|Calendar of Events|
BaconFestKC - August 23
Junction City Blood Drive
K-State Football Tailgate - Oct 4
Smith Center Blood Drive
Arkansas City Blood Drive- Nov 7
Norton Blood Drive - Nov 18
Kingman Blood Drive- Dec 23
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|
In 2014, the Kansas Pork Association set new goals to reach out to influencers in education, dietetics and consumer outreach to build relationships and pork education programs. In a step toward those goals, KPA partnered with the Kansas Soybean Commission to fund and create educational materials for teachers to use in their classrooms. The association then worked closely with the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Commission to rebrand a bingo game, worksheet and poster kit they had previously developed.
“Thanks to our friends at Nebraska Pork we are able to maximize the use of our Checkoff funds and provide a great educational resource free of charge for teachers,” says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach.
The kits focus on helping students learn about the variety of products people use every day at home, in school and in medications that come from pigs and soybeans grown in Kansas. Each kit includes supplies for 25 students and comes with 25 game cards, tokens and call out cards; 25 worksheets and one classroom poster. The materials are designed to accompany a 3-7 grade curriculum level. This educational program is offered to Kansas educators free of charge by the Kansas Pork Association and the Kansas Soybean Commission.
Quantities are limited so order yours today! Go to www.Kansasporkbingo.com
The USDA has followed up with more specifics on how to understand and comply with its Federal Order on June 5 that requires pork producers, veterinarians and diagnostic labs to report presumptive or confirmed positive occurrences of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), Porcine Deltacoronavirus, (PDCoV) or other swine enteric coronavirus diseases (SECDs) that meet the case definition. The details currently available, including the newly revised SECD Herd Plan Requirements and other instructions on potentially reimbursable expenses, can be found here.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working to address these infections with a plan that includes: 1) required disease reporting and 2) development of herd management plans that will indicate the producer is taking actions to implement biosecurity steps designed to reduce further dissemination of PEDV or PDCoV. To this end, APHIS will provide subsidized funding for biosecurity actions by producers described in the herd plans, such as the costs of truck washing and disinfecting agents.
According to APHIS, some of the work to be performed by producers in fighting SECDs that may be reimbursable includes laboratory testing fees for SECD samples, continued monitoring of pigs post-sampling, livestock vehicle washing if called for in an approved herd health plan and the use of disinfectants for cleaning premises, provided funding is available.
Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of the National Pork Board’s science and technology department, says, “Continued monitoring of farms through submissions to the veterinary diagnostic laboratories is important and those specific tests will be paid for by USDA at this point. If producers plan to take advantage of the money USDA is making available for cleaning and disinfection, they should work with their herd veterinarian to ensure that their herd management plan indicates that they have the required protocols in place before they fill out the paperwork and submit it to USDA.”
To date, U.S. research into SECDs has confirmed that they are spread by fecal-oral contact with infected swine or contaminated materials. These diseases require strong biosecurity at farms through diligent cleaning and disinfection by transporters, renderers, processors and other service providers and developing herd immunity to reduce clinical signs.
Since the occurrence of PEDV in the United States during the past year, the disease has been confirmed in 30 states and has led to more than 7 million piglet deaths. In that time, the Pork Checkoff has invested about $3 million in PEDV-related research, including feed-related research, all of which can be found at www.pork.org/pedv, along with PEDV-related fact sheets in English and Spanish.
Original release on July 24 by pork.org
Robert “Bob” Goodband, Professor of Animal Science at Kansas State University, has been honored with the Animal Management Award presented by the American Society of Animal Science.
Goodband was selected for the award based on his excellence in research in production management. He is part of a progressive swine extension team that focuses on developing, evaluating and disseminating the latest research to increase the profitability of pork producers and has played an important role in developing an intensive applied research program that has conducted numerous on-farm trials in several states.
Along with his dedication to research, Goodband is a trusted advisor to many graduate and undergraduate students.
Goodband received his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University and earned his MS and PhD in Swine Nutrition at Kansas State University, where he then joined the Department of Animal Science and Industry as an Assistant Professor. In 2001, Goodband made full professor where he remains teaching today.
The ASAS Animal Management Award is given to animal scientists who have made significant contributions to basic or applied research in animal behavior, environmental science, economics or other biological or production management. The American Society of Animal Science is a professional organization that serves more that 5,000 animal scientists and producers around the world.
Original release on July 21 by nationalhogfarmer.com
Kansas pork farmers were recently recognized for their partnership with the American Red Cross.
Kristi Ingalls, senior donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cros,s joined KPA at its executive board meeting on July 18 to award the members with a certificate stating their "grateful appreciation of your outstanding contribution to the American Red Cross blood program."
(Caption:Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Relations accepts a certificate of appreciation from the American Red Cross on behalf of Kansas pork farmers.)
For the past two years, KPA has partnered with the American Red Cross to provide blood donors with pulled pork sandwiches and door prizes. Often, a Kansas pork farmer will join each drive to help greet and serve donors, and answer any questions they have about pork and farming.
"This partnership has grown our regular drives by bringing in countless first time donors, as well as past blood donors who we have not seen in years," Ingalls says. "We've been able to increase our blood donation goals, with the confidence that we'll have many more donors at each drive and then end up exceeding those goals."
Since its beginning, the partnership has helped save over 9,000 lives.
"We look forward to continuing this partnership and cannot thank the board, all pork farmers and KPA staff enough for their hard work to ensure that blood is on the shelves in hospitals when it's needed," Ingalls says.
On Friday, July 18, the Kansas Pork Association and Kansas GOLD executive board meetings were held in Manhattan at the International Grains Program. The 13 members and staff reviewed and approved Checkoff and non-Checkoff programming for the second half of 2014 and 2015.
Joining the group via teleconference was Chris Novak, CEO, National Pork Board, who provided his thoughts on pork industry program priorities. Novak shared plans for the upcoming year and a projected five year plan, as well as an update on PEDV and market forecasts.
The board also met and visited with Bill Brown, DVM, Kansas Animal Health Commissioner. Brown utilized his time to elaborate on the USDA’s recent PEDV initiatives and answer questions on the use of premise identification. Brown also commented on the success and continuation of the state’s feral swine control, saying, “I am very pleased with how the feral swine program in Kansas has worked. The state has become a leader on this issue, and other states are looking to us for solutions.”
An election for the 2015 National Pork Producers Pork Act delegates was held. Representing Kansas next year in San Antonio at the 2015 National Pork Industry Forum are: Alan Haverkamp, Bern; Kent Condray, Clifton; Scott Pfortmiller, Stafford; and Michael Springer, Neodesha.
In the first progress report on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) strategy to curb antibiotic use in animals, the FDA announced that all 26 drug companies have agreed to phase-out use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals (growth promotion).
The FDA said all 26 companies have agreed to “fully engage in the strategy by phasing out other use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals for food production purposes and phasing in the oversight of a veterinarian for the remaining therapeutic uses of such drugs.”
However, critics of the industry said more needs to be done. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said, “It would take an extraordinary leap of faith to believe that asking pharmaceutical companies to change the labeling on packages of antibiotics will result in a tangible reduction of antibiotic overuse on the farm.”
Slaughter is the sponsor of legislation that would ban the use of antibiotics for animals except for treatment when the animal is sick. Companies have until December 2016 to make the changes to their products. The FDA plans to issue a progress report every six months.
Original article on July 7 by nationalhogfarmer.com
Top restaurateurs know that pork is the perfect way to create menu excitement. From pulled pork and crave-worthy bacon, pork is a standout in new dishes that highlight its flavor and versatility.
“The pork buzz is strong in foodservice, and pork has become a menu must-have at restaurants around the country,” said Stephen Gerike, director of foodservice marketing for the Pork Checkoff.
National sandwich restaurants that have recently been making the most of pork include:
• Subway. The chain tested a Kung Pao Pulled Pork sandwiches in select Midwest markets. The sandwich featured pulled pork in a Kung Pao sauce, a savory blend of garlic and ginger for a sweet-and-spicy flavor.
• Wendy’s. Select restaurants in Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts tested a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. There were three BBQ sauce choices: spicy, smoky, or sweet. The sandwich was topped with slaw and comes on a brioche bun. Customers could also get the pulled pork on cheese fries, or a burger.
• Firehouse Subs. For a limited time, Firehouse Subs featured its new Sweet Thai Chili Pork Sub. The sandwich showcased premium 12-hour smoked pulled pork, Wisconsin pepper Jack cheese, sweet Thai chili sauce, and mayonnaise.
• Cousins Subs. This Wisconsin-based chain brought back its popular Cubano and Pulled Pork & Slaw subs for a limited time only. The Cubano featured ham, genoa salami, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, mayo, brown mustard, sliced dill pickles, onions, and tomatoes on Italian bread. The Pulled Pork & Slaw offered pulled pork, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw piled high on Italian bread.
• Quiznos. The chain rolled out a line of Toasty Pastas at participating locations. Options included Bacon Mac & Cheese, featuring cavatappi macaroni with Romano, Parmesan, provolone and fontina cheeses, topped with bacon and breadcrumbs. Customers could also enjoy Spicy Sausage Marinara Pasta, cavatappi topped with light basil-marinara sauce, mozzarella and spicy pork sausage. A third option included Meatballs Marinara Pasta, with cavatappi topped with mozzarella, marinara sauce and pork-and-beef meatballs filled with grated Romano and ricotta cheeses and a blend of Italian seasonings.
• Togo’s Eateries Inc. This California-based chain introduced the #16 Primo Italian, a flavor-packed Italian sandwich with four premium hand-sliced Italian meats – Fiorucci hot capicola, Margherita pepperoni, Fiorucci dry salami, and Hormel ham. The meat was topped with provolone cheese and Togo’s Italian vinaigrette and served on artisan bread with shredded lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles and pepperoncinis.
• Taco John’s. Pork is hot at hundreds of Taco John’s restaurants thanks to the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Burrito. Packed with spicy chorizo, melted nacho cheese, sliced jalapeños and chile de arbol salsa, these burritos also included a generous layer of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
• Whataburger. Customers could try a new spin on an old favorite with the brand’s new Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuit, available for a limited time. The biscuit sandwich was served with sausage or bacon, egg and cheese.
Pulled Pork Maintains Momentum
Pork continues to make a flavorful statement on restaurant menus this summer. Through Sept. 30, Togo’s Eateries Inc. is featuring a Cuban sandwich with pulled pork, Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese and tangy pickles with a tangy Cuban mustard dressing on classic white bread.
BBQ is back at Quiznos’, which is featuring two new sandwiches. The Southern BBQ Pulled Pork showcases slow-roasted pulled pork, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, pickles, yellow mustard and Quiznos’ signature BBQ sauce served on a choice of artisan breads, including white, wheat, rosemary parmesan or jalapeno cheddar. The Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich includes slow-roasted pulled pork, smoky bacon, aged cheddar, cilantro-jalapeno slaw and BBQ sauce on jalapeno cheddar bread.
“Pork’s flavor and versatility make it a top performer in restaurants nationwide,” Gerike said. “We’re onto something big with pork’s potential throughout foodservice.”
Original article on July 10 by pork.org
Nutrition standards for school lunches have turned into one of the most contentious issues in this year’s appropriations debate.
The lunch standards helped prompt House leaders to abruptly pull the Agriculture spending bill from the House floor last month, and they are shaping up as a potentially big vote in the Senate too.
Republicans in the House and Senate want to use the fiscal 2015 Agriculture spending bill to delay — or allow waivers from — rules aimed at putting more fruits, vegetables and whole grains on school menus and reducing sodium, sugar and fat.
Upping the ante, first lady Michelle Obama has thrown herself into the congressional battle over nutrition standards, as lawmakers grapple with child obesity issues and the food industry worries that new rules could eat into profits.
“We’re now seeing efforts in Congress to roll back these new standards and the hard work that all of you, all of us, have done on behalf of our kids,” the first lady told a school meal nutrition roundtable at the White House late last month. “This is unacceptable.”
Easily overlooked in the debate over whether the nutrition rules are necessary for public health, or are unwarranted government intrusions in local matters, is that school meals are also very much about money.
The K-12 food service industry generates $18 billion to $20 billion a year in business, with federal meal reimbursements accounting for about 60 percent of the money, according to a June report by the trade publication Food Management. That’s an educated guess, because the food service umbrella covers colleges and universities, restaurants and institutions. Even publicly traded companies provide few details.
Companies ranging from distribution giant Sysco Corp., to the leading chicken and pork processor Tyson Foods, to cereal- and food-maker General Mills Inc. have a stake in this niche food service industry. Regional and smaller companies are also players in the field.
With the stakes so high for the industry and the White House, particularly with the first lady’s personal involvement, the fight is only intensifying. The Obama administration issued a veto threat against the House bill just before floor debate started on June 11. Republican leaders took the measure off the floor the next day, before Democrats got a vote on an amendment to remove the bill’s one-year grace period from upcoming nutrition standards for school cafeteria directors who can show a six-month operating loss. The bill might come up again later this summer.
On the Senate side, Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota filed an amendment last month to a planned “minibus” spending bill — which included the Agriculture title — that would have given schools waivers from the whole-grain foods rules if the rules would cause hardship. Unlike the House bill, his amendment would not have required proof of operating losses. The bill, however, was pulled from the floor amid disagreements over amendment votes.
For parts of the food industry, a delay — or broad waivers — would make a huge difference to their bottom lines.
Patty Johnson, a global food and beverage analyst for Mintel Group in Chicago, says tougher nutrition rules at both the state and federal levels would mean fewer snack sales for a la carte lines and greater reliance on food for federally subsidized meals.
“As these changes come through with the requirements for fat and sodium and those types of things, that requires reformulation and that requires investment. Not always, but typically, selling into the schools is not the highest margin sale for the manufacturers,” Johnson says. “The more reformulations and changes and changes, the more costs.”
Big companies with sales to grocery stores, convenience stores and other retail markers can better absorb the added costs, but there are limits.
“I’m selling a quarter of this product to the schools and I’m already putting it into special packaging and now I have to go back to the bench and redesign the product,” she says. “Now I got a pizza that is not performing and it doesn’t taste good. You’re a couple of years down the road before you can execute the product.”
Johnson says that, ultimately, a company with a school food service business is “interested in maintaining sales at the highest margin that they can so they can remain profitable in their business ventures.”
Several large food companies include the nutrition rules as an area of concern on lobbying reports, although they list several others issues as well, such as taxes, labeling of genetically modified foods and ingredients, or the 2010 health care law.
For school cafeteria managers, though, the issue seems to top the list of concerns. They run their operations on thin margins where the smallest drop in student participation means cutting back or operating in the red.
The School Nutrition Association, which represents cafeteria operators and their suppliers, says the additional 6 cents per meal in federal subsidies for meeting the new rules is not enough. Becky Domokos-Bays — a top officer with the School Nutrition Association and school meal director for Alexandria, Va. — says her organization has requested 35 cents per meal in additional reimbursement in the past. But this year, Domokos-Bays says congressional contacts suggested that the association not bother seeking additional money.
Instead, the association has embraced the waiver provision that House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert B. Aderholt, an Alabama Republican, put in his committee’s bill.
Sara Gasiorowski, food service director for the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, Ind., says high school students rejected a 100 percent whole-grain enriched biscuit as a breakfast food, and that some students no longer buy school lunches. Gasiorowski praises the waivers because “we need flexibility and a level of reasonableness” in meeting requirements.
The issue has divided the School Nutrition Association. Nineteen former presidents of the group have voiced concerns about the organization’s efforts to slow implementation of the next phase of the Agriculture Department nutrition rules that took effect July 1.
The first lady, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, public health advocates and retired military leaders consider the waivers as avoiding nutrition standards that they see as essential tools for combating child obesity.
Supporters of the school meal rules say corporations are behind the push for delaying nutrition standards for snack foods sold in school vending machines or in a la carte lines. But they have not been able to cite specific examples of corporate influence, beyond suggesting that the Minnesota-based Schwan Food Company had urged the SNA to push back against the meal standards.
Chuck Blomberg, a Schwan spokesman, denied via email that his company prodded the SNA to pursue the waiver proposal. “Contrary to what’s been implied in some reports, our company has not taken a position on the proposed waiver,” Blomberg wrote. “We also have not advocated for a waiver with any lawmakers or other organizations.”
The company, whose brands include Red Baron and Big Daddy’s pizza, LiveSmart, Mrs. Smith’s desserts and Minh Asian products, is reformulating products to meet school meal requirements, he said.
Either way, it shouldn’t be surprising that a money crunch is helping drive the debate over school meal rules, given the history of the 2010 health care law that set the mandates in motion. The law renewed school lunch and breakfast programs, as well as the Women, Infants and Children program and several smaller food programs.
Groups dissatisfied with portions of the House and Senate bills thought they could make changes once the legislation went to negotiations between the two chambers. Although the House Education and Labor Committee reported the bill out, it never went to the floor. The Senate Agriculture Committee got its version through the Senate and that was the version that became law.
In June, the School Nutrition Association had requested a meeting with the first lady and Vilsack to detail their major concerns and to lay out suggested remedies. Instead, the organization and its ally, the National School Boards Association, got a roundtable discussion on July 10 with Vilsack, Let’s Move Executive Director Sam Kass and several organizations that generally support the nutrition standards.
Original article on July 11 by rollcall.com
The Pork Checkoff launched a new social media outreach program to share real stories from real farmers with consumers. This new initiative is a social movement to create and own the conversation around modern pig farming. Our goal is to empower pig farmers to have meaningful and impactful conversations on social media with consumers about what happens on their farms. Choosing to tell the story of #RealPigFarming via social networks helps bring consumers and pig farmers together in a way that was not possible just a few years ago. In networks that are powered by images and videos, producers can tell their story in multiple different ways.
An elite team of social media “agvocates” called Social Forces has been selected for this mission. This team includes not only producers from more than 10 states, but animal science and Ag university students from across the U.S. Our Social Forces team is being asked to go above and beyond when telling their farming stories on social media.
The Pork Checkoff is encouraging everyone who has a passion for agriculture or a positive story to share about real pig farming to please use the #RealPigFarming in status updates, tweets, Instagram photos, blogs, vlogs and any other social media update. Check us out today by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.
For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/RealPigFarming or follow @RealPigFarming on Twitter. If you have any questions, please contact Claire Masker, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original article on July 10 by pork.org.
A group of agricultural organizations, led by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation, said an interpretive rule that accompanies a proposed Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation is a legislative rule that must go through notice and comment rulemaking.
In comments submitted on July 7 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 90 organizations said the interpretive rule “binds farmers and ranchers with new, specific legal obligations under the CWA. It modifies existing regulations interpreting the statutory term ‘normal farming, ranching and silviculture.’”
The interpretive rule would exempt 56 agricultural activities from a proposed rule that would expand the jurisdiction and authority of EPA and the Corps of Engineers over certain waters. Currently, based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, that includes “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The proposed regulation would redefine “waters of the United States” to include, among other water bodies, intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation.
The groups said they are concerned that the interpretive rule, as written, will be construed by the agencies to require compliance with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation practice standards if a covered activity is within a water of the United States – which the agencies will determine – and that a practice that fails to comply with the standards will be viewed as resulting in a discharge to a water of the United States, which requires a CWA permit.
The practical effect of the interpretive rule, said the groups, is to require compliance with NRCS standards when undertaking any normal farming, silviculture or ranching activity that federal officials consider to be located in a water of the United States.
NPPC previously requested that EPA and the Corps of Engineers withdraw the interpretive rule. To read the organizations’ comments,click here.
Original release on July 8 by nppc.org
Lysozyme, also known as muramidase, is a naturally occurring enzyme found in bodily secretions such as tears, saliva, and milk. It functions as an antimicrobial by cleaving the peptidoglycan (amino acid/ sugar) component of bacterial cell walls,
which leads to cell death. Antibiotics are also antimicrobials and have been fed at subtherapeutic levels to swine as growth promoters for more than 50 years, and the majority of swine produced in the US receive antibiotics in their feed at some point in their production cycle. These compounds benefit the producers by minimising production losses by increasing feed efficiency and decreasing susceptibility to bacterial infection and disease. It is known that increased pathogen shedding
in pigs is associated with reduced performance. Reducing this pathogen load ultimately leads to increased growth rates, likely due to a less active immune system, and increased profitability. However, swine producers are currently under tremendous pressure to eliminate subtherapeutic antibiotic use throughout the production cycle. Finding safe and effective alternatives to traditional antibiotics will allow swine producers to keep the animal health and growth aspects of antibiotics without the stigma associated with their use.
Lysozyme was first used experimentally in pigs in the mid-2000s. In a few studies, human lysozyme derived from transgenic goats' milk was shown to change metabolite profiles, intestinal microflora, and intestinal morphology. However, due to the nature of these experiments, improvements in growth performance due to lysozyme were not detectable. In research, the USDA-ARS research team in Clay Center used a different source of lysozyme (chicken eggs; Entegard, Neova Technologies, Abbotsford, BC, Canada) and designed experiments to determine any effect on growth performance. The first trial was a proof of concept experiment feeding milk replacer to tenday old pigs. In total 48 pigs were fed a non-medicated milk replacer, milk replacer plus antibiotics, or milk replacer plus lysozyme for two weeks. Pigs consuming lysozyme or antibiotics grew approximately 12% faster than pigs consuming the non-medicated milk replacer, which is, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of improved growth performance in response to lysozyme consumption in pigs. In addition, pigs consuming the lysozyme liquid diet had improved small intestinal morphology and decreased Campylobacter prevalence in the gastrointestinal tract. Due to the study design, it was impossible to determine the effects of lysozyme on feed intake or feed efficiency, which is of obvious importance to the swine industry. Nonetheless, it was concluded that lysozyme is a suitable alternative to antibiotics, at least in ten-day-old pigs consuming liquid diets.
It was obvious that lysozyme potentially was a good replacement for antibiotics used in swine diets, but needed to be tested in more practical diets. The second study was conducted in pigs consuming typical US nursery diets (corn/ soybean meal/ specialty protein). The study design was similar to the proof of concept experiment, but with more animals and the ability to determine the effect on feed intake and feed efficiency. Altogether 192 pigs were weaned at 24 days of age and fed control diets, control diets plus carbadox/ copper sulfate, or control diets plus lysozyme. Similarly to the milk study, lysozyme and carbadox/ copper sulfate improved growth rates of nursery pigs. In addition, to our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate improved feed efficiency in response to lysozyme consumption in pigs. Detecting differences in small intestinal morphology is difficult in pigs as they age due to the increased variation in villi height both between and within pigs. Because it was possible to sample a significant number of pigs, a 28% increase in villi height was detected, as well as a 23% decrease in crypt depth, in pigs consuming lysozyme.
The most recent study, partially funded by the National Pork Board, was designed to determine the efficacy of lysozyme in ameliorating the effect of an immune response in nursery pigs. In addition to regulating the immune response, cytokines have a profound effect on nutrient metabolism. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6 and TNF-α, redirect nutrients toward the immune response and away from growth processes. This is due to, among other factors, increases in muscle protein degradation and acute phase protein production. A total of 1,200 pigs were weaned from the sow at 26 days of age. To induce an indirect immune challenge, half the pigs were weaned into a nursery room left unclean since the previous group of pigs. The 'clean' pigs were weaned into a nursery room that had been fully cleaned and disinfected. Within each room, pigs were fed identical diets to our first nursery study, except that carbadox/ copper sulfate was replaced with chlortetracycline and Denagard (Novartis). Similarly to the previous work, antibiotics or lysozyme improved pig performance, and it did so both in pigs with a chronic immune stimulation and pigs in the clean nursery (Figure 1).
In spite of their long history of use in the industry, the mechanism by which subtherapeutic antibiotics improve the performance of pigs is not completely understood. Presumably, lysozyme would work similarly to subtherapeutic antibiotics. Many potential mechanisms have been hypothesised, including increased beneficial microbes, reduced pathogen load, and improved gastrointestinal function. This research has shown that Campylobacter shedding is reduced by lysozyme. It remains to be seen if beneficial bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract are improved.
A major effect of both antibiotics and lysozyme is on the small intestine. Both antibiotics and lysozyme increase villi height and decrease crypt depth in the jejunum of the small intestine, as shown by an increase in the villi height/ crypt depth ratio (Figure 2). Villi height is a major determinant of absorptive ability and most absorption takes place in the jejunum of the small intestine in pigs. Thus, it is likely that much of the benefit from antibiotics and lysozyme is due to improvements in small intestinal morphology. Although the USDA-ARS research team in Clay Center demonstrated a correlated response between lysozyme feeding and improved growth performance and intestinal health, it remains to be seen if there is a direct causative effect. Ongoing work in the laboratories is designed to determine the rate of nutrient flux across the gut, as well as to determine the whole body use of nutrients in pigs fed lysozyme-supplemented diets. There is tremendous pressure to eliminate or reduce subtherapeutic antibiotic use in the swine industry. This is due to the perceived contribution of their use to increased levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment and increased human infections with antibiotic resistant bacteria. Lysozyme has proven to be an effective alternative to subtherapeutic antibiotics. In the event that antibiotics are regulated out of use, safe and effective alternatives, such as lysozyme, will allow swine producers to maintain current levels of animal health, efficiency, and profitability.
