing interest in value-added products, such as marinated ribs for their barbecues. And the sausage processing industry in both Chile and Colombia rely on imported pork for between 50 and 90 percent of their raw material. Roughly 60 percent of U.S. pork exports to Chile go to the processing sector, while about 50 percent of U.S. pork to Colombia is further processed.

In Colombia, an imaging campaign initiated by the domestic pork industry has helped educate consumers about the safety and wholesomeness of pork, and that has contributed to a 25 percent per-capita pork consumption increase in just the past four years, growing from 4.8 kg (10.5 pounds) per person per year in 2010 to an estimated 6 kg (13.2 pounds) this year – still far below Chile’s 23 kg, but a significant improvement.

Since the majority of U.S. pork to both nations is going behind the scenes to the processing industry, USMEF has utilized Pork Checkoff funding to develop and deliver educational programs for importers and processors. Recently more than 80 pork industry representatives from Chile, Colombia and Peru attended a seminar to learn more about the U.S. pork industry, types of cuts and specifications and other information to build their comfort level with products to fit their business models. Initiatives like this have helped offset the advantage the Chilean pork industry has from zero percent duties on its products.

Yet another area of focus has been partnering with the Colombian government and the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service to hold seminars in three port cities to help train customs inspectors so that the increased volume of pork imports can clear customs in a timely fashion.

The increased visibility of U.S. pork in both markets is playing a role as well as retailers and, to a lesser extent, food service operators, look to capitalize on promotional opportunities made possible with Pork Checkoff and USDA Market Access Program (MAP) funds coordinated through USMEF. Despite political differences, the image of U.S. food products and the USDA stamp is a positive draw – particularly in Colombia – and point-of-sale identification on vacuum-packed cuts, such as St. Louis ribs, clearly shows the origin of U.S. pork products.

At the end of the day, both Chile and Colombia are increasingly important trading partners for the U.S. pork industry. The total Chilean pork import market has grown nearly 600 percent in volume and 700 percent in value since 2009, and the United States’ share of the market has soared more than 16-fold in volume and 22-fold in value (23,091 mt valued at $64.1 million).

As for Colombia, which now ranks as the No. 8 single-country market for U.S. pork exports, the total pork import market has grown 240 percent in volume and 450 percent in value since 2009. The U.S. share of the Colombian market is up just over 500 percent in volume and 725 percent in value (28,987 mt valued at $80.7 million), and in the first two months of 2014 it is up another 151 percent in volume and 155 percent in value over the pace set in 2013.

Working in partnership with the Colombian pork industry to support consumer education will be a key to growing per-capita consumption in that country, while continued introduction of premium and value-added products, such as sausages and prosciutto, will be keys in both markets

Original post on April 15 by


April 16, 2014

Iowa firm ships out vaccine for pig virus

A new vaccine is seeing mixed results but is making possible headway against the quickly spreading and highly contagious porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).

Joel Harris, head of sales and marketing for Harrisvaccines of Ames, Iowa, said his company is continuing to work on improving and developing the vaccine, adding that there’s a lot to learn yet, as with any new disease.

“It’s an interesting disease and not like anything we’ve seen before in the U.S.,” he said

However, Harris noted that more than 1 million doses have been shipped out to about seven of 28 states where the virus is found in the U.S. In addition, more than 50,000 doses have been exported to Canada where it recently was diagnosed and an emergency permit was declared so the vaccine could be imported.

Another indication of possible success is that customers are reordering the vaccine and there’s been growth in selling the product.

“We’ll have more reports coming in in the next few months, but at least initial reports are pretty positive,” Harris said.

The disease has been in the U.S. for about a year after being widespread in many other countries for years. It has killed millions of young pigs in the 28 states.

In South Dakota, the state veterinarian’s office reported cases on 22 farms as March came to a close. In December, there were only a few cases in the state, although none had been reported officially, so the spread of PEDV has been fast.

In northwestern Iowa, several cases have been reported dating to last summer.

Harris said field safety tests on the vaccine are being wrapped up in two states and should be done by mid-April. The data then will be sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which he said is likely to issue a conditional license by late spring or early summer.

Currently, the vaccine is available through a veterinarian’s prescription.

Although strict biosecurity is still the best way to prevent the disease, Harris said, he would like producers to understand that Harrisvaccines’ process in producing vaccines is completely different from that of some other U.S. companies and from vaccines that have shown mixed results in Europe. The disease was first reported in England in 1971.

“The biggest difference is that they are using 40-year-old technology,” Harris said. “Europe’s never seen a vaccine that we use.”

He said the technology used in Ames is novel among vaccine development processes. Instead of growing and killing a virus in a lab, Harrisvaccines takes the genetic sequence or code of the virus and inserts that into a production platform to generate the vaccine that way.

“It’s very targeted to the virus, and it doesn’t have the drawbacks or safety issues that traditional vaccines have,” he said.

The older process of isolating a virus in a lab requires an enormous amount of time, sometimes months or even years, and involves more lab space and workers, making it more expensive.

Harrisvaccines and its 19 employees don’t need the virus. Instead, they have veterinarians take tissue, blood or saliva samples and send them to a diagnostic lab such as the one at South Dakota State University or the University of Minnesota, which then generates a gene sequence of the virus. The Ames lab receives the data through email, synthesizes the gene, puts it into the production facility, and “we are off and running,” Harris said.

He said his company has done the process before. It was the first company in 2009 to offer a vaccine for pigs against the H1N1 virus.

“We used the same method there as we took the published online genetic sequence of that particular strain of flu and we literally just copied and pasted it into our programs and sent it off to be synthesized. So we had a vaccine for that in about two months,” he said.

Harrisvaccines worked with the SDSU diagnostic lab on this newest vaccine, with Dr. Eric Nelson helping in the early stages of the project. Harris said other labs at agricultural universities across the Midwest also have been used in the process.

SDSU Extension swine specialist and professor Bob Thaler said he hasn’t seen enough data on the vaccine to make a judgment about its effectiveness.

“The biggest challenge we have even though it’s been around about a year is it’s still an incredibly new disease and a lot of research still needs to be done,” he said.

However, he did say that biosecurity needs to be taken up another notch because the virus is transmitted via the fecal-oral route.

“We need to be careful with the feces transmission on the boots or tires on any vehicles,” he said.

Adding to the puzzle of the disease is that the Pipestone Vet Clinic, Thaler said, recently demonstrated through a trial that pig feed can transmit the disease. He said they swabbed the inside of feed bins on a farm that had been infected and detected the virus on the inside of the bins. Working with the SDSU diagnostic lab, they challenged some naive pigs with that feed, and the virus that was in that feed caused the pigs to get PEDV.

This follows a number of other solid leads found by investigators exploring whether something in pig feed could be a conduit for PEDV. One focus, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, is porcine plasma, a widely used feed ingredient made from the blood of slaughtered hogs and fed to piglets.

On more positive notes, the virus is not zoonotic, so it therefore poses no risk to other animals or humans, with no risk to human food safety.

Also, the late March report on hog inventory didn’t show what many were predicting to be a bigger death loss from the virus, Thaler said. USDA reported U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs in March to be 62.9 million head, down 3 percent from a year ago and down 5 percent from Dec. 1. Market hog inventory was reported at 57 million head, down 4 percent from last year and down 5 percent from the previous quarter. Estimates were that the loss would be as high as 5 percent to 10 percent.

Although the report caused the market to lower the high prices that hog producers had been receiving and futures prices as well, it was a positive sign in the fight against the disease.

Another positive, Harris said, is that other hog diseases present overseas haven’t hit the U.S. He noted, however, that the PEDV situation shows the vulnerability of the North American market.

Hog cholera, classic swine fever, African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease are some of the other foreign diseases on which Harrisvaccines is working.

“If foot-and-mouth came into the U.S., it would be more of a devastating problem,” he said.

The best outcome would be if the vaccine proves fully successful, something Harris certainly would like to see. He said his father, Hank, who founded the company in 2006, recently retired from teaching at Iowa State University to run the company full time. He is a veterinarian and has a doctoral degree in immunology.

He’s one of the most recognized fighters of swine diseases in the country, so the battle is in good hands. His son said they hope the vaccine can be a helpful tool, at the least, in getting in the middle of the outbreak to reduce mortality numbers to a more manageable rate.

Original post on April 8 by

April 15, 2014

Pork Checkoff Leaders Finding New Opportunities in South America

Examining emerging market opportunities and creating new partnerships to tackle global challenges was the focus of a recent study mission conducted by the 15 farmer-directors of the National Pork Board during a week-long tour of Brazil and Colombia. The board members visited the two countries March 22 through 29.

“Raising U.S. pork requires a global perspective and outlook. We learned so much from seeing firsthand how pork is produced in South America and now better understand the challenging logistics involved in raising, processing and marketing pork in Brazil and Colombia,” said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. “We all face different challenges, like creating consumer demand for our product and fighting disease in our herds. But in the end, our operations are similar and, despite living in a global marketplace, we can learn so much from each other.”
While in Brazil, the board members met with leaders of the swine cooperative SUINCO, the Brazilian Association of Swine Breeders, and met with the leadership of Agroceres PIC, a global pork production company. Before leaving Brazil, the tour group stopped at Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture. Joao Donisete, the general manager of Agroceres PIC in Brazil, agreed that there are many similarities between Brazil and the U.S. in terms of food production. Those similarities include how best to improve meat quality while keeping a continued focus on animal welfare, protecting the environment, and hiring and training workers. 

Mid-week, Pork Checkoff leaders flew to Bogota to meet with representatives of Colombia’s association of pork producers and then toured a processing plant that uses U.S. pork as raw material. The board also looked at the marketing and retail distribution side of pork production through meetings with importers, and retail leaders.

During a meeting with Colombian pork industry leaders, the Board learned how the Colombian pork industry is struggling to increase consumer pork demand at a time when local producers are challenged with growing pork imports. As a result of a 2012 free trade agreement, Colombia was the Central/South America region’s largest market for U.S. pork in both volume (34,099 metric tons, up 73 percent from 2012) and value ($88.1 million, up 63 percent). The pork industry leaders agreed that an opportunity exists to benefit both U.S. and Colombian pork producers through mutual efforts to increase Colombian pork demand.

Original post on April 3 by

April 14, 2014

Japan Must Eliminate Tariffs, Says NPPC


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7, 2014 – With U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in Japan this week and that country recently concluding a free trade agreement with Australia, the National Pork Producers Council today again called on Japan to eliminate all tariff and non-tariff trade barriers for U.S. agricultural products as part of the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks.

The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

Froman is meeting with his Japanese counterparts in Tokyo this week.

In the TPP talks, Japan is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination of certain “sensitive” products. It wants exemptions for 586 tariff lines, or 11 percent of its tariff schedule. In the 17 free trade agreements (FTAs) the United States has concluded since 2000, only 233 tariff lines combined have been exempted from going to a zero tariff.

If the United States meets Japan’s demands, NPPC has pointed out, it would be a radical departure from past U.S. trade agreements and would open the door to tariff line exemptions from other countries in the TPP and in future U.S. trade deals. It would establish a dangerous precedent for exemptions not just in agriculture but on industrial and high-tech products.

In its FTA deal with Japan, Australia did not get tariff elimination on a number of important products, but a clause in the agreement requires the Japanese to provide the same access to Australia that it provides to other nations. Should the United States get better access to Japan in the TPP negotiations, Australia would get that same access.

“The Japanese need to eliminate tariffs on pork and other U.S. farm products,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “Japan is asking for special treatment in the form of exempting myriad tariff lines from tariff elimination, yet tariff elimination is the heart of an FTA.”

Hill said U.S. farmers and ranchers likely would agree with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., who last week said that if Japan is not ready to participate in a high-standard, 21st century agreement, which means elimination of tariffs, it needs to exit the negotiations.

“We support the efforts of Ambassador Froman and our trade team to get the same result from Japan that we have gotten from every other U.S. FTA partner: elimination of virtually all tariffs,” said Hill.


Original post on April 7 by


April 11, 2014

KPA Publishes Pig Tales Issue 2

Stay up to date with the Kansas pork industry and what your association is doing for you. Read about the accomplishments of fellow KPA members and friends and enjoy this issue’s featured recipe. Pig Tales is the official publication of the Kansas Pork Association

Issue Highlights…

Click the image to read this issue online!

Pig Tales Cover For April 11

All Pig Tales inquiries should be directed to the Kansas Pork Association at (785) 776-0442 or



April 10, 2014

National Effort to reduce damage caused by feral swine

Undersecretary for U.S.Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos announced that the agency is kicking off a national effort to reduce the devastating damage caused by feral, or free ranging, swine.  The $20 million program aims to help states deal with a rapidly expanding population of invasive wild swine that causes $1.5 billion in annual damage and control costs.  

“Feral swine are one of the most destructive invaders a state can have,” said Undersecretary Avalos.  “They have expanded their range from 17 to 39 states in the last 30 years and cause damage to crops, kill young livestock, destroy property, harm natural resources, and carry diseases that threaten other animals as well as people and water supplies. It’s critical that we act now to begin appropriate management of this costly problem.”

The Wildlife Services (WS) program of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will lead the effort, tailoring activities to each state’s circumstance and working closely with other Federal, State, Tribal, and local entities. WS will work directly with states to control populations, test animals for diseases, and research better methods of managing feral swine damage.  A key part of the national program will include surveillance and disease monitoring to protect the health of our domestic swine.

Feral swine have become a serious problem in 78% of all states in the country, carrying diseases that can affect people, domestic animals, livestock and wildlife, as well as local water supplies. They also cause damage to field and high-value crops of all kinds from Midwestern corn and soybeans to sugar cane, peanuts, spinach and pumpkins.  They kill young animals and their characteristic rooting and wallowing damages natural resources, including resources used by native waterfowl, as well as archeological and recreational lands.   Feral swine compete for food with native wildlife, such as deer, and consume the eggs of ground-nesting birds and endangered species, such as sea turtles.

“In addition to the costly damage to agricultural and natural resources, the diseases these animals carry present a real threat to our swine populations,” said Avalos.  “Feral swine are able to carry and transmit up to 30 diseases and 37 different parasites to livestock, people, pets and wildlife, so surveillance and disease monitoring is another keystone to this program.” 

As part of the national program, APHIS will test feral swine for diseases of concern for U.S. pork producers, such as classical swine fever, which does not exist in the United States, as well as swine brucellosis, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, swine influenza, and pseudorabies.  Ensuring that domestic swine are not threatened by disease from feral swine helps ensure that U.S. export markets remain open.    

APHIS aims to have the program operating within 6 months and funding for the comprehensive project includes, among other things:

Initial state funding levels will be based on current feral swine populations and associated damage to resources.  Because feral swine populations, like most wildlife, cross international borders, APHIS will also coordinate with Canada and Mexico on feral swine damage management. 

“We’ve already begun this type of work through a pilot program in New Mexico,” said Avalos.  “Through this pilot program, we have successfully removed feral swine from 1.4 million acres of land.  By applying the techniques such as trap monitors and surveillance cameras we have developed through this pilot project, we aim to eliminate feral swine from two States every three to five years and stabilize feral swine damage within 10 years.”

April 9, 2014

Feed Delivery Trucks Need Biosecurity to Control PEDV

COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Missouri Extension swine nutrition specialist Marcia Shannon advises pork producers to take extra precautions with feed and delivery trucks to prevent the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).

The recent spread of PEDV increases the need for better biosecurity associated with all aspects of the farm, Shannon said. The virus is most deadly to piglets three weeks or younger and slows the growth performance of older pigs for about two weeks.

PEDV spreads through contact with contaminated feces, and the virus appears to survive in manure for a long time, especially in cold weather. TGE virus, which is similar to PEDV, will survive in manure for more than eight weeks at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and only two weeks at 70 degrees, Shannon said.

Use biosecurity measures when getting feed at the local feed mill or having a feed truck deliver feed to the farm, said Shelbina, Mo., veterinarian Stephen D. Patterson.

This lessens the chance that trucks, bagged feed, equipment, clothing and footwear become contaminated with fecal material.

Patterson recommends the following tips:

* Keep the delivery truck and trailer clean. Wash and disinfect wheels, tires and fender walls before or after each farm visit. Let the truck and trailer dry for best results.

* Wash and disinfect floor mats when you wash the truck.

* Use disinfectant wipes to clean the steering wheel, armrests, gearshift, door handles and any other areas that can be contaminated. Use aerosol disinfectant on seats.

* Before exiting a truck, drivers should put on clean, disinfected boots or shoes before hitting the ground.

Follow these rules wherever you go, such as the gas station, grocery store, restaurants, post office and other public buildings. Follow the same procedures when you get back in the vehicle. Limit travel or the number of stops as much as possible.

For more information about PEDV, go to the website of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians at

The MU Extension publication "Biosecurity for Today's Swine Operation" (G2340) is available for free download at

Original release on March 31 by

April 8, 2014

Pork Checkoff Publishes Spring 2014 Report 

Have you read your copy yet? The Pork Checkoff Report is a quarterly magazine published by the National Pork Board.

Issue highlights

Click the image to read this issue online!

Checkoff Report Image For April 8 


April 7, 2014

Add Ease to Easter with a Slow-Cooked, Succulent Ham

DES MOINES, Iowa — With Easter approaching, the National Pork Board is inspiring new, effortless ways to create sensational flavors for a holiday feast – with ham and the slow cooker. According to recent trend data, in the last 10 years, slow cookers have experienced a resurgence in U.S. households.1 While most people think about slow cooking for staples like chili and stew, it’s also perfect for center-of-the-plate entrées, like ham, and it’s a fantastic way to revamp traditional Easter recipes.

"Easter ham and a slow cooker might seem like an unlikely duo – but they're actually a perfect pair," said Pamela Johnson, director of consumer communications for the National Pork Board. "Slow-cooked ham guarantees a moist and tender entrée – and it also allows for easy preparation and even easier clean-up, letting hosts spend more quality time with family and friends."

Mouthwatering Easter Menu
Introduce slow-cooked flavor to your Easter menu with a new recipe that allows for cooking with ease – Sweet Southern Slow-Cooker Ham. Simple ingredients like apple cider and Dijon mustard combined with the classic Southern touch of bourbon (or water and vanilla extract) create a rich flavor complemented by the sweetness of brown sugar. Round out your menu by pairing it with classic sides like oven-roasted carrots, asparagus wrapped in bacon and mashed sweet potatoes.

Once the Easter festivities are over, this slow-cooked ham is easily shredded for those welcomed leftovers. Ham and cheese sandwiches and omelets are a leftover staple, but you can also mix things up with other flavor-packed recipes like Ham, Apple and Cheddar Crepes – warm, cheesy and savory, they’re a great way to bring the family back together for a delicious, warm weekend brunch.

Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes
Between March 31 and April 14, pork fans can visit for a chance to win an Easter gift basket with everything you need – including a stainless-steel slow cooker and ham serving ware – to help this year's holiday go smoothly. Once entered, make sure to share your #EasterHam recipes and ideas on Pinterest.2

For more Easter-inspired meal ideas and cooking tips visit, and

Original release on April 1 by



April 4, 2014

Purdue ag economist: Baby pig losses were greatest in winter months

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The impact of the PED virus in swine was felt most strongly during the unusually harsh winter months of December through February, Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt said Monday (March 31).

He said this means the losses of baby pigs probably will decrease as the weather warms this spring.

Hurt said the U.S. Department of Agriculture's report showing how much the nation's inventory of market hogs decreased in the past six months was perhaps the most anticipated report for the pork industry in decades. It was the industry's first opportunity to get a national, comprehensive measure of the baby pig losses since porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was first identified in the spring of 2013.

PED is a virus of swine that is fatal to nearly all infected piglets less than 2 weeks old. There is no vaccination or treatment. Health experts say the virus causes no harm to humans and is not a threat to food safety.

"While PEDv was in some hog herds last summer, the national data does not pick up any impact on pigs per litter during the warm weather," Hurt said.

