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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
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phone: (785) 776-0442
fax: (785) 776-9897

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.

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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