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NAFTA a Clear Roadmap for Agricultural Export Benefits of Free Trade Agreements

The 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) gives us the opportunity to look back on this pivotal international trade agreement and evaluate its effect and benefits.

While assessments of NAFTA’s impact will vary industry by industry, the United States’ pork industry has seen clear benefits from the expansion of trade opportunities with both Canada and Mexico.  Both countries were envisioned to be leading export destinations for U.S. pork when NAFTA was approved, and each has grown at a substantial rate since its passage.

Over the past 20 years, U.S. pork production also increased dramatically – up nearly one-third while consumption grew just 1%.  For that reason, exports have been the key to growth in U.S. pork production. Over that time span, U.S. pork exports grew from just 3% of production to about 26%, including variety meat.

U.S. pork exports to Mexico and Canada have increased steadily over the past two decades, from less than $190 million in value to more than $2 billion last year – more than a 10-fold upswing.  Due to dramatic differences between the U.S. and Mexican pork industries, it took a few years for exports to Mexico to gain momentum, but exports took off in 2000 and neared $1.2 billion in 2013, marking six consecutive years of record-breaking export values.

Former U.S. Meat Export Federation-Mexico Director Homero Recio, who now serves as president of Agri-West International, Inc., was front and center as NAFTA took effect in Mexico.  He notes that the traditional wet markets dominated the Mexican protein market in the early 1990s, accounting for roughly two-thirds of all fresh pork sales.  Pork was sold primarily from the carcass rather than the standardized cuts familiar to U.S. consumers.

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What the U.S. pork industry brought to Mexico was a quality product produced consistently and with an emphasis on food safety.  While pork has always been popular in Mexico, its reputation called for pork to be “cooked well-done, and then cooked some more,” according to Recio.  Part of USMEF’s educational process was to show that pork could be prepared safely and still be juicy and delicious.

There is still room for expansion as Mexico’s per-capita pork consumption remains relatively low.  While modern supermarkets are growing in popularity, wet markets are still an important outlet for fresh meat.  At the same time, Mexico’s domestic pork production, growing 41%, has not been able to keep pace with the booming demand. 

While Mexico’s importance as an export market for U.S. pork continues to grow, the Mexican pork industry is seeing its own NAFTA benefits.  Mexico’s pork exports to the United States have grown from a minimal annual value to about $25 million.

For Canada, exports to its NAFTA partners grew from less than $450 million to more than $1.17 billion in 2013, with the United States as its top export market. Although the United States is a net importer of pork from Canada, U.S. exports have been growing steadily and set a record at $856 million in 2012, and ended just shy of that record in 2013. This growth has been impressive considering that Canada’s pork consumption has actually declined slightly over the past 20 years while production grew more than 60%.

Canada’s pork exports are diversified and domestic production growth has been driven by export growth to Asia and Russia as well as to North America. Canada exports about 68% of its pork production without accounting for live hog exports. 

On the live hog side, the U.S. and Canadian industries became increasingly integrated as imports of Canadian hogs grew steadily from less than one million head in 1994 to 10 million in 2007, falling more recently to about five million head.  

Looking Ahead: TPP and TTIP

The United States is currently engaged in discussions for two free trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP – 12 countries including our NAFTA partners, Japan, Australia, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) as well as the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP – with the European Union).    The United States already has FTAs with all TPP member countries except Japan, Vietnam and New Zealand.  Thus the negotiations with Japan, the largest value market for U.S. pork, are the most critical. 

The EU does not currently import significant volumes of pork, but TTIP could provide new opportunities.  Composed of 28 countries with just 7% of the world’s population, the EU accounts for about 20% of global imports and exports, and is the second-largest pork-consuming region in the world. 

If there is one important lesson for us to take away from the NAFTA experience, it is the benefit the domestic pork industry (as well as other industries) receive from our enhanced ability to export products to the broadest possible range of international markets.  Agriculture is one of the few areas of the U.S. economy that has a positive balance of trade – a $37 billion surplus in FY 2013 – and it supports nearly 1.2 million American jobs.  Expanding our ability to export through free trade agreements has a very direct, beneficial impact on the U.S. economy.