The Animal Science Research Webinar Series is designed to highlight results of completed research projects that were funded through the National Pork Board’s Animal Science Committee. Each Tuesday during the month of August at 12 PM Central, one principle investigator will present the results of their project. Each webinar is designed to last approximately 45 minutes with a 35 minute presentation and 10 minutes of question and answer. The schedule for August 2014 is listed below:
• August 5: Preparing for the Inevitable Increase In Fiber Content in Practical Swine Diets -Dr. John Patience
• August 12: Maximizing Co-product Feeding in Finishing Diets - Dr. Joel DeRouchey
• August 19: Improving Fiber Digestibility in Swine Diets - Dr. Sabrina Trupia
• August 26: Impact of Decreasing Corn Particle Size on Energy, Phosphorous and Amino Acid Digestibility - Dr. Hans Stein
The webinars are free but participants are required to register in advance. Please visitwww.pork.org/animalscience for additional details and to register.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now inviting suggestions for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted once every five years by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture down to the county level.
"The recent release of the 2012 Census of Agriculture is the end of an ongoing five-year cycle that has started anew with the first stage of the 2017 Census - asking what changes to make in the next questionnaire," NASS administrator Joseph T. Reilly said. "This is the perfect time to ask for suggestions since the 2012 data are fresh on our minds."
NASS released the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results on May 2. The agency is now planning the content for the 2017 agriculture census and is accepting input. Any individual or organization may submit suggestions on questionnaire items to add or delete, as well as any other ideas concerning the census. There will be another opportunity to provide official comment through the Federal Register process in the coming weeks.
"There are many industries looking for data that we don't already collect," said NASS census and survey division director Renee Picanso. "There are also some items that people may think are no longer relevant with changing trends in agriculture. Now is the time to express those ideas and concerns."
Content suggestions for the 2017 Census will be accepted until Aug. 4, 2014. Comments can be submitted online atwww.agcensus.usda.gov/Contact_Us/Census_Program_Input_Form/.
Written suggestions may be mailed to: Census Content Team, Room 6451, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250.
To learn more and to access the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results, including state and county profiles and all the other census data and tools, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.
An industry-wide renewed focus on biosecurity is critical in controlling the spread and reinfection of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV). It’s important to review biosecurity protocols with your herd veterinarian and enhance your farm’s biosecurity efforts, says Lisa Becton, DVM, director of swine health information and research for the Pork Checkoff.
• Establish and visibly mark a “line of separation” that defines the areas to be used by off-farm workers and the areas to be used by farm or market personnel. There may be several such lines throughout a farm.
• Talk to all service providers to ensure they understand the critical nature of PEDV and your new site-access restrictions. Don’t forget to include the farm’s non-production staff.
• Completely clean, disinfect and dry trucks and trailers, inside and out, after every use. This starts by removing all bedding and debris, as well as using soap, detergent and disinfectant. Don’t forget to clean the cab. Several virucidal disinfectants can inactivate PEDV. Go to pork.org or aasv.org for listings.
• Wear coveralls and boots (both can be disposable) when going to a production site or packing plant. When leaving, remove protective clothing before entering the truck cab.
• After transporting pigs, isolate and wash coveralls at a non-production site or throw disposables away off farm.
• Restrict animal haulers’ access to the truck or trailer only. Load-out crews should not reenter buildings without washing, changing coveralls and boots first.
For detailed biosecurity information, go topork.org/PEDV.
USDA on Monday, June 23, announced the implementation of policy changes and measures authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill designed to help new farmers and ranchers get started in an occupation where the average age is 58 and rising.
“The new policies will help give beginning farmers the financial security they need to succeed,” said Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden, who released details of the measures at meeting of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee at the University of California, Davis. The 20-member panel, including Extension agents, lenders, farmers, ranchers and academics, will meet through 2015 to devise recommendations to USDA on how to support new and beginning farmers.
The policy announcements include:
--Waiving service fees for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2014 crop year. NAP provides risk management tools to farmers who grow crops for which there is no crop insurance product.
-- Eliminating payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for new and beginning farmers that will allow routine, prescribed, and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent with approved conservation plans. Previously, farmers and ranchers grazing on CRP land were subject to a reduction in CRP payments of up to 25 percent.
--Increasing payment rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). Under this provision, beginning farmers can claim up 90 percent of losses for lost livestock, including bees, under ELAP. This is a fifty percent increase over previously available payment amounts to new and beginning farmers.
The USDA said it also plans to announce in the near future additional crop insurance program changes for beginning farmers and ranchers - including discounted premiums, waiver of administrative fees, and other benefits.
Harden also unveiled a new website that will provide a one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.
“Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive,” Harden said in a news release.
The introduction of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus into the United States in May 2013 has caused severe harm to the pork industry, with nearly 7,000 operations affected in 30 states.
Lisa Becton, director of swine health and information for the National Pork Board, said the research continues to develop producer resources and containment strategies. Becton spoke during a standing-room-only session at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa.
“When the virus became a problem last year, the National Pork Board’s swine health committee met to help make decisions on what research needed done and what the timeline could be to get results,” Becton said. “A strategic task force was also formed with input from the American Association of Swine Practitioners, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Pork Board, along with state and international associations to see how to best handle this outbreak.”
The initial research started in June 2013 to determine what the virus looked like, how it affected the hogs, the environmental stability and what kind of diagnostic test would be the best option to determine if the disease was present.
In the fall of 2013, sow immunity was a high priority for researchers in order to determine how long immunity lasts and what type of immunity is given to the piglets. Other concerns were risk factors of feed and if the virus is present in feed ingredients.
“Since we needed information fast on PEDv, we asked for research results within six months, when normal research would take 12 to 18 months,” Becton said. “The exception was with sow immunity, as we knew that research would take about 12 months to complete.”
The severity of the PEDv symptoms is age dependent, with neonatal piglets being the most affected and having the highest fatality rate. Becton said the diarrhea symptoms start about two to three days post infection and stops after 10 days post infection. Fecal virus shed starts at 24 to 48 hours and peaks at five to six days post infection, but it can shed for up to 35 days post infection.
Research shows that the virus is not exhaled from the pigs but still could spread in the air.
“Since the virus is difficult to grow in a petri dish, developing a vaccine to fight it is also difficult,” Becton said.
Citing a source of the virus on each farm can be very difficult. The main way PEDv spreads is via fecal-oral exposure. While a diagnostic test needed to be developed quickly, researchers wanted to be able to develop a test for multiple viruses.
Survivability of the virus was an issue as well. Numerous parts of the system had to be looked at to determine where the virus was lurking. These included feed, water, type of feed, storage, and manure slurries.
Initial research results show that the virus survives longer at cooler temperatures in both manure and feed. PEDv was detected in drinking water for up to seven days.
“Research was also conducted on how long the virus can survive in a metal trailer. Extremely hot water wash outs of 160 degrees Fahrenheit can kill the virus after about 10 minutes. Leaving the trailer set for seven days at a room temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit will also kill the virus,” Becton said.
With numerous ways for the disease to spread, Becton said the closer hog farms are to each other, the higher likeliness for one to have the disease if another does. Currently several studies are being conducted to see if the virus can be carried in the wind.
Transportation continues to be an issue. Virus was found in all packing plants in the Midwest and buying stations in North Carolina. Vehicles seem to be a vector for the virus as well as loading chutes and other areas where manure is found.
“Cleanliness of barns and good biosecurity are very important to helping reduce disease load,” Becton said.
Research priorities have been set for 2014, which include length of immunity, feed sources and transportation. Information is starting to be collected on sow immunity and comparing it to immunity in other diseases.
“Research is being conducted on feed ingredient treatments to see if how feed is stored, how it is prepared, and how it is delivered to see if any of those are affecting the virus,” Becton said.
Since the discovery of PEDv, pork producers have also seen a rise in the cases of porcine deltacoronavirus.
“We want to be able to determine if we can find out more about these other viruses at the same time and if there are similarities,” Becton said.
The complexity of the virus has researchers busy looking at all angles of the disease and how it is affected by other factors in the environment.
“PEDv seems to be a seasonal virus, with fewer cases in the summer months, but that doesn’t mean that it will go away,” Becton said. “We will continue to conduct research and get results out as quickly as possible to prevent the increase in disease during the cooler months.”Original article on June 23 by hpj.com
The Pork Academy Sessions that were held at the Word Pork Expo in June can now be viewed online.
The sessions covered:
- Safe Pig Handling
- Industry Productivity Analysis
- Sow Bridge/Pork Bridge, Reproductive Decision Tree
- World Market Economics and the Importance of Trade
- PEDV Research Update
- PEDV-Lessons Learned and Next Steps
- Sustainability in Pork Production
- Pain Management
The election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2015 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at 1:00 p.m., Monday, July 18, 2014, in conjunction with an Executive Board meeting of the Kansas Pork Association at the IGP Executive Conference Center, 1980 Kimball Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66506. All Kansas pork producers are invited to attend.
Any producer, age 18 or older, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted. For more information, contact Kansas Pork Association, 2601 Farm Bureau Road, Manhattan, KS, telephone 785/776-0442.
The challenges that the U.S. pork industry is seeing this year – in terms of livestock numbers, product supply, pricing and the uncertainty caused by the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) – are also in play in the Mexican pork market.
And, as the U.S. pork industry has seen its export numbers rise 11 percent globally through April, exports of U.S. pork to Mexico have increased 16 percent, driven in part by the PEDV situation in Mexico’s own pork industry and increasing per capita consumption of pork.
While PEDV has had a significant impact on the U.S. market, the effects may be even more dramatic in Mexico, where the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) reports Mexican officials have found the virus in 17 of the 19 states where testing has been conducted. That has led to reduced domestic pork supplies at a time when the economy here continues its rebound from the peso devaluation in the fall of 2008 and the subsequent economic downturn. That rebound is creating a growing appetite for protein meat products, including pork, and imports are being relied upon to fill the gap in domestic supply as well as to satisfy an increasing per capita demand for pork meat.
Consequently, the first four months of 2014 show a 16 percent increase in volume of U.S. pork sales to Mexico, reaching 221,249 metric tons (487.8 million pounds). Those exports are valued at $475.3 million, a 37 percent rise over 2013 levels. Collectively, those make Mexico the top volume market and No. 2 value market for U.S. pork exports.
While higher pork weights have somewhat offset the decline in piglet numbers, one interesting fact is that all of the volume growth in U.S. pork exports to Mexico so far in 2014 is in muscle cuts – up 22 percent in volume and 45 percent in value. Since variety meat sales are not driven by animal size but by the number of animals, the PEDV impact is easier seen here. Regardless of animal size, the number of feet, kidneys, livers, etc., remains the same. Variety meat exports to Mexico in 2014 are level in volume year-over-year while higher prices have driven values up 11 percent.
The U.S. pork export numbers to Mexico are mirrored by those from Canada, which has been aided by a lower-valued Canadian dollar that has eased down Canadian pork prices. Earlier in the year, the Canadian dollar dipped to its lowest value in six years, giving a price advantage to exports from Mexico’s other NAFTA trading partner.
PEDV in Mexico
PEDV was first reported in Mexico in July 2013 and has since spread to Jalisco, Mexico’s leading pork-producing state, and to other states as well. At this point, the industry does not have a firm estimate of the impact of the virus or the long-range effects on the domestic industry.
However, for those pork producers whose animals remain unaffected, the run-up in hog prices has made for a very profitable year. In every month but February of this year, hog prices have increased by double digits. In Jalisco, for example, year-over-year carcass prices are up about 40 percent. And with feed prices down, that has led to healthy profits for those with healthy pigs.
Certainly the domestic supply situation is a key factor driving pork imports, although it is interesting to watch a traditionally price-sensitive market increasing its purchases of U.S. pork 16 percent in volume and 37 percent in value. One indication that there may be a larger increase in Mexico’s per-capita pork consumption is that pork purchases from all sources are rising. One major retailer that USMEF works closely with is importing 36 percent more pork this year, indicating higher demand.
Impact of pork campaign
USMEF-Mexico will soon be concluding the third year of a consumer campaign designed to increase per capita consumption of pork by helping consumers better understand the taste and eating pleasure of pork. The campaign does not specifically highlight U.S. pork, since much of the pork imported from the U.S. is sold to processors and is not identified by country of origin. The same is true for U.S. pork and pork products sold through the retail sector. However, since the U.S. accounts for about 90 percent of all pork imported into Mexico – and Mexico imports over one-third of all the pork it consumes – the concept of “a rising tide lifts all boats” is helping to grow our exports.
Since the beginning of the campaign in mid 2011, exports of U.S. pork to Mexico reached consecutive records in 2012 and 2013 and, as mentioned above, exports in 2014 are off to a sizzling start. While certainly not all this good news is attributable to the campaign, based on annual survey data consumers in the targeted audience have significantly changed their perceptions of pork as a healthy meat alternative and are regularly purchasing more pork. According to USDA, per capita consumption of pork in Mexico has increased from 14.8 kilograms (32.6 pounds) in 2011 to 15.8 kilograms (34.8 pounds) in 2012 and 16.4 kilograms (36.1 pounds) in 2013.
The pork outlook
The outlook for the Mexican pork market is challenging to predict for the balance of 2014. Given the uncertainty regarding domestic supply and the PEDV impact, import growth should remain positive.
One factor that has the potential to affect imports is whether the Mexican government will move forward with establishing zero-duty tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for several European pork-producing countries. If implemented, that would be a means of helping to moderate pork prices and reduce price speculation. However, the cost of shipping frozen pork from the EU to Mexico could be a barrier to making imports of EU pork economically viable.
In the meantime, while the recovery of the Mexican economy has been slower than anticipated, GDP growth is more than double what it was last year (about 2.7 percent versus 1.2 percent), and that bodes well for continued growth in protein demand and for U.S. pork exports
Original article on June 17 by usmef.org
During July Governor Sam Brownback’s Water Vision Team will be traveling the state to receive input on the first draft of the Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas.
“Water is one of my top priorities for Kansas and the entire state is affected by what happens with water,” said Gov. Brownback. “We need everyone to care about this issue and I encourage you to attend one of these meetings to share your input and feedback with my Water Vision Team.”
The Team will be visiting 12 locations during the week of July 7-11, 2014 with exact locations to be announced soon. To date the Vision Team has attended more than 160 meetings with more than 9,000 Kansans to gather insight on water issues.
“As we have traveled the state, we know this Vision cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ solution,” said Tracy Streeter, Kansas Water Office Director. “Based on input to date we have established four categories to organize the themes and strategies of this first Vision draft –Water Conservation, Water Management, Technology and Crop Varieties and New Sources of Supply.”
For more information about the Governor’s Call to Action for a 50-Year Vision, and a list of towns for the tour, visit www.kwo.org.
Original release on June 10 by kwo.org
Eric Banks, State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today that NRCS has assistance available for producers in Kansas suffering from ongoing drought conditions. Drought recovery funding assistance will be under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
This assistance will be available for land where any portion of the county has been designated a D3 (Extreme) or D4 (Exceptional) drought zone according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map as of May 27, 2014. Contact your local NRCS office for specific drought area designation.
Kansas has received an additional $300,000 drought recovery allocation for existing unfunded EQIP applications. This may be a source of additional assistance to producers to mitigate the short-term or long-term effects of the drought.
“It’s important for livestock producers to have a contingency plan which addresses drought in ways such as deferred or rotational grazing, alternative water sources, combining herds, or possibly reducing livestock numbers,” said Banks. Conservation plans can include decisions made which address the impacts of drought, or better yet, alternatives to prepare land for drought when climatic conditions are favorable. NRCS has grazing specialists that provide recommendations about range and pasture management and options to consider for forage and water management.
EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to eligible participants to install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land. Conservation practices must be implemented to NRCS standards and specifications. In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for eligible conservation practices applied. For applicants wishing to install practices prior to receiving a funded contract, a waiver from the State Conservationist must be obtained at the local USDA Service Center.
U.S. beef and pork exports continued their positive growth trend in April, increasing by double digits in volume and by an even healthier margin in value, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Higher prices commanded in the global market have driven up per-head export values for both U.S. beef and pork, as international customers have, so far, been willing to pay higher prices for larger volumes.
For the month of April, total U.S. pork exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) rose 11 percent over year-ago levels in volume to 192,924 metric tons (mt) valued at $596 million, a 26 percent increase. For the first four months of 2014, pork exports are up 11 percent in volume to 776,601 mt valued at $2.25 billion, a 14 percent rise.
The U.S. exported 99,297 mt of beef in April valued at $537.4 million, increases of 15 and 24 percent, respectively. Year-to-date, beef exports are up 10 percent in volume and 17 percent in value to 376,377 mt valued at $2.05 billion.
“Even with a plentiful supply of EU pork products in the marketplace and large volumes of Australian beef, we are still seeing demand grow in most of our key markets and remain steady in others,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “It is encouraging to see solid growth in sales to markets where the U.S. industry has made the biggest commitment in resources. A good example would be Korea, where export volumes have struggled since 2012 but, as Korea’s domestic supply levels of beef and pork normalize, we are seeing a robust rebound in demand for U.S. products.”
Pork exports in April accounted for 28 percent of total U.S. pork production and 23 percent of muscle cuts alone, increases from 25 and 21 percent, respectively, over last April. Export value per head slaughtered equated to $67.35 for the month, up from $50.75 a year ago.
Pork export markets of note in April included:
• Mexico: the top volume market was up 42 percent in value to $132 million on 1 percent higher volume (53,288 mt), helping support record ham prices.
• Japan: export volume set a new monthly record of 48,507 mt (up 39 percent). Sales to the top pork export value market rose 26 percent to $193.9 million.
• South Korea: imported its largest volume of U.S. pork since March 2012: 17,126 mt (up 95 percent) valued at $51 million (up 122 percent).
• Canada: the No. 4 export market for U.S. pork rebounded slightly in April with volume up 4 percent (17,384 mt) and value up 27 percent ($75.6 million).
• Colombia: the top market in the Central/South America region continues to sizzle, up 76 percent in volume in April (4,398 mt) and 74 percent in value ($11.4 million).
Original report on June 5 by usmef.org
American Red Cross blood donors give hope and Kansas Pork Association (KPA) farmers give thanks – it’s all about a partnership between the two organizations which has helped collect enough blood to help more than 9,000 patients since 2012.
Donors participating in the upcoming Community Blood Drives will receive special thanks from Kansas pork farmers during the KPA’s 2014 Be Inspired to Make a Difference community program. The KPA program is providing support to the Red Cross and other organizations that are making a difference by working to build stronger communities and a stronger Kansas. KPA’s goal is to collect 708 pints of blood. Because each pint could help save up to three lives, up to 2,124 patients could benefit.
Blood donors will be greeted by Kansas pork farmers serving free pulled pork sandwiches and giving away pig-shaped stress relievers. A free raffle will also be held for two grocery gift cards valued at $25 each, courtesy of the KPA.
There are 1,000 pork farmers in Kansas. In 2013, they produced more than 500 million pounds of pork, while providing more than $574 million in income to Kansas communities. Learn more about Kansas Pork Farmers at eatpork.org.
June 26 from 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. at First Church of the Nazarene, 1000 N. Main, Newton
June 27 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Church of the Nazarene, 1000 N. Main, Newton
July 3 from 9:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 902 5th St., Clay Center
Aug. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 700 N. Jefferson, Junction City
Aug. 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 700 N. Jefferson, Junction City
Oct. 15 from noon- 6:00 p.m. at the National Guard Armory, 101 Armory Road, Smith Center
Oct. 23 from 11:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Civic Center, Penn & Locust, Independence
Nov. 18 from noon - 6:00 p.m. at the National Guard Armory, 1200 N. State St., Norton
Nov. 7 from noon - 6:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 2448 Edgemont, Arkansas City
Dec. 23 from noon - 6:00 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Church, 638 W. D. Ave. Kingman
How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Kansas), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
The focus on animal welfare is a hot topic in the livestock business, but what about the welfare of workers who are handling farm animals? The Pork Checkoff has worked to create a new Safe Pig Handling education series that was released at the World Pork Expo. And during Pork Academy at the big Des Moines event, Bill Winkelman, National Pork Board, walked through the features of this new multimedia training tool.
"Two years ago we sat down with producers at the employee safety summit," Winkelman recalls. "We determined what we needed most was training to help ensure employee safety." The result is the new multimedia Safe Pig Handling course.
The industry has developed a safety benchmarking resource that producers can use to gauge their progress on providing a safe working environment on the farm. Winkelman says the changing nature of the labor pool comes into play as well.
"With so many new employees having no background, we needed a resource for onboarding employees and ways to employ safety programs," He notes.
The new tool is interactive, and Winkelman stressed that interactivity of the new training tool was critical.
The Safe Pig Handling tool provides a full-fledged training program designed to be used by swine operations to engage employees and help improve their safety around animals. The developers at AgCreate who worked with the Pork Checkoff, have created a tool that can be used with our without Internet access to facilitate training.
"With this program a manager can play it for a group of employees and when needed stop the presentation to provide the farm's own standard operating procedures," Winkelman says. In addition, the program doesn't need a web hookup to work. He explains the varied access to the Web around the country makes true interactivity difficult.
The program provides materials and information in both English and Spanish, which Winkelman says was essential, but this first project brought its own learning curve. "We learned a lot on this process, if you made a change in one version you would have to make the translation change," he notes. "It was complicated getting this first project done."
The Safe Pig Handling series also incorporates key practices from the Transport Quality Assurance program and the Pork Quality Assurance programs which provide a cohesive message to workers too.
The first six chapters for this first training program include:
* Pig Behavior and You
* Training and Handling Boars
* Moving Pregnant Sows and Gilts to Farrowing
* Weaning Sows
* Weaning Pigs
*Loading Market Hogs
The program will expand from this first series, but Winkelman says they wanted to get this one complete fist.
"We want feedback on this first program to help improve the rest," says Winkleman. "And we're only distributing it on a thumb drive that producers will have to order online. The program is free, but the requirement to order will allow the Pork Board to track downloads so they can learn where the system is going." It's important for the organization to understand how training tools may be incorporated into different operations. The Safe Pig Handling program is just the start of what could be a range of training tools for the future.
You can learn more by visiting National Pork Board where you can find a past release of the story at www.Pork.org.
The U.S. Department of Transportation today granted to truck drivers hauling livestock and poultry a one-year exemption from an hours-of-service rule that took effect last July 1. The National Pork Producers Council, on behalf of a coalition of livestock and poultry organizations, requested the exemption.
The regulation requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after eight hours of service. For drivers transporting livestock and poultry, the hours of service included loading and unloading animals.
"This is an important development for the food-animal industry, particularly the pork industry" said NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. "Pigs don't sweat, so we can't have them sitting on a truck for 30 minutes in the height of summer.
"We recognize the need for our drivers to be safe on the road, and we're pleased that D.O.T recognized that the rule presented an animal welfare issue for us," said Hill, who thanked Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx for recognizing the importance of the issue for livestock farmers and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for his efforts to secure the exemption.
Original article on June 6 by nppc.org
The Kansas Pork Association has continued it sponsorship of FFA and 4-H award programs in 2014.
At the 86th Kansas FFA State Convention held May 28-30, two members were recognized in the area of Swine Production. KPA President-CEO, Tim Stroda, was there to present the awards.
(Brett McGee pictured with Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO)
Brett McGee, a member of the Yates Center FFA Chapter, was recognized as the proficiency winner in Swine Production Entrepreneurship. Brett started showing hogs when he was 7 years old. He then decided that he wanted to raise his own show pigs. His SAE consists of one sow, two bred gilts and one boar. Brett sells his feeder pigs to youth to show at county fairs and also markets his pigs on Craigslist. In the future Brett hopes to continue to grow his show pig business and plans to pursue a degree in agriculture education at Kansas State University. Brett is the son of Ron and Valerie McGee. His advisor is Tanner Davis.
(Tristan Davis pictured with Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO)
Tristan Davis, a member of the Central Heights FFA Chapter, was recognized as the proficiency winner in Swine Production Placement. Tristan works for J/L Show Pigs, a family-owned, 50 sow, farrow-to-finish farm. Tristan helps sell the top-end hogs as show stock and the lower-quality animals are fed out. As a young farmer, Tristan enjoys seeing others have success in the show ring with hogs he has produced. He plans to continue his show pig business even after college, eventually selling show stock on a national level. Tristan was also named as the State Star in Agricultural Placement. In the future Tristan plans to attend Kansas State University to earn a degree in animal science. Tristan is the son of Jack and Lisa Davis. His advisors are Aaron Cubit and Trent Page.
At the 31st Kansas 4-H Emerald Circle Banquet, held June 5, Stroda was also present to recognize the 2014 Swine Project winner.
(Campbell Martin pictured with Tim Stroda, KPA President-CEO and Kansas 4-H representatives)
Campbell Martin, a 10 year old 4-H member from Ford County was the recipient of this year’s medallion. Campbell was an exhibitor at the World Pork Expo the week of the banquet and made a quick trip back from Des Moines in order to attend, only to be back in the show ring the following morning. In addition to showing pigs, Campbell expanded his project to a meat business, selling pork bundles and seasoning.
Thursday, June 5, Congressman Tim Huelskamp (KS-01) discussed trade issues and opportunities between the United States and Taiwan with Mr. Jack J.C. Yang, Director General of the Taiwan Consulate in Kansas City.
Representative Huelskamp also participated in a roundtable discussion with Mr. Yang and members from the Kansas Pork Association, Kansas Grain & Feed Association, Kansas Cooperative Council and Seaboard Foods. Following the meeting and roundtable discussion, the group toured the Manhattan Elevator facility of the Mid Kansas Cooperative Association.
(caption: (L) to (R): David Peterson, Seaboard Foods; Representative Tim Huelskamp; Jack J.C. Yang, Taiwan Consulate in Kansas City; and Tim Stroda, Kansas Pork Association.)