The USDA Hogs and Pigs report, released March 28, was based on a random survey of 6,100 pork operations across the country in early March.

The nation's losses of baby pigs over the past six months appears to have been about 5 percent of the total herd, according to Hurt's analysis of data from the report. The market expectations had been for about a 7 percent loss. His analysis would suggest that about 600,000 baby pigs were lost in the fall and 2.1 million were lost during the winter because of PEDv and the weather.

Hurt said the best way to evaluate the magnitude of losses is to examine the number of pigs per litter, which measures the number of pigs that were alive when the survey was conducted. As expected, the losses were greater in the winter quarter, which spanned December 2013 through February 2014. During that period, the national average number of pigs per litter dropped to 9.53, compared with an expected rate of 10.3, a decline of more than 7 percent.

During the warmer quarter of September to November, baby pig losses were running about 2 percent.

As the weather cooled, the percentage of losses increased monthly from 2 percent in October to 8 percent in February.

"The large losses experienced in February probably mean that losses will continue to be large into March but may lighten as the weather warms into April and the rest of spring," he said.

Hurt said it was not possible to determine how much of the lower rates were the result of PEDv and how much were from the unusual weather.

The report, which has data on 16 of the major pig production states, indicated  that states with very large  losses of pigs over the winter were Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Michigan. Indiana along with Iowa, Kansas, Illinois and Nebraska had moderate reductions. States showing little or no losses were Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and South Dakota.

The USDA report is available at           

Original release on March 31 by 

April 3, 2014

Kansas Ag Groups Connect Families and Farms

The Kansas Pork Association and seven other agriculture organizations have joined together to form the Kansas Farm Food Connection with a goal of connecting families to farms. Most people are three to four generations removed from farming. Kansas Farm Food Connection will provide first-hand experiences for families to learn, eat and grow together.

The agriculture groups include Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Soybean, Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Kansas Wheat, Kansas Corn Growers Association and dairy groups including Midwest Dairy. To learn more about Kansas Farm Food Connection, visit

To being working toward its goal, the Kansas Farm Food Connection hosted a private screening of James Moll’s new documentary, “Farmland,” April 1 in Kansas City. The movie steps into the lives of young farmers and ranchers as they take on the task of running their families' operations. The special advance screening gave more than 180 audience members a chance to start the discussion about agriculture.

“Our goal is to celebrate the exciting story of Kansas agriculture,” says group chair Tim Stroda. “There are so many facets and faces to agriculture. Each story is different. We want to learn from consumers, and in turn offer helpful information.”

The event was a joint effort between the Kansas Farm Food Connection, Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City and U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.

The documentary will be released nationally May 1. It will be distributed in more than 60 major markets. The New York premiere will be April 17 during the Tribeca Film Festival. "Farmland" also will be part of film festivals in Cleveland, Atlanta, Nashville and Newport Beach.

 Go to to watch the trailer or locate a theater where "Farmland" will be screening.

April 2, 2014

Pork and Blues Bring Smiles to Chinese Consumers

More than 30 members of the Chinese media turned out last week for U.S. pork sliders and to hear about a special American BBQ and Blues Week event planned for mid-April in Shanghai and Suzhou. The announcement was made jointly by the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Shanghai and the USMEF-Shanghai office, with funding support provided by the Pork Checkoff.

Authentic Texas barbecue pork and live blues performances headlined by Joey Gilmore, 2006 winner of the International BLUES Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., will be the attraction at Shanghai’s Stubb’s restaurant and the theme will be continued at the Suzhou Crown Plaza.

Keith Schneller, director of the Shanghai ATO office, made the media announcement while USMEF representative Jina Gao provided the reporters with U.S. pork sliders and information on U.S. pork.

“American BBQ and Blues Week is a good opportunity to present an American lifestyle – barbecue and Blues music — that will attract more people to try and enjoy U.S. pork,” said Joel Haggard, senior vice president for USMEF Asia-Pacific.

In a separate event designed to raise the brand awareness of U.S. pork, USMEF conducted pork sampling on several weekends in March at Freshmart in L’Avenue Shopping Mall in Shanghai in conjunction with several Chinese holiday celebrations that drew large numbers of shoppers to the mall.

A local Chinese distributor shared costs for the event with the Pork Checkoff to promote four U.S. pork cuts: bone-in butt, CT butt, boneless pork loin and brisket bones.

“The aroma of the freshly cooked samples drew a sizeable crowd,” said Haggard. “Our goal is to let consumers sample the product to understand its quality, and to emphasize that it is U.S. pork in order to foster brand awareness.”

In 2013, the China/Hong Kong region was the third-largest market for U.S. pork exports, purchasing 417,306 metric tons valued at $903.4 million.

Original release on April 1 by

April 1, 2014

Kansas producers continue to struggle with impact of drought

The USDA announced Wednesday 10 Kansas counties have been designated as Primary Natural Disaster Areas.  The designation comes as a result of the ongoing drought in the region. Counties listed include:  Barton, Ellsworth, Kiowa, Mitchell, Edwards, Jewell, Lincoln, Osborne, Smith and Russell.  Contiguous counties also eligible for assistance include:  Barber, Ellis, Ottawa, Republic, Clark, Ford, Pawnee, Rice, Cloud, Hodgeman, Phillips, Rooks, Comanche, McPherson, Pratt, Stafford, Saline and Rush.                           

Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey commented on the announcement.

“This designation will allow Kansas farmers and ranchers to have access to programs that can assist them as they weather this challenging time,” McClaskey said.  “It also highlights the critical importance of water to Kansans.  Without water, agriculture, our state’s largest industry, cannot thrive.”

All counties designated natural disaster areas on March 26, 2014, make qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures.

This designation comes at a time when Kansas officials are working to help develop a water vision.   “Gov. Brownback issued a charge last October to develop a comprehensive, 50-year vision for water,” McClaskey said.  “The long-term viability of our water supply, including the usable life of the Ogallala Aquifer and our reservoirs, is at stake.  We must be proactive in our approach in order to ensure the ongoing economic viability of Kansas.”

The Water Vision team has conducted over 130 presentations to nearly 6,000 Kansans since last October. The team has gathered input on the 50 year water vision from farmers, ranchers, municipalities, other water users, and other stakeholder groups. For more information about the Vision for Water in Kansas or to submit comments, visit

On April 11, in Manhattan, Kan., there will be a Joint Meeting of the Kansas Water Authority, Natural Resource Agencies and Stakeholders in Manhattan to further develop the draft of the Water Vision.

For more information about the Vision for Water in Kansas, visit

Original release on March 31 by



March 31, 2014

Research Review: Implement an integrated mapping service for PRRS regional control elimination

Principal Researcher: Dr. Robert Morrison, University of Minnesota

Key Points:

Summary: There are approximately 20 regional PRRS control and elimination projects in the United States in various stages of progress. Each project coordinator has his/her own approach to mapping swine production sites within a region. This project's goal was to develop a uniform and integrated mapping service that would be available for any regional coordinators to use. Oracle was used to develop the database, and ArcGIS was used to develop the map. Maps are viewed in either ArcReader or ArcGIS online. Participating regional projects included N212MN, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as well as a national PRRS incidence project involving 10 production systems, with a total of 300 sow sites and 1,000 grower sites. A common legend to classify PRRS status by site has been developed and is being promoted to all participating regions. We believe the mapping option serves the needs of the industry and is a valuable resource for the National Pork Board.

To learn more, click here.


March 28, 2014

Connecticut Stands Up for Family Hog Farmers' Rights

On March 24, the National Pork Producers Council thanked the Senate Environment Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly for standing with local Connecticut farmers by defeating a measure banning the use of gestation stalls, a safe and humane form of housing pregnant sows.

Proponents Friday attempted to add language outlawing gestation stalls – stripped earlier – to a bill establishing an animal care standards board. The attempt failed on a 15-9 vote after the committee heard from farmers from across the state that the ban would make criminals of farmers using humane farming practices.

The vast majority of the country’s hog farmers use gestation stalls to house pregnant sows because they allow for individualized care and eliminate aggression from other sows. The housing method is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows.

Defeat of the stall ban measure in Connecticut was the latest in a series of losses for animal-rights groups, which over the past few years have expended significant resources on the issue in several northeast states with no results. Led by the Humane Society of the United States, the groups have claimed such housing systems are inhumane to sows.

In voting against the measure, Environment Committee Co-Chair Linda Gentile said, “I absolutely resent the state of Connecticut being used as a political fundraising piece or leverage.”

“Farmers are learning how to stick up for themselves and to fight back against extremely well-funded activist groups that think they know better than farmers and veterinarians how to care for animals,” said Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, who is president of NPPC. “Hog farmers everywhere are appreciative of the level-headedness and compassion for family farmers Environment Committee members have shown on this issue.” 

Original release on March 24 by


March 27, 2014

Kansas Pork celebrates National Agriculture Day

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and leaders of the Kansas Agriculture industry gathered in the Kansas State Capital on Tuesday, March 25, to recognize the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives and to express gratitude for the donations to the 2014 Neighbor to Neighbor statewide food drive. 

Your association, a sponsor for the food drive and event, joined the celebration and spent the day talking with visitors about today's Kansas pork farms and sharing recipe ideas. 

Gov. Brownback noted that agriculture is the largest driver of the Kansas economy, contributing more than $35 billion dollars, or 25 percent of the state's economy.  "Kansas farm and ranch families work tirelessly day after day to feed their fellow Kansans and others around the world," Gov. Brownback said. "I am proud to celebrate farm and ranch families today, on National Agriculture Day, thank you for your diligent hard work." 

The Neighbor to Neighbor statewide food drive is a cooperative effort between the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Dillon's, Harvester's Community Food Network, Kansas Food Bank, Second Harvest Community Food Bank and many of the Kansas agriculture organizations. Food will be collected through the end of March with the goal of raising 100,000 meals for Kansans in need.



March 26, 2014

Social Media - The Global Language

Ten years ago, you never dreamed of putting a picture of your breakfast on the Internet, or sharing your musings while you sit in traffic. And you couldn’t show the world videos of the funny tricks performed by your children or your dog.

Now you can, courtesy of social media outlets such as Facebook (founded in February 2004), YouTube (February 2005) and Twitter (March 2006), to name a few.

It didn’t take long for the social media phenomenon to sweep around the world, and while it is a global tool, it has local applications, making it ideal for an organization like the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) that supports U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports around the world, but tailors the message to each individual market.

“Social media is insanely popular and is incredibly powerful – and cost-effective – if used properly,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president of global marketing and communications. “USMEF’s marketing team around the world has adopted many of these tools for our use, timing our rollout of these tactics to keep us in step with the local conditions and, ideally, a step ahead of our competitors.”

Consider these facts about just a few of the leading social media channels:

USMEF has followed the launch of the key social media channels closely, often using them as an efficient method for attracting the attention of the youthful early adopters who also have an interest in high-quality red meat products. USMEF offices also have relied on social media when traditional channels were either too expensive or unwilling to carry positive messages about American products.

First steps in South Korea

In one of the most tech-savvy countries on earth, USMEF-South Korea led the way for the organization’s social media engagement in late 2007. Faced with 100,000 protesters in the streets of Seoul angry about the government’s decision to readmit U.S. beef after a BSE-related absence, the USMEF marketing team began cultivating independent food bloggers to write about the products when other media outlets wouldn’t even accept paid advertisements for fear of inspiring consumer boycotts.

“We had to communicate with consumers through a different channel than conventional media to turn around negative consumer sentiment,” said Min Park, USMEF-Korea public relations manager.”

To ensure that it did not arouse the potentially volatile Korean consumer base, USMEF waited until spring of 2013 before launching its Facebook presence. The most active social media site in Korea, Facebook is popular among consumers in the 20 to 29 age demographic, where 93.5 percent of consumers use a smart phone.

Twitter, on the other hand, is more of a news communications tool in Korea with postings on politics, religion and social issues, so it has not been a focus for the USMEF-Korea team.

The approach in Japan

The USMEF team in Japan, however, has adopted a broader range of social media tools in an environment that has been very receptive to U.S. red meat. As in Korea, bloggers were the first channel for USMEF to reach out to consumers in Japan, working closely with homemaker-communicators who found a niche with a very receptive audience.

“Bloggers are a very powerful tool,” said Tazuko Hijikata, senior manager of consumer affairs for USMEF-Japan. “We began working with several bloggers as long as six years ago, some of whom have 5,000 visitors reading their blogs every day.”

She noted that a single update to the “Enjoy Family Life” diary-style blog drew nearly 10,000 users to the USMEF website.

Hijikata’s team is planning several Facebook campaigns in the coming year, and also has taken advantage of a growing interest in Twitter, including a creative program to encourage consumers at Japanese restaurants that serve U.S. beef to invite their friends to join them. The Twitter campaign, which offered modest rewards of packages of U.S. beef as incentive, enticed more than 10,000 consumers to tweet their American beef dining plans to family and friends.

“When friends read the tweets, they see that someone they trust is publicly announcing that they are enjoying U.S. beef, which supports both the image of U.S. beef and the restaurant offering it on the menu,” said Hijikata.

Yet another channel, YouTube, is being utilized to post how-to videos for fresh meat preparation. One such video for U.S. pork garnered more than 245,000 views in one month.


The world’s biggest concentration of red meat consumers is rapidly evolving into the world’s social media hub, and USMEF-China is an active participant in the evolution. With the absence of U.S. beef from this market of 1.3 billion consumers, American pork is the focus of a diversified social media program.

“Social media has developed very fast and, as mobile devices become more and more popular, social media has quickly become one of the most important public relations tools in China,” said Joel Haggard, senior vice president for USMEF’s Asia-Pacific region. While Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are banned in China, the country remains very active in social media.

Educating distributors, chefs and gourmets was the original goal in China as USMEF began promoting cooking ideas, recipes and restaurant recommendations through the Weibo channel in late 2011, but that audience quickly grew to include consumers. The site took off in 2012 and with 77 percent growth over the past two years it now serves nearly 130 million active users. But, just as MySpace was eclipsed by Facebook in the U.S., Weibo has yielded its top spot among Chinese social media followers to Wechat, which claims an estimated 600 million users.

USMEF-China has utilized Wechat since mid-2013 much as it did Weibo earlier. USMEF-China also has developed its own U.S. Meat App for smart phones to provide consumer information and education.

Looking ahead, Haggard and his team are targeting restaurant ranking websites, such as, which younger consumers use in larger cities to determine where they want to dine. Promotions with websites of this nature can direct diners to restaurants that serve U.S. pork.

European Union

The European Union is a high-value market but not a large outlet for American exports, due largely to its powerful domestic pork industry and its beef quotas and restrictions on hormone use in cattle. The USMEF team in the EU, however, remains committed to sustaining a consistent profile for U.S. red meat products, with a current focus on beef since most U.S. pork going to the EU is destined for the processing sector.

Late in 2013, USMEF-EU launched its Facebook page, The Marbled Meat Club, to familiarize EU audiences – focusing on chefs and the food trade – with the quality attributes of U.S. red meat as well as cooking tips, pairings with wines and other helpful information. Similarly, USMEF-EU has an active presence on YouTube with instructional videos, such as this piece by celebrity chef Jay McCarthy on how to cut a prime rib.

“It is our long-term strategy to raise awareness of U.S. red meat in the trade and among chefs,” said Felipe Macias, USMEF representative based in Spain. “The EU is a big market of 28 countries, so we believe social media is the right tool to reach our target audience.”

Middle East

The Middle East is an important export market for U.S. beef. The fourth-largest volume destination, including the top market (Egypt) for beef variety meat, the region also includes the United Arab Emirates, an up-and-coming destination for business travelers and tourists. It also is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world for social media use.

“Social networking is the most popular online activity across the Middle East and North Africa, with almost 90 percent of consumers reporting they use it daily,” said Amr Abd El Gliel, USMEF representative based in Cairo. “Facebook only opened its first Middle East office in May 2012, and already it’s the most popular social media site in the region.”

Social media’s popularity surged in the Arab Spring as a primary communications channel, and there are more than 90 million consumers in the region with Internet access – about 56 million of whom follow Facebook, according to, a regional Internet analytics firm. USMEF recently launched its inaugural Middle East Facebook presence, and already boasts more than 115,000 “likes” for its helpful beef cooking and handling information.

“The current number of youth in the Middle East region is unprecedented – nearly 179 million,” said Amr. “Nearly one in three people living in the region is between the ages of 15 and 24, and it is the youth who are shaping the future of the consumer market. They are among our targets, along with chefs, retail meat case staff, homemakers, importers, distributors and retailers.”


Another more recent entry into the social media process is USMEF-Mexico, which launched its Facebook site just last month. As the overall use of the Internet – and more specifically of smart phones – is growing steadily, the Mexico team is making corporate chefs its initial target for new Facebook and Twitter initiatives.


Social media is gradually gaining momentum in this island nation, and while the domestic meat industry has not pursued social media channels, USMEF-Taiwan has had a Facebook presence for nearly four years, using the site to promote nutritional information, recipes and restaurants that carry U.S. red meat and cutting videos for the trade.

Beyond social media

While social media has proven an important and cost-effective tool, USMEF’s marketing teams are already looking at the next generation of Internet-based tools. The USMEF-China team has taken an aggressive approach. Earlier this month, it collaborated with China’s business-to-business market leader,, to introduce eight U.S. pork items with guaranteed nationwide delivery in less than 48 hours. The site drew an enormous number of viewers in the first few hours of operation, and a USMEF promotion, sponsored through the Pork Checkoff, attracted more than 2,000 applications in the first hour for a chance to win samples of U.S. pork.

There are more than 600 million Chinese Internet users, up from 45 million in 2002, and the online population is growing about 4 percent per year, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. That creates a huge bulls-eye for Internet marketers. In fact, China’s TMall set a record last year when it sold $5.7 billion of goods and services in a single 24-hour period. The site sells brand-name goods from an estimated 70,000 global companies including Apple, Nike, Gap and Adidas.

“What we are seeing in China is the tip of the iceberg,” said Halstrom, who noted that a report by the Pew Research Center shows 37 percent of the population in China owns a smart phone, but there are other markets outside North America, the EU and the top Asian economies that also boast high smart phone usage, including Lebanon (45 percent), Chile (39 percent), Jordan (38 percent), Malaysia (31 percent) and Venezuela (31 percent).

“The future of food sales of all types, and red meat in particular, will be closely intertwined with the Internet and social marketing,” Halstrom said. “Every market reacts at its own pace, but they are all moving in the same direction.” 

Original article by

March 25, 2014

U.S., Canadian Pork Industries Collaborate with Feed Industry, Others on PEDV

Experts gather to seek answers to costly disease

More than 60 people representing the U.S. and Canadian pork, feed and other allied industries recently participated in a meeting on the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) hosted by the National Pork Board, and in collaboration with the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the American Feed Industry Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Renderers Association and the North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers, in Des Moines, Iowa. Although the disease does not affect humans or pork safety, it has infected and killed millions of young pigs on farms of all sizes in 27 states since May 2013 and in four Canadian provinces since January.

"Our main goal was to bring a group of people together to help us agree on research needs related to PEDV and feed systems so that we can get answers to ongoing questions as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board. "We've been working on PEDV research and collaborating with all pork industry stakeholders since the disease was discovered here, and we'll continue doing that to get practical results for farmers to use to save their pigs."

The meeting participants, made up of producers, veterinarians, nutritionists, academics and government and association officials, also shared what's currently known about PEDV, including transmission routes, possible vectors and current testing limitations. The group reiterated that PEDV is not a human health or food safety issue and agreed the virus is of Asian origin genetically, but its direct pathway to North America remains unknown.

"The feed and ingredient associations appreciate the National Pork Board and pork industry for organizing this important roundtable discussion," said Richard Sellers, senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). "The research agenda outcome from the meeting is one we are optimistic will assist in investigating this devastating disease more in depth, helping to develop mitigation steps and communicating to those in our respective industries."