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Farm Animal Care Coalition Celebrates First Anniversary

 

In its first of operation, the statewide network of farmers, animal well-being experts, veterinarians and industry leaders known as the Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition (IFAC) responded to a wide-ranging series of farmer and consumer questions about farm animal care in Iowa through its (800) 252-0577 help line or at www.iowafarmanimalcare.org in its first year of operation.

IFAC was formed in 2013 to answer Iowans’ questions about farm animal care and assist farmers with resources to help ensure all Iowa farm animals benefit from the latest science-based standards.

“In the inaugural year of IFAC, we received 15 calls ranging from farmers seeking advice to neighbors or people just driving by a farm wanting to know more about animals being raised outdoors in inclement weather,” says IFAC Executive Director Denny Harding. “We have had farmers, sheriffs and veterinarians all weighing in on these questions and providing excellent follow-up and assistance as needed.”

IFAC was modeled after Canada’s 20-year-old Alberta Farm Animal Care program, which has grown in scope to handle hundreds of calls a year.

“Consumers have a lot of questions about where their food comes from, so it’s nice to have this resource available to them,” Harding says. “But it’s good to know they’re finding us, because until IFAC, there wasn’t a centralized place where Iowans could go to find out about how farm animals respond to extremes in climate like the cold temperatures we’re seeing now, or how diverse Iowa’s livestock farms really are. Now, they can call if they see something they don’t understand or just to learn more about how responsible livestock farmers care for their animals.”

In addition to providing information on farm animal care to consumers and referrals to farmers, IFAC also provides access to animal care experts who specialize in many aspects of animal care, including animal science experts and veterinarians from Iowa State University’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Iowa State Veterinarian office at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). This independent team of experts makes up the On-Farm Evaluation Team and specializes in performing voluntary on-site evaluations to ensure appropriate farm animal care is being given.

IFAC has a four-person Advisory Committee including Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Animal Rescue League of Iowa Executive Director Tom Colvin, State of Iowa Veterinarian David Schmitt, and Iowa State Sheriff and Deputy Association President Jerry Dunbar.

IFAC is a collaborative effort including farmers from the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

For more information about IFAC or farm animal care in Iowa, visit www.iowafarmanimalcare.org or call (800) 252-0577.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Driving Positive Pork Demand?

What’s Driving Positive Pork Demand?

In the past when I have posed the question “What is happening to demand?” it has almost always been in a bad connotation.  The wording would usually have better been “What the #*!):?! is happening to demand?”  You’ve been there, right?

Well the same question now is posed in a much more pleasant atmosphere and seeks a much more positive answer.  Pork demand – and, more broadly, meat and poultry demand – has been on a roll through November, the last month for which complete data are available. 

Figure 1 shows the now-familiar demand indexes for the four major species.  Observations for years prior to 2013 reflect full year-on-year changes. The last observation for each series represents the 12-month period ending in November 2013.  I do that because there is considerable seasonality in these indexes and using a 12-month running figure includes, by definition, an observation for every month.  If we just included a year-to-date index for the last observation, it would be skewed due to it representing only a portion of a year’s seasonal pattern. 

As can be seen, 2013 was a good year through November.  If these numbers stand for the entire year, pork demand will enjoy its best year since 1998. (It’s hard to believe, but that financially disastrous year for pork producers was a good one for pork demand).  Chicken will have its best year since 2002 and beef will have its best since 2004.  Only turkey saw demand soften through November and that change was only 1%.

Why the strength?  I think that is a very, very good question.  Recall first that demand is not quantity – it is the set of quantities that consumers will buy at alternative prices.  Or, conversely, the set of prices that sellers can command for alternative quantities of product placed on the market.  Both involve a whole set of price-quantity pairs.  Changing the quantity of a product placed on the market does not change demand.  It simply determines what the price will be.  And conversely, changing the price does not change demand, it simply determines what quantity consumers will buy.  These converse statements are applicable depending on what the decision variable is – quantity or price.  The decision variable in meat and poultry markets is quantity as producers decide just how much product will be placed on the market at any given point in time.