Rep. Huelskamp released the following statement:
“I consider it always an honor to meet with representatives from countries who purchase our agriculture exports. Today, Director General Yang of Taiwan, Kansas producers, co-ops, exports, retailers, and I discussed our Kansan commitment to the safety and quality of our farm products. The Director General expressed his high regards and understanding of our efforts. With meetings like this to highlight our producers and their products, I believe we have an opportunity to develop even stronger ties with Taiwan. I look forward to continued and deepening agriculture relations between Kansas and Taiwan.”
Congressman Huelskamp is excited about the prospects for growing the markets for Kansas products in other parts of Asia, including in Vietnam and Japan. In August 2011, Rep. Huelskamp hosted the Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States for a visit to Washington County, Kansas. During the visit, the Ambassador and Congressman Huelskamp toured a pig farm and a processing facility. In April 2013 he met with Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, thanking him for his government’s decision to open their country’s market to more Kansas beef and agreeing to improve the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Huelskamp was also a leader in successful completion of trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia that opened the door to millions more in exports for Kansas agriculture.
Wrapping up its 26th year, the 2014 World Pork Expo attracted nearly 20,000 pork producers and other professionals from 32 countries to Des Moines, Iowa, June 4-6. Brought to you by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Expo featured the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, with some 375 commercial exhibits from companies throughout the world. The three-day event also set records for number of pigs entered in the World Pork Expo Junior National and creation of the world’s largest pork burger, while attracting standing-room-only crowds in some of its educational seminars. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also visited Expo to announce a new reporting program for porcine endemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).
“World Pork Expo is a place where producers can get together, share ideas and see what’s new, whether it involves herd health and management, or technology and equipment,” says Howard Hill, NPPC president and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “It’s a showcase of our business and this year, producers had a truly positive outlook about what the future holds. Expo probably offers the best display of what modern pork production is all about.”
Upbeat and looking to the future
Featuring more than 310,000 square feet of exhibit space, the trade show is the heart of World Pork Expo. Producers shopped the aisles for new products, services and technologies for three action-packed days, with Expo exhibitors commenting on the brisk activity.
“Expo is a showcase of not only the United States, but also the world,” says Craig Jarolimek, manager of marketing development, USA, for Topigs Norsvin, which is based in Vught, the Netherlands. “As you walk through the trade show, you see producers and companies from all over the world — it’s truly a world-class event.”
With record-setting U.S. hog prices and reduced feed costs offering a profitable outlook, Expo exhibitors reported that producers are optimistic about U.S. pork production and are formulating plans for the future. The general consensus is that producers are focused on upgrading, remodeling and reinvesting.
“Today’s producers are very professional and precise,” says Mark Hayden, national sales manager for Automated Production Systems, which is headquartered in Assumption, Illinois. “They are looking for new technologies and innovative ways to make their jobs easier and more efficient.”
Another record-setting youth show
In just 11 years, the World Pork Expo Junior National has grown from 120 hogs to this year’s record of more than 1,600 head exhibited by nearly 750 youth from 25 states. Hosted by theNational Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, the World Pork Expo Junior National has become a premier event for young swine exhibitors, and includes showmanship competitions, judging contests and educational sessions.
Concluding Expo’s swine exhibition was the open show, with nearly 600 hogs. At the sales on Saturday, June 7, a crossbred gilt shown by Ashlee Daniels of McKinney, Texas, was the top-selling gilt, setting a world record at $50,000. The highest-selling boar was the reserve champion Duroc shown by Nathan Weisinger, Fort Madison, Iowa; it sold for $90,000.
More 2014 Expo highlights
The world’s largest pork burger was assembled at this year’s Expo as part of a special outreach to the community, thanks to the joint efforts of Hog Slat, NPPC and Vinny’s BBQ. The precooked weight of the mammoth burger, including bun, was 348 pounds — breaking the record set at the 2012 World Pork Expo. The majority of the burger was donated to Des Moines’ Youth Emergency Services & Shelter, with MusicFest attendees also able to sample the record-breaking burger.
Every year, Expo features lots of tasty pork, including at the Big Grill. Volunteers of the Tama County Pork Producers Association once again manned the grill and served up more than 10,000 free pork lunches.
Always popular, and a vital part of Expo, were the nearly 20 free business and PORK Academy seminars providing insights into animal handling, marketing and production management, as well as updates about PEDV infection rates, research efforts and prevention strategies.
Looking ahead to next year, NPPC announced the dates for the 2015 World Pork Expo — June 3-5, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
“World Pork Expo is certainly an event that everyone in pork production needs to put on their calendar,” Hill says. “It is the place to learn about new innovations, designs and engineering that help us raise our animals responsibly wherever we farm.”
World Pork Expo, the world's largest pork-specific trade show, is brought to you by NPPC. On behalf of its members, NPPC develops and defends export markets, fights for reasonable legislation and regulation, and informs and educates legislators. For more information, visit nppc.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
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All Pig Tales inquiries should be directed to the Kansas Pork Association at (785) 776-0442 or email@example.com
In response to the ongoing outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV) and the impact the diseases are having on the U.S. pork industry, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on June 5, announced $26.2 million in funding to combat these diseases and issued a Federal Order requiring the report of any new detections of these viruses to State animal health officials.
These viruses do not pose any risk to human health or food safety.
Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health is working with animal health industry officials at Kansas State University and around the country to provide a coordinated response to help control and mitigate this disease.
"In the last year, PEDv has caused tremendous hardship for many Kansas pork producers," said Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Dr. Bill Brown. “We are prepared to respond to the Federal Order for the official reporting of PEDv and will be working with veterinarians and the swine industry to best develop protocols to address disease concerns.”
The Federal Order requires producers, veterinarians and diagnostic laboratories to report all new positive cases of PEDv and other new swine enteric coronavirus diseases that are confirmed after June 5, 2014 to state or federal animal health officials. The industry is already seeing herds previously impacted by the virus become re-infected. Routine and standard disease reporting will help identify the magnitude of the disease in the U.S. and can help determine whether additional actions are needed.
The Federal Order also requires those reporting these viruses to work with their veterinarian and State or USDA animal health officials to develop and implement a reasonable management plan to address the detected virus and prevent its spread. Plans will be based on industry-recommended best practices and include disease monitoring through testing and biosecurity measures. These steps will help to reduce virus shed in affected animals, prevent further spread of the disease and enable continued movement of animals for production and processing.
For full details of the Federal Order and program requirements, along with a Q&A on this topic, visit the website at: www.aphis.usda.gov/animal-health/secd
Original release on June 12 by agriculture.ks.gov
The Kansas Pork Association served as the Food Sponsor for the Just For Her Expo, held May 30-31 in Kansas City. This was KPA’s fourth time sponsoring intended for women to shop, pamper and treat themselves. Over the course of its three days, the expo saw more than 9,000 attendees.
Your association embraces this fun event as an opportunity to connect with a target audience and to inspire them to cook pork at home. KPA volunteers and staff set up the “Pork Inspiration Café” as a place to talk with attendees and give away coupons, recipes, and a chance to win a $1,000 grocery-shopping spree. Chef Alli even shared a taste of the delicious pork she cooks in KPA’s traveling kitchen.
“Exposure at the Just For Her Expo is priceless, in my opinion. Often, women walk up and ask, ‘What are you selling?’ Being able to say, ‘Not a thing, just Kansas pork farmers and their enthusiasm for pork.’ Follow that statement up with a bite of a delicious pork dish, recipes and coupons, and you’ve just made a friend, and many times, a pork lover,” Chef Alli says.
Beyond hosting the booth, KPA sponsored two cooking demonstrations on the main stage of the event, one featuring Chef Alli, and the other featuring celebrity, Chef Renee Kelly. Both chefs made sure to teach audience members about the newly renamed pork cuts, including the Porterhouse Pork Chop and the New York Pork Chop. The chefs also highlighted the recommended internal temperature for cooking pork, 145 degrees Fahrenheit with three minutes rest. Each demonstration also allowed a lucky viewer to win a $100 grocery card giveaway.
KPA made sure the ladies at the Just For Her Expo had the inspiration and information needed for their home kitchen. “Women stop by our booth and are excited to see what's cookin’ because they remember how good their experience was last year. This is the enthusiasm we need to keep women returning for more and more exposure to good pork recipes that lead to tasty, happy pork meals at home,” says Chef Alli.
After more than a year of industry collaboration, the National Pork Board today shared plans for a new common industry audit platform for pork producers, packers and processors. The program will use the existing
Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) program as its foundation and expand on it to serve as a common audit platform for the pork industry.
The overarching goal of the common audit process is to provide consumers greater assurance of the care taken by farmers and pork processors to improve animal care and food safety. The concept of a common audit was first introduced more than one year ago at the 2013 National Pork Industry Forum. The resolution emerging from that conference directed the National Pork Board to convene a coalition of packers and pork producers to explore a credible and affordable solution for assuring animal well-being.
"As an industry, we know that our consumers are demanding a higher level of integrity from the pork industry's quality assurance processes and procedures," said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "We are encouraged by the broad support we have received from all our industry's partners to develop the framework for this process."
In 2011, the Pork Checkoff's Board of Directors met with European counterparts who complained about audit programs in their countries that were duplicative, costly and inefficient. Utilizing that experience, the common platform announced today seeks to create and standardize a common process that will:
· Meet individual company and customer needs,
· Focus on outcome-based criteria that measure animal welfare,
· Provide clarity to producers with regard to audit standards and expectations,
· Minimize duplication and prevent over-sampling and
· Ensure greater integrity of the audit process through consistent application.
The new common audit framework has several key components, including a new audit tool, requirements for auditor training and biosecurity and a platform that will allow audit results to be shared to prevent duplicative audits. The audit tool is currently being beta-tested on farms across the country. The Industry Audit Task Force will review the results of this test in early July before finalizing the audit.
"What's exciting about this common audit framework is that it has truly been the industry coming together to better serve the needs of farmers, customers and consumers," Novak said. "This is not a new Pork Checkoff program, but rather an initiative that will be led by producers and packers working together to enhance animal care. We're grateful to the packers who have been members of this task force for their leadership with this effort."
The Industry Audit Task Force includes producers and veterinarians representing the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, as well as packer representatives from Cargill, Farmland/Smithfield, Hatfield, Hormel, JBS, Seaboard, Triumph and Tyson.
"As packers, we operate between our suppliers - the pork producers - and our customers - those who are selling pork to consumers," said Chris Hodges, chairman of the Packer Processer Industry Council and senior vice president of fresh pork at Smithfield-Farmland. "The eye of the public is on where their food comes from and how it is raised. Meeting the demands of our customers while still appreciating the challenges of our producers is tough. That's why this new common audit platform is needed now."
Hodges added that the National Pork Board cannot fully deploy the standards of the program without the direct involvement of packers and processors. Many packers have agreed to support the new common industry audit, which will mean that they will
utilize the common audit standard when conducting third-party audits.
"This approach has never been more critical," said Emily Erickson, a member of the Industry Audit Task Force and a pig farmer from Jackson, Minn. "As pork producers, we know that we must do more to reassure consumers about our commitment to improving animal care. At the same time, we need a clear and consistent approach that can ensure that we're doing the right thing every day for our animals, our farmers and our customers. This new framework delivers on that promise."
Incoming National Pork Board President Dale Norton agreed. "As a pork producer, I am excited about this new, innovative direction," he said. "This common audit platform will set a clear vision that challenges the status quo and meets domestic and international consumer needs. It's the right tool at the right time to ensure that we provide high-quality pork from well-cared-for pigs."
Original article on June 4 at pork.org
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday, June 5, ordered farmers to start reporting cases of a deadly pig virus and pledged over $26 million in funding to combat the disease, pushing back against criticism of his handling of a widespread outbreak.
Vilsack, speaking to a roomful of farmers at an industry gathering in Iowa, said they must tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture about outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) effective immediately to help control the spread of the disease.
The USDA had said in April it would require reporting of cases of PEDv and Swine Delta Coronavirus, but provided few details.
PEDv first appeared in the United States over a year ago and has wiped out an estimated 10 percent of U.S. pigs. The virus causes diarrhea and vomiting and is nearly always lethal to baby piglets.
Veterinarians have said the USDA failed to protect the nation from the virus, which had never been in the country before it was found in Ohio in April 2013 and whose origins remain unknown.
"It's not a failure," Vilsack told reporters at the World Pork Expo about the spread of PEDv. "It's a challenge."
Vilsack said that requiring farmers to report the disease should help ease concerns among importers. Already, 11 countries have limited imports of live U.S. hogs and one country has banned pork imports because of concerns about the virus.
"We're seeing record exports in pork. Why would we want to jeopardize that?" Vilsack said.
The United States last year exported about $6 billion worth of pork and $30.5 million worth of live hogs.
The emergence of the virulent, fast-moving virus caught the USDA and hog industry off guard. It has killed about 8 million piglets so far and helped to push pork prices to record highs.
PEDv is not a threat to humans or to food safety, according to the USDA.
However, farmers and veterinarians fear that other diseases could enter the country because the USDA does not know how PEDv entered, fueling concerns about the measures used to protect the U.S. food supply.
"The department in charge of protecting our nation's food supply should not have taken a year to act," U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said. "But I hope with resources finally being put in to monitoring PEDv, we will at long last be able to track the cause of this virus and stop it in its tracks."
Vilsack said the outbreaks raised questions about "whether or not we are as prepared as we need to be" to check diseases at national borders.
Since PEDv was discovered spring last year, a second strain of the virus and a different disease called Swine Delta Coronavirus have also been identified.
Vilsack pledged $26.2 million in funding to combat all the diseases, including $11.1 million to support strengthened bio-security practices at farms.
"More money may be needed in the future, but $26 million in an environment like we have right now is new money," said Howard Hill, president of the National Pork Producers Council and an Iowa hog farmer.
Original article on June 6 by porknetwork.com
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is teaming with businesses, nonprofits and others on a five-year, $2.4 billion program that will fund locally designed soil and water conservation projects nationwide, Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.
Authorized by the new farm law enacted earlier this year, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program is intended to involve the private sector more directly in planning and funding environmental protection initiatives tied to agriculture.
"It's a new approach to conservation that is really going to encourage people to think in very innovative and creative ways," Vilsack said.
He described the projects to be funded as "clean water startup operations" that will benefit communities and watersheds, a departure from the department's more traditional approach of focusing on individual operators adopting practices such as no-till cultivation or planting buffer strips to prevent runoff into streams.
Universities, local and tribal governments, companies and sporting groups are among those eligible to devise plans and seek grants.
"By establishing new public-private partnerships, we can have an impact that's well beyond what the federal government could accomplish on its own," Vilsack said. "These efforts keep our land resilient and water clean, and promote tremendous economic growth in agriculture, construction, tourism and outdoor recreation and other industries."
In addition to protecting the environment, the projects will bolster the rural economy by supporting tourism and outdoor recreation jobs while avoiding pollution that would cost more to clean up, he said.
USDA will spend $1.2 billion — including $400 million the first year — and raise an equal amount from participants. Successful applications will include offers of cash, labor or other contributions, as well as plans for achieving measurable solutions and using new approaches, said Jason Weller, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Vilsack announced the program in Michigan, home state of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, primary writer of the farm bill with Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. They held a news conference in Bay City near Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay, where nutrient runoff from croplands causes algae blooms that degrade water quality.
Stabenow said she expected the area to generate several funding proposals.
Kellogg Co. is working with The Nature Conservancy on a project designed to reduce runoff in the Saginaw Bay watershed, said Diane Holdorf, the cereal company's chief sustainability officer. Kellogg, based in Battle Creek, buys wheat for its cereals from farms in the area.
The program establishes three pots of money for grants. Thirty-five percent of total funding will be divided among "critical" areas including the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Columbia, Colorado and Mississippi river basins, the Longleaf Pine Range, prairie grasslands and the California Bay Delta.
Additionally, 40 percent will go to regional or multi-state projects selected on a competitive basis and 25 percent to state-level projects.
The California Rice Commission plans to seek funding of initiatives to expand water bird habitat in flooded Central Valley rice fields, said Paul Buttner, manager of environmental affairs. Rice farms are an indispensable waterfowl refuge because most of the original wetlands have been developed, he said.
Working with the USDA and other partners, the rice commission has developed practices that can make fields more hospitable for birds such as draining them more gradually ahead of planting season and building nesting islands, Buttner said. The new program could attract more participants, he said.
The New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts will develop proposals for combating invasive plants that suck too much water from the ground and ranching practices that could slow the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, Executive Director Debbie Hughes said.
Original article May 27 by mercurynews.com
With farm populations declining, fewer people have the chance to visit a farm and get the opportunity to harvest a Kansas wheat field or help feed cattle on a beef operation. But the Kansas Farm Food Connection wants to help change that by sponsoring a sweepstakes to bring consumers back to the farm for a day.
The catch is, KFFC needs your help. In order to maximize our reach among the general public, we are asking all KPA members to share this opportunity with your community. Not sure who needs to know? Share the opportunity at your church, at a ball game or on your favorite social media channel.
"People care about where their food comes from and farmers are eager to tell the story of how they raise that food," says Tim Stroda, KFFC chairman. "By sponsoring this event, we're bringing those two groups together to learn from one another."
The event is the first of its kind and represents an important effort on the part of the eight-member coalition of Kansas farm organizations to help consumers learn more about how their food is produced. The organization is proud to collaborate with Cow Camp Feedyard in Ramona, KS and Knopf Family Farms near Gypsum, KS for the contest.
Winners will roll up their sleeves and participate in regular farm chores on both a Kansas beef operation and a Kansas wheat farm on Saturday, June 28. The sweepstakes is open to all Kansas moms (and dads) and their families who want to learn more about agriculture. Children must be eight years or older to participate.
For sweepstakes information, visit the KFFC Facebook page at www.facebook.com/raisingkansas.
The final date to enter will be June 16 and winner will be contacted on June 18.
The mission of the Kansas Farm Food Connection is to connect farms to families and families to farms, through education and first-hand experience to learn, eat and grow together.
No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the State of KS, 21 or older. Void everywhere outside of the State of KS. Transportation between winner's residence and the farm is not part of the prize. Subject to official rules at: www.kansasfarmfoodconnection.org.
The National Pork Producers Council today joined the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the USA Rice Federation and the U.S. Wheat Association in calling on the Obama administration to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations without Japan unless that nation agrees to provide significant market access for the United States. For U.S. pork that means elimination of Japan’s gate price system and all tariffs.
The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.
According to reports from the recent TPP trade ministerial meeting in Singapore, Japanese Minister of the Economy Akira Amari said Japan will not abolish tariffs in the agricultural sectors it considers “sacred” – dairy, sugar, rice, beef, pork, wheat and barley.
“The U.S. pork industry is very disappointed that Japan continues to refuse to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, who pointed out that the U.S. meat sector strongly supported Japan’s entry into the TPP talks, as did most of American agriculture. “A country can’t shield its primary agricultural products from competition and still claim to be committed to a high-standard agreement that liberalizes essentially all goods.”
Japan is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exempting pork and other “sensitive” products from tariff elimination. The United States never has agreed to let a trading partner exempt as many tariff lines as Japan is requesting – 586. In fact, in the 17 free trade agreements the United States has concluded since 2000, only 233 tariff lines combined have been exempted from having tariff elimination.
“Allowing Japan to exempt products from going to a zero tariff and preserving the gate price on pork sets a horrible precedent,” Hill said. “Other TPP countries may demand similar treatment, which could jeopardize the entire agreement, and that precedent would make it much harder to obtain a good outcome for pork and other agricultural products in future trade deals.”
Original release on May 28 by nppc.org
A review of the EPA’s economic analysis of its proposed rule to expand the definition “waters of the United States” has an economist and University of California-Berkley faculty member urging the federal agency to go back to the drawing table in its estimation of the proposal’s economic impact.
The proposed rule would expand the definition of “waters of the United States” to include previously unregulated waters, including streams, wetlands, all waters in floodplains, riparian areas, and some ditches. In the agency’s analysis, it was determined that the proposed rule would result in a 2.7 percent increase in jurisdictional determinations and would impact an additional 1,332 acres nationwide under Section 404. They applied that 2.7 percent increase across other EPA permitting programs. They determined that the draft proposed rule would result in costs between $133 million and $231 million annually but would result in benefits between $300 million and $397.6 million annually.
The review, which was conducted for the Waters Advocacy Coalition, says the inclusion of these waters will expand the scope of the Clean Water Act and, thus, increase costs associated with programs under the Act. According to the review, EPA relied on flawed methodology for estimating the extent of its jurisdiction under the proposed rule and failed to include several types of costs in its analysis, resulting in an analysis that is not accurate in its estimate of the rule’s impact on affected communities and businesses and under-represents its expanded jurisdiction.
“The errors, omissions, and lack of transparency in EPA’s study are so severe as to render it virtually meaningless. The agency should withdraw the economic analysis and prepare an adequate study of this major change in the implementation of the CWA,” the review concludes and encourages EPA to withdraw the current analysis and conduct a new, more thorough economic analysis.
Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, which is a part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, says the rule will impact “everything from local governments trying to start or expand infrastructure projects to community gardens.”
“The rule will dictate land use across the United States. And EPA has not been forthright about the costs to our communities and businesses, including countless small businesses,” Stallman said.
AFBF has been vocal in its opposition to the proposed rule and earlier this spring launched a “Ditch the Rule” campaign to educate people about the proposal and its potential impact on farms and ranches and throughout the country. Missouri Farm Bureau members are taking the campaign seriously. Missouri Farm Bureau members Kacey and Andy Clay recently released “That’s Enough,” a parody of “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen, which shows scenes of the family in a canoe in a dry ditch.
More information about the proposed rule is available here. Comments are due by July 21, 2014.
The National Pork Producers Council and 71 national and state agricultural organizations are requesting extensions of the comment periods on a proposed regulation and accompanying agricultural exemptions rule related to changes in the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) that could negatively affect farmers and ranchers.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in April issued a proposed rule that would greatly expand the agencies’ authority under the CWA over various waters. Currently, that jurisdiction includes “navigable” waters and waterways with a hydrologic connection to navigable waters.
The rule would redefine “waters of the United States” to include intermittent and ephemeral streams, which could potentially affect agriculture. Application of manure on lands near such streams, for example, could be considered a discharge and require a CWA permit.
In requesting the extensions, the agricultural groups pointed out that an EPA study of the connection between intermittent waters and wetlands and larger bodies of water has yet to be completed. They also said the timing of the comment period and stakeholder public meetings coincide with one of the busiest times for farmers, who are “preparing soil for planting, planting and replanting seed, applying crop nutrients and crop protection products, and harvesting hay and winter wheat crops.”
“For most farmers and ranchers,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and hog farmer from Cambridge, Iowa, “more than two-thirds of the comment period for the proposed rule occurs when we are in the fields round the clock, not sitting at our computers reading regulatory proposals.”
The agricultural groups also raised in their request concerns that EPA has made during stakeholder meetings statements on the rules that it then has contradicted in public pronouncements, complicating the groups’ ability to develop meaningful comments.
The organizations are asking for an additional 90 days beyond the July 21, 2014, deadline for submitting comments on the proposed rule, or 90 days after EPA releases its “Connectivity Report,” which is supposed to serve as the scientific basis for any expansion of CWA jurisdiction. For the agricultural exemptions rule, the groups are requesting that the comment deadline coincide with the closing date for the proposed rule but be at least an additional 45 days beyond the current June 5, 2014, deadline.
Original release on May 30 by nppc.org
A panel of leading social media communicators, including a popular Tokyo-based blogger, provided insights into global trends in social media during Thursday's general session of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Board of Directors Meeting in Kansas City.
Japanese blogger and cookbook author Rika Yukimasa, who averages more than 14,000 daily visitors to her food-oriented blog, was joined on a panel by Rachel Chou, senior manager for consumer communications for the Texas Beef Council; USMEF-Korea Director Jihae Yang and Tazuko Hijikata, USMEF-Japan's senior manager of consumer affairs.
"People today do not want to read," said Yukimasa. "If they don't like your photos, they won't read your blog." Yukimasa, who posted photos and commentary to her readers in Japan about her steak dinner the previous night in Kansas City, noted that social media marketers must remain conscious of both the short attention span of their audience as well as the readers' sensitivity to the feeling that they are being given a commercial message.
"I write about food and family, and am careful to always change my (blog) content," Yukimasa said.
The panelists noted the dramatic growth of social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, evidenced by the following statistics:
"The Millennials represent tomorrow's consumer," said Chou. "There are 80 million consumers in that group – which is bigger than the Boomer generation, and 97 percent own computers and 94 percent carry cell phones. They live on their phones. They are more likely to look online for information on food and food preparation than they are to call their own mothers for help in cooking."
Chou noted that older Millennials with children will have a collective spending power of $1.4 trillion per year by 2020, and they are twice as likely as older Americans to purchase online and twice as likely to click on links shared by friends.
USMEF staff shared their experiences with social media. Yang noted that USMEF-Korea became involved with bloggers in December of 2007 after public protests against U.S. beef prevented any advertising or promotion through traditional media channels. Since that time, USMEF-Korea has developed relationships with more than 130 influential bloggers who continue to post positive news about U.S. red meat products, both about recipes and the meat's safety and quality.
Hijikata discussed USMEF-Japan's experiences with Facebook and Twitter, including a cost-effective "Tweet While You Eat U.S. Meat" campaign that encouraged diners to send tweets to their friends and family when they were dining out at a restaurant that served U.S. red meat.
The campaign generated 11,244 tweets that reached an estimated 3.5 million readers, frequently resulting in meals by those individuals at the participating restaurants.
