|Calendar of Events|
Find the latest state, national, and international news that can affect your business. KPA staff preview several sources to deliver information that is tailored to Kansas pork producers. For questions or comments, contact the KPA office.
|Kansas Pork Association|
|2601 Farm Bureau Road|
|Manhattan, KS 66502|
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 pork.org/psm.
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 pork.org/csm.
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 swinescienceonline.org.
Original release by pork.org
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 pork.org
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 agriculture.ks.gov/ksagday. Follow along with the conversation during Kansas Ag Week and the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive via Twitter at #n2nks and #ksagday.
Original release by agriculture.ks.gov
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
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 nationalhogfarmer.com for full graphs and tables. Originally published on February 24.
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 air date: January 27, 2014
Length: 3:58 minutes
Speaker: Becca Hendricks, Assistant VP International Marketing National Pork Board
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.
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.
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.
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
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 air date: February 6, 2014
Length: 8:49 minutes
Speaker: John Green, Director Strategic Marketing, National Pork Board
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.
Original release on February 19 by pork.org
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 usmef.org
Original air date: February 7, 2014
Length: 7:26 minutes
Speaker: Jay Harmon, Iowa State University Extension Livestock Housing Specialist
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.
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 usmef.org.
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 pork.org
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 pork.org.
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 pork.org.
February 11, 2014
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 www.agriculture.ks.gov/agstatistics.
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 www.agriculture.ks.gov
February 7, 2014
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.”
Original release on February 6 fromwww.pork.org.
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 fromwww.usmef.org.
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 www.pork.org.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynne Hinrichsen, Lynne.email@example.com
Jackie McClaskey, Jackie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (785) 215-5114
Original release from www.usmef.org
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:
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.
Original air date: January 20, 2013
Length: 7:24 minutes
Speaker: Dr. Paul Sundberg, VP Science and Technology National Pork Board
Original air date: January 22, 2013
Length: 10:15 minutes
Speaker: Dr. Paul Sundberg, VP Science and Technology National Pork Board
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 porkpod.pork.org.
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.
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.
“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 eatpork.org for access to school resources and tools year round.
January 28, 2014
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 theporksite.com.
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 tristateneighbor.com.
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 www.ksuswine.org
To view the conference schedule and speaker highlight CLICK HERE
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.
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 https://www.facebook.com/OMS.Speakers
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 usmef.org
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.
Click the image to read this issue online!
All Pig Tales inquiries should be directed to the Kansas Pork Association at (785) 776-0442 or email@example.com
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.
Note: All entries must be to the Kansas Pork Association office by January 29.
January 17, 2014
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 http://agriculture.ks.gov/licensingguide.
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 www.ksuswine.org under Upcoming Events. Kansas residents who want more information can contact DeRouchey at (785) 532-2280 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com or 515-294-4496.
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
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.
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 porknetwork.com
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 nytimes.com‘s Opinion Pages.
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 porknetwork.com
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 usda.gov
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 pork.org
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.
Note: All entries must be to the Kansas Pork Association office by January 27.
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 www.farmlandfilm.com.
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.
Click the image to read this issue online!
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 pork.org/pedv.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (785) 776-0442 with questions or to see if funds are still available.
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.
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 email@example.com