 

 

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So what determines the set of price-quantity pairs that constitute demand?  Four things, three of which are significant.  And how might they be impacting demand this year?

1.     Consumer incomes – People can buy only as much as their incomes will allow them to buy.  Purchases of most goods (called “normal” goods) increase as income grows and decrease as it falls.  Higher demand for meat can be the result of rising incomes.  In fact, we know that income of consumers in China, for instance, is a driver of export demand for U.S. pork.  But the amount of money that U.S. consumers have after inflation and after they pay their taxes - - ie. real disposable per capita income – has seen NO GROWTH since June 2008. Further, the average year-on-year growth rate for 2013 through November is 0.4%.  So higher demand is not being driven by robust incomes.

2.     Prices of substitute (ie. competitor) goods.  But what if prices of all substitutes are higher?  REAL retail beef prices grew by 4.6% from January-November  2013.  REAL pork prices increased 3.2%.  REAL chicken prices gained 2.7%.  REAL turkey prices fell by 0.2%.  I emphasize “REAL” in those statements to highlight that these are deflated prices, meaning that consumers have been willing to pay even more for beef, chicken and pork, than they have had to pay for all other goods (ie. the inflation rate).  Turkey has about kept pace.  Further, the indexes indicate that in the cases of those species, those price increases are LARGER than would have been caused by changes in the supplies of the products. 

3.     Prices of complement goods.  Theoretically, the demand for pork should be impacted by the price of barbecue sauce or applesauce or any other good that is considered to complement the use of pork.  Ditto for beef and the price of baking potatoes, perhaps, or chicken and the price of dumpling mix (okay, I’m reaching on that one but you get my drift). Practically, though, these items are never statistically significant in demand research so I include them here as an academic courtesy to the profession and to prove to Drs. Leftwich, Lapan and others that I was listening at least part of the time.

4.     Tastes and preferences. The “economic speak” term that encompasses consumers’ individual and collective viewpoints about the desirability, or lack thereof, of a product.  Flavor, versatility, religious restrictions, time of year, traditions and much more play into how consumers make their ultimate buying decisions.  Tastes and preferences are the target of advertising and public relations campaigns – both for and against meat consumption.

So what is the sum of the factors?  As pointed out, item 1 suggests demand should be constant.  Consumers have no more money to spend so how could that drive demand higher?  Item 2 offers evidence that consumer demand for meats has increased since the prices they will pay have risen faster than the prices of other goods and faster than production changes would suggest.  Item 3 is, as described, a non-factor in reality.  Which leaves item 4 – tastes and preferences – as the best reason to explain why item 2 (prices of substitute goods) indicates higher demand.  It is difficult to believe that, amid all of the publicity about animal rights issues, undercover videos, the seemingly-nonstop caving (my judgment) of meat processors and sellers to the demands of activists, etc., etc., consumers could have stronger preferences for meat and poultry.  The only things that support such a conclusion:  The facts.  I don’t fully understand it but the facts support it.  Go figure.

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Stay Vigilant Against PEDV

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), which arrived in the United States this past spring of 2013, hit its momentum in December with the highest number of cases reported since the outbreak. It’s a peak that is continuing into the New Year.

According to one industry expert, it’s now more important than ever for producers to not let their guard down.

“After overcoming porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) outbreaks and high feed prices, many producers looked to rebuild their herds, but as PEDV continued to strike, the end of the year saw a lower than expected U.S. hog herd,” says Russell Gilliam, swine business leader at Alltech. “Now more than ever, health has become one of the main focuses in the pig barn and producers are seeing the key to success in implementing a combination of biosecurity measures and nutritional health management programs.”

The virus is easily transmitted through indirect and direct fecal/oral contact, so producers have to be cautious of many mediums from animal contact to vehicles, personnel clothing and equipment. According to Gilliam, with a quick-spreading disease like PEDV, you not only have to watch what is coming in, but you also have to watch what is going out.

 

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“You need to be careful of what is spreading to you and what you may be spreading downstream,” Gilliam says. “Identifying those key interactions and making sure they are as safe as possible for you and your animals are paramount.”

Utmost cleanliness is a necessity in critical interaction points. Apply proper cleaning with disinfectants, and heat and drying, which is effective in killing a virus like PEDV.