During the day-long session, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offered information about the agency's pathways analysis that seeks to identify and describe pathways that exotic viral pathogens of swine may enter the country. The Canadian participants shared their PEDV experiences and actions taken this year, and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians presented its initial survey of early PEDV cases. In addition, participants learned results of veterinary investigations in several states and heard what the feed, feed ingredient and rendering industries are doing to enhance their biosecurity programs and mitigate risk.

"After taking all of this information into consideration, the group agreed that there are multiple ways for pigs to become infected via a fecal-oral route, including environmental, transportation, feed systems and other vectors," Sundberg said.

The top research priorities agreed upon by the group are: 1) to investigate the effectiveness and cost of treatments that could be used to mitigate the survival of PEDV and other viruses in feeds, 2) to conduct contamination risk assessments at all steps within the feed processing and delivery chain, 3) to develop a substitute for the currently used swine bioassay procedures and 4) to continue to investigate the risk of feed and other pathways for pathogen entry into the U.S.

"If feed is a factor in the transfer of PEDV, based on past research we know that there are specific time and temperature combinations that should inactivate the virus," Sundberg said. "However, there are many variables that can affect feed, including post-processing contamination, which is another area that must be carefully controlled even if inactivation occurs."

David Fairfield, vice president of feed services for the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), said, "This meeting illustrates the ongoing commitment that all participants in the pork industry have in eliminating PEDV. The dialogue was constructive and transparent, and facilitated a better understanding on what is known and not known about the disease. NGFA believes the feed-related research priorities identified during the meeting are appropriate and will provide important information that can be used as part of a comprehensive strategy to eradicate PEDV."

To date, the Pork Checkoff has funded 17 PEDV-related research projects totaling nearly $1.7 million. The Institute for Feed Research and Education, AFIA's foundation, has pledged $100,000 toward PEDV research.

AFIA's Sellers added, "To show our dedication, industry groups are committing resources and funding to the research effort and will continue to communicate updates to those affected in order to minimalize further effects."

Original release on March 24 by





March 24, 2014

Pork Producers Provide Input on Checkoff Programs at National Pork Industry Forum

The Pork Act Delegate assembly met March 6-8 in Kansas City, Mo. One hundred fifty-six delegates, appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack., traveled from across the country to represent pork producers and importers who sell pork products in the United States.

The duties of a delegate include nominating members to serve on the National Pork Board; establishing how much of the Pork Checkoff is returned to state pork organizations; and providing direction on the pork promotion, research and consumer information priorities funded by the Pork Checkoff.

Advisements and resolutions passed by the Pork Act Delegate include:

• COMM #1: Communication Terms
MOTION: The National Pork Board shall continue to research and identify trends in consumer friendly language, and develop and distribute new and existing resources which communicate universal messaging proven to resonate positively and effectively with consumers throughout the entire pork chain.  An emphasis should be placed on animal care practices.

MOTION: NPPC and NPB shall continue and enhance the efforts to share the story of pork producer’s commitment to socially responsible pork production.  These efforts should include the WE CARE initiative, Channel Outreach to retailers and food service companies, and participation in the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance which is working to build consumer trust.  Further, NPPC and NPB shall solicit financial support from others in the food chain for these efforts.

• ST #1: Animal Handling and Welfare Assurance Programs
MOTION: The National Pork Board in cooperation with the National Pork Producers Council shall continue to develop and then introduce a new standardized program for animal handling, welfare assurance and production assurance.

• ST #2: Group Identification at the Packing Plant
MOTION:  The National Pork Board shall work with researchers and packing plant personnel to explore alternative identification practices that limit stress on the animal and streamline the unloading process at the packing plant.

• ST #3: Feed Ingredient Handling
MOTION: The National Pork Board shall work with researchers and feed ingredient providers to develop practices and management techniques to reduce or eliminate potential contaminates from the feed supply system.

• ST #4: Swine Health Surveillance Date
MOTION: The National Pork Board, in cooperation with the National Pork Producers Council, shall draft plans for funding and building the infrastructure needed to collect and manage swine health surveillance data through:
1. an industry-driven and directed program housed with the National Pork Board; or 
2. an industry funded third party entity housed independently of the National Pork Board; or 
3. a state-federal-industry program cooperatively funded and managed.

• ST #5: Support Use of Effective Methods to Stimulate Protective Immunity    
MOTION: NPPC/NPB supports use of all effective methods to stimulate protective immunity against enteric pathogens, including “feedback” which is related to the human medical practice of coprophagy.  Most recently these enteric pathogens include PED virus.

Original release on March 20 by



March 21, 2014

Pork Industry Environmental Stewards Honored at Pork Forum

The National Pork Board today honored four farms as recipients of the Pork Industry Environmental Stewards Award at the annual National Pork Industry Forum. The award, now in its 20th year, recognizes producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and to serving their local communities.

The award recipients are: 

"These forward-thinking Stewards focus on innovative solutions and ideas on their farms. They are great representatives of thousands of pork producers who work every day to protect our environment and to be good neighbors in their communities," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. "We are pleased to honor them at our annual meeting as pork producers who are raising high-quality pork for customers while adhering to the industry's We CareSM ethical principles."

The Pork Checkoff honors the Stewards with a cash award, a plaque, a video and coverage in thePork Checkoff Reportmagazine. The Stewards also are featured inNational Hog Farmermagazine, co-sponsor of the Environmental Stewards program.

The Environmental Steward award winners were selected by judges representing pork producers and environmental organizations. The judges reviewed applications from pork producers who are committed to upholding the ideal relationship between pork production and the environment. Their operations were evaluated on their manure management systems, water and soil conservation practices, odor-control strategies, farm aesthetics and neighbor relations, wildlife habitat promotion, innovative ideas used to protect the environment and an essay on the meaning of environmental stewardship.

The National Pork Board is receiving applications and nominations now for the 2014 Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award winners. The deadline is March 31. More information, as well as applications, can be found online at, or by calling (800) 456-7675.

Original release on March 10 by


March 20, 2014

The United Steaks of America

If every state had an official meat, what would it be?

Americans love meat. In fact, we eat more of it per capita than almost any other country in the world. (Luxembourg has us beat by about 31 pounds per person per year. La vache!)

So it’s surprising that only four states—Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Texas—name meaty dishes among their official state foods. And Maryland doesn’t really count—its state food is the blue crab, which is more like an edible bug than a meat. Thankfully, Oklahoma picks up the slack by having three carnivorous state meals—barbecued pork, chicken-fried steak, and sausages with gravy. But still! That’s only five meats, and one crustacean, representing the entire meat-eating country. Meanwhile, the list of U.S. state foods contains approximately 30 fruits (seven of which are apples—boring), 20 vegetables, and five muffins. Now, I know fruits, vegetables, and muffins are delicious. But surely they play a smaller role in our national food culture than brisket, hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, and barbecued pork.

US Steaks

Burnt ends
Many Missourians will no doubt be upset by the allocation of burnt ends—the tough edges of smoked brisket that are smoked a second time to become “nuggets of barbecue gold”—to Kansas. Granted, burnt ends are best known as a Kansas City, Mo., treat. But (brace yourself for a confusing string of state names) many barbecue connoisseurs say that the best burnt ends are served at Oklahoma Joe’s, a joint based in Kansas City, Kan., not Kansas City, Mo. Oklahoma Joe’s has been called “the best barbecue in the world” by none other than Anthony Bourdain, and Slate’s ownbarbecue expert, David Plotz, says that “OK Joe’s burnt ends are FANTASTIC.” Since Oklahoma Joe’s is on the Kansas side of the border, Kansas gets burnt ends on a technicality.

 Read the whole article on

March 19, 2014

Pork Industry Honors Dr. Maynard Hogberg with Distinguished Service Award

The National Pork Board honored Maynard Hogberg, Ph.D., as the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award on March 8. Hogberg is professor and chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University.

The award was presented during the National Pork Industry Forum, the industry's annual business meeting. The award is given annually to recognize the lifelong contribution to the pork industry by an outstanding leader.

"Dr. Hogberg has provided extraordinary leadership to the pork industry," said Sam Hines, Michigan Pork Producers Association executive vice president. "He has brought segments of the industry together to find sustainable solutions that have benefited pork producers nationwide."

Hogberg began his career at Michigan State University, where he was a professor and led the development of swine Extension activities. He eventually went on to serve as the chair of the Department of Animal Science. While at Michigan State, he helped grow the state's pork industry by working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture to create Generally Accepted Management Practices for manure nutrient management.

Hogberg was instrumental in the creation of the National Swine Registry. He, along with others, realized that the breed associations were stronger together than apart. In addition to the creation of the National Swine Registry, Hogberg's vision to engage youth in swine production led to the creation of the National Junior Swine Association, which strives to inspire young people to pursue careers in the pork industry.

Following his time at Michigan State University, Dr. Hogberg became professor and chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University.

"Through his tireless efforts, he took an already strong and highly regarded curriculum to new heights," said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. "Among many accomplishments, he spearheaded construction of the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, a premier place for students to gain hands-on experience in animal science."  

"Throughout the pork industry, Dr.Hogberg is known for his positive collaboration, commitment to excellence and responsiveness to addressing the needs and concerns of all," Hines said

Original release on March 10 by

March 18, 2014

Kansas Feral Swine Program in the News

KPA statement: The Wichita Eagle recently highlighted the Kansas Feral Swine Control Program.  The KPA has worked for several years to secure state funding for the program.  The Kansas pork industry has also provided funding for landowner education on the risks associated with allowing feral swine to thrive on their property.  The online article includes several photos of the program at work.  These include methods of control, but also highlight the disease surveillance that is part of the program’s function.

Kansas battle to reduce feral hog population seems to be working

Tom Berding remembers when crop damage by feral hogs was a dominant conversation in rural Cowley County.

A few years ago, one farmer had to re-plant 40 acres of corn after wild pigs ate the seed. Another lost acres of soybeans to ravenous herds. The damage totaled thousands of dollars per farmer.

No more. Berding has gone from having herds in his driveway to not seeing even a track for more than a year.

“That’s all good news,” he said. “They’re no longer a topic of conversation in the coffee shops.”

That’s because Kansas continues to be one of the nation’s most aggressive states at eradicating feral swine, which can also carry diseases that have been transferred to livestock, pets and humans. To insure parts of the state stays feral pig-free, Kansas-based biologists are also hammering wild hog populations just south of the Oklahoma border.

“I knew where they were coming from,” Curran Salter, a U.S. Department of Agriculture biologist said of Cowley County’s pig problem. “I approached my supervisor and said we could wait to get overrun, or we could take the fight to them in Oklahoma.”

So far, the fight seems one-sided.

Last year Salter, head of a multi-agency group working on feral hog eradication, and crews killed about 90 in Cowley County via trapping, night shooting and aerial gunning from helicopters. Last month in the same area they killed just one, and Salter said it was the first he’d seen in the region for a year.

He credits that to killing 180 feral hogs just below the Oklahoma border last year. The tally is much higher already in 2014.

Last month, after killing that lone boar in Kansas, the helicopter crew shotgunned about 125 pigs in about three hours in Oklahoma. Most were within six miles of the border. Salter said some of those pigs, or their hundreds of offspring that would have come within a few months, could have ended up in Kansas.

Biologists in other states applaud Kansas’ actions.

Helicopter Picture

A U.S.D.A. helicopter works to turn part of a herd of about 80 feral pigs just south of the Kansas/Oklahoma border so an aerial gunner can eliminate the herd. It's estimated feral pigs cause at least $200 annually, per animal, in agricultural damages. They also carry diseases that can be fatal to humans, pets and livestock. Photo credit: Michael Pearce/The Wichita Eagle


Now is the time

“If you don’t take those aggressive steps, in 30 years you’ll look like us, and this thing is out of control, “ said Mike Bodenchuk, a Texas-based USDA biologist in charge of combating the state’s estimated 2.6 million feral pigs. “We’re a shining example of what can go wrong.”

By some models, Texas’ feral swine cause more than $500 million in damages to the state’s agriculture.

Bodenchuk, widely seen as one of America’s top feral swine experts, says Kansas isn’t alone in dealing with the expansion of wild hogs.

The original product of domestic herds gone wild over the centuries, he said America’s feral hog range has expanded from about 17 states 20 years ago to about 40 states currently. Most of the spread has more to do with highways than hooves.

Both biologists blame hunters wanting to establish feral hog populations near their homes for the spread. Live-trapped wild pigs can be purchased in Texas and other places.

“That’s why you often see populations suddenly jump up on public hunting areas,” Salter said. “The guys who release them know they’ll always have easy access to the pigs.”

Kansas threw a wrench into that concept about seven years ago, when USDA biologists and the Kansas Department of Agriculture urged the state to make it illegal to transport feral hogs in Kansas. They also banned all but landowners from sport hunting wild swine, too. Bodenchuk said they’re smart moves.

“You can’t barbecue your way out of the problem, “ he said of sport hunting pigs. Salter said there’s no proof sport hunting has successfully managed a feral hog population.

Over about the past 15 years, Salter said 11 significant feral hog populations have popped up in Kansas. One of the first was on Fort Riley. That’s about when feral swine started in the Red Hills region, near Medicine Lodge.

Without hunters scattering the pigs, Salter and other biologists were eventually able to remove large numbers with baited traps. Many more were killed with specially trained helicopter crews. About 1,000 were killed in the Red Hills.

“It took us four or five years to get that one cleaned up because they were really widespread,” Salter said. “But for all practical purposes that population is gone. Except for a couple of lone boars, people down there haven’t seen a pig in several years.”

Other populations, scattered from border to border have been eliminated. Salter said the lone exception is in a Bourbon County in southeast Kansas, where some landowners desire feral pigs so they can hunt them with dogs. They won’t allow trapping or aerial gunning on those lands.

“As long as that’s going on the pigs are always going to have a refuge,” Salter said. “All we can do is work the pigs around the refuge area to keep it from getting totally out of control.”

Outside that area, he credits nearly 100-percent landowner cooperation for helping the Kansas project kill about 4,000 feral swine in the past several years.

With about 250 pigs, he thinks the Bourbon County herd is the only significant breeding population left in Kansas. Had it not been for the aggressive measures, Bodenchuk and Salter think the Kansas population would noq total more than 10,000 feral swine, and double every few years.

Pigs from neighboring states

Salter said the war on feral swine in Kansas will probably never be over.

A few river and creek areas leading from Oklahoma and Missouri into southeast Kansas are already on his radar as places where more pigs could arrive. About 15 were trapped this winter near the Little Caney River in Montgomery County, tight against the Oklahoma border.

Salter is proud of how things have gone in Cowley County, and across the border in Kay County, Okla. It’s a cooperative effort of USDA staff and wildlife departments from both states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and many landowners and volunteers, like Berding, who has been helping run traps that have caught up to 42 pigs at a time.

Along with the recent trapping, the late February aerial gunning in the region killed about 300 feral pigs in Oklahoma. About 80 were shot in one pasture about six miles south of the border. Many were near where an Oklahoma farmer lost about 20 acres of wheat in a single night this winter.

Many of the pigs were on the public hunting area of Kaw Reservoir where hunters in Oklahoma, which still allows sport hunting, had pushed pigs into Kansas in the past.

For years on a tight annual budget of about $200,000, paid for by USDA, Kansas and some livestock groups, Salter recently learned his agency could be putting significantly more funding into controlling feral swine. That could mean added personnel afield and considerable more helicopter time, which could help locate, and eradicate, new populations while they are still small.

Spencer Grace, an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation game warden who has been deeply involved with the project, is optimistic the program is working.

He said the local herd appears to be an isolated population that ends about eight miles into Oklahoma, meaning eradication could be possible. Grace estimates recent trapping and flights killed a high percentage of swine in the area.

“They had a big hog hunting competition last weekend and they had a total of one pig killed in Kay County,” he said “I know we’re putting a pretty good hurting on them.”

Original article released on March 9 at 

March 17, 2014

Properly Processed Spray-Dried Blood Plasma Deemed Safe

Recent publicity has led to questions about the potential role of spray-dried porcine plasma and porcine red cells in the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV). An investigation in Canada, using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, did identify PEDV in a sample of porcine blood plasma that had been processed into swine feed. However, a PCR test can only identify the virus' presence — not whether it's capable of causing disease.

The North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers points out that based on current scientific evidence, properly sourced, collected and processed porcine blood and porcine blood products are safe and do not contribute to the spread of PEDV. For more details, click here.

Original release by


March 14, 2014

CFIA unable to confirm PED virus, feed link

Scientific testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has not been able to confirm a link between hog feed containing blood plasma and porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) cases in Canada.

In mid-February, CFIA conducted a bioassay study on U.S.-origin porcine blood plasma used in feed pellets produced by Grand Valley Fortifiers and determined that the porcine blood plasma in question contained PED virus capable of causing disease in pigs.

However, in its pursuing investigation the agency could not demonstrate that the feed pellets containing the blood plasma were capable of causing the disease. Among other things, the CFIA investigation included sampling and testing of feed, plasma and other feed ingredients from various Canadian and U.S. sources associated with farms in Canada on which PED has been detected. All test results on these samples were negative for PED.

CIFA said it will continue to analyze feed and feed ingredients, as well as epidemiological information gathered during the investigation. In addition, CFIA said it will examine any new lines of enquiry related to feed that may emerge, in particular from ongoing testing in Canada and the US.

The feed investigation was triggered Feb. 9, after Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Food (OMAF) testing found that U.S.-origin porcine blood plasma used in feed pellets produced by Grand Valley Fortifiers contained PED virus genetic material. As a precautionary measure, Grand Valley Fortifiers voluntarily withdrew the potentially affected feed pellets from the marketplace.

Samples of both the feed pellets and the porcine blood plasma ingredient were submitted to CFIA's National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) for further testing. It was confirmed that both the blood plasma and the feed pellets contained PED virus genetic material; however, the bioassay study was required to confirm if this genetic material could cause illness in pigs.

CFIA has been closely monitoring the emergence of PED since the first cases were reported in the U.S. in May 2013. The agency said will continue to collaborate with provinces and territories to support their response to PED in Canada.

PED can spread rapidly through contact with sick animals, as well as through people's clothing, hands, equipment, boots, and other tools contaminated with the feces of infected animals. Therefore, considering the characteristics of PED virus and how it spreads, adhering to good biosecurity protocols remains the best measure to prevent further introduction or spread of this disease in Canada.

The PED virus poses no risk to human health or food safety.

Original release on March 4 by

March 13, 2014

Pork Industry Launches Three-Prong Strategy to Stem PEDV Spread

New funding, research and collaboration will focus on mitigating loss and impact to pork supply

The National Pork Board has announced additional funds earmarked for research in the fight against the further spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), which was first identified in the United States last May. The funds - $650,000 through supplemental funding approved by the Pork Checkoff at last week's Board meeting and $500,000 through a new agreement with Genome Alberta, will provide new opportunities for research.

"This has become one of the most serious and devastating diseases our pig farmers have faced in decades," said Karen Richter, a Minnesota producer and president of the National Pork Board. "While it has absolutely no impact on food safety, it has clear implications for the pork industry in terms of supplying pork to consumers. Our No. 1 priority is to address PEDV."

Additionally, the Pork Checkoff announced a new collaboration with a number of industry players, including the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the American Feed Industry Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Renderers Association and the North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Protein Producers, which is made up of five member-companies throughout the United States and Canada.

Working together, this project will align swine, feed and veterinary groups to bring an even higher level of collaboration in the fight against the disease. Now active in some parts of Canada, PEDV continues to cause a heavy loss of piglets on farms across the United States.

"I am hopeful others will join our coordinated effort to specifically define risks and share information to contain the further spread of PEDV," said Richter. The new effort was announced during the annual National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City this past weekend.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, PEDV has surfaced in 26 states. Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics and a Pork Checkoff consultant, estimates the loss of more than 5 million piglets in the past several months, with 1.3 million lost in January alone.   

"Losses of this magnitude will ultimately have a consumer impact through a reduction in supply," Meyer said. "Some pork supply will be made up through producing higher market-weight hogs and through other loss mitigation actions, but today we are already seeing summer pork futures climb to record levels."