Working with Yukimasa, Hijikata also produced a 30-second video on preparation styles for thick-cut U.S. pork that was viewed by an estimated 250,000 Japanese consumers through YouTube.
Later on Thursday, USMEF members participated in committee meetings broken down by the organization's various member sectors, and USMEF hosted a Product Showcase that brought together 120 international meat buyers with 21 U.S.-based meat exporters to help establish new customer relationships.
The USMEF meeting closes Friday with the organization's business session.
Original article on May 23 by usmef.org
While taste and price consistently have been the top two factors that impact consumers' food and beverage purchases, concerns about “healthfulness” are on the rise, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation's 2014 Food and Health Survey.
Taste remained the top factor in food purchases, according to 90 percent of the 1,005 Americans surveyed, followed by 73 percent who noted the importance of price. But healthfulness in 2014 almost entirely closed the gap with price, rising from 61 percent of consumers in 2012 to 71 percent this year, a 10 percentage-point increase, IFIC's survey noted.
Certain subpopulations saw greater relative increases than others. Consumers aged 18-34, who cite healthfulness as a driver of food and beverage purchases, increased from 55 percent in 2013 to 66 percent in 2014, significantly narrowing the gap with other age groups.
The number of men concerned about healthfulness climbed nine points, from 56 percent last year to 65 percent this year as did the number of survey respondents who are not college graduates, with 67 percent of those reporting that their purchasing decisions were impacted by healthfulness, up from 61 percent.
“While people's attitudes about healthfulness in their food and beverage purchases and consumption alone don't necessarily mean we are a healthier country today than we were a year or two ago, it could signal that we are moving in the right direction,” said Marianne Smith Edge, senior vice president for nutrition and food safety at the International Food Information Council Foundation. “If perceptions translate into actions, the impact on the health and wellness of our nation could be significant and long-lasting.”
As in previous years, consumers report other areas where they are trying to improve the healthfulness of their diets. More than four out of five (83 percent) report that they've tried to eat more fruits and vegetables either within the past year or for more than a year. Seventy-nine percent say they have cut calories by drinking water or low- and no-calorie beverages. Seventy-two percent are eating more whole grains. In addition, four in five report that they are trying either to lose weight (54 percent) or maintain their weight (25 percent).
Topping the list of what respondents believe to be the most effective weight-management strategy is tracking and increasing the amount of time of physical activity at 27 percent, followed closely by eating smaller portions at 26 percent, and eating smaller and more frequent meals or snacks at 23 percent.
Consumers also evaluated which sources they trusted most for information about nutrition, physical activity, and weight loss. Health professionals were far and away the top choice (50 percent, 53 percent, and 59 percent respectively). Health-focused websites follow behind (15 percent, 17 percent, and 14 percent), and scientific journals (11 percent, 11 percent, and 9 percent). No other source rated in double digits. Social media, news media, and TV personalities were in the low single-digits across all three information categories.
Public dialogue reviews conducted by the IFIC Foundation (independent of the Food and Health Survey) suggest growing intensity both online and in traditional media in conversations about food and the food production system, particularly among those with negative perceptions.
However, given that only 23 percent of respondents report having had an “emotional conversation” about food in the past six months, it could suggest that those who are dominating the discussions and perpetuating negativity about food are a distinct minority. Half of respondents (50 percent) report having conversations about food that are not emotional.
“While it is a classic example of the most sensational and entertaining reports getting attention, our data show the vast majority of consumers are not swayed by the rhetoric,” said David B. Schmidt, president and CEO of the IFIC Foundation. “Most consumers are making health a conscious decision and trust those experts and organizations with the most authoritative training and expertise.”
Additional findings from the IFIC Foundation's 2014 Food and Health Survey:
Confidence in food safety: While a solid majority remain confident in the safety of the U.S. food supply, there nevertheless has been a steady erosion since 2012. This year, 66 percent of consumers are at least somewhat confident in the food supply, while 30 percent are not too confident or not at all confident. In 2012, the former figure stood at 78 percent, while the latter stood at 18 percent, an overall negative swing of 24 points over three years.
When it comes to information about food safety, food ingredients, and the way foods and beverages are farmed and produced, government agencies are consumers' go-to source, chosen as most trusted by 39 percent, 26 percent, and 28 percent respectively. Social media and TV personalities were considered the most-trusted resource for all three information categories by only 2 percent or fewer consumers. The news media rated 5 percent, 3 percent, and 12 percent respectively.
Planning what we eat: When it comes to what consumers use on a regular basis to help plan what they eat, shopping lists ranked the highest at 59 percent, followed by coupons (53 percent), in-store discounts (49 percent), recipes (45 percent) and meal plans (24 percent).
Checking the label: Between 2013 and 2014, there were decreases-some of them substantial-in the categories of information consumers say they look for on the label of a food or beverage. “Expiration date” still leads the list at 66 percent, returning to traditional levels after a spike last year to 82 percent. The percentage of consumers who check theNutrition Facts Panel was relatively unchanged this year at 65 percent, along with the ingredients list at 52 percent and calorie/nutrition information at 42 percent.
Significant decreases in label-reading behavior were found with serving sizes and amount per container (44 percent in 2014 vs. 55 percent in 2013), brand name (35 percent in 2014 vs. 53 percent in 2013), cooking instructions (32 percent vs. 45 percent), and statements about nutrition benefits (30 percent vs. 43 percent).
Consumption of nutrients and food components: The survey also revealed what nutrients or food components consumers are trying to limit or increase consumption of. The components and the number of respondents who are trying to get a certain amount or as much as possible of them are: fiber (53 percent), whole grains (53 percent), protein (50 percent), calcium (36 percent), omega-3 fats (21 percent), potassium (19 percent), and probiotics (18 percent).
In terms of those nutrients or components consumers are trying to limit or avoid entirely: sodium/salt (53 percent), sugars in general (50 percent), calories (48 percent), fats/oils (29 percent), caffeine (31 percent), and mono/polyunsaturated fats (26 percent).
Dining out: About half of all consumers (51 percent) use nutrition information such as calorie counts when eating out at restaurants, while 23 percent have noticed such information but don't pay attention to it, and 26 percent haven't noticed such information at all.
Sugars in our diets: While still a majority, significant declines were seen among respondents who believe moderate amounts of sugar can be part of an overall healthful diet (74 percent in 2014 vs. 84 percent in 2013) and those who believe people with diabetes can include some foods with sugar as part of their total diet (54 percent in 2014 vs. 71 percent in 2013). Half of consumers (51 percent) report that they are getting “pretty close to” or less than what they believe is the appropriate amount of sugars in their diets.
Caffeine: Three out of five consumers (60 percent) agree at least somewhat that they know the amount of caffeine in the foods and beverages they consume. On the other hand, when asked if they believe an 8-ounce cup of home-brewed coffee has roughly the same amount of caffeine as an 8-ounce energy drink, only 18 percent correctly answered “true,” while 45 percent answered “false.”
Sustainability: Over the past year, 62 percent of respondents say they have given at least a little thought to the environmental sustainability of their foods and beverages, with 35 percent giving it no thought. That's down slightly from both 2012 and 2013 when 66 percent gave sustainability at least a little thought and 30 percent gave it no thought.
“Natural,” “organic,” and “local”: More than a third of consumers report regularly buying food that is labeled as “natural” (37 percent) or “local” (35 percent), with 32 percent who regularly buy products advertised as “organic.”
The 2014 Food and Health Survey was fielded by Greenwald & Associates of Washington, D.C., between March 26 and April 7, 2014, and involved 1,005 Americans aged 18 to 80. Results were weighted to match the U.S. Census based on age, education, gender, race/ethnicity, and region to be nationally reflective.
For a copy of the full report:
Volatile is one way to describe the pork market in South Korea. For the past several years, U.S. pork exports to this country have experienced peaks and valleys driven, to a great extent, by changing market conditions within Korea.
The first quarter of 2014 has been promising, with U.S. pork sales to Korea climbing 15 percent in volume and 21 percent in value to 40,143 metric tons (88.5 million pounds) valued at $116.2 million. March was a strong month, with growth of 73 percent in volume and nearly 83 percent in value.
The United States share of the pork export market to Korea also has grown, from 34.4 percent last year at this time to 36.7 percent this year. That is a positive development that is being supported by new USMEF initiatives in Korea, but conditions within the country will make it challenging for all imported pork products in the months ahead.
The mid-April ferry disaster off the southern coast of Korea, which claimed 276 lives and left several dozen people still unaccounted for, has led to a national state of mourning. That single event has created a domino-like series of effects that continues to affect the pork industry as well as the overall economy.
In the aftermath of the accident, the Korean Government canceled national festivals while the country mourns. In parallel developments, local festivals have been canceled, all school field trips have been halted by the Ministry of Education and many company outings and events have been canceled.
The increase in pork purchases in Korea in the weeks leading up to the spring event season are largely sitting in cold storage, which will put a damper on near-term purchases. The overall downturn in economic activity has been attributed to “vicarious trauma,” and the government is looking at steps to invigorate consumption, particularly to support the small and medium-size businesses that are being affected. On the positive side, a cluster of three holidays in the first week of May has helped boost retail and food service purchases.
The ferry disaster is not the first event to impact the Korean pork market this year. There is a lingering PED virus issue – which has affected the Korean industry for a number of years – that has resulted in an estimated 5.1 percent of piglets lost during the first quarter of 2014. By all indicators, the virus peaked in February and has declined sharply since then but, as in other countries with PEDV, there is always a risk of reoccurrence.
According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI), domestic pork production is down 4 percent from 2013 levels, a decline considered “not significant.” The Korean Government has allocated funds to support the cost of PEDV vaccines for local farmers, but many have complained that the vaccine has not been effective.
Higher pork prices have encouraged pork producers to increase the swine herd once again – as they did in the aftermath of the 2010-2011 FMD outbreak – which likely will contribute to another domestic oversupply situation. We will continue to watch that closely.
In the meantime, there are niches in the Korean pork market that we continue to aggressively pursue for U.S. pork exports. Those include:
USMEF is working closely with Korean retailers, such as Home Plus, to expand chilled pork sales to year-around. Branded pork sales remain a target on the horizon. Korea follows behind the Japanese retail market in this regard, but it will be a focus in the future.
Original article on May 22 by usmef.org
Last week’s slaughter total fell short of 2 million head once again – but just barely. That total is, in fact, large enough to be causing some questions regarding the impact of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). Slaughter numbers since the week ending May 2 have been within 4% of one year ago, and last week’s 1.999 million-head total was only 1.9% lower than last year. The slaughter runs for that period would be comprised primarily of pigs born from late November through the first half of December. And the year of their birth is still 2013 in spite of the fact that their average size suggests some may, in fact, be yearlings! Or old enough to vote!
So have we all been too alarmed about PEDV? I guess that is possible, and some may consider me the chief alarmist, but let’s look at everything that has gone on in the past few months to see if any judgment can be reasonably made at this point.
Figure 1 shows the year-on-year percentage change in federally-inspected (FI) hog slaughter (right axis) and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network’s (NAHLN) weekly PEDV case accession numbers from 26 weeks earlier (values on the left axis). So, last week’s year-on-year slaughter total was 1.9% lower than one year ago, and its corresponding 92 case accessions occurred in the week that ended November 16.
It is clear that the relationship so far is anything but tight. Slaughter plunged compared to year-earlier levels for the first week in March. That week corresponded to births from the first week in September when PEDV case accessions were sort of bouncing along in the range of 25 to 35 each week. Conversely, case accessions broke above 50 and started their fall increase during the week of October 19, almost 6 weeks later than one would have expected the pigs from the first very short-slaughter week to have been born – on average.
Further, the year-on-year slaughter changes have been getting smaller. Last week’s figure was the smallest year-on-year decline since the very last week of February--even though the case accessions were climbing steadily for these pigs’ normal birth period in November. What gives?
First, it is possible that the case accession data have misled us (or at least me!) to expect larger losses than have actually occurred. Our ongoing discussion of not knowing much about source farms for the PEDV samples, possible duplications, etc. fits here and still could be true.
But second – and in my mind more important – is the fact that any event that creates an economic incentive also, by its very nature, creates potential solutions to that incentive that can make it appear that the first event may not have happened. I know that sounds like economist gobble-de-gook but . . . okay it is economist gobble-de-gook but it’s still true!
But do any of the actions so far actually say anything about the next 4-to-6 months? Maybe plenty, and maybe nothing. Every one of these actions could be written off as fear reactions to misinformation. Or, they can all be explained as very rational reactions to accurate information. The truth is that all have been a mixture of the rational and irrational, in response to data that are neither all bad nor all good. Such is always the case in our business. This is just “normal on steroids” I think.
With all that said, though, we are at a critical juncture. It appears in order for packers to keep slaughter levels just under 2 million hogs per week, they will have to dip deeper into the slaughter supply. And if the vet lab data mean anything at all, that supply should be falling pretty rapidly over the next few weeks, with the impact peaking in August.
I think there will be two key indicator variables. The first, of course, will be prices. Last week, base prices declined by their smallest amount in six weeks, while producer-sold net prices actually gained $0.20/cwt. carcass. Both of those suggest the downward adjustment may be over.
The second indicator variable is slaughter weights. Watch them closely in coming weeks. If big slaughter reductions are coming, I would expect weights to fall at rates slightly faster than the average of the past five years.
Original article on May 19 by nationalhogfarmer.com
In times of uncertainty, one thing that U.S. pork producers can bank on year after year is the investment they make through the Pork Checkoff in science- and technology-based research.
“Our long-term focus on research, education and the sharing of information has continued to pay off,” said Karen Richter, National Pork Board president and Montgomery, Minn., producer. “The ongoing investment in the Checkoff has provided us with solutions that contribute to a stronger pork industry.”
From a financial perspective, Checkoff funds allocated to research in science and technology don’t work alone. The investment draws outside funding from sources such as land-grant universities and allied industry.
A Multiplying Effect
To determine the return on investment in research made by America’s pork producers during a multi-year period, the Checkoff reviewed science and technology projects funded from 2006 to 2010, which is the latest time period available for analysis. The Checkoff contacted researchers who worked on the projects. More than 80 percent of the 267 who were reached offered feedback on 389 Checkoff-funded projects.
The results showed that for every dollar of Checkoff investment, nearly two additional dollars were drawn from outside sources to help find solutions to mutual challenges that face the industry.
Specifically, the $23.7 million invested in research from 2006 to 2010 directly resulted in more than $46.6 million of additional research – an increase of 97 percent in additional research value that benefited producers.
An Ongoing ROI
Sometimes the Pork Checkoff’s role in funding research projects isn’t readily apparent. This is especially true when research is applicable, scientifically sound and builds the foundation for research that results in production efficiencies.
Results from Checkoff research give vital information to help veterinarians, nutritionists, production managers and other specialists that provide services to producers every day. This is critical to finding solutions to new challenges.
“The ongoing flow of information and science-based data from Checkoff-funded research helps meet the demand for practical on-farm solutions,” Richter said. “At the end of the day, it’s about getting the maximum return on pork producers’ investment– and we’ve got a good track record of achieving that goal.”
Original article on May 15 by pork.org
Last month, the Kansas Pork Association was a sponsor and participant at both the Kansas Nutrition Council and the Kansas Dietetic Association annual conferences, held April 25-26, in Manhattan.
At the Kansas Nutrition Council's conference, KPA sponsored a session featuring Janeal Yancey, meat scientist at the University of Arkansas and author of the blog, "Mom at the Meat Counter." In her session titled, "What's in a Food Label: Regulation or Marketing Hype?" Yancey broke down and explained common food label trends. KPA collaborated with the Kansas Beef Council, Midwest Dairy Association and the Egg Nutrition Council to bring the session and materials to 97 people in attendance at the conference. The audience's practice areas ranged from WIC, extension agents and college students to dietitians working in clinical nutrition, community outreach and education.
"It all goes back to feeling confident in the food you buy. When people get to the meat counter or the dairy aisle, they are bombarded with labels and claims about how food was raised and produced," Yancey says. "It's great because, in the U.S., we have lots of choices, but it can all be so confusing."
The following day, on April 26, KPA also joined the Kansas Dietetic Association's conference to participate in the exhibit hall, featuring a booth that allowed the conference's 120 attendees to ask questions and pick up continuing education materials.
"These relationships connect dietetic professionals to their state producers and will enable them to develop strategic plans for nutrition education that the state of Kansas needs," says Abby Heidari, RDN, LD, Kansas Dietetic Association executive director.
World Pork Expo is a hub of information for pork producers and related professionals, and at the forefront are more than a dozen free seminars scheduled for Wednesday, June 4, and Thursday, June 5. From on-farm management ideas, to research updates and technology insights, the seminars provide useful information that Expo attendees can apply to their pork-production businesses back home. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Expo will take place June 4-6 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.
“The seminars provide valuable information and address the most current and pertinent topics that pork producers face,” says Howard Hill, DVM, NPPC president and Iowa pork producer. “You can pick and choose which seminars to attend — there’s something for everyone.”
Kicking off the business seminars at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, DSM will present a session on eubiotics. The discussion will center on how these feed ingredients enhance nutritional welfare and promote profitable pig production.
Wednesday at 3 p.m., Purina Animal Nutrition, Zinpro Corporation and DSM will present Feeding for 30® — A focus on sow longevity. Producers, nutritionists and industry experts will share advice on consistent parity structures and achieving the goal of 30 pigs per sow per year.
On Thursday, SFP will sponsor two sessions, at 9:30 a.m. and again at 10:45 a.m., featuring a panel discussion on cost-efficient manure management. Panelists will talk about minimizing phosphorus and nitrogen loss, and maximizing the agronomic benefits of applied manure.
Thursday at 3 p.m., Purina Animal Nutrition will present tips for getting pigs off to the right start. Experts will share new research and proven strategies for employee training, piglet health and organizing a pre-weaning toolbox.
PORK Academy Details AvailableThe Pork Checkoff will sponsor PORK Academy seminars on both Wednesday and Thursday. These seminars will cover timely topics ranging from tips on safe pig handling and using a reproductive decision tree, to the economics of world markets.
All seminars will take place in the Varied Industries Building. More details about the business seminars and PORK Academy are available at worldpork.org.
Among its many attractions, World Pork Expo features the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, with more than 375 commercial exhibits, and at least 310,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space. Trade show hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4, and Thursday, June 5, as well as from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 7. The swine shows begin Tuesday, June 3, and conclude with the breeding-stock sales on Saturday, June 7.
PorkNetwork at VIB #763
Be sure to come see us at the PorkNetwork booth in the Varied Industries Building, on the south side of the building, just west of the middle-door exit. We'd love to visit with you!
Will Coggin, senior research analyst for the Center for Consumer Freedom, responded to the recent announcement that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other co-defendants will pay $15.75 million to settle a racketeering lawsuit brought by Feld Entertainment. This company is the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The activist animal rights group was involved in alleged illegal witness payments as part of a scheme to pursue malicious litigation against the circus.
“This historic case has exposed the despicable tactics of the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights fanatics, and the settlement sends a message they will be held accountable for their actions,” says Coggin. “Most troubling is that this settlement will be paid with donations intended to help animals.
“Americans should think twice before donating any money to HSUS,” he continues. “It’s likely not being spent the way its ads lead people to believe.”
According to The Republic in Columbus, Ind., the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals already had agreed separately to pay more than $9 million to settle. Further, it noted that Feld issued a statement saying the final settlement this week is "a vindication of its practices."
The case originally stemmed from a complaint filed under the Endangered Species Act, alleging misconduct by Feld toward its Asian elephants. A U.S. District Court ultimately ruled the case was "frivolous," "vexatious," and "groundless and unreasonable from its inception." This stunning settlement finally brings to a close litigation that's dragged on for 14 years.
Pork producers should make plans now to attend the Pork Checkoff'sProducer Opportunity for Revenue and Knowledge(PORK) Academysessions on Wednesday, June 4, and Thursday, June 5, during World Pork Expo, June 4-6, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.
"PORK Academy offers an outstanding lineup of leading experts who will address issues facing producers today," said David Ray, chair of the Checkoff's Producer and State Services Committee and a pork producer from Edenton, N.C. "These sessions will provide attendees with information to help operate their farms more effectively and to stay current on industry trends and challenges."
2014 PORK Academy seminar topics include:
Wednesday, June 4:
Thursday, June 5:
"Producers won't want to miss the Business Seminar Luncheon, which will now be located in the Pork Checkoff hospitality tent, sponsored by the Pork Checkoff, featuring a weather outlook from Elwynn Taylor of Iowa State University and an economic outlook from Steve Meyer of Paragon Economics. The popular and entertaining speakers always draw a packed crowd," Ray adds.
For more information on PORK Academy and other Pork Checkoff-sponsored events at World Pork Expo, visit www.pork.org/wpx, or call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675.
Original post on May 12 by pork.org.
Just in case feeding 7 billion people isn’t daunting enough, consider that in the next 30-40 years, the world’s population likely will grow another 2 billion.
“It’s a very large amount of food that we will have to produce in a very short time in order to feed everybody,” said John Floros, dean of the Kansas State University College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension.
Floros noted that even with today’s highly productive agriculture system, 1 billion people do not have adequate food or nutrition.
“(The world’s farmers) will have to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we’ve produced in the history of our planet,” approximately 10,000 years of human existence, he said.
Floros made his comments as moderator of an expert panel that discussed world food challenges at K-State on May 5. The university also hosted an interactive mobile display, Hunger U, in the courtyard of the Student Union, to help connect college students and share the story of agriculture’s role in tackling world hunger.
Producing more food is much more complex than putting more seeds in the ground or raising more livestock. Floros noted that it involves coordinating many food systems, including pre- and post-harvest safety, food science, animal health, processing, nutrition, transportation and more.
“All of these systems are becoming very strained when you look at world resources and the world population,” said Randy Phebus, a K-State professor of food science and one of the panelists. “We’re going to have to become more efficient and much more focused on how we meet these challenges in the future.”
K-State President Kirk Schulz recently announced the university’s global food systems initiative, which signified a move for K-State to become a leader in understanding and improving the world’s food system.
As such, the university’s commitment extends beyond agriculture, food science and nutrition to include such areas as sociology, anthropology, history and more.
“We have been doing this already, but it’s not been packaged in a way that shows the integration of all of our programs across colleges, across departments and now across campuses,” Phebus said.
The soon-to-be-built National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) is making headlines currently, but Phebus noted that K-State has long had facilities conducting research to support food and agriculture, including the Biosecurity Research Institute, K-State Olathe, the O.H. Kruse Feed Mill, veterinary diagnostic labs, the Food Science Institute, the Kansas Value Added Foods lab and more.
Last year, K-State also won three large grants totaling more than $27 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to build facilities and advance science in post-harvest food loss, sorghum and millet development, and wheat genetics.
Dirk Maier, head of K-State’s Department of Grain Science and Industry, is the project leader for the USAID’s Innovation Lab for Post-Harvest Loss. His project is an important piece in feeding the world in the future: one-third of the food produced for human consumption worldwide is lost or wasted somewhere between the farm and the dinner table.
“That’s a huge amount,” said Maier, who was on the May 5 panel at K-State. “I think the message we want to get across is that there’s something each one of us can do with regard to reducing post-harvest loss or food waste in our homes, and in our own ways of thinking about food as a valuable resource like energy and water.”
In the United States and other developed nations, 56 percent of food loss is at the consumer’s level—such as throwing food away in the cafeteria line or in homes. In developing countries, food loss happens earlier in the value chain—such as during production, post-harvest handling and storage.
K-State sociologist Gerad Middendorf is studying differences in food needs between “developed” and “developing” nations.
Many people in the wealthier, industrial world want to know more about where their food comes from and can enjoy the benefits of having more local foods and access to healthier foods.
Developing countries—especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia—rely on land and water to sustain a simple livelihood. About one in eight people (870 million) in developing countries experience chronic hunger.
Floros said K-State’s commitment is about developing a better understanding on how to produce the right amount and type of food that is safe and nutritious, “and getting it to the people.”
“When you put all of this together, with the complexity of the food system…it is extremely important that the decisions we make from here on out are the right decisions,” he said. “One wrong decision can truly take us down the wrong path, and a few years from now we might not be able to produce enough food to feed all the people on the planet.”
More information about K-State’s global food systems initiative is available online at Global Food Systems.
Original article on May 11 by tristateneighbor.com
The pace of U.S. beef and pork exports increased sharply in March, driven by double-digit increases to leading markets Mexico, the China/Hong Kong region and South Korea, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by USMEF.
U.S. pork exports reached their highest monthly total since October 2012: 209,704 metric tons (mt) valued at $606.7 million, increasing 29 percent in both volume and value over March 2013.
Exports of U.S. beef rose 12 percent in volume to 93,380 mt valued at $516.2 million, an increase of 17 percent.
When measured in proportion to overall U.S. beef and pork production, March exports also showed gains. Total pork exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) equated to 31.5 percent of total U.S. pork production in March (26 percent of muscle cuts alone) versus 28 and 23.5 percent, respectively, a year ago. Beef exports accounted for 14 percent of total production and 11 percent of muscle cuts – up from 12 and 9 percent in 2013.
The export value per head slaughtered set a new record of $69.93 for pork in March, topping the $60 per head mark for the first time and up from $50.38 last year. The export value per head of fed slaughter for beef was $271.57, up from $222.20 a year ago.
“Even with high prices and supply concerns, we are working to keep the visibility of U.S. beef and pork high in our key export markets, and they continue to respond positively,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “Among the many encouraging signs are the continued strength of the Mexican market in both pork and beef, and the rebound of South Korea, which has been an area of focus for USMEF as that market has been challenged over the past year by an over-supply of domestic product.”