If the herd is infected with PEDV or other diseases, producers should work with their veterinarian to identify the best practices and procedures for their operation.

Besides implementing extra biosecurity measures, producers also need to build their herds’ health and immunity to prepare them for the worst.

“This way they can not only fight these challenges, but potentially live and perform with them,” Gilliam says. “To build immunity and disease defense, nutrition needs to cover three areas: enhancing gut development, maximizing feed digestion and reducing the effect of enteric diseases.”

Recently, new data has become available on a second-generation, purified and more bioactive fraction derived from a selected strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast using a proprietary process developed by Alltech. This natural mannan rich fraction of carbohydrate (MRF) has been shown to block unfavorable organisms from the gut.

This carbohydrate supports nutrient utilization, maintains digestive function and enzyme activity, controls inflammation and reduces the gap between ideal and actual performance. These mechanisms have been confirmed using nutrigenomic data.

Iowa Pork Congress attendees will have the chance to find out more about MRF at Alltech’s booth #413. For more information about MRF and other Alltech Pig Solutions, e visit www.alltech.com or call toll-free (855) 7ON-FARM.

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Scenes from the 2014 Minnesota Pork Congress

<p>The Taste of Elegance event was held on the opening night of the 2014 Minnesota Pork Congress.</p>

Minnesota Pork Congress is a swine-specific tradeshow and pork producer educational event that features a wide variety of tradeshow exhibitors, seminars and social activities designed exclusively for pork producers. 

Top 10 Reasons Why I Attend My State's Pork Congress

Top 10 Reasons Why I Attend My State&#039;s Pork Congress

Minnesota Pork Board member and agricultural blogger Wanda Patsche shares her Top Ten list of reasons why time spent at her state's pork congress pays off. 

The 2014 Minnesota Pork Congress is history. Attendance was down this year,  most likely due to ice and snow that blanketed the state during the early part of the show.  It's unfortunate because it was a tremendous event. So in lieu of the weather, I thought I would give my "Top 10 Reasons Why I Attend the Minnesota Pork Congress".

10. The Taste of Elegance. A definite highlight of the Pork Congress! It's fun to see chefs from all over Minnesota competing for top prizes showcasing their creative pork dishes. And we, the attendees, are the recipients of their scrumptious pork recipes! My advice? Plan on not eating much prior to attending because you need every ounce of your appetite to savor a multitude of pork dishes.

9. The chance to meet dignitaries. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Minnesota Representative Paul Anderson from the Alexandria area. Even though he is not my representative, we still talked about state legislative issues that affect us on the farm. And being a farmer himself, we easily connected and he understood our concerns. 

8. The opportunity to meet and talk with pork industry leaders. Neil Dierks, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), attended the Minnesota Pork Congress and I was fortunate enough to meet him. In addition to Mr. Dierks, other people from the NPPC office were in attendance. They really do want to meet and hear from pork producers and the Pork Congress is a perfect venue to do just that.

7. Talk with company representatives. The trade show is another highlight of the Pork Congress. Pork producers can check out new products or talk with companies they currently do business with. For example, we were able to talk with representatives from Hormel about current issues affecting pork producers. I can't stress enough how important it is to have person-to-person contact with these companies. 

 

See a photo gallery from the 2014 Minnesota Pork Congress here.

 

6. Educational seminars. Pork producers want to do the best job they can raising pigs. It's seems the pork industry is always learning new and better ways to raise healthy hogs. Seminars are a key component at the pork congress to help pork producers stay abreast of new information. Seminar topics range from: antibiotic residue, analyzing records to make better decisions, managing hog viruses, discussing current political issues affecting pork producers, and how important trust is to our farms and our industry. 

5. Honor outstanding pork producers. A handful of people involved in the pork industry are honored during the Minnesota Pork Congress. They are honored for outstanding contributions in their respective areas such as Pork Farm Family, Swine Manger, Pork Promoter, Environmental Stewards and Distinguished Service. My family was humbly honored to be named the 2012 Pork Farm Family of the Year. Our family realized that the award is not about us, but rather, a celebration of the pork industry.