Part of the Checkoff's supplemental funding of $650,000 will be used for feed-related research to better understand the potential role feed may play in PEDV transmission. Also, a portion of the funding will be used to identify ways to increase sow immunity and to better understand transmission and biosecurity risks. This brings the current level of Checkoff-funded research to approximately $1.7 million since June 2013.

"That investment will be centered on further containing PEDV with a specific focus on feed research and related issues, building the immunity of breeding herds and biosecurity measures," said Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of Science and Technology at the National Pork Board.

In a related move, Genome Alberta is cooperating with the National Pork Board to identify research gaps in understanding PEDV and stem its spread. Genome Albert has committed approximately $500,000 toward a coordinated U.S./Canadian effort and is seeking additional funds from Canadian, provincial and regional agencies.

Every two weeks, the Pork Checkoff publishes thePEDV Updatenewsletter with some of the latest information and resources available. All Checkoff-funded PEDV-related materials are available at

Original release on March 11 by

March 12, 2014

China: Online U.S. Pork Promotion Goes Live on

A new online commercial pork site opened this week and operated by China’s business-to-consumer market leader,, is promising nationwide delivery of eight U.S. pork items within 24 to 48 hours at discounts ranging up to 60 percent during a site-opening seven-day sale.

The new e-commerce platform attracted more than 400,000 viewers within the first few hours of operation, and a USMEF-organized promotion to win a sample of American pork drew more than 2,000 applications in the first hour. Support for the promotion is being provided through the Pork Checkoff.

The U.S. pork items, ranging from pre-cut bone-in pork butt steak to pork belly, are being offered to Chinese consumers nationwide. The products are sourced from three U.S. processors and are being sold through three specialized distributors who can deliver the frozen ready-to-cook items nationwide in under 48 hours.

The site provides a range of information on U.S. pork and the available products. A link allows shoppers to view a video on U.S. pork production, while other specific information about the brands and the distributors selling the products provide assurances and a “ten-fold money back guarantee” regarding the U.S. source of the products.

Three guest chefs, including Hong Kong celebrity gourmet Chef Hugo (Liang Wen Tao) and the chef to the U.S. ambassador to China, provided recipes, photos and instructional videos for the promotion.

“Online commerce is growing in China at a phenomenal rate,” said Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia-Pacific region. “Food is still a small portion of total online sales, but consumers are becoming more accepting of receiving courier packages of food, including frozen perishables like meat.”

U.S. pork has been available online in China prior to this activity, but the dedicated sales platform represents a new breakthrough in online visibility, Haggard said. Online shoppers are looking for the latest brands, and are interested in the story behind the products, so the partnership with TMall will also help USMEF educate Chinese consumers about the attributes of U.S. pork.

USMEF has been investing in building up U.S. pork’s online sales potential for nearly a year. Early efforts focused on assisting online vendors with ideas and expertise on how to improve packaging so that the geographical footprint of product shipments could expand. In the meantime, investments in logistics in China have ramped up, including a project by TMall’s parent company, Ali Baba, to build its own logistical capabilities.

“We are very attracted to the online model,” Haggard said. “We see sales results instantaneously and, for this particular promotion, we stand to receive more than 1,000 detailed customer comments on U.S. pork.”

Revenue from e-commerce in China last year reached an estimated $290 billion, an increase of 38 percent over 2012. TMall is the largest business-to-consumer e-commerce platform in China, with 57 percent market share. It set a record last year for Singles Day (Nov. 11) when it sold $5.7 billion of goods and services in a 24-hour period. Logistics companies throughout China that day sorted more than 60 million packages. TMall was also featured at the USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum last month, where participants heard an eye-opening presentation on the company and the current and potential sales of U.S. food products through their USA Country Pavilion.

The TMall promotion’s various components were coordinated by USMEF Shanghai’s team over the last few weeks.

“This involved an incredible coordinating effort among our staff between TMall staff, U.S. processors, their distributors and the guest chefs featured on the site,” said Haggard.

The China/Hong Kong region was the third-largest export market for U.S. pork in 2013, purchasing 417,306 metric tons (920 million pounds) valued at $903.4 million, an increase of 2 percent in value on 3 percent lower volumes versus 2012 levels. 

Original release by


March 11, 2014

Despite PEDV and Other Challenges, Pig Farmers Upbeat on Future of Industry

U.S. pig farmers find optimism even though concerns over hog health and disease rank as a top concern, according to the results of a survey released this week at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, Mo. The survey, fielded late in 2013, found 30 percent of producers said hog health and disease was the single biggest challenge they faced. This result is not surprising given Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) continues to impact farms across the country.

"In a year that brought significant herd losses due to PEDV, the survey underscores that the issue is still top of mind for many producers," said Karen Richter, National Pork Board president and a producer from Montgomery, Minn. "But with this concern comes opportunity for the Pork Checkoff, with 27 percent of producers also saying that the Checkoff was best positioned to fund additional research into PEDV."

At 27 percent, providing PEDV research ranked first from a defined list of choices when asked"How can the Checkoff help you in 2014?"However, that direction changes slightly when those surveyed were asked to fill-in their own blank.

When asked the open-ended question of "What is the single most important thing the Pork Checkoff can do to help your operation be more successful?, six of 12 answers related to marketing pork. Advertising and promoting pork ranked No. 1 at 23 percent, followed by educating consumers about the safety of pork at 12 percent. Additional marketing-related concerns included improving export and international trade potential, increasing demand, opening more markets to pork and improving the sale price of hogs.

The challenging events of the past year also may have served to unite the industry in a focused direction. According to the survey results, three of every four producers surveyed (75 percent of the 550 respondents) reported that the pork industry is on the "right track." Not only is that result the highest in survey history, but is up 16 points from the 2012 result of 59 percent.

"This is a very strong result," said Richter. "Producers are satisfied, and whether you run a small, family farm or are part of a larger organization, there is a sense of optimism - especially among producers age 18 to 54. That says a lot about the future of our industry."

Of the 13 percent of producers that said the industry was headed in the wrong direction, the most commonly reported reason was related to competition, too much regulation, the inability to turn a profit and disease problems. Only 6 percent of those surveyed blamed their lack of optimism on "disease."

Image of pork industry also seen as improving
Another indicator that things are looking up is that, in general, those pig farmers surveyed believe that the consumers' image of their work has improved, up 6 percentage points from last year. A total of 56 percent of producers surveyed said that consumer image is positive, with only 21 percent saying the image is negative.

At 56 percent, this positive perception among producers is the second highest in each of the last five years of the survey, and up from 50 percent in 2012. Likewise, producers feel that negative impressions have decreased - from 24 percent in 2012 to 21 percent in 2013 - a positive change of three percentage points.

Record-high approval of the Pork Checkoff
A final indicator of producer optimism is support of the Pork Checkoff. According to the 2013 survey, 87 percent of producers, the highest level on record, said that they support the Checkoff, with only 6 percent in opposition. The remaining producers either were neutral in their support or did not know how to respond.

"In my opinion, this is a vote of confidence in the steps we take every day to promote pork and provide valuable research to our producers," said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "The difference of 81 points separating support from opposition is the highest in the survey's 12-year history. It is to a point that it will be difficult to improve upon this score, but we'll continue to work hard to earn the trust and confidence of all producers."

Original release on March 6 by

March 10, 2014

Jump-Start Your Pork Career

Ready to take the next steps up the career ladder? Whether you are a college student or an employee looking for a promotion, the Pork Checkoff offers educational opportunities geared toward your needs, including the Certified Swine Manager (CSM) program, the Professional Swine Manager (PSM) program and Swine Science Online. The latter two are offered in collaboration with the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence (USPCE).

“Continued professional development can open up opportunities for career advancement,” said Jim Lummus, director of producer learning and development for the Pork Checkoff. “Improving your skill set shows employers your dedication to the industry.” The Pork Checkoff’s educational programs are updated regularly with new curriculum, technology and performance practices to help you reach your goals.

Professional Swine Manager (PSM)

This program is targeted toward pork production employees, with a secondary audience of community or technical college students wanting to enter the pork production industry.  
“The PSM program is another tool to help develop knowledgeable, skilled employees,” Lummus said. “We encourage producers to incorporate it into their leadership development programs.”

PSM teaches technical skills in both a virtual classroom setting and at the farm. PSM’s classroom sessions are available nationwide and are delivered online by community college instructors with pork production experience. Classroom instruction is enhanced by the PSM program’s on-farm learning component, where students gain practical, hands-on experience.

PSM courses, which qualify as credit towards an associate degree, include:
•    Breeding stock management 
•    Nursery and finishing management 
•    Facility maintenance 
•    Swine record systems 
•    Employer/employee issues 

•    Agribusiness internship

For the spring 2014 session, you can register now for:
•    Facility maintenance 
•    Employer/employee issues.

To register, go to

Certified Swine Manager (CSM)

The CSM program can put swine operation managers, employees seeking promotions, students and others interested in a career in the swine industry on the fast track to success.  
 “This unique program helps develop knowledgeable, skilled employees who embody the pork industry’s We CareSM ethical principles,” Lummus said.

To earn the CSM status, you must pass a test to verify that you have the knowledge to manage a swine operation and show that you that can apply the knowledge on the job. The on-the-job evaluation covers all production phases, including farm and personnel management, breeding and gestation, farrowing and wean-to-finish.

To apply, go to

Swine Science Online

The first online undergraduate program in swine science is being offered through universities across the country. Learn scientific principles and management skills from leading university swine professors. Enroll in a single course to enhance your knowledge or complete the program for a USPCE Swine Science Online certificate.

Spring course titles include Basic Swine Science, Swine Health and Biosecurity, Pork Product and Quality Safety, Swine Environment Management, Swine Breeding and Gestation Management, Contemporary Issues in the Swine Industry, Swine Nutrition and Swine Nursery and Finishing Management.

For details, go to

Original release by

March 7, 2014

Strong Year-end U.S. Pork Exports offer a "Bright Outlook" for 2014 Demand

U.S. pork exports remained strong last year, exceeding $6 billion for the third consecutive year, although down from the record level set in 2012. As 2013 drew to a close, 4.73 billion pounds of pork and pork variety meats valued at $6.05 billion dollars had been exported, down 5 percent and 4 percent, respectively, from 2012.

"Checkoff investments in helping tear down trade barriers and promote U.S. pork with international consumers are crucial to growing the revenue we enjoy from exports," said Brian Zimmerman, chair of the Pork Checkoff's Trade Committee and a Beatrice, Neb., producer. "In 2013, 26 percent of U.S. pork and pork variety meat was exported, which added nearly $54 per hog marketed." 

U.S. pork exports ended 2013 on a positive note with strong exports in December, demonstrating upward momentum going into 2014. Mexico, Central and South America and the ASEAN region posted particularly strong results to bring the month's totals up slightly from levels of a year ago. In addition, through December total exports to South Korea, Australia and New Zealand were the highest of the year.

"Even though we saw a decrease in some markets in 2013, we continue to see incredible export opportunities," said Zimmerman. "An increase in the global population and a growing middle-class in countries that enjoy pork gives pig farmers a bright outlook. We expect demand to continue to grow in the year ahead."

Current negotiations for two additional free trade agreements - the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - could positively impact U.S. pork exports. The Trans-Pacific Partnership could open and expand markets in the Asia Pacific region, with high potential to increase exports to Japan, Vietnam and Australia. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a trade agreement with the European Union, could also greatly increase U.S. pork sales.

During 2013, more than 100 countries around the world bought U.S. pork.

Meanwhile, demand at home also grew by 5.6% in 2013. According to calculations from Pork Checkoff economist Dr. Steve Meyer, domestic real per capita expenditures increased nearly every month in 2013. Consumer education about the value and versatility of pork, the adoption of new pork cut names, and reinforcement of pork's ideal cooking temperature were the Pork Checkoff's key consumer messages. The new porterhouse pork chop, ribeye pork chop and New York pork chop were specifically featured in a summer marketing campaign.

"New domestic product marketing opportunities combined with growing interest from Mexico, Japan and China - our top three global markets - is helping U.S. pork farmers introduce quality pork to consumers down the street and around the globe," said Zimmerman

Original release on March 6 by 





March 6, 2014

Statewide Food Drive Campaign Aims to Raise 100,00 Meals for Kansas Families


Governor Sam Brownback signed a proclamation declaring March 23 - 29 as Kansas Agriculture Week and Mar. 25, Kansas Agriculture Day.  A cornerstone of the agriculture celebration is the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive. The statewide food drive will help support neighbors in need and reduce hunger in Kansas communities.

"It is important that we serve.  That we help our neighbor in need," Brownback said during the event held at Harvester's.

The food drive is a collaborative effort by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Dillon's Food Stores, Harvester's - The Community Food Network, Kansas Food Bank, Second Harvest Community Food Bank and the Kansas agriculture community.  The goal is to raise 100,000 meals for Kansas families during the food drive which begins March 3 and concludes on March 25, Kansas Agriculture Day. Kansans can contribute to the campaign at Dillon's Food Stores statewide or at other locations in communities across the state.

Dillon's Food Stores made an initial donation of 6,400 pounds of non-perishable food items at the kick-off event. These food items will be on display in the Kansas State Capitol March 3-25. 

To learn more about the Neighbor to Neighbor statewide food drive and an how you can promote Ag Day in your community, visit  Follow along with the conversation during Kansas Ag Week and the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive via Twitter at #n2nks and #ksagday.

Original release by


March 5, 2014

KPA holds annual meeting, legislative reception

On February 24, the Kansas Pork Association annual meeting was held in conjunction with an executive board meeting and the annual legislative reception in Topeka. During the annual meeting, members heard from Representative Sharon Schwartz, Washington, who currently serves as the Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Schwartz spoke to the group about pending legislative issues. 

"KPA appreciates the dedication of Chairperson Schwartz as a friend of the Kansas swine industry," says Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO.

Joining the group via teleconference was Paul Sundberg, senior vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board, who reviewed research findings on PEDV and Angela Anderson, manager of food chain outreach, National Pork Board, who provided an outline of efforts to work with retailers.  

Also presenting at the meeting were speakers Anne Marie Towle and Chris Lavigne from Willis, an insurance brokerage company, who shared with members the opportunities available in group captives.

Members at the annual meeting also attended to many items of business. This included the approval of the KPA Public Policy Handbook for 2014.  This document will help guide the organization's leaders and staff on upcoming issues. Additions to board leadership were made electing Jeff Dohrman, Bushton; Jason Hall, Elkhart; and Mark Crane, Chapman, to the KPA Executive Board. Members Jim Crane, Guymon, OK; and Kevin Deniston, Scott City, were re-elected for another term. Proposed resolutions from the National Pork Producer Council were reviewed. Kansas will be represented by two delegates, Alan Haverkamp and Jim Crane, at the NPPC Annual Delegate meeting to be held in Kansas City on March 6 -8.

"With the new additions to our current leadership, I am confident that KPA has a great group of individuals to lead the association and its members in 2014," Stroda says.

At the KPA executive board meeting, Michael Springer, Neodesha, was re-elected as Chairman for 2014.

During the evening KPA legislative reception, members were able to finish the day by visiting with over 60 legislators while enjoying a pork meal featuring Brickyard Barn Inn and Catering.

 March 4, 2014

Many Factors are Working Together to Impact Pork Supply

There are a number of news items of value today and they have some broad implications.

First, the number of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) case accessions at veterinary diagnostic labs fell for the week of February 10.  (See Figure 1 in this story).  Furthermore, the decline was the largest on record outside of the sharp drop at Christmas.  Those are the good news items.  The bad news is that the 30-case decline was from the all-time record high of 301 accessions the week of February 3, and that one point does not make a trend.  But in this fight, we’ll take all of the good news we can get. 

In addition, there is news out of Canada that point-to-plasma products are being discussed as a possible transmission vector for PEDV.  The results are still sketchy to this social scientist, but I do know that U.S. companies had thoroughly investigated plasma as a disease-spreading agent several months ago, so I’m not too sure what to make of the Canadian findings at this point. 

One thing is certain, though:  supply impacts will get larger.  That is, based on the chart, pretty much a no-brainer but the magnitude is pretty shocking.  Only 3.5% of the total accessions to-date occurred in August 2013 and would thus be impacting February 2014 slaughter. Compare that figure to this:  25% of the to-date accessions occurred in January and will impact July slaughter.  “But these aren’t just baby pig cases,” you say.  And you are correct.  If I use just the suckling pig data from the National Animal Health Laboratory Network’s weekly report, though, the percentages are 9.4% for August and 30.9% for January.    So, whatever the impacts on February slaughter, I would expect them to be at least 3 times as large in July.  Those $105-plus futures – and even higher – may well be justified.

Second, USDA’s Cattle On Feed Report indicates, as expected, that cattle supplies will remain very tight in the short run and tight through early summer.  The number of cattle in U.S. feedlots with capacities of 1,000 head and more, was 10.76 million head on February 1, which was 2.8% lower than one year ago.  The decline was a bit smaller than the expected 4% figure, though, so that news may be a bit bearish for cattle futures. 

January placements were 8.6% higher than last year and much higher than the 2.8% increase that was expected by analysts.  This suggests that some of the supply crunch may ease come July.  Until then, cattle and beef prices will remain at or beyond record levels, providing some strong substitution opportunities for pork.

USDA’s Cold Storage report, however, shows that there is more pork in freezers as of the end of January. See Table 1. Total pork stocks were 2.9% higher than one year ago and 12.5% higher than at the end of December.  Pork bellies accounted for all of the year-on-year increase, growing by nearly 50 million pounds or 127%.  We view these stocks as a hedge on the part of bacon producers against another run-up in belly prices this summer.  That is not to say that bellies or bacon will be cheap, but users want to make sure they don’t have to go to spot markets to fill their needs.  Without a bellies futures contract, holding inventory is about the only way to hedge against seasonally higher prices.

Higher ham stocks accounted for over 40% of the month-to-month increase in pork inventories.  Part of that is seasonal storage for Easter, which falls on April 20, a relatively late date, this year. 

Beef supplies are relatively tight, especially in light of the slaughter levels we are likely to see with lower feedlot inventories and ongoing efforts to build the beef cow herd.   Broiler breast inventories continue to shrink relative to last year but leg quarter product stocks are sharply higher at +26% from February 2013 and +19% from the end of December

Weekly cash hog prices have risen above year-ago levels (See Figure 2) for the first time this year. The year-on-year comparisons will get very large over the next few weeks because we will be comparing this year’s strong prices to ones that were negatively impacted by last spring’s exit from the U.S. market by Russia and the uncertainties created by China’s vague ractopamine “certification” demands.  Seasonally lower hog supplies will make the differences even greater. 

History says that hog prices rise about $15/cwt. carcass from mid-February to summer highs.  That would put this year’s peaks in the $103 range, well below the record levels of lean hogs futures last week.  The market is clearly factoring in a greater-than-normal seasonal reduction in supplies based on PEDV.  Whether it is large enough remains to be seen. 

Go to for full graphs and tables. Originally published on February 24.



March 3, 2014

Interest in Pork Spans Many Cultures, Ethnicities

A recent consumer tracking study conducted by the Pork Checkoff shows that multicultural consumers are enjoying fresh pork more frequently than the average consumer within the Checkoff's target market.

According to the latest research, Hispanic, Asian American and African American consumers report a significantly higher belief in pork's creativity and inspiration in the kitchen, demonstrating that thePork. Be inspired® campaign resonates with ethnic consumers.

"Pork is a dietary mainstay to multicultural consumers," says José de Jesús, director of multicultural marketing for the Pork Checkoff.  "The results of this latest study provide an excellent opportunity for continued growth within the fresh pork category - where we saw a 5.6 percent increase in consumer expenditures last year."

To increase pork consumption among ethnic customers, the Checkoff will introduce several new, culturally relevant marketing programs in the year ahead. The Checkoff will also conduct additional research this spring with these groups to gain valuable insights into their eating habits and cultural differences towards pork.