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has been a factor both in the United States and in a number of export markets, creating supply concerns going into the summer. But exports remained strong in March to virtually all key markets, despite a 4 percent decline in U.S. pork production for the month. Thus, the export increase likely reflects the fact that some product was shipped out of cold storage from previous months’ production.
Original article on May 7 by usmef.org
May 14, 2014
China’s hog prices have fallen by more than 30 percent since December as large production has outweighed demand. Data from China’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) show that prices continued to drift lower at the end of April – averaging about $0.80 per pound, which is down 12.5 percent from year ago. U.S. hog prices have exceeded China’s prices for nearly two months, an inversion that has not occurred since a brief period in May 2010, as the supply situation in China has been in dramatic contrast to that of North America and other key Asian markets. The Chinese government has recently announced a second round of carcass buying for the strategic reserves in an effort to bolster prices, but the 88,000 mt that will be procured in this round will probably have a limited impact on the market.
China’s hog:corn ratio is at 4.6:1, significantly lower than the profitability level of 6:1. China’s piglet prices have been in slow decline since September, and were also down 12.5 percent year-over-year at the end of April. Despite the negative price situation, China’s pork imports have held up relatively well. China/Hong Kong pork/pork variety meat imports in March totaled 138,843 mt, down 8 percent from last year but up 32 percent from the seasonal low in February. First-quarter imports were 379,534 mt, down 10 percent from last year. Somewhat surprisingly given the relative price situation, U.S. exports to China/Hong Kong in March totaled at 41,294 mt, up 49 percent from a year ago and 10 percent higher than in February.
There are glimmers of hope that China’s hog market is finally bottoming, as some analysts estimate that prices stabilized and even increased slightly following the early May Labor Day holiday. Others in the industry project that further sow liquidation will be necessary to bring the market into alignment.
NOTE: Import totals exclude Hong Kong imports from China and Hong Kong re-exports.
Original article on May 9 by usmef.org
For two days in early-July, life in Springfield, Missouri, is becoming all about manure management.
July 8 and 9, 2014 the North American Manure Expo is being hosted at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, 3001 North Grant Ave., Springfield, MO.
The theme for the 2014 event is Valuing Manure and the Environment.
On July 8, interested parties can register online to take part in a free bus tour featuring stops at a local dairy operation plus a wastewater treatment and biosolids facility.
The first stop on the tour will be a pasture-based dairy with concrete manure storage and lagoon. There, tour attendees will learn more about the farm’s unique needs in the area of manure management.
The dairy will also be the location of several agitation equipment demonstrations utilizing both a lagoon storage system and a concrete tank storage system.
The second stop will be at the Southwest Clean Water Treatment Plant in Springfield, MO. This award-winning facility can handle 42.5 million gallons of wastewater per day. The facility removes approximately 70,000 pounds of pollutants from the wastewater per day before it is discharged. The Southwest plant also generates about 15 dry tons of biosolids per day. The biosolids are processed and utilized as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.
During this stop, tour participants will have an opportunity to tour the treatment facility and learn more about biosolids, anaerobic digestion, nutrient management plans and field mapping.
The tour buses plan to return to the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds by 3 p.m. when the North American Manure Expo tradeshow will open, providing attendees an opportunity to see the latest technology and innovations involving manure handling, management, environment protection, and treatments and services. More than 80 exhibitors are taking part in the indoor and outdoor event.
At 4:30 p.m., a tour day and exhibitor appreciation dinner is scheduled, and, starting at 5:30 p.m., visitors can take part in one of the three information sessions: Pump school, recycling dairy bedding, and precision nutrient management.
Attendance is free for both the tour day (July 8) and all events attached to the North American Manure Expo (July 9) but pre-registration is required. To register or for more information visit manureexpo.org.
Original article on May 7 by agannex.com.
Annual event unites industry experts to address current business trends and challenges.
The Pork Checkoff will host the 2014 Pork Management Conference, Your Pork Industry Investment, June 17-20 in Tampa, Florida.
This annual conference brings together experts from across the industry to speak on current business trends and challenges that help pork producers gain important insight and financial sophistication to manage their operation.
"The Pork Management Conference combines the latest production trends and business information with opportunities for pork producers to interact with knowledgeable financial professionals dedicated to helping them succeed," said David Ray, chair of the Checkoff's Producer and State Services Committee and a pork producer from Edenton, N.C. "Each attendee will come away from this three-day conference armed with tools they can use immediately to improve their farm."
In addition to the general sessions open to all attendees on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, two concurrent sessions are planned for Thursday. Topics include establishing a barn culture panel, antibiotics used in animals raised for food, audit overload panel, a focus on corporate and social responsibility, a PEDV panel, and new resources for creating a safe work environment.
The registration fee is $395 per person through May 30, 2014, and rises to $435 after that date. The first 10 pork producers to register who have not previously attended the conference in the past two years will receive a $300 discount on registration, courtesy of Pork Checkoff. A registration form and a detailed list of events are available at pork.org.
Original release on May 5 by pork.org.
Training for the Operation Main Street speakers program will be held during this year’s World Pork Expo, held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. Deadline for registration is May 15. Please contact Ernie Barnes, firstname.lastname@example.org with questions
- Wednesday, June 4, 9:30 am - 6:30 pm, continues Thursday, June 5, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
OMS 2.0 (2 sessions)
- Tuesday, June 3, 11:00 am - 7:00 pm, continues Wednesday, June 4, 7:00 am - 9:00
- Thursday, June 5, 11:30 am - 6:00 pm, continues Friday, June 6, 7:30 am - 11:30 am
Veterinarian Short Course 2.0 (2 sessions)
- Wednesday, June 4, 10:00 am - 12:00 noon
- Friday, June 6, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Social Media: (2 sessions)
- Tuesday, June 3, 8:00 am - 10:00 am
- Friday, June 6, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
OMS has facilitated over 6,700 presentations to key decision-makers and influencers such as youth and classroom education, culinary arts and nutrition classes, citizen groups, dieticians, county commissioners and small animal veterinarians. Since January 2008, OMS presentations have received coverage in print, online, television and radio media outlets resulting in an audience reach of over 31 million. OMS serves three roles: familiarizes you with conversation techniques to connect with customers and consumers; provides a media training and messaging strategy short course; and facilitates grass-roots speaking opportunities in Kansas.
New research from one of the best-studied eating plans says adding lean pork can help improve blood pressure
Adults following the well-documentedDietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, eating plan can also include lean pork to help lower blood pressure. According to new research funded by the Pork Checkoff, people with high blood pressure can benefit from a DASH eating plan that uses nutrient-rich lean pork as the predominant source of protein.
"This new Pork Checkoff-funded study further validates the important role of lean pork in a balanced diet," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. "Lean, nutrient-rich pork has many beneficial qualities that make it easy to incorporate into any healthy diet."
Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork instead of chicken and fish as their main protein source, the blood pressure benefits were the same. Regardless of the protein source, study participants' systolic blood pressure dropped about eight to nine points and their diastolic number decrease about four to five points after six weeks. Participants had their blood pressure consistently checked through a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.
"The DASH diet has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote health and help decrease the risk of chronic diseases," said study lead author Dr. Wayne Campbell, nutrition science professor at Purdue University. "While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork may also be a part of this healthy eating pattern."
The study included 19 overweight or obese older adults - 13 women and six men - all with elevated blood pressure. Participants were randomly assigned to consume the DASH diet for two six-week periods, which included either chicken and fish or lean pork as the major protein source, or about 55 percent of their total protein intake. The DASH diet emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.
For the latest pork nutrition information, recipes and more, visit porkandhealth.org.
Original release on May 1 by pork.org
Lately, South Korean consumers have enjoyed an abundance of affordable options when it comes to red meat dishes due to domestic oversupply, but high-quality U.S. beef and pork continue to earn new followers through a regional USMEF strategy targeting unique niches in the Korean economy.
The second-biggest city in Korea, Busan is a burgeoning business and tourism destination, the world’s fifth-busiest seaport and home to the world’s largest department store, the Shinsegae Centum City. Economic growth and a relatively affordable cost of living combine to create an environment that supports growth opportunities for U.S. red meat products, and USMEF’s team in Korea is aggressively pursuing relationships in Busan to create a stronger connection with consumers.
One such opportunity developed by USMEF-Korea’s team involved first-time sales of U.S. beef through an important regional retail chain.
“There are a number of leading retail chains that serve the Busan region, and USMEF is partnering with Mega Mart to help differentiate it from the other national retailers and, at the same time, create a branded program for U.S. beef,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director. “The chain operates 13 discount stores in the area, and USMEF has supported store-specific chilled U.S. beef promotions in about half of the stores each month since tight U.S. beef supplies don’t currently allow for a national promotion.”
USDA Market Access Program (MAP) funds were used for the program to introduce U.S. beef to Mega Mart’s customers through tasting promotions and point-of-sale materials.
Expanding U.S. chilled pork sales
Yet another Busan-based supermarket chain, Top Mart has featured chilled U.S. pork since 2008. The most recent USMEF promotion, funded with support from the Pork Checkoff, the Soybean Checkoff, Iowa Pork Producers Association and USDA’s MAP funds, utilized radio advertising and in-store tasting promotions as the 87-store chain has expanded its U.S. chilled pork sales to year-around. Last year Top Mart sold 640 metric tons (1.4 million pounds) of American pork, a 12 percent increase over the previous year, including 280 metric tons (nearly 794,000 pounds) of chilled pork.
“Eighteen countries compete for the Korean pork market,” said Yang. “Our goal is to capitalize on U.S. pork’s high-quality image and increase awareness among consumers.”
Yang also noted that while chilled U.S. beef is a relatively new commodity for Top Mart, it is beginning to make headway with the influential chain.
Pursuing food service opportunities
The retail sector is not the only avenue that USMEF is pursuing in Busan. The popular restaurant chain Irya Irya has adopted U.S. beef for the majority of its beef dishes, purchasing about 110 metric tons (242,000 pounds) annually, primarily rib fingers and outside skirt cuts for its lightly marinated Beef Joomuleok specialty. A two-week USMEF promotion of a barbecued outside skirt dish helped boost sales by 69 percent.
Yet another popular regional restaurant, Oryukdo Gawon, worked with USMEF and distributor Jinmi Foods to convert its barbecue duck meat menu to U.S. beef and pork after a trade team visit to the United States provided Jinmi Foods’ representatives with the confidence to support American red meat products for their quality and safety.
As a result, Mr. Choi of Jinmi Foods has become an advocate in the region for U.S. beef and pork, and Oryukdo Gawon alone has purchased more than 7 metric tons (nearly 16,000 pounds) of U.S. beef annually, and is in the process of changing its Canadian pork menu to U.S. pork.
“Since we are facing an oversupply of domestic beef and pork driving down Korean prices, we must look for opportunities to position chilled U.S. pork and beef where quality is more important than price difference,” said Yang. “In markets like Busan that approach is succeeding.”
South Korea is the sixth-largest market for U.S. beef in volume (No. 5 in value) through the first two months of 2014, purchasing 19,250 metric tons (42.4 million pounds) valued at $133.8 million, an increase of 17 percent in value on 14 percent lower volumes.
Korea is the No. 5 market for U.S. pork exports. So far in 2014 it has purchased 24,039 metric tons (53 million pounds) valued at $69.8 million, a 1 percent dip in value year-over-year on 6 percent lower volumes
Original article on April 30 by usmef.org
On May 1, the new feature-length documentary “Farmland” was nationally released. The film, led by Academy Award-winning director James Moll, follows the stories of six young American farmers and ranchers, giving audiences an intimate and firsthand look into the daily challenges and rewards of those who produce their food.
Moll hopes urban audiences can learn just as much as he did while making the film.
“Audiences will hear thoughts and opinions about agriculture, but not from me and not from a narrator. They’re from the mouths of the farmers and ranchers themselves,” Moll says. “I want everyone who eats to see this movie.”
“Farmland” was produced with generous support from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and is being distributed in more than 60 major markets. National exhibitors carrying the film include Regal Cinemas, Marcus Theatres, Carmike Cinemas, Landmark Theatres and many key independent theaters. The film was also selected for multiple film festivals including the Tribeca Film Festival.
Kansas theaters showing “Farmland” include:
For more information and an updated list please visit www.farmlandfilm.com.
Ad●vo●cate – (noun) a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. Or in the agriculture community, more commonly referred to as “agvocate.”
At every cattle producer meeting, pork conference, dairy expo and crop seminar there seems to be a common theme – telling your agriculture story. Agvocating. Yet, there still seems to be a confusion of sorts on what is the best way to agvocate.
On one side of the spectrum are the social media wizzes such as Agriculture Proud,The Adventures of Dairy Carrie, Farm Girl Facts of Life and the up and coming The Idaho Rancher's Wife (to name a small few), sharing their personal agriculture experiences through blogging, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – basically if there is a social media site, they have it covered.
On the other side are producers who have no idea what some of these sites are – if anything is going to be doing any sort of “tweeting,” it’s a bird. And here is where the lines tend to get blurred, a lot of times these people are under the assumption that since they aren’t active on the internet, they can’t agvocate.
And they are dead wrong.
Food●ie– (noun) a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet.
Last night the Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Soybean Board hosted “Zest and Zing a foodie and farmer event” at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.
Around 100 Kansas City foodie’s crowded together as Chef Gary Hild and Chef Richard McPeake went head-to-head in a culinary showdown.
The diverse group networked over cocktails, steak kabobs, pulled pork sandwiches, cucumbers stuffed with pesto and cheese so fine it smelled like stinky feet.
Here’s the best part.
Five farmers and ranchers were present to speak about their agriculture operations and answer questions directly from consumers.
Derek and Katie Sawyer were on hand to discuss their cow-calf and stocker operation, along with growing corn, soybeans, sorghum and wheat. Derek said he spoke with several consumers who had diverse backgrounds, but all seemed to be connected to agriculture by a couple generations. Katie, who is part of the CommonGround agvocate group, has a New To The Farm blog which shares her experiences as a town girl marrying a farmer and cattle rancher.
“Everyone involved in agriculture needs to get out and tell their story to the consumer,” she and Derek both said.
Nick Guetterman, a fourth-generation farmer who grows corn, soybeans and wheat spoke to the group about how his family’s farm was started and how the corn he grows is turned into livestock feed.
Craig and Amy Good spend the evening speaking to consumers about their purebred Angus operation and specialized pork production for Heritage Foods USA. Heritage Foods provided pork from the Good’s farm that was used in the culinary showdown.
When asked why they took the time to be part of the event, Craig responded, “There is such a need to bridge the gap between the producer and consumer. When opportunities present themselves to help communicate what you do for a living, you have to take them.”
Priceless education and communication for the agriculture industry happened in one short evening. Consumers were able to put a face to the product and hear the truth about where their food comes from, from the people who grow it – all because a handful of producers took the time to step out and speak up.
Original article on May 1 by cattlenetwork.com
Amanda Spoo, KPA Director of Communications, participated last week in a exercise led by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, testing public information and social media capabilities during an animal disease outbreak. The exercise included responding to consumer and industry questions surrounding a mock foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. Other participants in the exercise included representatives of many state agencies and state livestock groups.
In the event of an actual animal health emergency, public information that is timely and accurate would be critical to efforts to not only eradicate the disease, but also ensure business continuity and reassure the general public. KPA believes that this and other text exercises are vital to an effective response and a successful coordinated effort between government and industry sources.
Hog farmers are dealing with a deadly pig disease and the threat of trade retaliation against their products, both of which will have a negative impact on the U.S. pork industry, the National Pork Producers Council told congressional lawmakers today in testimony before a House Agriculture subcommittee.
In a hearing on the state of the U.S. livestock industry held by the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit, NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and hog farmer from Cambridge, Iowa, detailed the effects on hog farmers of the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law and of the porcine endemic diarrhea virus (PEDv).
COOL, which requires meat to be labeled with the country where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered, caused the Canadian pork industry to reduce production as U.S. hog farmers sought to avoid the costs and complications associated with the law, Hill pointed out. Additionally, the statute prompted Canada and Mexico to bring trade cases to the World Trade Organization, which is expected to rule on them this summer.
Should the WTO decide that the COOL law doesn’t meet U.S. international trade obligations, Canada and Mexico would be allowed to place retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. NPPC is urging Congress to consider a legislative fix to the labeling law.
PEDv, said Hill, has killed about 7 million pigs in 30 states since last April, losses that likely will reduce slaughter this summer by more than 10 percent. Such reductions would push U.S. hog prices up by 15 to 25 percent and force consumer pork prices up, according to economist Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics in Adel, Iowa.
Additionally, reduced hog numbers mean less feed, less medicine, fewer veterinary services and shortened hours at packing and processing plants, Hill testified.
NPPC wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a thorough investigation on the pathway PEDv and another virus used to gain entry into the U.S. swine herd, to conduct more research on the viral propagation of the diseases and to commit more resources to determining the pathogenesis of and ways to control the viruses.
The U.S. pork industry also urged USDA to “take a thoughtful and measured approach” to developing the PEDv reporting program it announced last week. Hog farmers need a program that is “practical, workable and that can be successful,” Hill said.
Original release on April 30 by nppc.org
Input from industry experts, program participants bolster commitment to safe transport of animals
Since 2001, the pork industry's Transport Quality Assurance program (TQA) has promoted responsible practices when handling and transporting pigs. In that time, TQA has undergone five revisions - always striving to offer the most current, science-based information on humane handling, biosecurity and proper transportation of swine.
The mission of the TQA program remains unchanged: to continuously build a culture of protecting and promoting animal well-being through training and certification of animal handlers and transport personnel. In that process, TQA uses the most current industry-proven techniques in an effort to build consumer confidence and understanding of the high-quality pork products delivered to market every day.
"Consumers are hungry for information on how their pork is raised - from the farm to the table," said Sherrie Webb, animal welfare director at The National Pork Board. "That need for information is about more than what happens on the farm and extends to how that animal is safely and humanely transported from farm to market. That's why keeping current on transportation trends is so critical."
Staying current on transportation trends requires continuous evaluation and commitment. The Pork Checkoff's pioneering TQA curriculum focuses not only on safe handling, but also emerging diseases such as PEDV and biosecurity. In 2014, each was a major focus in revising the program.
"Everyone involved in pork production - from producers, their employees, veterinarians and transporters - needs to develop a biosecurity plan that helps them to make good decisions and take sound action that reduces the risk of disease spread," said Brad Knadler, director of hog procurement, Triumph Foods. "The Pork Checkoff's TQA program specifically addresses the need for serious biosecurity protocols to be in place and helps the pork industry further fight and reduce the spread of these industry-impacting diseases."
The updated program also provides a new approach to understanding basic pig behavior and body language, and how it contributes to a safe and positive experience for both the pig and the handler.
"Calm pigs are easier to handle than excited, agitated pigs. Handling will be easier, and pigs less likely to become agitated and bunch together, if handlers use basic pig behavioral principles," said Webb. "An important part of effectively using pig behavior during handling procedures is learning how the pig perceives and responds to the handler in different situations and environments."
Additionally, adapting to changes in weather, especially temperature extremes, costs the U.S. pork industry millions of dollars annually. Handlers and transporters must understand the affect weather can have on pigs during transport, and how best to protect them during extreme weather. The revised TQA program teaches transporters the importance of planning ahead and properly bedding and boarding trailers.
Original article on April 29 by pork.org.
The National Pork Board has awarded 18 scholarships to college students around the United States as part of its strategy to develop the pork industry's human capital for the future. The scholarship winners were selected from a pool of 21 applicants based on scholastic merit, leadership activities, pork production industry involvement and future pork production career plans.
"Helping develop the next generation of pork professionals is one of the top issues that the Pork Checkoff has identified as critical for the industry's future," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a producer from Montgomery, Minn. "Our ongoing service and obligation to producers includes ensuring that there is a sustainable source of young people ready to take on the industry's charge of producing safe, wholesome pork in a socially responsible way."
The 18 student recipients represent 12 states, 10 universities and 13 swine-related career paths.
Three students from Kansas State University are among the recipients:
Erceg was recognized as one of three top candidates receiving a $5,000 scholarship. Mumm and Gourley will each receive $2,000.
Original article on April 24 by pork.org.
Participation in the pork checkoff is mandatory, but like thousands of other pork producers, John Weber kicks into the kitty twice.
Weber, who farms near here in Tama County, also participates in the National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC) Strategic Investment Program (SIP).
Producers who contribute to SIP pay 10 cents per $100 in value in addition to the 40 cents per $100 value required by the pork checkoff.
Weber, the NPPC vice president, says the SIP program represents 67 percent of all pigs raised in the United States. A large portion is returned to state groups, he adds.
“I don’t think anyone wants to raise the checkoff,” he says.
“With the SIP program, we are working with producers to convince them that the money contributed to it is just as important to our industry as checkoff dollars. We are all working together to keep the pork industry in a strong position.”
Funds from the mandatory checkoff are dispensed by the National Pork Board and used primarily for promotion and research, says pork board CEO Chris Novak.
He says a couple years of strong hog prices has eliminated talk of raising the checkoff.
“Four years ago, just before we launched the ‘Pork. Be Inspired’ campaign, we had the need for an additional $8 to $10 million, but since then hog prices have risen significantly,” Novak says.
“In spite of the PED (porcine epidemic diarrhea) virus, we’ve had increased revenue this year, so we are in good shape. No one is talking about increasing the checkoff.”
While pork-checkoff revenue has been strong, falling cattle numbers have cut into the beef checkoff program.
Nancy Degner, executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, says the $1 per head checkoff does not stretch as far as it once did.
“There is talk of trying to raise it, particularly Iowa bringing back its state checkoff,” she says.
“It would be an additional 50 cents per head, and it would be refundable. Money would be spent in Iowa.”
The national beef checkoff requires $1 per head be paid by producers and was signed into law in 1986. With inflation over the past 28 years, Degner says that value is about 44 cents per head.
Money raised through the checkoff is shared with the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils, Degner says.
“We’re really limited to what we can use the money for,” she notes.
“For example, the pork board can use checkoff funds for research. We can spend it on research, but it has to have some direct connection to the consumer.
“While we can spend it on E. coli research, it can’t be spent on brucellosis or something of that nature.”
The dairy industry collects 15 cents for every 100 pounds of milk, says Sherry Newell, senior communication manger for Midwest Dairy Association (MDA).
Ten cents is retained by the MDA with a nickel going to state associations.
While dairy checkoff funds are not used for advertising, Newell says they are used to help establish partnerships with customers, such as Quaker Oats and McDonald’s.
“We are working to market more dairy that way. The McCafe drink at McDonald’s is a good example of what we are doing,” she says.
“We are working with companies, such as Domino’s Pizza and Taco Bell, to use more dairy products. We are very engaged in these efforts to help increase the dairy market.”
Newell says checkoff money also is used to help increase consumer awareness of the quality and safety of dairy products.
“We are involved with USDA and the National Football League with the Play 60 campaign,” she says. “That has really been very successful.”
Iowa’s sheep producers were unsuccessful in raising the state checkoff last year, says Mark Van Roekel, a producer from Sioux County and chairman of the Iowa Sheep and Wool Promotion Board.
The mandatory lamb checkoff requires producers to pay .007 of a cent per pound with funds overseen by the American Lamb Board.
Van Roekel says Iowa’s state checkoff is 10 cents per head each time the animal is sold.
“We were looking to raise it 5 cents per head every three years with a limit of 50 cents,” he says. “But, there was not enough support to pass it.”
Five years ago, Van Roekel says the state had $100,000 to promote lamb. He says fewer lambs have whittled that figured to $25,000 to $30,000.
“Iowa has a lot of flocks, and some are very small,” Van Roekel says.
“The auction barns and packing plants are very good about collecting the checkoff, but a lot of lambs are sold privately, and we aren’t collecting some of that money.”
Weber says he cannot speak for all livestock producers, but he believes pork producers feel the checkoff is working.
“The price of pork has steadily increased, and demand is holding strong,” he says. “You have to attribute some of that to both the checkoff and the SIP programs.
“Both NPPC and the pork board are working together better than ever, and our industry is moving in the right direction.”
Original article on April 17 by iowafarmertoday.com
A recent online promotion for U.S. pork conducted with China’s leading business-to-consumer platform, Tmall.com, drew rave reviews from Chinese consumers and strong results for U.S. pork suppliers.
The seven-day promotion, developed with support from the Pork Checkoff, highlighted Tmall.com’s nationwide 24- to 48-hour delivery service and gave thousands of Chinese consumers the opportunity to learn about U.S. pork through videos and recipes developed by master chefs, and to order U.S. pork for home delivery.
Within the first five days, the three participating U.S. suppliers had sold nearly 3,000 one-kilo orders (2.2 pounds per kilo) — 6,600 pounds — of U.S. pork. Within five more days, total orders jumped to 7,000. Equally impressive were the consumer reactions posted on the website:
“This shopping channel creates different buying experiences for consumers,” said Joel Haggard, senior vice president for USMEF-Asia-Pacific. “It opens up sales of U.S. pork to the whole of China.”
Haggard also noted that the enthusiastic comments made by shoppers serve as a positive reference for U.S. pork, and quick feedback from the first satisfied shoppers likely helped inspire some of the subsequent purchases.
“The expanded brand recognition certainly helps boost the confidence level of retail and food service distributors of U.S. pork,” he said. And the convenience of being able to order and ship products online is expected to boost the sales of meat products during the holiday season. Gifts of meat are popular in many Asian countries, including China.