4. Promote the pork industry. As a pork producer, it is all of our responsibility to talk with others about our farms.  There are many ways to do just that. I had the opportunity to give two radio interviews, where I talked about ag issues. Giving interviews is not easy for me. But I push myself to do it because I feel it is necessary and my responsibility to talk about my farm and livelihood.

3. Opportunities to network. Networking can mean many things. Networking can mean connecting with others for potential job opportunities, networking for potential future business endeavors or networking with other pork industry professionals such as veterinarians and animal nutritionists.

2. Talk with other hog farmers. Sometimes it's talking to our next door neighbors and sometimes it's talking with other hog farmers from across the state. Let me just state, hog farmers love to talk to each other. They love to share what is happening on their farms, good or bad. Not only do we learn from industry leaders, but sometimes more importantly, hog farmers learn from each other.

1. It's just plain fun! Pork farmers from Minnesota (yes, I am biased!) are awesome people. Plus, it's good to get off the farm for a day or two where we can make ourselves better hog farmers. 

More about Wanda:

Wanda Patsche shares information about her farm on her "Minnesota Farm LIving" website and blog at http://www.mnfarmliving.com/ . She also works to connect with the non-farm audience via her Minnesota Farm Living Facebook page. 

Visit the 2014 Minnesota Pork Congress Photo Gallery here.

Weigh Options When Discontinuing Gestation Stalls

Weigh Options When Discontinuing Gestation Stalls

For U.S. pork producers who remove gestation stalls, a number of choices exist to house pregnant sows, and producers must weigh the options that best fit their operations, says an Iowa State University Extension veterinarian.

Tyson Foods announced last week that it will encourage hog farmers to transition away from the use of gestation stalls, adding momentum to the cause of animal rights groups that argue the stalls are too cramped and don’t allow sows enough room to move. Earlier this month, Smithfield Foods also reaffirmed plans to end the use of gestation stalls in its facilities.

James McKean, DVM, professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine and associate director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State, says it’s likely only a matter of time before gestation stalls fall out of use among American pork producers.

“In the next 10 to 15 years, hog farmers will likely have to be making this decision,” McKean says. “Some will choose to do it earlier.”

The European Union banned the use of gestation stalls in 2013, and other countries are considering such a policy as well, he says.

 

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But implementing alternative housing practices for sows is a complex process that comes with a price tag attached. Switching to group housing – allowing multiple sows to share more spacious pens – requires producers to either retrofit existing facilities or build new ones, he says. 

McKean says pork producers will have to choose between small group housing, where each pen holds between six and 15 sows, and large group housing, usually with more than 20 animals to a pen. Producers will then have to decide if the animals will be fed individually, as they would be in a gestation stall, or as a group, which can make it difficult to ensure each sow is fed a proper portion.

Deciding how pigs will be grouped together is another wrinkle that requires consideration, he says. Will the same pigs be housed together permanently, or will different pigs be added to the pen as time goes on? The wrong mix of sows can result in fighting and injury to the animals, McKean says.

“Each of these systems has basic rules associated with them,” McKean says. “You could write a book on the various possible permutations and basic concepts that go with each of them. But these are the choices that producers will have as they decide to move away from gestation stalls.”

Group housing systems make less efficient use of space than gestation stalls, McKean says. He estimates that a space used to house 100 sows in stalls would accommodate only about 60-70 sows under a group housing system. This will require producers either to make available additional space or reduce output, McKean says.   

“Ultimately, the decision as to whether you use gestation stalls or other alternative facilities should be the producer’s decision,” he says. “But increasing pressures from retailers and activist groups may force changes through sales requirements or other contract arrangements.”

ISU Extension and Outreach swine program specialists and ISU faculty members traveled to Europe last fall to study alternative production systems and talk with European producers who have transitioned away from gestation stalls,  McKean says. Extension field specialists will share the findings from the trip with any Iowa pork producers with questions on group housing systems, he says. 