"We want to better understand their attitudes and perceptions regarding pork so that we can deliver messages that are culturally appropriate to these groups," de Jesús said.

To assist with strategy creation, the Pork Checkoff selected República as its national multicultural marketing agency of record. República was selected following a competitive review and will help the Pork Checkoff execute its multicultural outreach with a focus on creating awareness of fresh pork and its benefits with diverse consumers. 

The nationally fielded tracking study is conducted by the Pork Checkoff twice each calendar year and most recently in November 2013. Respondents are representative of the U.S. population for gender, age, ethnicity and income.

Original release on February 13 by



February 28, 2014

Podcast: The Pork Checkoff collaborates with the U.S. Meat Federation to build international demand


Original air date: January 27, 2014

Length: 3:58 minutes

Speaker: Becca Hendricks, Assistant VP International Marketing National Pork Board

Listen HERE

February 27, 2014

Japan Remains Key Focus for U.S. Pork Experts

When you talk with pork exporters, there are many customers around the world, but Japan remains the prime target – the center of the bulls-eye – when it comes to value.  That’s not only true in the United States, but pork-exporting countries around the world are also focusing their resources on building their share of this critical export market.

Although overall U.S. pork exports to Japan declined 7% in volume and 5 % in value in 2013, the United States’ share of the critical chilled pork market grew as American exporters pursued this higher-value niche.  And while Japan is certainly a developed market, there are segments that offer significant growth potential.

One such niche is Japan’s foodservice sector, where a key opportunity exists for processed pork products.  A survey that the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) took at the Japan Foodservice Association Show identified this new niche potential: about half of the respondents have not yet utilized any processed U.S. pork products.

Currently, Japan imports about 12,000 metric tons (mt) of sausage and 2,200 mt of ham and bacon per year, leaving substantial growth potential – particularly at foodservice – for new menu items.  A recent USMEF Pork Workshop, developed for a specific audience of purchasing managers, menu developers and marketing staff of leading Japanese foodservice companies with financial support from the Pork Checkoff, introduced nine U.S. pork brands to the attendees through product samples and face-to-face meetings with sellers.

An important focus of the workshop, according to Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF-Japan’s senior marketing director, was to enable foodservice operators to understand the taste and quality of processed U.S. pork items and to see the advantages of utilizing pre-cooked products to improve food-preparation efficiency.  Specific menu items geared to Japanese izakaya pubs and family restaurants were developed for sampling.

Small and regional supermarkets are another market segment with potential.  USMEF recently held its first processed pork seminar and tasting session in collaboration with CGC Japan, a voluntary cooperative group representing 225 companies and 3,800 outlets of regional and small supermarkets.  The dual goal of these sessions is to expand awareness of U.S. pork products and displace international competitors as CGC’s leading source of imported pork.

In working with its processor and exporter members, USMEF-Japan focused on menu suggestions using the shoulder end, cushion and loin.  We received a very favorable response to the offerings and several companies already are planning to introduce U.S. pork cushion meat to their product line.

At the other end of the food industry spectrum, USMEF recently hosted a business development team from Nippon Ham Group (NHG), Japan’s largest meat distributing group, to encourage greater utilization of U.S. pork through NHG’s channels.  Soon after, NHG hosted more than 18,000 people at its annual trade shows in Tokyo and Osaka and introduced its “American Fair” display with merchandising ideas and point-of-purchase materials.

Stuffed pork, roast pork and a special barbecue rub created during USMEF’s New Concepts and Innovations Initiative with NHG staff were featured at the American Fair as part of NHG’s expanded commitment to U.S. red meat sales.

U.S. pork exports to Japan in 2013 were down from 2012 levels, totaling just under $1.9 billion in value.  However, the strength of this high-margin market, which attracted pork products from 26 different exporting nations last year, helped drive sales and market share growth from several EU pork exporters (Spain, the Netherlands and Germany), while Mexico improved on its No. 4 rank among exporters to Japan, increasing sales by 7% last year.

Original article from February 17 on

February 26, 2014

KPA Awards Wendell Moyer Scholarship

In 1956, Wendell Moyer helped organize a small group of pork producers into the Kansas Swine Improvement Association. Their purpose was to work together to make their business more profitable while keeping the swine industry healthy and flourishing statewide. The Kansas Pork Association is working every day to achieve this same goal.

Each year KPA awards the Wendell Moyer Student Enrichment Grant of $1,000 to encourage participation in pork production while building our leaders of tomorrow.  Students enrolled in an agricultural or related field in their junior and senior year of college in Kansas were eligible to apply.

February 26 Picture

2014 Wendell Moyer Scholarship recipient Luke Bellar pictured with Amanda Spoo, KPA Director of Communications (left) and his adviser, Dr. Brittnay Howell (right.)

This year's 2014 Wendell Moyer Student Enrichment Grant recipient is Luke Bellar, a junior majoring in agriculture business at Fort Hays State University. Bellar grew up in Howard, Kan., on his family's swine and crop farm, which he plans to return to after graduation.

At Fort Hays, Bellar has been on the Dean's Honor Roll, serves as an orientation assistant leader for new freshmen agriculture students on campus and is treasurer of the Agriculture Business Club. This fall, he was selected as one of two students to represent the university at the 2013 Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference in Kansas City, Mo. With plans to return to the family farm, Bellar is on track to graduate early, condensing an eight semester degree program into six semesters, doing so with a 3.58 GPA.

"College was the right step for me before returning home to farm because it gives me the chance to gain new experiences, learn and meet new people. It is important for me to interact with those who also plan on returning home to farm, to hear and learn from their opinions and ideas, in order to form my own," Bellar says.

The Kansas Pork Association congratulates Bellar on his achievements.


February 25, 2014

Reducing feed cost by maximizing dietary byproduct feeding length prior to marker

Industry Summary

The overriding objective is to improve the industry-wide lack of knowledge in utilizing high levels of by-products (DDGS and wheat middlings) in late finishing diets prior to marketing to further reduce feed cost. In order to accomplish this overall objective, two experiments were conducted to determine the optimum time period of dietary fiber reduction prior to marketing as determined by growth performance, carcass characteristics (primarily yield), digestive tract weights, carcass fat iodine value and economics.
These data did provide new information in that switching pigs fed a high fiber diet to a corn-soybean meal diet for as little as 5 days prior to slaughter will restored over half of the lost carcass yield. Further, switching to a corn-soybean meal based diet 15 days prior to slaughter fully restored carcass yield. In Exp. 2 while no statistical differences were found, numerical patterns to that of Exp. 1 were seen, where pigs changed to a corn-soybean meal diet for 9 days restored over half of the lost carcass yield, with 14 to 19 days of fiber diet withdrawal fully restoring carcass yield. 
To help explain the change in yield, digestive track weights were measured in Exp. 1. First, when the large intestine was weighed full of digestive contents, the pigs fed the high fiber diet had 2.64 lb more of digestive contents remaining in the large intestine than that of pigs only fed the corn-soybean meal diet throughout the trial. After a 5 day withdrawal to the corn-soybean meal diet from the high fiber diet, full large intestine weight dropped by 2 lb.


 Secondly, and more minor influence, while not statistically different, the rinsed large intestine weighed 0.27 lb more from pigs fed the high fiber diet compared to the corn-soybean meal diet throughout finishing. Since both the weight of intestinal contents and the actual weight of the large intestine negatively influence carcass yield, both can help explain why pigs fed high fiber diets lave lower carcass yield then those fed a low fiber diet. From a packer prospective, feeding a high fiber diet until marketing increases the amount of waste generated and disposed of through either their own or multiple sewer systems.

For carcass fat quality, it was expected that pigs fed the high fiber diet would have softer carcass fat due to the increased level of unsaturated fat from the DDGS and wheat middlings in that diet. Our research did in fact   
find this result. However, when evaluating the withdraw times of the high fiber to the corn-soybean meal diet, the iodine value of pigs did decrease (become more firm) in belly and backfat as the withdrawal days increased, but did not become fully restored to the corn-soybean meal diet fed throughout. This was not surprising as previous research has shown that once pigs are fed unsaturated fat in early and middle finishing, the withdraw days to a low unsaturated fat containing diet are more substantial to return to a baseline iodine value level.

From an economic prospective when measured as income over feed cost (IOCF = revenue/pig – feed cost/pig), in Exp. 1 a linear improvement in IOFC was reported as the days of withdrawal increased from the high to low fiber diet prior to marketing. The maximum return of IOCF was for pigs fed the 20 day withdrawal treatment at $27.76 per pig, which was $1.64 higher per pig than fed only the corn-soybean meal diet and $2.97 over that of pigs fed the high fiber diet until marketing. In Experiment 2, no statistical differences were found, but similar to Exp. 1, the maximum return on an IOCF basis was for pigs fed the 19 day withdrawal strategy at $28.88 per pig, which was $2.92/pig higher than pigs fed only the corn-soybean meal diet and $2.30 over pigs fed the high fiber diet until marketing.

Producer bottom line:
• Pigs fed the high-fiber, lower energy diet had poorer F/G, lower carcass yield and softer carcass fat compared with pigs fed the corn-soybean meal control diet. 
• Withdrawing pigs from the high-fiber diet and switching them to a corn-soy control diet restored carcass yield when done for the last 15 to 20 d prior to harvest
• Pigs fed the high fiber diet had 2.64 lb more of digestive contents remaining in the large intestine than that of pigs only fed the corn-soybean meal diet throughout the trial. After a 5 day withdrawal to the corn-soybean meal diet from the high fiber diet, full large intestine weight dropped by 2 lb. 
• Income over feed costs was maximized when finishing pigs were fed the high fiber, low energy diet until 20 days prior to marketing and switched to a corn-soybean meal diet.
• Carcass fatty acid composition and iodine value were impacted by diet type and with increasing withdrawal time of a high fiber diet containing DDGS and wheat middlings to a corn-soybean meal diet, but not back to the baseline level for pigs only fed the corn-soybean meal diet. 

Dr. Joel DeRouchey                                              Kyle Coble
Kansas State University                                        Kansas State University
Department of Animal Sciences and Industry      Department of Animal Sciences and Industry
222 Weber Hall                                                     217 Weber Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506                                           Manhattan, KS 66506
785-532-2280                                                       785-532-1270                                      


Found on



February 24, 2014

Why 2014 Just Got Better

There are some good reasons why 2014 looks like the best year in the pork industry since 1990, says a leading economist. 

“Our cost models are showing $27 to $28 profits per head this year, so it looks like the best year in a long time,” said Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics, a consultant who works with the Pork Checkoff.

That’s not just wishful thinking, he added. “Producers can take advantage of corn, soymeal and hog prices right now to lock in those kinds of profits.”

Corn is significantly lower priced today than it has been in recent history. If there’s a good crop this year, corn prices could drop even more, Meyer said. 

On the soybean side, worldwide demand remains strong, driven by China. It will take a lot more soybean acres in 2014 to bring soybean meal costs down substantially. Still, when you look at the big picture, feed costs are much lower than they were a year ago, Meyer says. 

“Today, it costs about $30 a head less to raise a pig. With the kinds of market prices we’re looking at on the hog side, that’s really positive.”

What about PEDV?
There are some questions about how much Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) will impact pork supplies in 2014. It hasn’t had a major impact yet, because the first of the big PEDV losses happened last summer, and those pigs wouldn’t have come to market until December. 

“I think the impact will get pretty large, however, as we go through the year and get to the summer, given the number of sow farms that were involved in PEDV breaks in October and November,” Meyer said. 

The futures market is incorporating these factors. “We’ve already seen contract live highs on summer contracts, and it probably won’t be the last,” Meyer said. 

While no producer wants to lose pigs, the financial impact of PEDV may be mitigated, Meyer added. “As the disease spreads, the financial impact on any one person gets smaller.”

Demand remains strong
Beyond PEDV, demand for pork at home and abroad remains a bright spot. Meyer’s calculations show that real per-capita expenditures increased virtually every month of 2013, up more than 5 percent for the year.

Pork remains in a good position relative to beef, which recently set records on its cutout values, Meyer noted. “The Pork Checkoff’s renaming of pork cuts with new nomenclature in 2013, the ‘Grill it like a Steak’ message and promotion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 145-degree cooking temperature range with a three-minute rest all play into great positioning for pork against high-priced beef cuts as we go through 2014.”

Good things continue to happen for U.S. pork in the export market, as well. Japan and Mexico remain major markets, and demand from China continues to trend upward. 

“Also consider that there are other countries that are not our major markets, but you put them all together and they become a top-three destination for U.S. pork,” Meyer said. “That adds diversification to our export portfolio.”

Original release by

February 21, 2014

Podcast: Pork is a hot commodity for the foodservice sector

Original air date: February 6, 2014

Length: 8:49 minutes

Speaker: John Green, Director Strategic Marketing, National Pork Board

Listen HERE

February 20, 2014

Swine Show Biosecurity Recommendations

In light of the devastating effects of PEDV there is increased awareness about the need for strict biosecurity, especially when pigs come together at events such as shows and weigh-ins. With the animals being commingled at an exhibition, sale or during a spring weigh-in, spreading disease is a risk but can be minimized through proper biosecurity procedures. The Pork Checkoff has created several resources for swine show organizers, as well as swine exhibitors, to help them minimize their risk of contracting or spreading PEDV.


Swine Health Recommendations: Biosecurity for Organizers of Weigh-in or Tagging Events

The recommednations listed in the Swine Health Recommendations: Biosecurity for Organizers of Weigh-in or Tagging Events may be applied to all swine commingling events at centralized locations and to other pigs that are physically on the premises. Organizers and advisors scheduling commingled pig events should assess each situation and the associated risks to pig health. The recommendations listed may be applied to all swine commingling events at centralized locations and to other pigs that are physically on the premises. Before your event, have a plan in place to manage pigs form many different loactions and to handle sick pigs properly. This planning will help reduce the chance of disease spread. Animals that are commingled at an exhibitioin, sale or another event pose a risk for spreading disease. 


Swine Health Recommendations: Exhibitors of All Pigs Going to Exhibits or Sales

The recommendations listed in Swine Health Recommendations: Exhibitors of All Pigs Going to Exhibits or Sales apply to all swine at an exhibit or sale that are physically on the premise. Having a plan in place to identify and handle sick animals properly will help reduce the chance of disease spread. This resource focuses on tasks such as identifying sick pigs, taking a pig's temperature, health certificate requirements and best practices for returning home.


Swine Health Recommendations: Organizers of Exhibitions or Sales

For organizers of exhibitions and sales having a plan in place to identify and handle sick animals properly will help reduce the chance of disease spread. A detailed outline of biosecurity measures will help prevent spread of PEDV and other swine illness. Use Swine Health Recommendations: Organizers of Exhibitions and Sales as a resource to assist you in planning your exhibition or sale.


In addition, National Pork Board will be hosting two FAQ webinars geared toward those who are involved in the show pig industry. Click here for more information.

Webinar 1   Webinar 2


Original release on February 19 by





February 19, 2014

Iowa Leadership Team Joins China Pork Outreach Effort

A group of Iowa’s future agriculture leaders got a firsthand look at the world’s largest pork market when they traveled to China recently and joined in a U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) program for the Chinese foodservice trade.

Twenty-three members of Iowa’s I-LEAD leadership training program, developed by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), were in China for an educational tour to better understand the challenges and opportunities that the country represents as an export market. The group participated in a USMEF U.S. pork event in Guangzhou for about 50 regional restaurant managers and chefs representing 19 hotels and restaurants. The I-LEAD members helped personally reinforce the commitment to quality and safety by American producers for the seminar participants.

The appeal of China for the visiting group from Iowa is clear. To put the China/Hong Kong pork market in perspective, the United States exported a record total of 385,214 metric tons of product there in 2012 valued at $832.5 million. Since the average person in China eats about 87 pounds of pork per year, that means the 950.5 million pounds of American pork sold there in 2012 accounted for only about eight-tenths of one percent of all pork consumed in China – or about enough pork to feed everyone in China for a three-day weekend. Which leaves 362 days to fill with domestic product or imports from other nations.

That doesn’t include China’s potential as a beef market. Last year China imported 314,437 metric tons (693.2 million pounds) of beef from countries around the globe valued at more than $1.3 billion – increases of 345 percent and 373 percent, respectively, over 2012. Unfortunately, U.S. beef remains ineligible for shipment to China.

Given the room for growth in China – the No. 3 market for U.S. pork – USMEF continues to pursue opportunities to expand the reach of U.S. pork, including the event in Guangzhou and a similar event in Beijing. Funding for the programs was provided through the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Pork Checkoff.

 “The experience of going to dinner with the chefs and buyers was eye-opening for our team,” said Shannon Textor, director of market development for ICPB who accompanied the I-LEAD team to China. “Quite a few of the pork producers in the class got a chance to share personal information about their farms – how they raise their livestock and how much they appreciate trade with China.”

The visit by the I-LEAD team, which was jointly coordinated by USMEF and the U.S. Grains Council, exposed the Iowa visitors to the full range of Chinese meat outlets, from wet markets to the most modern hypermarkets. And they got insights into the value of the Chinese market for U.S. pork producers and exporters.

“China is a great value-added market for the United States pork industry,” said Textor. “Nothing goes to waste. They eat the products that aren’t valued here. To see their culture and food consumption patterns is remarkable.”

Tony Guo, a chef with more than 10 years of experience working with U.S. pork, provided information and cooking tips at the Guangzhou event on both high-end natural and economical cuts of American pork, including boneless and bone-in pork butt, brisket bones, spareribs, CT butt and pork belly.

Three dozen chefs and restaurant managers from Beijing participated in a similar session in collaboration with a Chinese importer and distributor of U.S. pork, Beijing Aomei Jinghe Meat Company. Executive chef Yue Ning from the Beijing Holiday Inn reviewed the same cuts addressed in the Guangzhou event. Chef Ning prepared a variety of customized recipes for the Beijing event, including Oven Roasted American Pork Steak with Black Pepper Corn and Hoisin Sauce, Slow-Roasted American Pork Ribs with Chili BBQ Sauce, Braised American Pork Ribs with Icing Sugar and Haw Fruit Sauce, and Filipino Pork Adobo with Green Apple.

“This type of seminar is very well received by chefs and restaurant managers,” said Ming Liang, marketing manager for USMEF-Shanghai. “We survey the participants after every session, and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive on the usefulness of the information as well as the response to the taste and quality of U.S. pork.”

Liang noted that several of the participating chefs had already added U.S. pork items to their menus within weeks of the seminars and others were looking at options.

The China/Hong Kong region is the No. 3 market for U.S. pork exports. Through the first 11 months of 2013, it purchased 385,214 metric tons (849.2 million pounds) of American pork valued at $832.5 million.

Original release on February 6 by

February 18, 2014

Podcast: Escalating propane prices has the attention of the swine industry

Original air date: February 7, 2014

Length: 7:26 minutes

Speaker: Jay Harmon, Iowa State University Extension Livestock Housing Specialist

Listen HERE


February 17, 2014

ASF Tension in Baltic Region Could Have Major Pork Trade Implications

Lithuanian officials recently confirmed the country’s first cases of African swine fever (ASF). These are the first ASF cases to be detected within the boundaries of the European Union, with the exception of the Italian island of Sardinia.

The EU veterinary certificate states that the EU is free of ASF with the exception of Sardinia. With this no longer being the case, EU veterinary officials requested that Russia allow them to continue to sign export certificates if they guaranteed exclusion of products from the affected regions of Lithuania. Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS) did not agree to this request, so exports were effectively suspended on Thursday when certificates could no longer be signed.


African swine fever in Lithuania has heightened pork trade tensions between Russia and the European Union

Earlier in the week it appeared that Russia would only block pork and live hog imports from Lithuania and would not impose new import restrictions on other EU member states. But that question remained unsettled as VPSS stated that it was not satisfied with the EU’s approach on regionalization. For this reason, VPSS suspended imports from all of Lithuania, rather than the six regions proposed by the EU. VPSS also left open the possibility of restricting imports from the entire EU unless EU officials agreed to further negotiations on regionalization. While Russia did not officially take such an action, the decision by EU veterinary officials to stop signing certificates has essentially the same effect.