USMEF-China and Tmall.com are exploring additional collaborative efforts. While U.S. pork was the first imported pork to take advantage of the e-commerce channel, competitors from Australia, New Zealand and other markets are also beginning to utilize it for their sales and marketing.
Sales from online shopping in China last year reportedly reached an estimated 1.84 trillion yuan (nearly $296 billion) in gross merchandise value, according to iResearch, an increase of 39.4 percent over 2012. Tmall.com is the leading business-to-consumer e-commerce platform in China, with more than 50 percent market share, according to iResearch.
The China/Hong Kong region was the third-largest export market for U.S. pork in 2013, according to USMEF, purchasing 417,306 metric tons (920 million pounds) valued at $903.4 million, an increase of 2 percent in value on 3 percent lower volumes versus 2012 levels. In the first two months of 2014 the region has purchased 72,197 metric tons (159 million pounds) of U.S. pork (down 6 percent) valued at $166.8 million (up 4 percent).
Original article on April 21 by usmef.org
As the first anniversary of confirmation of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) in the United States nears, the National Pork Board continues to build an arsenal of information based on its nearly $2 million in Pork Checkoff-funded research funded to date. This work will be aided by a decision by Cargill's Animal Nutrition and Pork Businesses to donate $150,000 for additional PEDV research directed by the National Pork Board.
"Cargill is committed to supporting research priorities related to PEDV," said Douglas Cook, director of innovation at Cargill's Provimi North America business, which includes the Akey brand, in Brookville, Ohio. "Cargill's Animal Nutrition and Pork businesses are pleased to provide the National Pork Board with funding to be used for PEDV feed-related research priorities to advance knowledge on this critical topic for everyone in the pork industry."
Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board's vice president of science and technology, said this investment is a welcome addition to the series of funding coming from groups outside of Pork Checkoff that will help further leverage Checkoff-funded research into the costly disease.
"Our main goal with this round of research is to find answers to PEDV and feed-related questions as quickly and efficiently as possible," Sundberg said. "We appreciate the funding by Cargill and will continue to collaborate with all pork industry stakeholders to get practical results for farmers to use to save their pigs."
The top research priorities for this group of projects are: 1) to investigate the effectiveness and cost of treatments that could be used to mitigate the survival of PEDV and other viruses in feeds, 2) to conduct contamination risk assessments at all steps within the feed processing and delivery chain, 3) to develop a substitute for the currently used swine bioassay procedures and 4) to continue to investigate the risk of feed systems and other pathways for pathogen entry into the U.S.
To view the National Pork Board's PEDV-related research and resources, go to www.pork.org/pedv.
Original release on April 16 by pork.org
A group of 45 Senators led by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) are leading the effort to fight attempts by the European Union (EU) to limit the use of common names of meat products.
In a letter to US Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the Senators urged the administration to hold firm against the EU’s attempt to include Geographical Indication (GI) restrictions as part of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations.
If the EU were successful, U.S. companies would be restricted in the use of common names of meat products such as bologna, black forest ham, bratwurst, wiener schnitzel and many others.
This would apply to domestic markets as well as foreign markets. Senator Roberts said, “We cannot let the European Union slant the playing field to their advantage through absurd restrictions on what a food can be named. American Producers should not be blocked from trading with other nations, especially those we have free-trade agreements with, based simply on what we name our product.”
The EU would also like to place similar restrictions on dairy products.
Original article on April 14 by nationalhogfarmer.com.
Farms stricken with a deadly pig virus must report outbreaks as part of a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of the disease, the federal government announced Friday.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea has killed millions of pigs in 27 states since showing up in the U.S. last May, with Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina being hit hardest. The disease has been blamed for recent increases in bacon and pork prices. Farmers have struggled to control the virus, because little is known about how it spreads and there is not yet a federally approved vaccine.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it would step up efforts by requiring farms to report infections and labs to report positive tests from submitted tissue and fecal samples. Farms that suffer an outbreak also will have to participate in a program to help control the spread of the disease; details of that program have not yet been worked out.
Previously, the USDA and the nation’s pork industry tracked PED with voluntary reports from the labs.
The USDA said Friday that it would commit $5 million to fight the disease, boosting the $1.7 million research effort already begun by the pork industry. It also will require farmers to report cases of a similar disease, swine delta coronavirus.
“Today’s actions will help identify gaps in biosecurity and help us as we work together to stop the spread of these diseases and the damage caused to producers, industry and ultimately consumers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.
Believed to be from China, PED poses the most risk to newborn piglets, which die from dehydration. It does not infect humans or other animals.
Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board, said the new reporting requirements would provide better information on how many farms have been infected by PED and where. They also set a model for how similar diseases could be handled.
“The issue of accuracy of information is a really important one for the future of PED as well as other diseases,” Sundberg said. “The issue of being able to analyze data to control disease, and to analyze data, you have to have good data.”
The USDA has already been looking at how diseases like PED could spread within the United States, and said it will work with state agriculture departments to track the disease and keep tabs on the movement of animals, vehicles and other equipment from infected farms.
Some states now require a veterinarian to certify that pigs coming to farms or slaughterhouses are virus-free.
Sundberg said one important aspect of the announcement was that the USDA did not appear likely to institute quarantines, which could cripple the pork industry by stopping the movement of animals to slaughter.
Original post on April 19 by Associated Press.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said earlier this month it had more work to do to find consensus on a set of standards aimed at protecting farm data privacy, after meeting in Kansas City with a dozen leading U.S. agricultural industry players.
At stake is who will spearhead the drive toward a common standard for data produced on farms as the industry aims to turn information into profit and productivity, projected to be a multi-billion dollar industry in the coming years.
Over the last year, there has been a surge in the collection and analyses of farm data across the United States.
Corporate giants in agriculture, as well as small start-ups and Silicon Valley tech experts, are rolling out products and services that combine analysis of everything from the row spacing a farmer might use to plant his corn, to the soil conditions of various spots in a field, and local weather patterns.
The companies say there are big profits to be made in helping farmers increase crop production.
But with the explosion of interest in farm data have come concerns, and the AFBF, the national independent farmers' group, has been seeking input on a set of standards from a range of industry participants. Consistent rules are crucial to ensuring that the data is not misused, according to those engaged in the discussions.
Universal guidelines on data ownership and licensing would make data services contracts easier to understand. Common technical standards for data could make high-tech farm machines of different brands more inter operable, transmit critical farm data more securely, and make that data easier to analyze.
Some fear commodity markets and farmland values could be manipulated or exploited if the data winds up in the hands of traders or land brokers. Others fear that large seed and chemical companies could use the information to sell more fertilizer and seeds.
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
The April 10 gathering, hosted by the AFBF and attended by executives from equipment maker John Deere, seed companies Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer and other farm products companies, and representatives from key U.S. crop producer groups, was the first of what could be several meetings aimed at securing industry standards on farm data.
"There were a lot of questions answered and a lot more questions asked," said Martin Barbre, president of the National Corn Growers Association and one of about 35 meeting participants. "We're going to continue this dialogue and hopefully have more definitive answers in the future."
Executives from Monsanto that attended the meeting said afterward that they saw the meeting as "valuable dialogue" that they see continuing.
"The meeting was a clear indication of the opportunities that the proper management of data holds for agriculture across the board," said Monsanto spokeswoman Christy Toedebusch.
Participants disagreed on which of several existing data security and privacy standards platforms should the template for the industry be based on. Monsanto-owned Climate Corporation helped to launch the Open Ag Data Alliance, the seed maker's preferred platform for data standards.
But John Deere has not joined that group and currently chairs the board of another standards group called AgGateway.
"We need clarity so everyone knows what the rules are," said Ron LeMay, chairman of Kansas City-based FarmLink, a farm data analyses provider. "There is a lot at stake here. There is a huge benefit by being able to muster all the information. We need to get it right."
LeMay, who served as CEO of telecom giant Sprint Corp. before entering into farm data, said that one of the issues deals with permissioning when farmers sign up for an app and agree to certain terms and conditions.
"This ultimately will be made part of the contracts between farmers and contractors," he said.
Original article on April 11 by reuters.com
New online certification tool offers broader appeal to young learners
Des Moines, Iowa -- Consumers want to know how their food is produced. Through its Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus® program (PQA), the National Pork Board will make training available to young producers so they can continue to earn the trust of consumers through transparency and training. Recent changes to Youth PQA Plus include an online training, testing, and certification option to accompany the current in-person process. Delivered to students in the form of an engaging, interactive online learning module, the new online option allows participants to learn, test, and become certified in Youth PQA Plus. For youth age 12 and under, there is a parent log-in for security as well.
Youth PQA Plus is one part of the pork industry's We CareSM initiative, which reflects the ongoing commitment to responsible farming and fosters continuous improvement. Youth PQA Plus consists of two main elements: food safety and animal well-being training. The new online certification option for Youth PQA Plus was made available on April 15, 2014. Because it is interactive, it engages students, making learning fun.
"Consumers are paying more and more attention to how animals are raised and cared for. As such, we must prepare all producers - newcomers and veterans - to assure they're aware of the best on-farm practices available," said Jodi Sterle of Iowa State University. "I think it is extremely important for youth swine exhibitors to understand they are part of something bigger; they are part of the overall swine industry, producing food to feed the world."
Sterle is the Harman Endowed Professor in Teaching and Learning and Undergraduate Teaching Coordinator in Iowa State's Department of Animal Science and an advisor to the Pork Checkoff's YPQA Plus curriculum.
"There's a lot of pride that comes along with producing food - and understandably - a lot of responsibility. Youth PQA Plus helps make today's young farmers more aware of their personal responsibility, and the tools available to meet this duty."
Austin Langemeier is a third-generation livestock producer from Texas. As a young producer, he has shown livestock in state and national swine shows where Youth PQA Plus certification has been required. To Austin, the benefits of certification continue to grow.
"Youth PQA Plus is a unique experience and allows me to better understand my purpose in raising swine with a focus on the big picture. I understand the true endpoint and meaning of market animals - feeding the world - creating the protein necessary in any person's diet," Langemeier said. "Youth PQA Plus really hit home for me. My show pig is not an animal for my personal enjoyment, but serves a larger purpose.
When the community and consumers come to shows across the nation, they personally see how their food is raised and the care that goes into it. Youth PQA Plus training has enhanced my personal understanding and role as a swine producer."
More information on the revised Youth PQA Plus program is available at www.pork.org/certification. Click on the Youth PQA Plus link.
Original release on April 16 by pork.org
The South American nation of Colombia naturally has looked to neighboring Chile – one of the world’s top pork exporters – for a steady supply of pork to meet the needs of its nearly 50 million consumers. As recently as 2009, Chile was the dominant pork supplier to Colombia, but the playing field is changing, not only in Colombia but in Chile as well.
A number of factors are driving the explosive growth of U.S. pork exports to both markets, not the least of which is the free trade agreement that the United States and Colombia inked two years ago. That agreement will reduce duties on virtually all U.S. pork products from 30 percent (for fresh and frozen muscle cuts) to zero by 2016.
Among the striking differences between the two South American neighbors is their traditional attitude toward pork. In Chile, a nation of 17 million with a Pacific Ocean coastline that stretches more than half the length of the continent, pork is considered a staple. Per-capita annual pork consumption is a robust 23 kilograms (kg), or more than 50 pounds.
Colombia, on the other hand, has a less well-developed pork industry and a populace nearly triple that of Chile that tends to view pork as a lesser protein option because of health and/or safety concerns. Part of that equation is a lack of confidence in the Colombian government’s oversight of the industry.
U.S. pork has become a wildcard in the equation. Looking back at 2009, the pork import market in these two nations looked like this:
Fast-forward four years and the pork landscape looked like this at the close of 2013:
Part of the reason behind the change is the economic growth of both pork markets. While Chile’s appetite for commodity pork has not waned, it has developed a growing interest in value-added products, such as marinated ribs for their barbecues. And the sausage processing industry in both Chile and Colombia rely on imported pork for between 50 and 90 percent of their raw material. Roughly 60 percent of U.S. pork exports to Chile go to the processing sector, while about 50 percent of U.S. pork to Colombia is further processed.
In Colombia, an imaging campaign initiated by the domestic pork industry has helped educate consumers about the safety and wholesomeness of pork, and that has contributed to a 25 percent per-capita pork consumption increase in just the past four years, growing from 4.8 kg (10.5 pounds) per person per year in 2010 to an estimated 6 kg (13.2 pounds) this year – still far below Chile’s 23 kg, but a significant improvement.
Since the majority of U.S. pork to both nations is going behind the scenes to the processing industry, USMEF has utilized Pork Checkoff funding to develop and deliver educational programs for importers and processors. Recently more than 80 pork industry representatives from Chile, Colombia and Peru attended a seminar to learn more about the U.S. pork industry, types of cuts and specifications and other information to build their comfort level with products to fit their business models. Initiatives like this have helped offset the advantage the Chilean pork industry has from zero percent duties on its products.
Yet another area of focus has been partnering with the Colombian government and the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service to hold seminars in three port cities to help train customs inspectors so that the increased volume of pork imports can clear customs in a timely fashion.
The increased visibility of U.S. pork in both markets is playing a role as well as retailers and, to a lesser extent, food service operators, look to capitalize on promotional opportunities made possible with Pork Checkoff and USDA Market Access Program (MAP) funds coordinated through USMEF. Despite political differences, the image of U.S. food products and the USDA stamp is a positive draw – particularly in Colombia – and point-of-sale identification on vacuum-packed cuts, such as St. Louis ribs, clearly shows the origin of U.S. pork products.
At the end of the day, both Chile and Colombia are increasingly important trading partners for the U.S. pork industry. The total Chilean pork import market has grown nearly 600 percent in volume and 700 percent in value since 2009, and the United States’ share of the market has soared more than 16-fold in volume and 22-fold in value (23,091 mt valued at $64.1 million).
As for Colombia, which now ranks as the No. 8 single-country market for U.S. pork exports, the total pork import market has grown 240 percent in volume and 450 percent in value since 2009. The U.S. share of the Colombian market is up just over 500 percent in volume and 725 percent in value (28,987 mt valued at $80.7 million), and in the first two months of 2014 it is up another 151 percent in volume and 155 percent in value over the pace set in 2013.
Working in partnership with the Colombian pork industry to support consumer education will be a key to growing per-capita consumption in that country, while continued introduction of premium and value-added products, such as sausages and prosciutto, will be keys in both markets
Original post on April 15 by usmef.org.
A new vaccine is seeing mixed results but is making possible headway against the quickly spreading and highly contagious porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).
Joel Harris, head of sales and marketing for Harrisvaccines of Ames, Iowa, said his company is continuing to work on improving and developing the vaccine, adding that there’s a lot to learn yet, as with any new disease.
“It’s an interesting disease and not like anything we’ve seen before in the U.S.,” he said
However, Harris noted that more than 1 million doses have been shipped out to about seven of 28 states where the virus is found in the U.S. In addition, more than 50,000 doses have been exported to Canada where it recently was diagnosed and an emergency permit was declared so the vaccine could be imported.
Another indication of possible success is that customers are reordering the vaccine and there’s been growth in selling the product.
“We’ll have more reports coming in in the next few months, but at least initial reports are pretty positive,” Harris said.
The disease has been in the U.S. for about a year after being widespread in many other countries for years. It has killed millions of young pigs in the 28 states.
In South Dakota, the state veterinarian’s office reported cases on 22 farms as March came to a close. In December, there were only a few cases in the state, although none had been reported officially, so the spread of PEDV has been fast.
In northwestern Iowa, several cases have been reported dating to last summer.
Harris said field safety tests on the vaccine are being wrapped up in two states and should be done by mid-April. The data then will be sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which he said is likely to issue a conditional license by late spring or early summer.
Currently, the vaccine is available through a veterinarian’s prescription.
Although strict biosecurity is still the best way to prevent the disease, Harris said, he would like producers to understand that Harrisvaccines’ process in producing vaccines is completely different from that of some other U.S. companies and from vaccines that have shown mixed results in Europe. The disease was first reported in England in 1971.
“The biggest difference is that they are using 40-year-old technology,” Harris said. “Europe’s never seen a vaccine that we use.”
He said the technology used in Ames is novel among vaccine development processes. Instead of growing and killing a virus in a lab, Harrisvaccines takes the genetic sequence or code of the virus and inserts that into a production platform to generate the vaccine that way.
“It’s very targeted to the virus, and it doesn’t have the drawbacks or safety issues that traditional vaccines have,” he said.
The older process of isolating a virus in a lab requires an enormous amount of time, sometimes months or even years, and involves more lab space and workers, making it more expensive.
Harrisvaccines and its 19 employees don’t need the virus. Instead, they have veterinarians take tissue, blood or saliva samples and send them to a diagnostic lab such as the one at South Dakota State University or the University of Minnesota, which then generates a gene sequence of the virus. The Ames lab receives the data through email, synthesizes the gene, puts it into the production facility, and “we are off and running,” Harris said.
He said his company has done the process before. It was the first company in 2009 to offer a vaccine for pigs against the H1N1 virus.
“We used the same method there as we took the published online genetic sequence of that particular strain of flu and we literally just copied and pasted it into our programs and sent it off to be synthesized. So we had a vaccine for that in about two months,” he said.
Harrisvaccines worked with the SDSU diagnostic lab on this newest vaccine, with Dr. Eric Nelson helping in the early stages of the project. Harris said other labs at agricultural universities across the Midwest also have been used in the process.
SDSU Extension swine specialist and professor Bob Thaler said he hasn’t seen enough data on the vaccine to make a judgment about its effectiveness.
“The biggest challenge we have even though it’s been around about a year is it’s still an incredibly new disease and a lot of research still needs to be done,” he said.
However, he did say that biosecurity needs to be taken up another notch because the virus is transmitted via the fecal-oral route.
“We need to be careful with the feces transmission on the boots or tires on any vehicles,” he said.
Adding to the puzzle of the disease is that the Pipestone Vet Clinic, Thaler said, recently demonstrated through a trial that pig feed can transmit the disease. He said they swabbed the inside of feed bins on a farm that had been infected and detected the virus on the inside of the bins. Working with the SDSU diagnostic lab, they challenged some naive pigs with that feed, and the virus that was in that feed caused the pigs to get PEDV.
This follows a number of other solid leads found by investigators exploring whether something in pig feed could be a conduit for PEDV. One focus, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, is porcine plasma, a widely used feed ingredient made from the blood of slaughtered hogs and fed to piglets.
On more positive notes, the virus is not zoonotic, so it therefore poses no risk to other animals or humans, with no risk to human food safety.
Also, the late March report on hog inventory didn’t show what many were predicting to be a bigger death loss from the virus, Thaler said. USDA reported U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs in March to be 62.9 million head, down 3 percent from a year ago and down 5 percent from Dec. 1. Market hog inventory was reported at 57 million head, down 4 percent from last year and down 5 percent from the previous quarter. Estimates were that the loss would be as high as 5 percent to 10 percent.
Although the report caused the market to lower the high prices that hog producers had been receiving and futures prices as well, it was a positive sign in the fight against the disease.
Another positive, Harris said, is that other hog diseases present overseas haven’t hit the U.S. He noted, however, that the PEDV situation shows the vulnerability of the North American market.
Hog cholera, classic swine fever, African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease are some of the other foreign diseases on which Harrisvaccines is working.
“If foot-and-mouth came into the U.S., it would be more of a devastating problem,” he said.
The best outcome would be if the vaccine proves fully successful, something Harris certainly would like to see. He said his father, Hank, who founded the company in 2006, recently retired from teaching at Iowa State University to run the company full time. He is a veterinarian and has a doctoral degree in immunology.
He’s one of the most recognized fighters of swine diseases in the country, so the battle is in good hands. His son said they hope the vaccine can be a helpful tool, at the least, in getting in the middle of the outbreak to reduce mortality numbers to a more manageable rate.
Original post on April 8 by tristateneighbor.com
Examining emerging market opportunities and creating new partnerships to tackle global challenges was the focus of a recent study mission conducted by the 15 farmer-directors of the National Pork Board during a week-long tour of Brazil and Colombia. The board members visited the two countries March 22 through 29.
“Raising U.S. pork requires a global perspective and outlook. We learned so much from seeing firsthand how pork is produced in South America and now better understand the challenging logistics involved in raising, processing and marketing pork in Brazil and Colombia,” said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. “We all face different challenges, like creating consumer demand for our product and fighting disease in our herds. But in the end, our operations are similar and, despite living in a global marketplace, we can learn so much from each other.”
While in Brazil, the board members met with leaders of the swine cooperative SUINCO, the Brazilian Association of Swine Breeders, and met with the leadership of Agroceres PIC, a global pork production company. Before leaving Brazil, the tour group stopped at Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture. Joao Donisete, the general manager of Agroceres PIC in Brazil, agreed that there are many similarities between Brazil and the U.S. in terms of food production. Those similarities include how best to improve meat quality while keeping a continued focus on animal welfare, protecting the environment, and hiring and training workers.
Mid-week, Pork Checkoff leaders flew to Bogota to meet with representatives of Colombia’s association of pork producers and then toured a processing plant that uses U.S. pork as raw material. The board also looked at the marketing and retail distribution side of pork production through meetings with importers, and retail leaders.
During a meeting with Colombian pork industry leaders, the Board learned how the Colombian pork industry is struggling to increase consumer pork demand at a time when local producers are challenged with growing pork imports. As a result of a 2012 free trade agreement, Colombia was the Central/South America region’s largest market for U.S. pork in both volume (34,099 metric tons, up 73 percent from 2012) and value ($88.1 million, up 63 percent). The pork industry leaders agreed that an opportunity exists to benefit both U.S. and Colombian pork producers through mutual efforts to increase Colombian pork demand.
Original post on April 3 by pork.org
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7, 2014 – With U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in Japan this week and that country recently concluding a free trade agreement with Australia, the National Pork Producers Council today again called on Japan to eliminate all tariff and non-tariff trade barriers for U.S. agricultural products as part of the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks.
The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.
Froman is meeting with his Japanese counterparts in Tokyo this week.
In the TPP talks, Japan is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination of certain “sensitive” products. It wants exemptions for 586 tariff lines, or 11 percent of its tariff schedule. In the 17 free trade agreements (FTAs) the United States has concluded since 2000, only 233 tariff lines combined have been exempted from going to a zero tariff.
If the United States meets Japan’s demands, NPPC has pointed out, it would be a radical departure from past U.S. trade agreements and would open the door to tariff line exemptions from other countries in the TPP and in future U.S. trade deals. It would establish a dangerous precedent for exemptions not just in agriculture but on industrial and high-tech products.
In its FTA deal with Japan, Australia did not get tariff elimination on a number of important products, but a clause in the agreement requires the Japanese to provide the same access to Australia that it provides to other nations. Should the United States get better access to Japan in the TPP negotiations, Australia would get that same access.
“The Japanese need to eliminate tariffs on pork and other U.S. farm products,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “Japan is asking for special treatment in the form of exempting myriad tariff lines from tariff elimination, yet tariff elimination is the heart of an FTA.”
Hill said U.S. farmers and ranchers likely would agree with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., who last week said that if Japan is not ready to participate in a high-standard, 21st century agreement, which means elimination of tariffs, it needs to exit the negotiations.
“We support the efforts of Ambassador Froman and our trade team to get the same result from Japan that we have gotten from every other U.S. FTA partner: elimination of virtually all tariffs,” said Hill.
Original post on April 7 by nppc.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
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All Pig Tales inquiries should be directed to the Kansas Pork Association at (785) 776-0442 or email@example.com
Undersecretary for U.S.Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos announced that the agency is kicking off a national effort to reduce the devastating damage caused by feral, or free ranging, swine. The $20 million program aims to help states deal with a rapidly expanding population of invasive wild swine that causes $1.5 billion in annual damage and control costs.
“Feral swine are one of the most destructive invaders a state can have,” said Undersecretary Avalos. “They have expanded their range from 17 to 39 states in the last 30 years and cause damage to crops, kill young livestock, destroy property, harm natural resources, and carry diseases that threaten other animals as well as people and water supplies. It’s critical that we act now to begin appropriate management of this costly problem.”
The Wildlife Services (WS) program of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will lead the effort, tailoring activities to each state’s circumstance and working closely with other Federal, State, Tribal, and local entities. WS will work directly with states to control populations, test animals for diseases, and research better methods of managing feral swine damage. A key part of the national program will include surveillance and disease monitoring to protect the health of our domestic swine.
Feral swine have become a serious problem in 78% of all states in the country, carrying diseases that can affect people, domestic animals, livestock and wildlife, as well as local water supplies. They also cause damage to field and high-value crops of all kinds from Midwestern corn and soybeans to sugar cane, peanuts, spinach and pumpkins. They kill young animals and their characteristic rooting and wallowing damages natural resources, including resources used by native waterfowl, as well as archeological and recreational lands. Feral swine compete for food with native wildlife, such as deer, and consume the eggs of ground-nesting birds and endangered species, such as sea turtles.
“In addition to the costly damage to agricultural and natural resources, the diseases these animals carry present a real threat to our swine populations,” said Avalos. “Feral swine are able to carry and transmit up to 30 diseases and 37 different parasites to livestock, people, pets and wildlife, so surveillance and disease monitoring is another keystone to this program.”
As part of the national program, APHIS will test feral swine for diseases of concern for U.S. pork producers, such as classical swine fever, which does not exist in the United States, as well as swine brucellosis, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, swine influenza, and pseudorabies. Ensuring that domestic swine are not threatened by disease from feral swine helps ensure that U.S. export markets remain open.