Read more sow housing stories:

Group Sow Housing: Practical Considerations

Management to Control Aggression in Group Housing

Defining Ideal Sow Body Condition

 

 

 

 

 

Producer Perspectives

Producer Perspective: Top 10 Reasons Why I Attend My State's Pork Congress

Minnesota Pork Board member and agricultural blogger Wanda Patsche shares her Top Ten list of reasons why time spent at her state's pork congress pays off. 

The 2014 Minnesota Pork Congress is history. Attendance was down this year,  most likely due to ice and snow that blanketed the state during the early part of the show.  It's unfortunate because it was a tremendous event. So in lieu of the weather, I thought I would give my "Top 10 Reasons Why I Attend the Minnesota Pork Congress".

10. The Taste of Elegance. A definite highlight of the Pork Congress! It's fun to see chefs from all over Minnesota competing for top prizes showcasing their creative pork dishes. And we, the attendees, are the recipients of their scrumptious pork recipes! My advice? Plan on not eating much prior to attending because you need every ounce of your appetite to savor a multitude of pork dishes.

9. The chance to meet dignitaries. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Minnesota Representative Paul Anderson from the Alexandria area. Even though he is not my representative, we still talked about state legislative issues that affect us on the farm. And being a farmer himself, we easily connected and he understood our concerns. 

8. The opportunity to meet and talk with pork industry leadersNeil Dierks, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), attended the Minnesota Pork Congress and I was fortunate enough to meet him. In addition to Mr. Dierks, other people from the NPPC office were in attendance. They really do want to meet and hear from pork producers and the Pork Congress is a perfect venue to do just that.

7. Talk with company representatives. The trade show is another highlight of the Pork Congress. Pork producers can check out new products or talk with companies they currently do business with. For example, we were able to talk with representatives from Hormel about current issues affecting pork producers. I can't stress enough how important it is to have person-to-person contact with these companies. 

 

See a photo gallery from the 2014 Minnesota Pork Congress here.

 

6. Educational seminars. Pork producers want to do the best job they can raising pigs. It's seems the pork industry is always learning new and better ways to raise healthy hogs. Seminars are a key component at the pork congress to help pork producers stay abreast of new information. Seminar topics range from: antibiotic residue, analyzing records to make better decisions, managing hog viruses, discussing current political issues affecting pork producers, and how important trust is to our farms and our industry. 

5. Honor outstanding pork producers. A handful of people involved in the pork industry are honored during the Minnesota Pork Congress. They are honored for outstanding contributions in their respective areas such as Pork Farm Family, Swine Manger, Pork Promoter, Environmental Stewards and Distinguished Service. My family was humbly honored to be named the 2012 Pork Farm Family of the Year. Our family realized that the award is not about us, but rather, a celebration of the pork industry.

4. Promote the pork industry. As a pork producer, it is all of our responsibility to talk with others about our farms.  There are many ways to do just that. I had the opportunity to give two radio interviews, where I talked about ag issues. Giving interviews is not easy for me. But I push myself to do it because I feel it is necessary and my responsibility to talk about my farm and livelihood.

3. Opportunities to network. Networking can mean many things. Networking can mean connecting with others for potential job opportunities, networking for potential future business endeavors or networking with other pork industry professionals such as veterinarians and animal nutritionists.

2. Talk with other hog farmers. Sometimes it's talking to our next door neighbors and sometimes it's talking with other hog farmers from across the state. Let me just state, hog farmers love to talk to each other. They love to share what is happening on their farms, good or bad. Not only do we learn from industry leaders, but sometimes more importantly, hog farmers learn from each other.

1. It's just plain fun! Pork farmers from Minnesota (yes, I am biased!) are awesome people. Plus, it's good to get off the farm for a day or two where we can make ourselves better hog farmers. 

More about Wanda:

Wanda Patsche shares information about her farm on her "Minnesota Farm LIving" website and blog at http://www.mnfarmliving.com/ . She also works to connect with the non-farm audience via her Minnesota Farm Living Facebook page. 

Visit the 2014 Minnesota Pork Congress Photo Gallery here.

Pork Board Compiles PEDV Resource Booklet

Pork Board Compiles PEDV Resource Booklet

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has caused significant challenges to the swine industry. The virus had not been previously identified in the United States prior to May of 2013.