Most observers do not expect a long-term stoppage of exports from the entire EU, but anticipate that affected areas will remain restricted.

 Enews Graph

Sources: Global Trade Atlas and USMEF estimates
Through November, Russia’s 2013 pork imports were down 18 percent from the same period in 2012

“We’ll see what happens over the next few days,” said John Brook, USMEF regional director for Europe, Russia and the Middle East. “The EU has a perfectly adequate regionalization system in place and plenty of experience in dealing with these circumstances. But in this situation, the EU is certainly dealing with some unique political influences.”

Another interesting question is how pork products will be handled that originate from Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave that borders Lithuania. Kaliningrad has a very well-developed meat processing industry that relies heavily on raw materials imported from the EU. While VPSS is unlikely to place restrictions on products processed in Kaliningrad because it is Russian territory, a prolonged trade impasse could prompt Lithuania and other EU member states such as Poland and Latvia to restrict transit of these products through their country.

USMEF Economist Erin Borror notes the stakes are also very high for meat processors operating on the Russian mainland, and for European exporters serving Russia.

“Russia relies heavily on European pork for processing, and the EU also relies heavily on Russia to fuel its exports,” Borror explained. “Russia accounts for 18 percent of the EU’s total export volume – second only to China. Russia is also the leading value market for EU pork, accounting for 21 percent of total export value. With Russia still closed to U.S. pork and taking limited quantities from Canada, Brazil will not be able to fill the void in Russia. If this trade impasse continues it will also force the EU to push more product into other international markets, meaning more competition for U.S. pork.”

“Some of Russia’s domestic meat processors suggest that a stoppage of imports from the EU could have very substantial consequences,” adds Yuri Barutkin, USMEF St. Petersburg manager. “EU pork accounted for nearly 60 percent of Russia’s total imports last year (from January through November, 532,000 metric tons). Imports of offals (90,500 mt) and pork trimmings (239,700 mt) were almost exclusively attributed to EU suppliers.”

Ukrainian news sources are also reporting that VPSS has requested that Ukrainian veterinary officials stop certifying pork exports to Russia. Following an ASF outbreak in the Lugansk region of Ukraine, VPSS suspended imports only from that specific region. However, this latest request suggests that VPSS is suspending import of all of Ukrainian pork exports, perhaps in an effort to make its policy toward the Ukraine consistent with the stoppage of all imports from the EU.

While ASF-related trade issues represent a significant threat to Russia’s pork supplies, the disease also continues to take its toll on Russia’s domestic industry. This week VPSS reported another outbreak of ASF in Russia – this time in the Tula region near Moscow, at a 50,000 head commercial pork facility. Russia has had two previous ASF outbreaks at large commercial facilities – one in southern Russia and one in central Russia. These facilities’ entire herds were liquidated.

USMEF will continue to monitor this situation closely and provide further updates as more details become available.

Found on



February 14, 2014

This Valentine's Day, America's Love for Pork Continues to Burn Strong

Results of a new consumer tracking study released today by the Pork Checkoff find that more American consumers are reporting an enduring love for pork. Key research findings show more U.S. consumers rate their enjoyment of pork higher than in previous studies. Additionally, consumer-buying habits measured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture also show more consumers are buying pork.

"People are becoming more passionate about their consumption of pork," said David Newman, chair of the Pork Checkoff domestic marketing committee and a pig farmer from Fargo, ND. "These two studies confirm that consumers are eating more in recipes and as a menu item because of its value, flavor and versatility."

Consumers taking part in the Pork Checkoff study were asked to rate pork cuts on a 10-point scale, resulting in a demonstrated increase in the volume of consumers who rank pork as an eight or higher.

This tracking study indicates the size of the Pork Checkoff's consumer target has grown to 43 percent of U.S. households, up seven points from 36 percent in May 2013, the last time the survey was fielded. In 2010, the consumer target was just 27 percent of U.S. households. Growth in the target size is attributed to people both rating pork cuts higher and in their confidence in cooking meat.

"We look at how much people enjoy pork and, through that experience, label consumers who love pork as 'pork champions,'" Newman said. "We have found a marked increase in the number of pork champions, with these consumers consistently rating pork higher."

The study also found that a majority of all fresh pork eaten - 84 percent at-home and 80 percent away-from-home - is consumed by a Pork Checkoff target consumer. The total percent of pork eaten by this target consumer grew significantly since thePork Be inspired®campaign was introduced in 2011.

"We are beginning to see the impact of our new marketing campaign, and we feel it is making a distinct difference in the marketplace and how American consumers view and buy pork," Newman said. "Across the board, consumers are buying more pork from stores and foodservice outlets."

The tracking study results are further reinforced by the Pork Checkoff's key measure of domestic marketing: real per capita consumer pork expenditures.  Using USDA data, consumer pork expenditures measure both the volume (in pounds) and value (in dollars) of pork sold in the United States. Data through December 2013 showed per capita pork expenditures grew by 5.6 percent from 2012 to 2013.

The consumer tracking study also asked pork eaters, "Other than price, what most influences your meat-purchasing decisions?" The top three drivers of meat purchases are quality (63 percent), followed by appearance (50 percent) and convenience (32 percent).

The nationally fielded tracking study is conducted by the Pork Checkoff twice each calendar year and most recently in November 2013. Respondents are representative of the U.S. population for gender, age, ethnicity and income.

Original release on February 10 by



February 13, 2014

QR Codes Showcase We Care Videos

Consumers are more interested than ever in knowing where their food comes from. To bring the farm to consumers, the Pork Checkoff is creating new connections through quick-response (QR) codes printed on pork labels.

QR codes are small boxes containing an array of black or white squares. When scanned with a smartphone or computer tablet, QR codes direct the mobile device to display a video, text or other information. In this case, the QR codes on pork labels in participating grocery stores are highlighting the pork industry’s We CareSM principles.

“We wanted to find the best way to share this information with consumers,” said Angela Anderson, food chain outreach manager for the Pork Checkoff. “We decided that short videos were the quickest, most effective way to catch people’s attention and articulate the We Care principles.”

The Checkoff developed a mobile website with four short We Care-related videos focusing on animal nutrition, animal well-being, feed additives and antibiotics. After scanning the QR codes, consumers can watch the videos to learn how pork producers provide safe, nutritious food.

Original release on February 6 by

February 12, 2014

Show Your #PorkLUV

From game day parties to weekday meals, #PorkLUV is in the air. Starting on Feb. 14, the Pork Checkoff will celebrate the love of pork with consumers through an integrated marketing program including a national Pork Share-a-thon.

The national Pork Share-a-thon encourages pork fans everywhere to share their pork love by tagging their declarations of pork love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #PorkLUV.

A real-time online engagement aggregator will track #PorkLUV as it crisscrosses the nation. At the end of the campaign, the Checkoff will donate 30,000 pork meals to the state that shares the most #PorkLUV. 

“Our consumer target is growing and they love pork,” said Pamela Johnson, consumer communications director for the Checkoff.  “By sharing that pork passion, we engage with our biggest pork advocates to remind and help them enjoy pork more often.”

Original release on February 6 by


February 11, 2014

KDA, USDA publishes custom rates report

The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) and in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service have published the 2013 rates paid for custom work. The report has been published due to the restoration of funding by the Kansas Legislature.

In announcing the report’s availability, acting Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey praised the project. “The Kansas Legislature recognizes the importance of supporting production agriculture in Kansas and made the funds available to complete the survey and to compile the data that farmers and ranchers require to be able to make sound decisions regarding their businesses,” McClaskey said. “The agency is very pleased to once again have this important information available for our farm, ranch and agribusiness owners.”

The report details the average rates paid by Kansas farmers and ranchers for custom work performed on their operation in 2013. Rates reflect fair market value for custom services either rendered or hired and can be used by Kansas farmers and ranchers as they make decisions about rate charges.

The report can serve as a tool for custom operators, farmers and ranchers as it indicates charges for machines, power, fuel and the operator. McClaskey noted it is vital to support and provide the necessary information to those working in agriculture, our state’s largest industry.

Last published in 2009, the new report indicates average custom rates have increased but still illustrates historical tables and graphs which show results from previous surveys. Prices in the report should not be regarded as official or established rates.

For more complete information and access to the report, please visit


February 10, 2014

New Requirements for Shipping Non-Commerical Hogs to Texas

The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) Division of Animal Health is advising swine producers to be aware of a new requirement to ship hogs into Texas. Dr. Bill Brown Kansas Animal Health Commissioner has received information from the Texas Animal Health Commission State Veterinarian regarding new policies and procedures when transporting hogs into Texas.

According to the announcement, effective Friday, February 7, 2014, a certificate of veterinary inspection accompanying non-commercial hogs entering Texas for purposes other than immediate slaughter, must contain the following statement from the issuing veterinarian, "To the best of my knowledge, swine represented on this certificate have not originated from a premises known to be affected by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), and have not been exposed to PEDv within the last 30 days."  

Dr. Brown was supportive of the decision.  “PEDv is of real concern to the swine industry, and it is important that as many preventative measures as possible be taken,” Brown said.  Swine producers, particularly those raising animals for the youth show market should visit with their local veterinarian about steps to insure that this disease does not spread further and impact their farm businesses.

It is noted that these requirements do not apply to the commercial shipment of hogs intended for immediate slaughter in Texas.

Original release on February 7 by



February 7, 2014

Practical Time and Temperature Options to Curb PEDV

In a perfect world, all truck and trailers transporting hogs would be washed, disinfected and dried after every load. But since that’s not the case. What are the workable alternatives as we face Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV)? Pork Checkoff funded research at Iowa State University to get some answers.

“We were looking for alternatives between the full-blown-- washing, disinfecting and drying trailers—and doing nothing,” says Derald Holtkamp, DVM, Iowa State University. “We didn’t have any alternatives in the middle that would work to at least reduce the risk of PEDV exposure, if not eliminate it entirely.”

Having a practical alternative is particularly important for vehicles transporting market hogs and cull sows. A field study headed by Jim Lowe, DVM, University of Illinois, in the early days of the PEDV outbreak found that trucks/trailers hauling pigs to market were a source of cross contamination. At the time, 17.3% of the trailers tested positive for PEDV at market. The study showed that each PEDV-contaminated trailer arriving at a plant contaminated between 0.20 to 2.30 additional trailers.

“That’s as close to a smoking gun as you can get,” Holtkamp says. “It tells us we are moving this virus all around.”

So, Iowa State researchers looked at options for trucks/trailers that had been scraped and swept of organic matter, but not washed. They focused on finding time and temperature combinations that would inactivate the virus. In the end, they discovered that only two options worked—heating the trailer to 160 F for 10 minutes or leaving it sit at 68 F for seven days. For the high-end temperatures, researchers concentrated on 145 F and 160 F for 10 minutes. “Heating a trailer to 160 is expensive—it takes a lot of propane or gas,” Holtkamp says. “It would be good to see if other time and temperature combinations between 145 F and 160 F would work.” However, he adds that given the virulence of PEDV, he would not be surprised if 160 F was the minimum temperature.

Housing a truck/trailer at 68 F for 7 days is not feasible for many operations, but for producers who haul one load of pigs a week it offers a solution. “If you’re storing the trailer in an unheated machine shed—get it into a heated building if you can,” Holtkamp advises.

He offers producers these other take-home points:

“Trucks and transport vehicles have to be part of our PEDV biosecurity efforts,” Holtkamp says. “We now know, if a producer faces constraints that keep him from washing and disinfecting trailers, there are alternatives to reduce the risk of transmitting PEDV between groups of pigs.”

To read more about the Iowa State time and temperature trailer study, click here. To learn more about PEDV, check out Pork Checkoff’s fact sheet here.

Original release on February 6 



February 6, 2014

Walmart, USMEF Partner on Central America Pork Promotions

To sell a product, go where people gather. In Central America, as in much of the Western world, where people gather is frequently Walmart. In four Central American nations, shoppers recently gathered at Walmart for U.S. pork promotions conducted by the retail giant and USMEF with funding from the Pork Checkoff and the Illinois Soybean Association.

“Walmart has a strong presence in this region, and the 19 stores in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua were very great to work with,” said Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF director for trade development for Central America and the Dominican Republic. “The visibility and the opportunities to interact directly with consumers were outstanding.”

The promotions were tailored to the specific tastes of the countries. For example, spare ribs, Saint Louis-style ribs, pork chops and pork loin were featured in Costa Rica versus pork ribs, barbecue pork ribs, pork for grilling and pork loin in Nicaragua. Pork riblets topped the menu in El Salvador and pork chops in Guatemala.

Chefs on location in each store discussed the quality and attributes of U.S. pork, and samples were provided by the U.S. Pork Grilling Club, with attention drawn to the in-store events through Internet/Facebook promotion as well as ads in various local media channels.

Across the four countries, U.S. pork sales rose 19 percent in volume and nearly 24 percent in value, with Nicaragua posting the highest returns: 27 percent in volume and 40 percent in value.

“This is the first time we have attempted a regional pork promotion simultaneously in four countries,” said Rodriguez. “We are continuing our efforts to develop new channels with companies that are aligned with our strategy to increase per capita pork consumption in the region. We are very pleased to be able to partner with Walmart Central America, which provided a lot of resources to support the promotion.”

The Central/South America region saw U.S. pork imports grow by 34 percent in volume (108,796 metric tons) and 35 percent in value ($275.5 million) through the first 11 months of 2013.

Original release on February 5 

February 5, 2014

Applications Now Being Accepted for Pork Industry Environmental Stewards Award

Environmental stewardship is hard work and sharing the experience gained may help others become better caretakers. Environmental stewardship requires constant work and a serious commitment. The Environmental Steward Awards program is open to pork producers of all types and sizes of production operations who demonstrate their positive contribution to the environment.

Pork operations are recognized annually by the U.S. pork industry for their commitment to preserving the environment.

Applications (PDF or MS Word) and nominations are solicited from pork producers, operation managers and other industry-related professionals and are to be submitted by March 31, 2014. A national selection committee names four operations following a review of:

• General production information
• Manure management
• Efforts to preserve water, air, and soil quality
• Aesthetics and neighbor relations
• Wildlife management
• Innovation applied to environmental management
• And an essay on the meaning of Environmental Stewardship

Winners are featured in an educational video, receive a special plaque and are recognized at an awards ceremony at the annual Pork Industry Forum.

The Environmental Steward Awards, program is co-sponsored by the Pork Checkoff andNational Hog Farmer magazine.

Original release on January 23rd from


February 4, 2014

Kansas Department of Agriculture Joins the U.S. Meat Export Federation

The main focus of the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), USMEF’s newest member, is marketing and regulatory support. Devoted to the total support of agriculture in Kansas, the department works for the entire Kansas agriculture sector including farmers, ranchers, food establishments and agribusinesses. The department is dedicated to providing support and assistance to make Kansas businesses successful as well as to encourage more farms, ranches and other agricultural businesses to expand in or relocate to Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is looking for USMEF to help in its endeavor to serve Kansas farms, ranches, and agribusinesses.

Kansas Department of Agriculture 
109 S.W. 9th Street 
Topeka, KS 66612 


J.J. Jones, Marketing and Trade Director, 
Lynne Hinrichsen, 
Jackie McClaskey, 
Phone: (785) 215-5114 

Original release from 


February 3, 2014

Cancelled: KSU Swine Profitability Conference

Due to the Winter Weather Warning, the KSU Swine Profitability Conference scheduled for Tuesday, February 4, 2014, has been cancelled.

Please direct any questions to:

Lois Schreiner



February 3, 2014

House Passes Farm Bill

The House, Wednesday passed on a 251-166 vote the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill. NPPC proved to be instrumental in securing many U.S. pork industry priorities in one or both versions of the 2013 Farm Bill, including: trichinae surveillance program, funding for feral swine control program, establishing an Undersecretary for Trade, funding for a catastrophic disease event insurance study, and reauthorization export promotion programs. Equally as important is what was not included in the Farm Bill. After one of many long battles with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), NPPC was victorious in keeping the "Egg Products Inspection Act” out of the Farm Bill. The so-called Egg Bill sought to codify an agreement HSUS came to with the egg industry regarding cage sizes for egg-laying hens. NPPC feared, if passed, this legislation would set a dangerous, slippery slope precedent that could translate into livestock sectors. Also excluded from the Farm Bill is the repeal of the required Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) inspection of imported catfish. Catfish inspection will stay at USDA rather than returning to FDA, where all other imported seafood inspection authority resides. The United States would be vulnerable to a challenge of the dual inspection of catfish at the World Trade Organization, and NPPC fears that some exporting nations may be inclined to retaliate against U.S. pork and other agricultural goods, because of an unfair trade restraint. Though crafting and passing the Farm Bill is a huge accomplishment, NPPC believes Congress picked foreign competitors over U.S. livestock farmers. The country of origin labeling (COOL) law is broken, but Congress chose not to fix it. Instead, it passed a bill that subjects U.S. farmers to significant international trade retaliation tariffs from Mexico and Canada which represent the #2 and #3 export markets with combined exports of nearly $2 billion annually. The economic impact of this decision on hard-working American farming families will be significant, and NPPC calls on Congress to resolve the COOL issue. On the House floor Wednesday, a bipartisan group of Congressmen on the House floor spoke in favor of pork industry priorities: Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., Adrian Smith, R-Neb., Steve Womack, R-Ark., and John Shimkus, R-Ill. Reps. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, and Richard Hudson, R-N.C., submitted comments. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also spoke on the Senate floor. The current farm bill expired on Friday, January 31. The bill now heads to the Senate where it is expected to pass early this week.


January 31, 2014

Podcast: The Pork Checkoff continues to focus no researching PEDV

Part I:
Original air date: January 20, 2013
Length: 7:24 minutes
Speaker: Dr. Paul Sundberg, VP Science and Technology National Pork Board
Listen HERE

Part II:
Original air date: January 22, 2013
Length: 10:15 minutes
Speaker: Dr. Paul Sundberg, VP Science and Technology National Pork Board
Listen HERE

Pork Pod is a tool the Pork Checkoff’s utilizes to provide useful information to producers. Pork Pod is a podcast. Podcasting is a method of publishing files to the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed and receive new files automatically by subscription at no cost. You can listen to podcasts on your computer, download the podcasts on computer and then create a CD or subscribe to a feed for your iPod. Learn more by visiting


January 30, 2014

Kansas NRCS Announces Ogallala Aquifer Initiative

 The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Kansas will provide approximately $2.5 million in fiscal year (FY) 2014 to conserve the water in the Ogallala Aquifer through the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI).  Applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, to be considered for FY2014 funds, the application cutoff date is March 21, 2014.  The NRCS will fund this initiative through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

“The Ogallala Aquifer Initiative allows agriculture producers to implement conservation practices such as irrigation water management, crop rotations, and replacing inefficient gravity irrigation systems,”  said Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist for NRCS.  “These conservation practices directly benefit the water quality and water quantity issues in this aquifer.”   

Much of the High Plains region relies on the Ogallala for water but the water in the Ogallala Aquifer is diminishing because of widespread irrigation use in the High Plains states.

The Ogallala Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is a vast, yet shallow underground water table aquifer located beneath the Great Plains in the United States.  It is one of the world's largest aquifers and covers an area in portions of eight states:  Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska,                               New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

Financial assistance is available through the OAI for producers considering converting from irrigated cropland to dryland cropland, as well as assistance for more efficient irrigation systems and management.  All applicants must meet EQIP eligibility requirements.  In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for conservation practices implemented through the OAI.


January 29, 2014

Kansas Pork Association celebrates Kansas School Lunch Week

This week, the Kansas Pork Association has partnered with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Kansas State Department of Education to celebrate Kansas School Lunch Week, January 27-31. Each day of the week celebrates an agricultural commodity as a feature item on the menu. Kansas Pork Day is January 30. Other commodities that will be celebrated include beef, corn, wheat and dairy. To help implement the program, KDA and KSDE provided school districts with sample menus, highlighting each commodity, as well as daily fun facts to be shared during morning announcements.