APHIS aims to have the program operating within 6 months and funding for the comprehensive project includes, among other things:
Initial state funding levels will be based on current feral swine populations and associated damage to resources. Because feral swine populations, like most wildlife, cross international borders, APHIS will also coordinate with Canada and Mexico on feral swine damage management.
“We’ve already begun this type of work through a pilot program in New Mexico,” said Avalos. “Through this pilot program, we have successfully removed feral swine from 1.4 million acres of land. By applying the techniques such as trap monitors and surveillance cameras we have developed through this pilot project, we aim to eliminate feral swine from two States every three to five years and stabilize feral swine damage within 10 years.”
COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Missouri Extension swine nutrition specialist Marcia Shannon advises pork producers to take extra precautions with feed and delivery trucks to prevent the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).
The recent spread of PEDV increases the need for better biosecurity associated with all aspects of the farm, Shannon said. The virus is most deadly to piglets three weeks or younger and slows the growth performance of older pigs for about two weeks.
PEDV spreads through contact with contaminated feces, and the virus appears to survive in manure for a long time, especially in cold weather. TGE virus, which is similar to PEDV, will survive in manure for more than eight weeks at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and only two weeks at 70 degrees, Shannon said.
Use biosecurity measures when getting feed at the local feed mill or having a feed truck deliver feed to the farm, said Shelbina, Mo., veterinarian Stephen D. Patterson.
This lessens the chance that trucks, bagged feed, equipment, clothing and footwear become contaminated with fecal material.
Patterson recommends the following tips:
* Keep the delivery truck and trailer clean. Wash and disinfect wheels, tires and fender walls before or after each farm visit. Let the truck and trailer dry for best results.
* Wash and disinfect floor mats when you wash the truck.
* Use disinfectant wipes to clean the steering wheel, armrests, gearshift, door handles and any other areas that can be contaminated. Use aerosol disinfectant on seats.
* Before exiting a truck, drivers should put on clean, disinfected boots or shoes before hitting the ground.
Follow these rules wherever you go, such as the gas station, grocery store, restaurants, post office and other public buildings. Follow the same procedures when you get back in the vehicle. Limit travel or the number of stops as much as possible.
For more information about PEDV, go to the website of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians at www.aasv.org.
The MU Extension publication "Biosecurity for Today's Swine Operation" (G2340) is available for free download at extension.missouri.edu/p/G2340.
Original release on March 31 by extension.missouri.edu
Have you read your copy yet? The Pork Checkoff Report is a quarterly magazine published by the National Pork Board.
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DES MOINES, Iowa — With Easter approaching, the National Pork Board is inspiring new, effortless ways to create sensational flavors for a holiday feast – with ham and the slow cooker. According to recent trend data, in the last 10 years, slow cookers have experienced a resurgence in U.S. households.1 While most people think about slow cooking for staples like chili and stew, it’s also perfect for center-of-the-plate entrées, like ham, and it’s a fantastic way to revamp traditional Easter recipes.
"Easter ham and a slow cooker might seem like an unlikely duo – but they're actually a perfect pair," said Pamela Johnson, director of consumer communications for the National Pork Board. "Slow-cooked ham guarantees a moist and tender entrée – and it also allows for easy preparation and even easier clean-up, letting hosts spend more quality time with family and friends."
Mouthwatering Easter Menu
Introduce slow-cooked flavor to your Easter menu with a new recipe that allows for cooking with ease – Sweet Southern Slow-Cooker Ham. Simple ingredients like apple cider and Dijon mustard combined with the classic Southern touch of bourbon (or water and vanilla extract) create a rich flavor complemented by the sweetness of brown sugar. Round out your menu by pairing it with classic sides like oven-roasted carrots, asparagus wrapped in bacon and mashed sweet potatoes.
Once the Easter festivities are over, this slow-cooked ham is easily shredded for those welcomed leftovers. Ham and cheese sandwiches and omelets are a leftover staple, but you can also mix things up with other flavor-packed recipes like Ham, Apple and Cheddar Crepes – warm, cheesy and savory, they’re a great way to bring the family back together for a delicious, warm weekend brunch.
Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes
Between March 31 and April 14, pork fans can visit PorkBeinspired.com/EasterHam for a chance to win an Easter gift basket with everything you need – including a stainless-steel slow cooker and ham serving ware – to help this year's holiday go smoothly. Once entered, make sure to share your #EasterHam recipes and ideas on Pinterest.2
Original release on April 1 by porkbeinspired.com
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The impact of the PED virus in swine was felt most strongly during the unusually harsh winter months of December through February, Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt said Monday (March 31).
He said this means the losses of baby pigs probably will decrease as the weather warms this spring.
Hurt said the U.S. Department of Agriculture's report showing how much the nation's inventory of market hogs decreased in the past six months was perhaps the most anticipated report for the pork industry in decades. It was the industry's first opportunity to get a national, comprehensive measure of the baby pig losses since porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was first identified in the spring of 2013.
PED is a virus of swine that is fatal to nearly all infected piglets less than 2 weeks old. There is no vaccination or treatment. Health experts say the virus causes no harm to humans and is not a threat to food safety.
"While PEDv was in some hog herds last summer, the national data does not pick up any impact on pigs per litter during the warm weather," Hurt said.
The USDA Hogs and Pigs report, released March 28, was based on a random survey of 6,100 pork operations across the country in early March.
The nation's losses of baby pigs over the past six months appears to have been about 5 percent of the total herd, according to Hurt's analysis of data from the report. The market expectations had been for about a 7 percent loss. His analysis would suggest that about 600,000 baby pigs were lost in the fall and 2.1 million were lost during the winter because of PEDv and the weather.
Hurt said the best way to evaluate the magnitude of losses is to examine the number of pigs per litter, which measures the number of pigs that were alive when the survey was conducted. As expected, the losses were greater in the winter quarter, which spanned December 2013 through February 2014. During that period, the national average number of pigs per litter dropped to 9.53, compared with an expected rate of 10.3, a decline of more than 7 percent.
During the warmer quarter of September to November, baby pig losses were running about 2 percent.
As the weather cooled, the percentage of losses increased monthly from 2 percent in October to 8 percent in February.
"The large losses experienced in February probably mean that losses will continue to be large into March but may lighten as the weather warms into April and the rest of spring," he said.
Hurt said it was not possible to determine how much of the lower rates were the result of PEDv and how much were from the unusual weather.
The report, which has data on 16 of the major pig production states, indicated that states with very large losses of pigs over the winter were Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Michigan. Indiana along with Iowa, Kansas, Illinois and Nebraska had moderate reductions. States showing little or no losses were Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and South Dakota.
The USDA report is available athttp://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/HogsPigs/HogsPigs-03-28-2014.pdf.
Original release on March 31 by www.purdue.edu
The Kansas Pork Association and seven other agriculture organizations have joined together to form the Kansas Farm Food Connection with a goal of connecting families to farms. Most people are three to four generations removed from farming. Kansas Farm Food Connection will provide first-hand experiences for families to learn, eat and grow together.
The agriculture groups include Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Soybean, Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Kansas Wheat, Kansas Corn Growers Association and dairy groups including Midwest Dairy. To learn more about Kansas Farm Food Connection, visit http://raisingkansas.com.
To being working toward its goal, the Kansas Farm Food Connection hosted a private screening of James Moll’s new documentary, “Farmland,” April 1 in Kansas City. The movie steps into the lives of young farmers and ranchers as they take on the task of running their families' operations. The special advance screening gave more than 180 audience members a chance to start the discussion about agriculture.
“Our goal is to celebrate the exciting story of Kansas agriculture,” says group chair Tim Stroda. “There are so many facets and faces to agriculture. Each story is different. We want to learn from consumers, and in turn offer helpful information.”
The event was a joint effort between the Kansas Farm Food Connection, Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City and U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.
The documentary will be released nationally May 1. It will be distributed in more than 60 major markets. The New York premiere will be April 17 during the Tribeca Film Festival. "Farmland" also will be part of film festivals in Cleveland, Atlanta, Nashville and Newport Beach.
Go to www.farmlandfilm.com to watch the trailer or locate a theater where "Farmland" will be screening.
More than 30 members of the Chinese media turned out last week for U.S. pork sliders and to hear about a special American BBQ and Blues Week event planned for mid-April in Shanghai and Suzhou. The announcement was made jointly by the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Shanghai and the USMEF-Shanghai office, with funding support provided by the Pork Checkoff.
Authentic Texas barbecue pork and live blues performances headlined by Joey Gilmore, 2006 winner of the International BLUES Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., will be the attraction at Shanghai’s Stubb’s restaurant and the theme will be continued at the Suzhou Crown Plaza.
Keith Schneller, director of the Shanghai ATO office, made the media announcement while USMEF representative Jina Gao provided the reporters with U.S. pork sliders and information on U.S. pork.
“American BBQ and Blues Week is a good opportunity to present an American lifestyle – barbecue and Blues music — that will attract more people to try and enjoy U.S. pork,” said Joel Haggard, senior vice president for USMEF Asia-Pacific.
In a separate event designed to raise the brand awareness of U.S. pork, USMEF conducted pork sampling on several weekends in March at Freshmart in L’Avenue Shopping Mall in Shanghai in conjunction with several Chinese holiday celebrations that drew large numbers of shoppers to the mall.
A local Chinese distributor shared costs for the event with the Pork Checkoff to promote four U.S. pork cuts: bone-in butt, CT butt, boneless pork loin and brisket bones.
“The aroma of the freshly cooked samples drew a sizeable crowd,” said Haggard. “Our goal is to let consumers sample the product to understand its quality, and to emphasize that it is U.S. pork in order to foster brand awareness.”
In 2013, the China/Hong Kong region was the third-largest market for U.S. pork exports, purchasing 417,306 metric tons valued at $903.4 million.
Original release on April 1 by usmef.org
The USDA announced Wednesday 10 Kansas counties have been designated as Primary Natural Disaster Areas. The designation comes as a result of the ongoing drought in the region. Counties listed include: Barton, Ellsworth, Kiowa, Mitchell, Edwards, Jewell, Lincoln, Osborne, Smith and Russell. Contiguous counties also eligible for assistance include: Barber, Ellis, Ottawa, Republic, Clark, Ford, Pawnee, Rice, Cloud, Hodgeman, Phillips, Rooks, Comanche, McPherson, Pratt, Stafford, Saline and Rush.
Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey commented on the announcement.
“This designation will allow Kansas farmers and ranchers to have access to programs that can assist them as they weather this challenging time,” McClaskey said. “It also highlights the critical importance of water to Kansans. Without water, agriculture, our state’s largest industry, cannot thrive.”
All counties designated natural disaster areas on March 26, 2014, make qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures.
This designation comes at a time when Kansas officials are working to help develop a water vision. “Gov. Brownback issued a charge last October to develop a comprehensive, 50-year vision for water,” McClaskey said. “The long-term viability of our water supply, including the usable life of the Ogallala Aquifer and our reservoirs, is at stake. We must be proactive in our approach in order to ensure the ongoing economic viability of Kansas.”
The Water Vision team has conducted over 130 presentations to nearly 6,000 Kansans since last October. The team has gathered input on the 50 year water vision from farmers, ranchers, municipalities, other water users, and other stakeholder groups. For more information about the Vision for Water in Kansas or to submit comments, visit www.kwo.org/50_Year_Vision/50_Year_Vision.htm
On April 11, in Manhattan, Kan., there will be a Joint Meeting of the Kansas Water Authority, Natural Resource Agencies and Stakeholders in Manhattan to further develop the draft of the Water Vision.
For more information about the Vision for Water in Kansas, visit www.kwo.org/50_Year_Vision/50_Year_Vision.htm
Original release on March 31 by agriculture.ks.gov
Principal Researcher: Dr. Robert Morrison, University of Minnesota
Summary: There are approximately 20 regional PRRS control and elimination projects in the United States in various stages of progress. Each project coordinator has his/her own approach to mapping swine production sites within a region. This project's goal was to develop a uniform and integrated mapping service that would be available for any regional coordinators to use. Oracle was used to develop the database, and ArcGIS was used to develop the map. Maps are viewed in either ArcReader or ArcGIS online. Participating regional projects included N212MN, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as well as a national PRRS incidence project involving 10 production systems, with a total of 300 sow sites and 1,000 grower sites. A common legend to classify PRRS status by site has been developed and is being promoted to all participating regions. We believe the mapping option serves the needs of the industry and is a valuable resource for the National Pork Board.
On March 24, the National Pork Producers Council thanked the Senate Environment Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly for standing with local Connecticut farmers by defeating a measure banning the use of gestation stalls, a safe and humane form of housing pregnant sows.
Proponents Friday attempted to add language outlawing gestation stalls – stripped earlier – to a bill establishing an animal care standards board. The attempt failed on a 15-9 vote after the committee heard from farmers from across the state that the ban would make criminals of farmers using humane farming practices.
The vast majority of the country’s hog farmers use gestation stalls to house pregnant sows because they allow for individualized care and eliminate aggression from other sows. The housing method is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows.
Defeat of the stall ban measure in Connecticut was the latest in a series of losses for animal-rights groups, which over the past few years have expended significant resources on the issue in several northeast states with no results. Led by the Humane Society of the United States, the groups have claimed such housing systems are inhumane to sows.
In voting against the measure, Environment Committee Co-Chair Linda Gentile said, “I absolutely resent the state of Connecticut being used as a political fundraising piece or leverage.”
“Farmers are learning how to stick up for themselves and to fight back against extremely well-funded activist groups that think they know better than farmers and veterinarians how to care for animals,” said Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, who is president of NPPC. “Hog farmers everywhere are appreciative of the level-headedness and compassion for family farmers Environment Committee members have shown on this issue.”
Original release on March 24 by nppc.org
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and leaders of the Kansas Agriculture industry gathered in the Kansas State Capital on Tuesday, March 25, to recognize the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives and to express gratitude for the donations to the 2014 Neighbor to Neighbor statewide food drive.
Your association, a sponsor for the food drive and event, joined the celebration and spent the day talking with visitors about today's Kansas pork farms and sharing recipe ideas.
Gov. Brownback noted that agriculture is the largest driver of the Kansas economy, contributing more than $35 billion dollars, or 25 percent of the state's economy. "Kansas farm and ranch families work tirelessly day after day to feed their fellow Kansans and others around the world," Gov. Brownback said. "I am proud to celebrate farm and ranch families today, on National Agriculture Day, thank you for your diligent hard work."
The Neighbor to Neighbor statewide food drive is a cooperative effort between the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Dillon's, Harvester's Community Food Network, Kansas Food Bank, Second Harvest Community Food Bank and many of the Kansas agriculture organizations. Food will be collected through the end of March with the goal of raising 100,000 meals for Kansans in need.
Ten years ago, you never dreamed of putting a picture of your breakfast on the Internet, or sharing your musings while you sit in traffic. And you couldn’t show the world videos of the funny tricks performed by your children or your dog.
Now you can, courtesy of social media outlets such as Facebook (founded in February 2004), YouTube (February 2005) and Twitter (March 2006), to name a few.
It didn’t take long for the social media phenomenon to sweep around the world, and while it is a global tool, it has local applications, making it ideal for an organization like the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) that supports U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports around the world, but tailors the message to each individual market.
“Social media is insanely popular and is incredibly powerful – and cost-effective – if used properly,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president of global marketing and communications. “USMEF’s marketing team around the world has adopted many of these tools for our use, timing our rollout of these tactics to keep us in step with the local conditions and, ideally, a step ahead of our competitors.”
Consider these facts about just a few of the leading social media channels:
USMEF has followed the launch of the key social media channels closely, often using them as an efficient method for attracting the attention of the youthful early adopters who also have an interest in high-quality red meat products. USMEF offices also have relied on social media when traditional channels were either too expensive or unwilling to carry positive messages about American products.
First steps in South Korea
In one of the most tech-savvy countries on earth, USMEF-South Korea led the way for the organization’s social media engagement in late 2007. Faced with 100,000 protesters in the streets of Seoul angry about the government’s decision to readmit U.S. beef after a BSE-related absence, the USMEF marketing team began cultivating independent food bloggers to write about the products when other media outlets wouldn’t even accept paid advertisements for fear of inspiring consumer boycotts.
“We had to communicate with consumers through a different channel than conventional media to turn around negative consumer sentiment,” said Min Park, USMEF-Korea public relations manager.”
To ensure that it did not arouse the potentially volatile Korean consumer base, USMEF waited until spring of 2013 before launching its Facebook presence. The most active social media site in Korea, Facebook is popular among consumers in the 20 to 29 age demographic, where 93.5 percent of consumers use a smart phone.
Twitter, on the other hand, is more of a news communications tool in Korea with postings on politics, religion and social issues, so it has not been a focus for the USMEF-Korea team.
The approach in Japan
The USMEF team in Japan, however, has adopted a broader range of social media tools in an environment that has been very receptive to U.S. red meat. As in Korea, bloggers were the first channel for USMEF to reach out to consumers in Japan, working closely with homemaker-communicators who found a niche with a very receptive audience.
“Bloggers are a very powerful tool,” said Tazuko Hijikata, senior manager of consumer affairs for USMEF-Japan. “We began working with several bloggers as long as six years ago, some of whom have 5,000 visitors reading their blogs every day.”
She noted that a single update to the “Enjoy Family Life” diary-style blog drew nearly 10,000 users to the USMEF website.
Hijikata’s team is planning several Facebook campaigns in the coming year, and also has taken advantage of a growing interest in Twitter, including a creative program to encourage consumers at Japanese restaurants that serve U.S. beef to invite their friends to join them. The Twitter campaign, which offered modest rewards of packages of U.S. beef as incentive, enticed more than 10,000 consumers to tweet their American beef dining plans to family and friends.
“When friends read the tweets, they see that someone they trust is publicly announcing that they are enjoying U.S. beef, which supports both the image of U.S. beef and the restaurant offering it on the menu,” said Hijikata.
Yet another channel, YouTube, is being utilized to post how-to videos for fresh meat preparation. One such video for U.S. pork garnered more than 245,000 views in one month.
The world’s biggest concentration of red meat consumers is rapidly evolving into the world’s social media hub, and USMEF-China is an active participant in the evolution. With the absence of U.S. beef from this market of 1.3 billion consumers, American pork is the focus of a diversified social media program.
“Social media has developed very fast and, as mobile devices become more and more popular, social media has quickly become one of the most important public relations tools in China,” said Joel Haggard, senior vice president for USMEF’s Asia-Pacific region. While Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are banned in China, the country remains very active in social media.
Educating distributors, chefs and gourmets was the original goal in China as USMEF began promoting cooking ideas, recipes and restaurant recommendations through the Weibo channel in late 2011, but that audience quickly grew to include consumers. The site took off in 2012 and with 77 percent growth over the past two years it now serves nearly 130 million active users. But, just as MySpace was eclipsed by Facebook in the U.S., Weibo has yielded its top spot among Chinese social media followers to Wechat, which claims an estimated 600 million users.
USMEF-China has utilized Wechat since mid-2013 much as it did Weibo earlier. USMEF-China also has developed its own U.S. Meat App for smart phones to provide consumer information and education.
Looking ahead, Haggard and his team are targeting restaurant ranking websites, such as Dianping.com, which younger consumers use in larger cities to determine where they want to dine. Promotions with websites of this nature can direct diners to restaurants that serve U.S. pork.
The European Union is a high-value market but not a large outlet for American exports, due largely to its powerful domestic pork industry and its beef quotas and restrictions on hormone use in cattle. The USMEF team in the EU, however, remains committed to sustaining a consistent profile for U.S. red meat products, with a current focus on beef since most U.S. pork going to the EU is destined for the processing sector.
Late in 2013, USMEF-EU launched its Facebook page, The Marbled Meat Club, to familiarize EU audiences – focusing on chefs and the food trade – with the quality attributes of U.S. red meat as well as cooking tips, pairings with wines and other helpful information. Similarly, USMEF-EU has an active presence on YouTube with instructional videos, such as this piece by celebrity chef Jay McCarthy on how to cut a prime rib.
“It is our long-term strategy to raise awareness of U.S. red meat in the trade and among chefs,” said Felipe Macias, USMEF representative based in Spain. “The EU is a big market of 28 countries, so we believe social media is the right tool to reach our target audience.”
The Middle East is an important export market for U.S. beef. The fourth-largest volume destination, including the top market (Egypt) for beef variety meat, the region also includes the United Arab Emirates, an up-and-coming destination for business travelers and tourists. It also is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world for social media use.
“Social networking is the most popular online activity across the Middle East and North Africa, with almost 90 percent of consumers reporting they use it daily,” said Amr Abd El Gliel, USMEF representative based in Cairo. “Facebook only opened its first Middle East office in May 2012, and already it’s the most popular social media site in the region.”
Social media’s popularity surged in the Arab Spring as a primary communications channel, and there are more than 90 million consumers in the region with Internet access – about 56 million of whom follow Facebook, according to socialbakers.com, a regional Internet analytics firm. USMEF recently launched its inaugural Middle East Facebook presence, and already boasts more than 115,000 “likes” for its helpful beef cooking and handling information.
“The current number of youth in the Middle East region is unprecedented – nearly 179 million,” said Amr. “Nearly one in three people living in the region is between the ages of 15 and 24, and it is the youth who are shaping the future of the consumer market. They are among our targets, along with chefs, retail meat case staff, homemakers, importers, distributors and retailers.”
Another more recent entry into the social media process is USMEF-Mexico, which launched its Facebook site just last month. As the overall use of the Internet – and more specifically of smart phones – is growing steadily, the Mexico team is making corporate chefs its initial target for new Facebook and Twitter initiatives.
Social media is gradually gaining momentum in this island nation, and while the domestic meat industry has not pursued social media channels, USMEF-Taiwan has had a Facebook presence for nearly four years, using the site to promote nutritional information, recipes and restaurants that carry U.S. red meat and cutting videos for the trade.
Beyond social media
While social media has proven an important and cost-effective tool, USMEF’s marketing teams are already looking at the next generation of Internet-based tools. The USMEF-China team has taken an aggressive approach. Earlier this month, it collaborated with China’s business-to-business market leader, TMall.com, to introduce eight U.S. pork items with guaranteed nationwide delivery in less than 48 hours. The site drew an enormous number of viewers in the first few hours of operation, and a USMEF promotion, sponsored through the Pork Checkoff, attracted more than 2,000 applications in the first hour for a chance to win samples of U.S. pork.
There are more than 600 million Chinese Internet users, up from 45 million in 2002, and the online population is growing about 4 percent per year, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. That creates a huge bulls-eye for Internet marketers. In fact, China’s TMall set a record last year when it sold $5.7 billion of goods and services in a single 24-hour period. The site sells brand-name goods from an estimated 70,000 global companies including Apple, Nike, Gap and Adidas.
“What we are seeing in China is the tip of the iceberg,” said Halstrom, who noted that a report by the Pew Research Center shows 37 percent of the population in China owns a smart phone, but there are other markets outside North America, the EU and the top Asian economies that also boast high smart phone usage, including Lebanon (45 percent), Chile (39 percent), Jordan (38 percent), Malaysia (31 percent) and Venezuela (31 percent).
“The future of food sales of all types, and red meat in particular, will be closely intertwined with the Internet and social marketing,” Halstrom said. “Every market reacts at its own pace, but they are all moving in the same direction.”
Original article by usmef.org
Experts gather to seek answers to costly disease
More than 60 people representing the U.S. and Canadian pork, feed and other allied industries recently participated in a meeting on the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) hosted by the National Pork Board, and in collaboration with the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the American Feed Industry Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Renderers Association and the North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers, in Des Moines, Iowa. Although the disease does not affect humans or pork safety, it has infected and killed millions of young pigs on farms of all sizes in 27 states since May 2013 and in four Canadian provinces since January.
"Our main goal was to bring a group of people together to help us agree on research needs related to PEDV and feed systems so that we can get answers to ongoing questions as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board. "We've been working on PEDV research and collaborating with all pork industry stakeholders since the disease was discovered here, and we'll continue doing that to get practical results for farmers to use to save their pigs."
The meeting participants, made up of producers, veterinarians, nutritionists, academics and government and association officials, also shared what's currently known about PEDV, including transmission routes, possible vectors and current testing limitations. The group reiterated that PEDV is not a human health or food safety issue and agreed the virus is of Asian origin genetically, but its direct pathway to North America remains unknown.
"The feed and ingredient associations appreciate the National Pork Board and pork industry for organizing this important roundtable discussion," said Richard Sellers, senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). "The research agenda outcome from the meeting is one we are optimistic will assist in investigating this devastating disease more in depth, helping to develop mitigation steps and communicating to those in our respective industries."
During the day-long session, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offered information about the agency's pathways analysis that seeks to identify and describe pathways that exotic viral pathogens of swine may enter the country. The Canadian participants shared their PEDV experiences and actions taken this year, and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians presented its initial survey of early PEDV cases. In addition, participants learned results of veterinary investigations in several states and heard what the feed, feed ingredient and rendering industries are doing to enhance their biosecurity programs and mitigate risk.
"After taking all of this information into consideration, the group agreed that there are multiple ways for pigs to become infected via a fecal-oral route, including environmental, transportation, feed systems and other vectors," Sundberg said.
The top research priorities agreed upon by the group are: 1) to investigate the effectiveness and cost of treatments that could be used to mitigate the survival of PEDV and other viruses in feeds, 2) to conduct contamination risk assessments at all steps within the feed processing and delivery chain, 3) to develop a substitute for the currently used swine bioassay procedures and 4) to continue to investigate the risk of feed and other pathways for pathogen entry into the U.S.