Get individual fact sheets by clicking on their titles:

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) – What Is It?

Guidelines for Diagnosis of PED Virus

Positive Diagnosis of PEDV in a Breeding Herd: What Next?

Positive Diagnosis of PEDV in Nursery, Finisher or Wean-to-Finish Sites: What Next?

Elimination of PEDV from a Nursery, Finish or Wean-to-Finish Site

Biosecure Mortalities Removal for PED Control

Establish a Line of Separation: Help Control the Spread of PEDV

Create a Clean Crossing: Help Control the Spread of PEDV

Transportation Biosecurity Protocols for PEDV Control

Biosecure Truck Wash Protocols for PED Control: Recommendations for Truck Wash Facilities

Feed Delivery Biosecurity for Control of Disease

Biosecure Manure Pumping Protocols for PED Control: Recommendations for Pork Producers

Biosecure Manure Pumping Protocols for PED Control: Recommendations for Commercial Manure Haulers

Biosecure Manure Pumping Protocols for PED Control: Recommendations for Land Owners

Swine Health Recommendations: Exhibitors of All Pigs Going to Exhibits or Sales

Swine Health Recommendations: Organizers of Exhibitions and Sales

Read more about PEDV:

Pace of PEDV Cases on the Rise

Survey Implicates Feed as a Possible Source of PEDV

PEDV Lateral Spread Study Results Released

2014 Could be Best Year for Pork in a Decade

2014 Could be Best Year for Pork in a Decade

Slow expansion of the U.S. pork industry fueled by low feed costs will likely result in more rapid growth of pork stocks in the latter part of 2014, says Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

That could result in 2014 turning into the best year for pork producers in nearly a decade. If corn and soybean meal prices stay low as expected, hog weights and pork production should continue to increase into 2015, Hurt says.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the number of market hogs to be down fractionally in 2014, but weights are expected to run about 2% higher and result in a 1 to 2% increase in pork production for the first half of 2014,” Hurt says. “Farrowing intentions for this winter and coming spring are up 1 to 2%. With pigs per litter about 1.5% higher and higher weights, pork production in the last half of 2014 will be up 3%.

“Pork production is likely to continue to expand into 2015,” he says. That continuing growth will be met with strong demand both based on limited competition domestically and strong export demand. Total meat supplies of beef, pork, chicken and turkey combined are likely to remain unchanged this year.

 

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While chicken production is expected to grow by about 3% and turkey by about 2%, Hurt says beef supplies will fall by as much as 6% on the heels of a small calf crop and higher heifer-retention rates.

“Retail pork prices will be much lower than beef and will thus continue to pull some consumption away from beef at the retail counter,” he says. “USDA analysts expect pork export demand to increase by 4% and represent nearly 22% of total production.”

Last year, live-hog prices averaged $65 per hundredweight. Hurt says they are expected to average about $66 this year, with the highest prices ranging from $69 to $71 in the second and third quarters. Increased production during the summer and fall will then drive prices back down to below the 2013 levels.

Low production costs will, however, help maintain strong profit margins for pork producers.

“From 2000 to 2006, the estimated total cost of raising hogs was about $36 per live hundredweight,” Hurt says. “That reached a high on a calendar year basis of $67 in 2012. Costs were estimated at $64 last year and are expected to average about $56 for the 2014 calendar year.”

Part of what continues to drive low production costs is low feed prices. Corn averaged an estimated $6 per bushel in 2013. That price could fall to an estimated $4.45 per bushel average for the 2014 calendar year. Soybean meal averaged about $440 per ton last year and likely will drop to an average of $395 per ton in 2014.

According to Hurt, profits could reach about $27 per head, making this year the most profitable for pork producers since 2005. As supplies increase, he says those margins will tighten, but not disappear.

“Profit margins are expected to narrow in the fall of 2014 and into 2015 as pork supplies increase,” Hurt says. “However, returns still look to be profitable at least until the fall of 2015.”

Hurt's full report, Pork Industry Starts Modest Expansion, is available for download via the University of Illinois Extension's Farmdoc Daily at http://farmdoc.illinois.edu/marketing/weekly/html/010614.html.

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