KPA has also partnered with Olathe Public Schools to take the students’ experience a step further by providing grade specific learning materials highlighting pork. Through this partnership, over 29,000 students will be receiving a variety of coloring and activity sheets, coupons, fact sheets and fun pig ears.

One Page Coloring Sheet

“Helping students draw the connection between prominent Kansas commodities to the food on their plate during school lunch is an important component of agriculture education,” said Nellie Hill, KDA education and event coordinator. “We are excited to be partnering with KSDE in more initiatives to encourage schools to promote Kansas agriculture commodities and food products in the lunch room.”

Interested in extending the learning past Kansas School Lunch?

Visit for access to school resources and tools year round.


January 28, 2014 

Consumer Demand for Pork Expected to Influence 2014 Profitability

US - An agricultural economist with the University of Missouri says demand will play a key role in the profitability of pork producers throughout 2014, Bruce Cochrane writes.

As a result of dramatically lower feed costs and stable live hog prices US pork producers are expected to see improved profitability throughout 2014.

Dr Ron Plain, an agricultural economics professor with the University of Missouri, notes history has shown when hog producers make money they tend to save gilts and expand the breeding herd and, according to USDA's December inventory report, producers expect to farrow about 1.3 per cent more sows in the first half of 2014 than a year ago.

Dr Ron Plain-University of Missouri

Consumers need to have money and be willing to buy the product.

The last several years demand growth has been stronger in the export market than in the domestic market.

The US economy hasn't been doing very well and so that's given us a rather weak demand picture.

It's improving and it looks like a little more improvement in 2013 and hopefully that will carry over.

But exports, like I said, has been a stronger growth area than domestic demand and we're expecting to see a little bit of an increase in US pork exports in 2014 compared to last year but not a dramatic improvement.

Dr Plain notes death losses due to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea are very high in baby pigs so even though farrowing is trending upwards the number of pigs produced in the United States in the coming year is expected to be very close to what we had in 2013 but, because weights are likely to go up, there will probably be a little bit more pork in 2014.

He expects hog prices to stay very close to year ago levels and feed prices to average much lower, especially in the first half of the year so, if producers can keep pigs healthy, 2014 should be a profitable year.


Original release on January 13, 2014 by



January 27, 2014 

Secretary Vilsack appoints National Pork Producers Delegate Body

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the appointment of 152 producers and four importers to the 2013 National Pork Producers Delegate Body. The appointees were selected from nominees submitted by state pork producer association and importer groups and will serve a one-year term.

Established under the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985, the delegate body and the National Pork Board have implemented a national program designed to improve the pork industry’s position in the marketplace. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service oversees operations of the delegate body. Representation on the delegate body is based on annual net assessments collected on sales of domestic hogs within individual states, with a minimum of two producers from each state. States have the option of not submitting nominees.

Delegates meet annually to recommend the rate of assessment, determine the percentage of assessments that state associations will receive and nominate producers and importers to the 15-member National Pork Board. The delegate body will be seated during the March 7-8, 2014, National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, Missouri.

Appointed members representing pork producers by state are:

Alabama: Luther L. Bishop

Alaska: Richard C. Worrell, Patricia R. Worrell

Arizona: Alfredo P. Sotomayor, Leslie J. Cain

Arkansas: Robert S. Balloun, Jenae N. Cummings

California: Kenneth L. Dyer, Steven G. Weaver

Colorado: Roc M. Rutledge, Dwain A. Weinrich

Delaware: John B. Tigner, Jr., Henry C. Johnson IV

Florida: Ricky N. Lyons, Chad N. Lyons

Georgia: Dania DeVane, Markus E. Clemmer

Hawaii: Wayne I. Shimokawa, Stacy Hatsue Kuulei Sugi

Idaho: Dustin D. Olsen, David D. Roper

Illinois: Dereke A. Dunkirk, Curtis D. Zehr, Robert C. Frase, Michael E. Haag, Phillip J. Borgic, Todd A. Dail

Indiana: C. Randall Curless, C. Brian Martin, Sam D. Moffitt, Kirk C. Thornburg, Mark R. York, Valerie M. Duttinger

Iowa: Timothy J. Schmidt, Jamie M. Schmidt, Dean Frazer, Alan F. Wulfekuhle, Bryan K. Karwal, David E. Moody, Arthur G. Halstead, Heather L. Hora, Gregory R. Lear, Bill J. Tentinger, Mark J. Meirick, Marvin J. Rietema, Leon C. Sheets, David D. Struthers, Dr. Howard T. Hill, Curtis D. Meier, Dr. Eugene D. Ver Steeg, John E. Vossberg, Joseph A. Rota, Dr. Craig J. Rowles, Rodney G. Dykstra, Scott W. Tapper, Mary J. Bierman, Steven L. Kerns, Lori D. Jorgenson, Jill Kerber-Aldous, Stephan J. Burgmeier, Gregg K. Hora, Dale G. Reicks, Gregory J. Schroeder

Kansas: Michael L. Springer, Alan J. Haverkamp, Kent F. Condray, Scott J. Pfortmiller

Kentucky: Eric M. Heard, Robert J. Robinson

Louisiana: Rebecca L. Lirette, Louis J. Lirette

Maine: Barrett A. Parks, Deena A. Parks

Maryland: Jennifer A. Debnam, Thomas C. Linthicum

Massachusetts: Lisa D. Colby

Michigan: Robert D. Dykhuis, Pat Albright, Andrew T. White

Minnesota: Ruben E. Bode, Kevin W. Estrem, Patrick L. Fitzsimmons, Margaret E. Freeking, Kelly D. Graff, Bradley L. Hennen, Brian B. Johnson, Nathan S. Potter, Sheila A. Schmid, Tim A. Steuber, Patrick E. Thome, Jacqueline S. Tlam

Mississippi: Donny W. Ray, John L. Keenan

Missouri: John N. Howerton, Scott W. Phillips, Kenneth J. Brinkner, Francis D. Forst

Montana: Joseph D. Hofer, Jacob A.Waldner

Nebraska: Troy D. McCain, Karen J. Grant, Darin J. Uhler, Scott A. Spilker, Janice S. Miller

New Hampshire: Lisa-Marie R. Gitschier, Alicia B. MacLean

New Jersey: Salvatore J. Villari

New York: Benjamin L. Wickham, Doug O. Bruning

North Carolina: George H. Pettus, James L. Lamb, Deborah M. Ballance, Kimberly S. Griffin, Jim H. Lynch, James B. Worley, David D. Herring, Channing R. Gooden, Zack McCullen

North Dakota: Kevin Tyndall, Kenneth R. Omlie

Ohio: William R. Knapke, Matthew S. Bell, David I. Shoup, Benjamin J. Zientek

Oklahoma: Karen D. Brewer, Basil S. Werner, Tina R. Falcon, Dotty D. King

Oregon: Greg A. Gonzalez, Susan E. Gonzalez

Pennsylvania: Chris R. Hoffman, David A. Reinecker, Jason D. Manbeck

South Carolina: Larry B. DeHart, Mark A. McLeod

South Dakota: Ryan C. Storm, Steven R. Rommereim, Lenny Gross

Tennessee: Jamey C. Tosh, Dennis A. Holder

Texas: Corby D. Barrett, Kenneth L. Kensing

Utah: Todd N. Ballard, James W. Webb

Virginia: Robert J. Austin, William P. Edwards

Washington: Thomas A. Cocking, Paul M. Klingeman

Wisconsin: Thomas J. Knauer, Dr. Michael A. Beisbier

Wyoming: Ana L. Shmidl, Shawn M. Shmidl

Importers appointed to the delegate body are: Ole Nielsen, Stig H. Kjaeroe, David E. Biltchik, and Magdolina A. Zamorski.

Original release on January 13, 2014 by

January 24, 2014 

Early registration for K-State Swine Profitability Conference ends today

Individuals interested in attending the 2014 K-State Swine Profitability Conference are encouraged to complete early registration by 5:00 pm today, January 24.

The conference strives to provide swine producers and allied industry the opportunity for an in-depth conversation on production management, market and business decision related to capital investment and profitability in the swine industry.

Register today by

1.)   Registering online HERE


2.)   Contacting Lois Schreiner at (785) 532-1267


For more information visit

To view the conference schedule and speaker highlight CLICK HERE

January 23, 2014 

KPA hosts Operation Main Street Training

The Kansas Pork Association hosted a successful Operation Main Street 1.0 Training for 14 participants in Manhattan, Kan., January 13-14.

OMS is a Pork Checkoff-funded program, which since its inception in 2008, has trained over 1,031 speakers, who have facilitated more than 6,700 presentations. Speakers for OMS include farmers, veterinarians, industry experts, college professors and parents - those who are passionate about agriculture, rural America and raising healthy and nutritious food. The presentations have reached a wide range of audiences, from key-decision makers, civic groups and dietitians, to classrooms and small animal veterinarians.

OMS Picture

Congratulations to those who completed OMS 1.0 Training.

First row L to R: Shanna Neil, Julie Feldpausch, Sureemas Nitikanchana, Christy Springer.

Second row L to R: Jon DeJong, Jason Woodworth, Kyle Coble, Josh Flohr, Kyle Jordan, Joel DeRouchey.

Third row L to R: Marcio Goncalves, Ethan Stephenson, Steve Dritz

Not pictured: Amanda Spoo

"We are excited to have hosted a great group of individuals, whom are all involved in and passionate about the pork industry," says Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO. "OMS training provides those interested in advocacy and teaching others, the tools and skill-set to have engaging conversation and lasting impressions on their audience." 

OMS training strives to prepare future speakers for speaking and engaging with audiences on multiple levels of knowledge of the industry. It familiarizes participants with conversation techniques to connect with customers and consumers, and encourages participants to adapt their own personal experience and knowledge to the presentation material. Participants are given media training and taught messaging strategy. Since 2008, OMS presentations have received coverage in print, online, television and radio media resulting in an audience reach of over 31 million. Once OMS training is complete, participants who want to volunteer their time giving presentations are given assistance from OMS staff to facilitate speaking opportunities and details in their area.

Participating in the recent training, Joel DeRouchey, livestock extension specialist, Kansas State University, feels that he gained new skills to use in media interviews and providing information to others.

"I enjoyed continuing to build my skills to communicate about the swine industry to those no longer familiar with modern swine production," DeRouchey says. "I plan to be an OMS speaker. It is just the right thing to do to improve awareness of the industry that has supported me throughout my life."

KPA would like to thank all of its participants and extend a special thank you to Al Eidson, Gary Reckrodt and Barbara Dodson for being the training facilitators. 

To learn more about OMS visit us at

Or on Facebook at


January 22, 2014 

USMEF Addresses Full Spectrum of Challenges at South American Pork Seminar

The South American pork industry is a broad umbrella that covers modern retailers and sophisticated processors all the way to small businesses in regions where road conditions are primitive enough to make it uncertain whether products can effectively be transported.

More than 80 South American pork industry representatives from 50 companies in Chile, Peru and Colombia recently accepted an invitation from USMEF to participate in educational seminars in each of those nations to learn more about the U.S. pork industry, types of cuts and specifications, and other information to build their comfort level with products to fit their business models. Funding for the sessions was provided through the Pork Checkoff.

“The challenge in South America is that our target audiences have a wide variety of needs,” said Jessica Julca, USMEF’s representative based in Lima, Peru. “In Chile, for example, attendees at our seminar paid more attention to the structure of the market and where they can buy directly from processing plants to provide an advantage for their businesses.”

In contrast, she noted that the attendees at the Peru session have many different levels of familiarity with the U.S. pork industry, and they benefitted more from a broad-based education that covered everything from the U.S. pork producer and production practices all the way to the advantages of using high-quality, consistent product from the United States.

The Colombia session raised a different set of issues. Since the Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia took effect in 2012, U.S. pork exports to that nation have risen sharply – up 82 percent in volume (30,709 metric tons) and 70 percent in value ($80 million) during the first 11 months of 2013. However, Colombian importers have lamented the fact that in pre-FTA days, shipments could clear customs in just two days versus eight now.

“The Colombian customs and port administrations have to adjust their procedures to keep pace with an increasing volume of exports and imports,” said Julca. “Even road conditions are an issue. Importers have asked us to develop joint training programs for them and the customs inspectors to help clarify issues and import requirements. USMEF is working with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service to develop just such a training program for implementation later this year.”

Led by Colombia, the Central/South America region has been one of the fastest growing markets for U.S. pork in the past year. The region has increased purchases of U.S. pork by 34 percent in volume and 35 percent in value in the first 11 months of 2013, totaling 108,796 metric tons (240 million pounds) valued at $275.5 million.

“There are a lot of opportunities for growth in this region,” said Julca. “Educational programs like these are essential as we build the familiarity of the buyers with the quality and value proposition of U.S. pork so they see the advantage of using it for their businesses.”

Original release on January 13, 2014 by


January 21, 2014 

KPA Publishes Pig Tales Issue 5

Stay up to date with the Kansas pork industry and what your association is doing for you. Read about the accomplishments of fellow KPA members and friends and enjoy this issue's featured recipe. Pig Tales is the official publication of the Kansas Pork Association. 

Issue Highlights...

Click the image to read this issue online!

Pig Tales Issue 5 Final Online Version _Page _01

All Pig Tales inquiries should be directed to the Kansas Pork Association at (785) 776-0442 or



January 20, 2014 

Kansas Pork Association Wendell Moyer Scholarship

 In 1956, Wendell Moyer helped organize a small group of pork producers into the Kansas Swine Improvement Association. Their purpose was to work together to make their businesses more profitable while keeping the swine industry healthy and flourishing statewide. The Kansas Pork Association is working every day to achieve this same goal.

The $1,000 scholarship supports youth who have demonstrated an interest in the swine industry. The Kansas Pork Association is working to encourage participation in pork production while building our leaders of tomorrow. Please help us by encouraging students to apply.

Click HERE to Download Scholarship Form 

Note: All entries must be to the Kansas Pork Association office by January 29.


 January 17, 2014 

KDA Creates Easy-to-Follow Guidelines to Help Farms, Ranches and Agribusinesses

Licensing Guides Designed to Help Businesses Navigate Through Regulatory Requirements

The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) is committed to providing support and assistance to Kansas farms, ranches and agribusinesses through the implementation of 12 new business licensing guides and updates made to existing guides.

As KDA works to encourage farms, ranches and other agriculture businesses to expand in or relocate to Kansas, the KDA Agriculture Advocacy, Marketing and Outreach team identified that understanding the application and regulatory processes for establishing a new business can be overwhelming. Business licensing guides were developed to assist business developers build and operate successful businesses.

“KDA is devoted to being a partner to farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses,” said Acting Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “We understand the process of beginning a business in Kansas can be difficult to navigate.  We hope these licensing guides will provide clarity to the regulatory environment of doing business in Kansas.”

The 12 previous guides released last year have been updated and new specific business licensing guides developed. The new licensing guides cover: agritourism destinations; feed and pet food sales; fertilizer sales, blending and storage; food wholesale and distribution; greenhouses, nurseries and garden stores; home kitchens used for retail food sales; livestock markets and sales; lodging facilities; microbreweries; mobile food units; pesticide applicators, sales and businesses; poultry farm and egg sales and seed sales are available for those looking to start up these types of businesses.

For more complete information and access to all 24 business licensing guides, please visit

January 16, 2014 

PorkBridge Distance Education Series to Kick Off in February

The distance education series, PorkBridge 2014 begins Feb. 6, with several sessions planned throughout the year. This year’s program lineup includes topics such as optimizing feed efficiency, disease prevention and more, presented by university and industry experts.

PorkBridge is designed to reach producers and industry professionals – particularly those involved with grow-to-finish swine operations across the country and around the world, through six sessions on an every-other-month basis. The series is produced through a collaboration of 11 land grant universities, including Kansas State University.

“Swine producers and others in the industry can get up-to-date information without traveling or giving up a day to attend a meeting,” said Joel DeRouchey, livestock specialist with K-State Research and Extension.

Participants can take part where it works best for them whether at home, in an office or in the swine unit, DeRouchey said. Audio files from each session can also be downloaded for later use.

PorkBridge combines electronic information viewed on a computer with live presentations by topic experts via telephone, so no internet access is necessary. About a week before each session, subscribers receive a CD or web link (depending on their location) with specific presentation and additional information provided by the presenter. Participants call in for the audio portion of each session and follow along with the presentation on their computer. Each session starts at noon Central time and includes time for questions of the presenter.

The fee to participate is $125 for the full year.

To ensure receipt of program materials by the first session, participants are asked to complete the subscription form and make payment by Jan. 15. An informational brochure with subscription information is available on the K-State Research and Extension website at under Upcoming Events. Kansas residents who want more information can contact DeRouchey at (785) 532-2280 or

Session dates, topics, and speakers are:

·        Feb. 6 -- Optimizing Feed Efficiency to Maximize Your Bottom Line - Joel DeRouchey, Kansas State University.

·        April 3 -- Are You Smarter Than Your Barn Controller? - Mike Brumm, Brumm Consulting.

·        June 4 -- (Wednesday, joint presentation with SowBridge originating from World Pork Expo) Importance of Educating Others about Pork Production - Jon Hoek, Belstra Milling Co., Inc.

·        Aug. 7 -- Getting the Right Pigs to Market - Brandon Fields, Genus PIC.

·        Oct. 2 -- Biosecurity - Keep Diseases from being Transported onto the Farm - Lisa Tokach and Megan Potter, Abilene Animal Hospital, P.A.

·        Dec. 4 -- On-Farm Necropsies: Who, What, Where, When, and Why? - Locke Karriker, Iowa State University.

Information for producers outside Kansas is available by contacting Sherry Hoyer at or 515-294-4496.



January 15, 2014 

Defined by critics, big ag restarts conversation

Add one more item to the list of chores that Larry Hasheider has to do on his 1,700-acre farm: defending his business to the American public.

There's a lot of conversation about traditional agriculture recently, and much of it is critical. Think genetically modified crops, overuse of hormones and antibiotics, inhumane treatment of animals and over-processed foods.

This explosion of talk about food — some based on fact, some based on fiction — has already transformed the marketplace. Slow to respond and often defensive, farmers and others in agribusiness have for several years let critics define the public debate and influence consumers. Now, the industry is trying to push farmers and businesses to fight back, connecting with those consumers through social media and outreach that many in agriculture have traditionally shunned.

"We as farmers now have another role in addition to being farmers," Hasheider says as he takes a break from harvesting his corn crop. "It's something you have to evolve into."

In addition to corn, Hasheider grows soybeans, wheat and alfalfa on the farm nestled in the heart of Illinois corn country. He cares for 130 dairy cows, 500 beef cattle and 30,000 hogs. And now, he's giving tours of his farm, something he says he never would have done 20 years ago.

"We didn't think anyone would be interested in what we were doing," he says.

Like a lot of other farmers, Hasheider was wrong.

Take the issue of genetically modified foods. There has been little scientific evidence to prove that foods grown from engineered seeds are less safe than their conventional counterparts, but consumer concerns and fears — many perpetuated through social media and the Internet — have forced the issue. A campaign to require labeling of modified ingredients on food packages has steadily gained attention, and some retailers have vowed not to sell them at all.

Makers of the engineered seeds and the farmers and retailers who use them stayed largely silent, even as critics put forth a simple, persuasive argument: Consumers have a right to know if they are eating genetically modified foods.

Modified seeds are now used to grow almost all of the nation's corn and soybean crops, most of which are turned into animal feed.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a well-known critic of food companies and artificial and unhealthy ingredients in foods, has not opposed genetically modified foods, on the basis that there's no evidence they are harmful.

Still, director Michael Jacobson says, the issue has taken on a life of its own to the general public.

Companies like Monsanto Corp. "try to argue back with facts, but emotions often trump facts," Jacobson says. "They are faced with a situation where critics have an emotional argument, a fear of the unknown."