"If feed is a factor in the transfer of PEDV, based on past research we know that there are specific time and temperature combinations that should inactivate the virus," Sundberg said. "However, there are many variables that can affect feed, including post-processing contamination, which is another area that must be carefully controlled even if inactivation occurs."
David Fairfield, vice president of feed services for the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), said, "This meeting illustrates the ongoing commitment that all participants in the pork industry have in eliminating PEDV. The dialogue was constructive and transparent, and facilitated a better understanding on what is known and not known about the disease. NGFA believes the feed-related research priorities identified during the meeting are appropriate and will provide important information that can be used as part of a comprehensive strategy to eradicate PEDV."
To date, the Pork Checkoff has funded 17 PEDV-related research projects totaling nearly $1.7 million. The Institute for Feed Research and Education, AFIA's foundation, has pledged $100,000 toward PEDV research.
AFIA's Sellers added, "To show our dedication, industry groups are committing resources and funding to the research effort and will continue to communicate updates to those affected in order to minimalize further effects."
Original release on March 24 by pork.org
The Pork Act Delegate assembly met March 6-8 in Kansas City, Mo. One hundred fifty-six delegates, appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack., traveled from across the country to represent pork producers and importers who sell pork products in the United States.
The duties of a delegate include nominating members to serve on the National Pork Board; establishing how much of the Pork Checkoff is returned to state pork organizations; and providing direction on the pork promotion, research and consumer information priorities funded by the Pork Checkoff.
Advisements and resolutions passed by the Pork Act Delegate include:
• COMM #1: Communication Terms
MOTION: The National Pork Board shall continue to research and identify trends in consumer friendly language, and develop and distribute new and existing resources which communicate universal messaging proven to resonate positively and effectively with consumers throughout the entire pork chain. An emphasis should be placed on animal care practices.
• COMM #2: WE CARE®
MOTION: NPPC and NPB shall continue and enhance the efforts to share the story of pork producer’s commitment to socially responsible pork production. These efforts should include the WE CARE initiative, Channel Outreach to retailers and food service companies, and participation in the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance which is working to build consumer trust. Further, NPPC and NPB shall solicit financial support from others in the food chain for these efforts.
• ST #1: Animal Handling and Welfare Assurance Programs
MOTION: The National Pork Board in cooperation with the National Pork Producers Council shall continue to develop and then introduce a new standardized program for animal handling, welfare assurance and production assurance.
• ST #2: Group Identification at the Packing Plant
MOTION: The National Pork Board shall work with researchers and packing plant personnel to explore alternative identification practices that limit stress on the animal and streamline the unloading process at the packing plant.
• ST #3: Feed Ingredient Handling
MOTION: The National Pork Board shall work with researchers and feed ingredient providers to develop practices and management techniques to reduce or eliminate potential contaminates from the feed supply system.
• ST #4: Swine Health Surveillance Date
MOTION: The National Pork Board, in cooperation with the National Pork Producers Council, shall draft plans for funding and building the infrastructure needed to collect and manage swine health surveillance data through:
1. an industry-driven and directed program housed with the National Pork Board; or
2. an industry funded third party entity housed independently of the National Pork Board; or
3. a state-federal-industry program cooperatively funded and managed.
• ST #5: Support Use of Effective Methods to Stimulate Protective Immunity
MOTION: NPPC/NPB supports use of all effective methods to stimulate protective immunity against enteric pathogens, including “feedback” which is related to the human medical practice of coprophagy. Most recently these enteric pathogens include PED virus.
Original release on March 20 by pork.org
The National Pork Board today honored four farms as recipients of the Pork Industry Environmental Stewards Award at the annual National Pork Industry Forum. The award, now in its 20th year, recognizes producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and to serving their local communities.
The award recipients are:
"These forward-thinking Stewards focus on innovative solutions and ideas on their farms. They are great representatives of thousands of pork producers who work every day to protect our environment and to be good neighbors in their communities," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. "We are pleased to honor them at our annual meeting as pork producers who are raising high-quality pork for customers while adhering to the industry's We CareSM ethical principles."
The Pork Checkoff honors the Stewards with a cash award, a plaque, a video and coverage in thePork Checkoff Reportmagazine. The Stewards also are featured inNational Hog Farmermagazine, co-sponsor of the Environmental Stewards program.
The Environmental Steward award winners were selected by judges representing pork producers and environmental organizations. The judges reviewed applications from pork producers who are committed to upholding the ideal relationship between pork production and the environment. Their operations were evaluated on their manure management systems, water and soil conservation practices, odor-control strategies, farm aesthetics and neighbor relations, wildlife habitat promotion, innovative ideas used to protect the environment and an essay on the meaning of environmental stewardship.
The National Pork Board is receiving applications and nominations now for the 2014 Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award winners. The deadline is March 31. More information, as well as applications, can be found online at pork.org, or by calling (800) 456-7675.
Original release on March 10 by pork.org.
If every state had an official meat, what would it be?
Americans love meat. In fact, we eat more of it per capita than almost any other country in the world. (Luxembourg has us beat by about 31 pounds per person per year. La vache!)
So it’s surprising that only four states—Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Texas—name meaty dishes among their official state foods. And Maryland doesn’t really count—its state food is the blue crab, which is more like an edible bug than a meat. Thankfully, Oklahoma picks up the slack by having three carnivorous state meals—barbecued pork, chicken-fried steak, and sausages with gravy. But still! That’s only five meats, and one crustacean, representing the entire meat-eating country. Meanwhile, the list of U.S. state foods contains approximately 30 fruits (seven of which are apples—boring), 20 vegetables, and five muffins. Now, I know fruits, vegetables, and muffins are delicious. But surely they play a smaller role in our national food culture than brisket, hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, and barbecued pork.
Many Missourians will no doubt be upset by the allocation of burnt ends—the tough edges of smoked brisket that are smoked a second time to become “nuggets of barbecue gold”—to Kansas. Granted, burnt ends are best known as a Kansas City, Mo., treat. But (brace yourself for a confusing string of state names) many barbecue connoisseurs say that the best burnt ends are served at Oklahoma Joe’s, a joint based in Kansas City, Kan., not Kansas City, Mo. Oklahoma Joe’s has been called “the best barbecue in the world” by none other than Anthony Bourdain, and Slate’s ownbarbecue expert, David Plotz, says that “OK Joe’s burnt ends are FANTASTIC.” Since Oklahoma Joe’s is on the Kansas side of the border, Kansas gets burnt ends on a technicality.
The National Pork Board honored Maynard Hogberg, Ph.D., as the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award on March 8. Hogberg is professor and chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University.
The award was presented during the National Pork Industry Forum, the industry's annual business meeting. The award is given annually to recognize the lifelong contribution to the pork industry by an outstanding leader.
"Dr. Hogberg has provided extraordinary leadership to the pork industry," said Sam Hines, Michigan Pork Producers Association executive vice president. "He has brought segments of the industry together to find sustainable solutions that have benefited pork producers nationwide."
Hogberg began his career at Michigan State University, where he was a professor and led the development of swine Extension activities. He eventually went on to serve as the chair of the Department of Animal Science. While at Michigan State, he helped grow the state's pork industry by working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture to create Generally Accepted Management Practices for manure nutrient management.
Hogberg was instrumental in the creation of the National Swine Registry. He, along with others, realized that the breed associations were stronger together than apart. In addition to the creation of the National Swine Registry, Hogberg's vision to engage youth in swine production led to the creation of the National Junior Swine Association, which strives to inspire young people to pursue careers in the pork industry.
Following his time at Michigan State University, Dr. Hogberg became professor and chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University.
"Through his tireless efforts, he took an already strong and highly regarded curriculum to new heights," said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. "Among many accomplishments, he spearheaded construction of the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, a premier place for students to gain hands-on experience in animal science."
"Throughout the pork industry, Dr.Hogberg is known for his positive collaboration, commitment to excellence and responsiveness to addressing the needs and concerns of all," Hines said
Original release on March 10 by pork.org
KPA statement: The Wichita Eagle recently highlighted the Kansas Feral Swine Control Program. The KPA has worked for several years to secure state funding for the program. The Kansas pork industry has also provided funding for landowner education on the risks associated with allowing feral swine to thrive on their property. The online article includes several photos of the program at work. These include methods of control, but also highlight the disease surveillance that is part of the program’s function.
Kansas battle to reduce feral hog population seems to be working
Tom Berding remembers when crop damage by feral hogs was a dominant conversation in rural Cowley County.
A few years ago, one farmer had to re-plant 40 acres of corn after wild pigs ate the seed. Another lost acres of soybeans to ravenous herds. The damage totaled thousands of dollars per farmer.
No more. Berding has gone from having herds in his driveway to not seeing even a track for more than a year.
“That’s all good news,” he said. “They’re no longer a topic of conversation in the coffee shops.”
That’s because Kansas continues to be one of the nation’s most aggressive states at eradicating feral swine, which can also carry diseases that have been transferred to livestock, pets and humans. To insure parts of the state stays feral pig-free, Kansas-based biologists are also hammering wild hog populations just south of the Oklahoma border.
“I knew where they were coming from,” Curran Salter, a U.S. Department of Agriculture biologist said of Cowley County’s pig problem. “I approached my supervisor and said we could wait to get overrun, or we could take the fight to them in Oklahoma.”
So far, the fight seems one-sided.
Last year Salter, head of a multi-agency group working on feral hog eradication, and crews killed about 90 in Cowley County via trapping, night shooting and aerial gunning from helicopters. Last month in the same area they killed just one, and Salter said it was the first he’d seen in the region for a year.
He credits that to killing 180 feral hogs just below the Oklahoma border last year. The tally is much higher already in 2014.
Last month, after killing that lone boar in Kansas, the helicopter crew shotgunned about 125 pigs in about three hours in Oklahoma. Most were within six miles of the border. Salter said some of those pigs, or their hundreds of offspring that would have come within a few months, could have ended up in Kansas.
Biologists in other states applaud Kansas’ actions.
A U.S.D.A. helicopter works to turn part of a herd of about 80 feral pigs just south of the Kansas/Oklahoma border so an aerial gunner can eliminate the herd. It's estimated feral pigs cause at least $200 annually, per animal, in agricultural damages. They also carry diseases that can be fatal to humans, pets and livestock. Photo credit: Michael Pearce/The Wichita Eagle
Now is the time
“If you don’t take those aggressive steps, in 30 years you’ll look like us, and this thing is out of control, “ said Mike Bodenchuk, a Texas-based USDA biologist in charge of combating the state’s estimated 2.6 million feral pigs. “We’re a shining example of what can go wrong.”
By some models, Texas’ feral swine cause more than $500 million in damages to the state’s agriculture.
Bodenchuk, widely seen as one of America’s top feral swine experts, says Kansas isn’t alone in dealing with the expansion of wild hogs.
The original product of domestic herds gone wild over the centuries, he said America’s feral hog range has expanded from about 17 states 20 years ago to about 40 states currently. Most of the spread has more to do with highways than hooves.
Both biologists blame hunters wanting to establish feral hog populations near their homes for the spread. Live-trapped wild pigs can be purchased in Texas and other places.
“That’s why you often see populations suddenly jump up on public hunting areas,” Salter said. “The guys who release them know they’ll always have easy access to the pigs.”
Kansas threw a wrench into that concept about seven years ago, when USDA biologists and the Kansas Department of Agriculture urged the state to make it illegal to transport feral hogs in Kansas. They also banned all but landowners from sport hunting wild swine, too. Bodenchuk said they’re smart moves.
“You can’t barbecue your way out of the problem, “ he said of sport hunting pigs. Salter said there’s no proof sport hunting has successfully managed a feral hog population.
Over about the past 15 years, Salter said 11 significant feral hog populations have popped up in Kansas. One of the first was on Fort Riley. That’s about when feral swine started in the Red Hills region, near Medicine Lodge.
Without hunters scattering the pigs, Salter and other biologists were eventually able to remove large numbers with baited traps. Many more were killed with specially trained helicopter crews. About 1,000 were killed in the Red Hills.
“It took us four or five years to get that one cleaned up because they were really widespread,” Salter said. “But for all practical purposes that population is gone. Except for a couple of lone boars, people down there haven’t seen a pig in several years.”
Other populations, scattered from border to border have been eliminated. Salter said the lone exception is in a Bourbon County in southeast Kansas, where some landowners desire feral pigs so they can hunt them with dogs. They won’t allow trapping or aerial gunning on those lands.
“As long as that’s going on the pigs are always going to have a refuge,” Salter said. “All we can do is work the pigs around the refuge area to keep it from getting totally out of control.”
Outside that area, he credits nearly 100-percent landowner cooperation for helping the Kansas project kill about 4,000 feral swine in the past several years.
With about 250 pigs, he thinks the Bourbon County herd is the only significant breeding population left in Kansas. Had it not been for the aggressive measures, Bodenchuk and Salter think the Kansas population would noq total more than 10,000 feral swine, and double every few years.
Pigs from neighboring states
Salter said the war on feral swine in Kansas will probably never be over.
A few river and creek areas leading from Oklahoma and Missouri into southeast Kansas are already on his radar as places where more pigs could arrive. About 15 were trapped this winter near the Little Caney River in Montgomery County, tight against the Oklahoma border.
Salter is proud of how things have gone in Cowley County, and across the border in Kay County, Okla. It’s a cooperative effort of USDA staff and wildlife departments from both states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and many landowners and volunteers, like Berding, who has been helping run traps that have caught up to 42 pigs at a time.
Along with the recent trapping, the late February aerial gunning in the region killed about 300 feral pigs in Oklahoma. About 80 were shot in one pasture about six miles south of the border. Many were near where an Oklahoma farmer lost about 20 acres of wheat in a single night this winter.
Many of the pigs were on the public hunting area of Kaw Reservoir where hunters in Oklahoma, which still allows sport hunting, had pushed pigs into Kansas in the past.
For years on a tight annual budget of about $200,000, paid for by USDA, Kansas and some livestock groups, Salter recently learned his agency could be putting significantly more funding into controlling feral swine. That could mean added personnel afield and considerable more helicopter time, which could help locate, and eradicate, new populations while they are still small.
Spencer Grace, an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation game warden who has been deeply involved with the project, is optimistic the program is working.
He said the local herd appears to be an isolated population that ends about eight miles into Oklahoma, meaning eradication could be possible. Grace estimates recent trapping and flights killed a high percentage of swine in the area.
“They had a big hog hunting competition last weekend and they had a total of one pig killed in Kay County,” he said “I know we’re putting a pretty good hurting on them.”
Original article released on March 9 at www.kansas.com.
Recent publicity has led to questions about the potential role of spray-dried porcine plasma and porcine red cells in the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV). An investigation in Canada, using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, did identify PEDV in a sample of porcine blood plasma that had been processed into swine feed. However, a PCR test can only identify the virus' presence — not whether it's capable of causing disease.
The North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers points out that based on current scientific evidence, properly sourced, collected and processed porcine blood and porcine blood products are safe and do not contribute to the spread of PEDV. For more details, click here.
Original release by pork.org.
Scientific testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has not been able to confirm a link between hog feed containing blood plasma and porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) cases in Canada.
In mid-February, CFIA conducted a bioassay study on U.S.-origin porcine blood plasma used in feed pellets produced by Grand Valley Fortifiers and determined that the porcine blood plasma in question contained PED virus capable of causing disease in pigs.
However, in its pursuing investigation the agency could not demonstrate that the feed pellets containing the blood plasma were capable of causing the disease. Among other things, the CFIA investigation included sampling and testing of feed, plasma and other feed ingredients from various Canadian and U.S. sources associated with farms in Canada on which PED has been detected. All test results on these samples were negative for PED.
CIFA said it will continue to analyze feed and feed ingredients, as well as epidemiological information gathered during the investigation. In addition, CFIA said it will examine any new lines of enquiry related to feed that may emerge, in particular from ongoing testing in Canada and the US.
The feed investigation was triggered Feb. 9, after Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Food (OMAF) testing found that U.S.-origin porcine blood plasma used in feed pellets produced by Grand Valley Fortifiers contained PED virus genetic material. As a precautionary measure, Grand Valley Fortifiers voluntarily withdrew the potentially affected feed pellets from the marketplace.
Samples of both the feed pellets and the porcine blood plasma ingredient were submitted to CFIA's National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) for further testing. It was confirmed that both the blood plasma and the feed pellets contained PED virus genetic material; however, the bioassay study was required to confirm if this genetic material could cause illness in pigs.
CFIA has been closely monitoring the emergence of PED since the first cases were reported in the U.S. in May 2013. The agency said will continue to collaborate with provinces and territories to support their response to PED in Canada.
PED can spread rapidly through contact with sick animals, as well as through people's clothing, hands, equipment, boots, and other tools contaminated with the feces of infected animals. Therefore, considering the characteristics of PED virus and how it spreads, adhering to good biosecurity protocols remains the best measure to prevent further introduction or spread of this disease in Canada.
The PED virus poses no risk to human health or food safety.
Original release on March 4 by feedstuffsfoodlink.com
New funding, research and collaboration will focus on mitigating loss and impact to pork supply
The National Pork Board has announced additional funds earmarked for research in the fight against the further spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), which was first identified in the United States last May. The funds - $650,000 through supplemental funding approved by the Pork Checkoff at last week's Board meeting and $500,000 through a new agreement with Genome Alberta, will provide new opportunities for research.
"This has become one of the most serious and devastating diseases our pig farmers have faced in decades," said Karen Richter, a Minnesota producer and president of the National Pork Board. "While it has absolutely no impact on food safety, it has clear implications for the pork industry in terms of supplying pork to consumers. Our No. 1 priority is to address PEDV."
Additionally, the Pork Checkoff announced a new collaboration with a number of industry players, including the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the American Feed Industry Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Renderers Association and the North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Protein Producers, which is made up of five member-companies throughout the United States and Canada.
Working together, this project will align swine, feed and veterinary groups to bring an even higher level of collaboration in the fight against the disease. Now active in some parts of Canada, PEDV continues to cause a heavy loss of piglets on farms across the United States.
"I am hopeful others will join our coordinated effort to specifically define risks and share information to contain the further spread of PEDV," said Richter. The new effort was announced during the annual National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City this past weekend.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, PEDV has surfaced in 26 states. Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics and a Pork Checkoff consultant, estimates the loss of more than 5 million piglets in the past several months, with 1.3 million lost in January alone.
"Losses of this magnitude will ultimately have a consumer impact through a reduction in supply," Meyer said. "Some pork supply will be made up through producing higher market-weight hogs and through other loss mitigation actions, but today we are already seeing summer pork futures climb to record levels."
Part of the Checkoff's supplemental funding of $650,000 will be used for feed-related research to better understand the potential role feed may play in PEDV transmission. Also, a portion of the funding will be used to identify ways to increase sow immunity and to better understand transmission and biosecurity risks. This brings the current level of Checkoff-funded research to approximately $1.7 million since June 2013.
"That investment will be centered on further containing PEDV with a specific focus on feed research and related issues, building the immunity of breeding herds and biosecurity measures," said Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of Science and Technology at the National Pork Board.
In a related move, Genome Alberta is cooperating with the National Pork Board to identify research gaps in understanding PEDV and stem its spread. Genome Albert has committed approximately $500,000 toward a coordinated U.S./Canadian effort and is seeking additional funds from Canadian, provincial and regional agencies.
Every two weeks, the Pork Checkoff publishes thePEDV Updatenewsletter with some of the latest information and resources available. All Checkoff-funded PEDV-related materials are available at pork.org/pedv.
Original release on March 11 by pork.org.
A new online commercial pork site opened this week and operated by China’s business-to-consumer market leader, TMall.com, is promising nationwide delivery of eight U.S. pork items within 24 to 48 hours at discounts ranging up to 60 percent during a site-opening seven-day sale.
The new e-commerce platform attracted more than 400,000 viewers within the first few hours of operation, and a USMEF-organized promotion to win a sample of American pork drew more than 2,000 applications in the first hour. Support for the promotion is being provided through the Pork Checkoff.
The U.S. pork items, ranging from pre-cut bone-in pork butt steak to pork belly, are being offered to Chinese consumers nationwide. The products are sourced from three U.S. processors and are being sold through three specialized distributors who can deliver the frozen ready-to-cook items nationwide in under 48 hours.
The site provides a range of information on U.S. pork and the available products. A link allows shoppers to view a video on U.S. pork production, while other specific information about the brands and the distributors selling the products provide assurances and a “ten-fold money back guarantee” regarding the U.S. source of the products.
Three guest chefs, including Hong Kong celebrity gourmet Chef Hugo (Liang Wen Tao) and the chef to the U.S. ambassador to China, provided recipes, photos and instructional videos for the promotion.
“Online commerce is growing in China at a phenomenal rate,” said Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia-Pacific region. “Food is still a small portion of total online sales, but consumers are becoming more accepting of receiving courier packages of food, including frozen perishables like meat.”
U.S. pork has been available online in China prior to this activity, but the dedicated sales platform represents a new breakthrough in online visibility, Haggard said. Online shoppers are looking for the latest brands, and are interested in the story behind the products, so the partnership with TMall will also help USMEF educate Chinese consumers about the attributes of U.S. pork.
USMEF has been investing in building up U.S. pork’s online sales potential for nearly a year. Early efforts focused on assisting online vendors with ideas and expertise on how to improve packaging so that the geographical footprint of product shipments could expand. In the meantime, investments in logistics in China have ramped up, including a project by TMall’s parent company, Ali Baba, to build its own logistical capabilities.
“We are very attracted to the online model,” Haggard said. “We see sales results instantaneously and, for this particular promotion, we stand to receive more than 1,000 detailed customer comments on U.S. pork.”
Revenue from e-commerce in China last year reached an estimated $290 billion, an increase of 38 percent over 2012. TMall is the largest business-to-consumer e-commerce platform in China, with 57 percent market share. It set a record last year for Singles Day (Nov. 11) when it sold $5.7 billion of goods and services in a 24-hour period. Logistics companies throughout China that day sorted more than 60 million packages. TMall was also featured at the USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum last month, where participants heard an eye-opening presentation on the company and the current and potential sales of U.S. food products through their USA Country Pavilion.
The TMall promotion’s various components were coordinated by USMEF Shanghai’s team over the last few weeks.
“This involved an incredible coordinating effort among our staff between TMall staff, U.S. processors, their distributors and the guest chefs featured on the site,” said Haggard.
The China/Hong Kong region was the third-largest export market for U.S. pork in 2013, purchasing 417,306 metric tons (920 million pounds) valued at $903.4 million, an increase of 2 percent in value on 3 percent lower volumes versus 2012 levels.
Original release by usmef.org
U.S. pig farmers find optimism even though concerns over hog health and disease rank as a top concern, according to the results of a survey released this week at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, Mo. The survey, fielded late in 2013, found 30 percent of producers said hog health and disease was the single biggest challenge they faced. This result is not surprising given Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) continues to impact farms across the country.
"In a year that brought significant herd losses due to PEDV, the survey underscores that the issue is still top of mind for many producers," said Karen Richter, National Pork Board president and a producer from Montgomery, Minn. "But with this concern comes opportunity for the Pork Checkoff, with 27 percent of producers also saying that the Checkoff was best positioned to fund additional research into PEDV."
At 27 percent, providing PEDV research ranked first from a defined list of choices when asked"How can the Checkoff help you in 2014?"However, that direction changes slightly when those surveyed were asked to fill-in their own blank.
When asked the open-ended question of "What is the single most important thing the Pork Checkoff can do to help your operation be more successful?, six of 12 answers related to marketing pork. Advertising and promoting pork ranked No. 1 at 23 percent, followed by educating consumers about the safety of pork at 12 percent. Additional marketing-related concerns included improving export and international trade potential, increasing demand, opening more markets to pork and improving the sale price of hogs.
The challenging events of the past year also may have served to unite the industry in a focused direction. According to the survey results, three of every four producers surveyed (75 percent of the 550 respondents) reported that the pork industry is on the "right track." Not only is that result the highest in survey history, but is up 16 points from the 2012 result of 59 percent.
"This is a very strong result," said Richter. "Producers are satisfied, and whether you run a small, family farm or are part of a larger organization, there is a sense of optimism - especially among producers age 18 to 54. That says a lot about the future of our industry."
Of the 13 percent of producers that said the industry was headed in the wrong direction, the most commonly reported reason was related to competition, too much regulation, the inability to turn a profit and disease problems. Only 6 percent of those surveyed blamed their lack of optimism on "disease."
Image of pork industry also seen as improving
Another indicator that things are looking up is that, in general, those pig farmers surveyed believe that the consumers' image of their work has improved, up 6 percentage points from last year. A total of 56 percent of producers surveyed said that consumer image is positive, with only 21 percent saying the image is negative.
At 56 percent, this positive perception among producers is the second highest in each of the last five years of the survey, and up from 50 percent in 2012. Likewise, producers feel that negative impressions have decreased - from 24 percent in 2012 to 21 percent in 2013 - a positive change of three percentage points.
Record-high approval of the Pork Checkoff
A final indicator of producer optimism is support of the Pork Checkoff. According to the 2013 survey, 87 percent of producers, the highest level on record, said that they support the Checkoff, with only 6 percent in opposition. The remaining producers either were neutral in their support or did not know how to respond.
"In my opinion, this is a vote of confidence in the steps we take every day to promote pork and provide valuable research to our producers," said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "The difference of 81 points separating support from opposition is the highest in the survey's 12-year history. It is to a point that it will be difficult to improve upon this score, but we'll continue to work hard to earn the trust and confidence of all producers."
Original release on March 6 by pork.org
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