Perhaps no one understands this dynamic better than Robert Fraley, who was one of the first scientists to genetically modify seeds and now is executive vice president and chief technology officer of Monsanto. He says the company was late to the public relations game as critics worked to vilify it, even holding marches on city streets to protest Monsanto by name.

Fraley says he has spent "more than a few nights" thinking about the company's image problem. He says Monsanto always thought of itself as the first step in the chain and has traditionally dealt more with farmers than consumers.

About a year ago, in an attempt to dispel some of the criticism, the company started addressing critics directly and answering questions through social media and consumer outreach. The company is also reaching out to nutritionists and doctors, people whom consumers may consult. Fraley is personally tweeting — and, like Hasheider, he says it's something he never would have thought about doing just a few years ago.

"We were just absent in that dialogue, and therefore a lot of the urban legends just got amplified without any kind of logical balance or rebuttal," Fraley says of the criticism.

At a recent conference of meat producers, David Wescott, director of digital strategy at APCO Worldwide, told ranchers they needed to do a better job connecting with — and listening to — mothers, who often communicate on social media about food and make many of the household purchasing decisions.

"It's a heck of a lot more convincing when a mom says something than when a brand does," says Wescott, who says he has worked with several major farm and agriculture companies to help them reach out to consumers, especially moms.

Other farm groups, like Illinois Farm Families, are inviting moms to tour the fields. Tim Maiers of the Illinois Pork Producers Association says the group has found that consumers generally trust farmers, but they have a lot of questions about farming methods.

One of the moms, Amy Hansmann, says that though she remains concerned about the amount of processed foods and chemicals in the food supply, her experiences touring conventional farms with Illinois Farm Families changed her thinking. She was particularly amazed by the big farmers' use of technology and attempts to be sustainable.

Hansmann says that before the tour, her perception from the media was that these big farmers were "evil capitalists" who focused only on their businesses and not on the care of the land or animals.

"What I found couldn't be further from the truth," she says.

Chris Chinn, a blogger and a fifth generation farmer and mom from Clarence, Mo., is trying to reach out to others like Hansmann, too. Chinn, 38, carves 20 minutes or more out of her schedule every day to get on Twitter, comment on online articles and update her blog. Her internet service can be spotty in rural Clarence, but she sometimes types out entire blog posts on her smartphone and tries to respond to every Tweet that is directed to her — some of them nasty.

"We've been late to the game, and we realized that if we don't start sharing, people are going to start forming opinions about you," says Chinn, who is working with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, formed by more than 80 farm groups to try to improve agriculture's message.

Chinn says she started using social media because of animal rights campaigns that have aimed to eliminate gestation crates that she and other hog farmers use for pregnant sows. Hog farmers say the crates are important to keep the pigs and their piglets safe; animal rights groups say they are inhumane and have pushed state legislatures to get rid of them.

Chinn says her smaller farm could go under if she was forced to get rid of the crates, because she and her husband wouldn't be able to get a loan for new equipment. She believes that if people knew more about these operations, they would understand.

Some critics say that dialogue isn't going to be enough, arguing that the companies will have to make some real concessions in addition to defending what they do if they are going to win over consumers. They point to Monsanto's expensive campaigns against mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods in California and Washington State. The company won both fights.

Fighting the mandatory labels has "made it look like big ag has more to hide," says Gary Hirshberg, a co-founder of the organic yogurt company Stonyfield Farm. He has worked in the past few years on the labeling campaign. Hirshberg and other critics have argued that Monsanto and retailers should just accept the labels and move on.

Some farmers have decided that responding to consumer preference is the smartest route for their businesses. Nestled in low hills along the Missouri River just west of St. Louis, John Ridder has a 1,500 acre farm and a herd of 200 cattle. His wife, Heidi, recently created a Facebook profile for their cattle ranch, and the two have worked with the Missouri Beef Industry Council to reach out to consumers.

They say they are shocked by some of the misperceptions about agriculture on the Internet, like the assumption that most cattle operations are so-called "factory farms."

At the same time, they realize they are somewhat powerless in the conversation.

John says he stopped using growth hormones in his cattle because consumers don't want them. "We don't do it because we don't want to have to explain how we do it," he says.

Many farmers are taking that a step further and taking advantage of the consumer trends — labeling foods as natural or local.

"It's the first time any of us have seen anything like this," says Ken Colombini of the National Corn Growers Association. "The more that kind of demand builds, the more we're going to have to change what we're doing."

Original release on December 26, 2013 by The Associated Press


January 14, 2014 

Jellyfish DNA makes pigs glow

Chinese scientists turned science fiction into reality recently with the birth of 10 glow-in-the-dark pigs.

According to the Los Angeles Times, scientists at the South Chinese Agricultural University injected a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA into pig embryos. The result is 10 transgenic pigs with a unique ability to glow under black light.

While the results were a success, not every embryo picked up the gene. Fifteen of the embryos injected with the glowing-protein gene were born without an actual blow.

Dr. Stefan Moisyadi, a bioscientist at the University of Hawaii medical school’s Institute for Biogenesis Research (IBR, says the animals were not hurt by the fluorescent protein and are expected to have the same life span as other pigs, according to Buzzfeed.

“The green is only a marker to show that it’s working easily,” he said.

Scientists have created glow-in-the-dark pigs before, but the success was varied according to Stefan Moisyadi of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who worked with the Chinese scientists.

"In the past, scientists would throw the DNA in the embryo and hope that it would take, but it was a very hit-or-miss deal, and just 2% of the micro-manipulated eggs were transgenic," Moisyadi told the Los Angeles Times. "But we came in with this active approach, embedding the jellyfish gene in a plasmid that contains an insertion gene, and it is a huge improvement."

Moisyadi believes that eventually genes could be inserted into an animal’s DNA that would use them to create proteins that would be useful in medicines and could be extracted through their milk.

Read, “Glow-in-the-dark pigs are part of radiant green menagerie.”

Glowing pigs aren’t the first of animals to get a dose of translucency. According to Scientific American, there have also been reports of glow-in-the-dark rats, insects and cats. A group of glow-in-the-dark rabbits were born just four months ago in Istanbul, Turkey.

Original release on January 6, 2014 by

January 13, 2014 

Uses for meat production are a minor problem

Antibiotics are as important to food animals as they are to people, and those who advocate restricting them from livestock would jeopardize the health and safety of animals and people.

Hog farmers use many tools to raise healthy animals, including keeping them warm and dry in well-ventilated barns, feeding them well, vaccinating them and, in some cases, strategically using antibiotics. They work closely with their veterinarians to diagnose diseases and develop plans to prevent illnesses, all of which help produce safe, wholesome food for consumers.

What hog farmers don’t do – fabrications by opponents of modern food-animal production to the contrary – is indiscriminately give antibiotics to their animals. And while it’s true that the majority of all antibiotics are used in food-animal production – there are 10 billion food animals in the U.S. – most are used therapeutically to prevent, treat and control diseases. Additionally, many of the antibiotics used in animals are not used in, or important to, human medicine.

Proponents of restricting antibiotics use in food-animal production unscientifically (or falsely) claim that it is the primary cause of antibiotic resistance in people. But numerous peer-reviewed risk assessments, including at least one from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have shown a negligible risk to human health of antibiotics use in livestock and poultry production.

Indeed, health experts estimate that 96 percent of antibiotic resistance in humans is from human uses of antibiotics. That’s why a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on resistance mainly focused on human uses of antibiotics; an earlier C.D.C. report showed that medical doctors annually prescribe enough antibiotics to give them to 80 percent of Americans.

The animal agriculture industry never has said that it plays no part in the resistance problem, but it does take issue with being fingered by some as the main culprit, particularly given that most resistance problems in human medicine have no relationship to food or animals.

Despite this, the F.D.A. is limiting antibiotics use in food-animal production, now requiring animal health companies to withdraw antibiotics important to human medicine that are labeled only for promoting growth in animals – even though there’s ample evidence that they grow because they are healthier. (It also will require more rigorous veterinary oversight of antibiotics use.)

The bottom line is: Antibiotics are vital for keeping animals healthy and producing safe food. Taking them away would be bad for animals, farmers and consumers.

Original release on December 30, 2013 as a part of‘s Opinion Pages.



January 10, 2014 

U.S. hog herd falls more than expected as PEDv strikes

The U.S. hog herd fell by 1 percent in the latest quarter, slightly more than forecast, U.S. government data showed on Friday, as a deadly swine virus thwarted pork producers' efforts to rebuild herds.                             

"This confirms that PED is in the nation's hog herd, which was not shown nor implied in their previous report (September)," Rich Nelson, chief strategist at Allendale Inc, said after seeing USDA's lower hog numbers on Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday reported the U.S. hog herd as of Dec. 1 at 99 percent of a year ago, or 65.940 million head. Analysts, on average, expected 66.307 million head, or 99.9 percent of a year earlier. The U.S. hog herd for the same period last year was 66.374 million head.

The quarterly report was the first to show a noticeable drop in hog numbers, which analysts attributed to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), reinforcing expectations that herds will shrink as the industry struggles to develop vaccines to treat the virus that has killed thousands of young pigs across 20 states.

The virus outbreak was largely undetected in USDA's September survey.

In Friday's report, hog numbers in all of the three major categories used by traders and producers as an insight into the state of the market - all hogs and pigs (or inventory), breeding and marketing - came in under expectations.

The closely watched report was surprisingly "bullish", said Nelson.

On Friday, Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog futures for February delivery closed up 0.35 cent per lb, or 0.4 percent, at 85.650 cents ahead of the report.

Analysts predicted the news could push CME hog futures up 0.500 to 0.750 cent at Monday's opening.

As of Dec. 15, the number of confirmed cases with PEDv totaled 1,764, according to data from the USDA's National Animal Health Laboratory Network. Each case could represent hundreds to thousands of hogs.

In a conference call earlier this week, Smithfield Foods , the nation's biggest hog producer, said PEDv might result in a loss of 2 million to 3 million hogs, or a 2 to 3 percent decline in U.S. production in 2014.

Analysts and swine veterinarians have stressed that while the virus is fatal to young pigs, pork is safe to eat.

The government showed the U.S. breeding herd at 99 percent of a year earlier, or 5.757 million head, compared with average trade expectations for 101.0 percent, or 5.875 million. A year ago the breeding herd was 5.819 million head.

The difference between industry estimates and USDA's breeding herd number was "critical", Livestock Marketing Information Center director Jim Robb said.

"Down the road (that) certainly sets up for tighter hog production than what most analysts had been expecting," he said.

Another sign that PEDv is taking its toll on baby pigs is the slowdown in the upward trend in baby pigs per sow, analysts said.

The data on Friday showed producers had a record number of pigs per litter during the period at 10.16, up marginally compared with last autumn's record of 10.15. But, that is the smallest increase over the past two quarters.

"When pigs per litter is up only one tenth of 1 percent after averaging up 2 percent since 2003, that's quite a difference," said University of Missouri livestock economist Ron Plain.

USDA made significant revisions to past reports to account for larger-than-expected hog slaughter in recent months, he said.

The Dec. 1 supply of market-ready hogs was 99 percent of a year earlier at 60.183 million head. Analysts, on average, expected a 0.2 percent decline, or 60.435 million. Last autumn's market hog supply was 60.555 million.

"The overall numbers do not show the expansion that the industry has expected given the profitability of producers," said Robb. (Additional reporting by Meredith Davis and P.J. Huffstutter; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Tim Dobbyn and Bob Burgdorfer)

Original release on January 1, 2014 by



January 9, 2014 

USDA Makes Permanent Meat and Grain Serving Flexibility in National School Lunch Program

Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon today announced that USDA is making permanent the current flexibility that allows schools to serve larger portions of lean protein and whole grains at mealtime.

"Earlier this school year, USDA made a commitment to school nutrition professionals that we would make the meat and grain flexibility permanent and provide needed stability for long-term planning. We have delivered on that promise," said Concannon.

USDA has worked closely with schools and parents during the transition to healthier breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Based on public feedback, USDA has made a number of updates to school meal standards, including additional flexibility in meeting the daily and weekly ranges for grain and meat/meat alternates (PDF, 103KB), which has been available to schools on a temporary basis since 2012.

USDA is focused on improving childhood nutrition and empowering families to make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and advice, while expanding the availability of healthy food. Data show that vast majority of schools around the country are successfully meeting the new meal standards.

Collectively, these policies and actions will help combat child hunger and obesity and improve the health and nutrition of the nation's children. This is a top priority for the Obama Administration and is an important component of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to combat the challenge of childhood obesity.

Original release on January 2, 2014 by


January 8, 2014 

Economists Reveal Top Trends Likely to Impact the Pork Checkoff

As the National Pork Board sets its course for 2015 through 2020, the organization's strategic planning task force was recently presented an analysis of top trends in the economic and food production environment that are most likely to impact the Pork Checkoff program. The analysis is part of the National Pork Board's strategic planning initiative. The task force met for the first time in December.

"Our overarching objective is to assess the role the Pork Checkoff plays in an ever-changing world and to identify strategic opportunities for us to help move the pork industry forward," said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "This may mean developing programs that increase consumer trust and comfort in purchasing pork.

"Consumer needs regarding food safety and transparency, and producer needs to protect the environment and provide the best possible animal care will be front and center," Novak said.

Dr. Daniel Sumner, the University of California at Davis, and Dr. Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, identified the following trends as critical to address:

• There is a marked increase in U.S. consumption of pork, which is outpacing sales of all meat products. U.S. pork consumption is at a 10-year high and only expected to increase.

• While the domestic pork market is the biggest by far for U.S. producers with 75 percent of U.S. pork production consumed domestically, Asia presents a growth market with 30-year projections of income growth and a rising middle class that demands more protein and produce.

• Productivity of the average pig farmer has increased, with pigs per litter and average market hog weights both increasing. This creates an immediate 2.6 percent increase in the amount of pork entering the market today.

• Food safety and farm practice issues will modify demand in rich countries and increasingly in middle-income countries with retailers - including foodservice firms - showing a strong interest in understanding farm practices and encouraging farmers to meet the demands of opinion leaders.

"Real per capita expenditures are very strong, with individual pork demand at its highest levels since 2004," said Meyer, who noted that the percentage growth in pork sales in the past year is the highest among all meat products, including pork, beef, poultry and lamb

"Domestically, people are spending more on meat even while per capita income fails to grow. Following a year where animal activism increased its pressure through the release of undercover videos and the use of social media, people not only continued to buy meat, but in fact, bought more meat and paid significantly more for it," Meyer said.

Sumner said global income and population growth continue to drive pork demand.

"On a global basis, the need for increased pork production over the next decade is very real," Sumner said. "The U.S. pork industry must keep up, and even outperform past history, in order to meet increasing demand in both wealthy countries and those developing countries with rapidly growing per capita incomes."

For members of the task force, the strategic planning process will be centered on asking a simple, yet aspirational question: "What if?" The question is designed to push the imagination about what the industry could be.

"In 2009, we set a vision for an industry that was responsible, sustainable, professional and profitable. We set goals to protect a farmer's freedom to operate, to reposition fresh pork with consumers and to make U.S. pork producers more competitive in the global marketplace," Novak said. "Today, we must also focus on the issues important to society. That's what this planning process will uncover."

Novak added that among the most important topics of interest today are food safety, the environment and animal welfare.

"Our Pork Checkoff was founded by family farmers who recognized the need to invest in the development and promotion of their industry. We remain, today, a farmer-led organization that is focused on providing a return to producers for their Checkoff investments," Novak said. "At the same time, we need to acknowledge that the issues and challenges facing producers are no longer only producer issues, but rather affect the entire pork chain. Recognizing this new reality, and finding a way to align our interests with retailers, foodservice companies and packers will be critical to our long-term success. Progress is good and momentum important, but a vision to challenge the status quo is most critical."

Throughout 2014, the Pork Checkoff and the food industry leaders comprising its strategic planning task force will review research, market data and the opinions of agriculture's top economists and other experts in an effort to set a strategic vision to carry the organization from 2015 through 2020.  

Original release on January 7, 2014 by

January 7, 2014 

Kansas Pork Association Wendell Moyer Scholarship

 In 1956, Wendell Moyer helped organize a small group of pork producers into the Kansas Swine Improvement Association. Their purpose was to work together to make their businesses more profitable while keeping the swine industry healthy and flourishing statewide. The Kansas Pork Association is working every day to achieve this same goal.

The $1,000 scholarship supports youth who have demonstrated an interest in the swine industry. The Kansas Pork Association is working to encourage participation in pork production while building our leaders of tomorrow. Please help us by encouraging students to apply.

Click HERE to Download Scholarship Form 

Note: All entries must be to the Kansas Pork Association office by January 27.

January 6, 2014 

Help share ‘Farmland’documentary trailer.

Feature length documentary, Farmland, from Oscar®-winning filmmaker, James Moll, follows the next generation of American farmers and ranchers, all in their 20s, in various regions across the US.

Moll spent five months meeting farmers and ranchers before he settled on the six who are featured in Farmland. In order to authentically tell the story through the eyes of this next generation, Moll extensively researched the subject and looked for individuals to profile, specifically choosing from different farming and ranching production methods, various types of crops and livestock and geographic diversity. 

The film, made with generous support from the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®), gives viewers a firsthand glimpse into the lives of these young farmers and ranchers, their high-risk/high-reward jobs and their passion for a way of life that, more often than not, is passed down from generation to generation. 

To view the Farmland film trailer and learn more about click here to visit


January 3, 2014

Pork Checkoff Publishes Winter 2013 Report

Have you read your copy yet? The Pork Checkoff Report is a quarterly magazine published by the National Pork Board. 

Issue Highlights...

Click the image to read this issue online!



January 2, 2014

Create a Clean Crossing: Help Control the Spread of PEDV and Other Swine Diseases

To stay up to date on the latest reports, tips and information regarding ongoing Checkoff-funded PEDV research and resources, visit




KPA Producer Resources

KPA Community Outreach Program

The Pork Community Outreach is designed to assist individual pork producers in becoming more involved and positively visible in their local communities. The KPA is offering matching funds on the expenses on selected community relations activities. The purpose of this program is to multiply the positive effects of pork producer involvement in the communities where hogs are raised.

To be eligible you must:

Fill out a cost share request form and submit it to the KPA at least two weeks prior to your event and submit design ideas to the KPA so that appropriate logos and messages may be included.

Click on Community Outreach to download a form.

PQA Plus Site Assessment Rebate Program

The Kansas Pork Association, the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council are encouraging all producers to become PQA Plus certified and achieve PQA Plus Site Status. The purpose of this program is to encourage producers to be proactive in providing the best possible care for their animals and show commitment to the ethical principles of pork production as outlined in the We Care responsible pork initiative.

Having a PQA Plus advisor review your operation can both improve the well-being and productivity of animals in your care by noting changes or additions that may not otherwise be noticed.

The Kansas Pork Association is offering a $100 rebate to Kansas Pork Producers completing a PQA Plus Site Assesment. The funding is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The following requirements and stipulations apply:

Click here to download the rebate form.

Please contact Tim Stroda at or (785) 776-0442 with questions or to see if funds are still available.

KPA Classifieds

The KPA Producer-to-Producer Classified Section is provided free of charge to producers who are looking for a way to advertise to other producers. Contact the KPA office to get your ad listed.

Kansas GOLD Inc. working to update producer's information Kansas GOLD

Garry Keeler, program coordinator for Kansas GOLD Inc., is now working to update the yearly information needed to recertify facilities.  The program has also recently started working with several producers to begin the process of applying for new permits.

The GOLD program is designed to ensure that when a regulator visits your farm, the information they request can be found easily and is packaged in a pre-approved format. The process begins with a visit to your farm by the Kansas GOLD coordinator, who will begin by examining your KDHE permit for each facility number. This permit tells the coordinator what information needs to be collected and kept on file.

Kansas GOLD Inc. provides a cost-effective manner to ensure your operation is in compliance. For information, please click on GOLD or contact the KPA office at (785) 776-0442 or e-mail to