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NPPC Says COOL is Too Costly

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), in written comments submitted on mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL), reiterates its view that the program will be costly and of little benefit to consumers.

No matter how one views it, $2.5 billion in implementation costs and $212 million annual costs over 10 years of operation are large price tags for benefits that are “difficult to quantify” and “small and (accruing) mainly to those consumers who desire country-of-origin information,” according to the producer organization. All consumers will pay to secure these benefits for a small minority.

The new COOL labels provide the necessary description as to the origin of the meat contained in the product. Assuring the origin, yet maintaining flexibility in the production flow, has been NPPC’s goal during rule development.

NPPC commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for implementing the law in a manner that minimizes costs and maximizes whatever benefits may be available.

NPPC adds that USDA’s proposal to use a system of affidavits achieves at a reasonable cost an “auditable chain of possession” that documents the origin of animals.

Long-Time North Carolina Veterinarian Passes Away

Charlie Randall, DVM, Kinston, NC, passed away Oct. 3. The 93-year-old practiced swine veterinary medicine for 69 years, retiring in 2007.

Randall received his doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree in 1938 from Kansas State University and worked for the state of North Carolina and the Army Veterinary Corps prior to entering private practice in 1954.

Randall was an early member of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (then the American Association of Swine Practitioners) and served on the board of directors from 1977 to 1980.

He was very active in the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), serving in the House of Delegates from 1965 to 1983, plus serving two terms as AVMA vice president, 1983-85.

On May 16, Randall received the Order of the Long Leaf Award from North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley – the highest civilian honor that a resident of the state can receive.

SowBridge Educational Program Kicks Off Second Year

On the heels of a successful first year, the distance education program known as SowBridge will be available again this fall. The program received great reviews from a wide range of participants, according to Ken Stalder of Iowa State University (ISU).

“People from 15 states and a Canadian province took part in the 2007-08 series, and they told us they really liked not needing to travel to hear from expert presenters,” says Stalder, animal science associate professor and Extension swine specialist. “By combining electronic information viewed on computer with live presentations over a toll-free phone line, people can attend individual sessions without leaving home or their workplace. And Internet access is not required.”

Stalder, the Iowa coordinator for SowBridge, explains the year-long program is offered by subscription only. Monthly sessions start in November. Before each 45-minute session, subscribers receive a CD containing each session’s presentation, plus information to access the live speaker presentation. Participants call a toll-free conference line to listen to, and interact with, presenters. The $250 cost provides access to one phone line and all materials.

Stalder says a single registration can be used to reach a number of people.

“We encourage farm managers and owners to enroll in this program and invite several of their employees to take part over the noon break through use of a speaker phone and computer projector,” says Stalder. “People have told us they like the ease and convenience of this program. For example, one person said, ‘At home, at work or on the road, I can still participate.’ Another said the program provided support, confirmation and/or correction of their operating practices.”

SowBridge is sponsored by 11 state universities, supervised by Mark Whitney and Lee Johnston of the University of Minnesota. The program is coordinated through Iowa State University.

Registration for the first program, Nov. 5, focuses on composting mortalities and will be presented by Bob Thaler of South Dakota State University. Registration must be received by Oct. 20. The form is available. Phone registrations can be completed by calling Sherry Hoyer at 515-294-4496.
Subsequent programs include:

Dec. 3, 2008: Proper Euthanasia of Sows and Piglets by John Deen, DVM, University of Minnesota;
Jan. 7, 2008: Breeding Management in Pens and Stalls by Bob Ivey of Maxwell Foods of North Carolina;
Feb. 4, 2009: Crossfostering and Bump Weaning by Barb Straw, DVM, Michigan State University;
March 4, 2009: Optimizing Sow Performance with Rescue Decks by Jon Hoek, Belstra Milling Co. Inc., DeMotte, IN;
April 1, 2009: Creep Feeding by Joel DeRouchey of Kansas State University;
May 6, 2009: Reproductive Manipulation Using PG600 by Rob Knox of the University of Illinois;
June 10, 2009: Reproductive Manipulation Using Matrix by Ron Bates of Michigan State University;
July 1, 2009: On-Farm Semen Evaluation by Wayne Singleton of Purdue University;
Aug. 5, 2009: Induction of Farrowing by Tim Safranski of the University of Missouri;
Sept. 2, 2009: Sow Watch and Piglet Care – the First 24 Hours by Matt Davis of Hord Livestock, Bucyrus, OH; and
Oct. 7, 2009: Effective Pest and Rodent Control by Ralph Williams of Purdue University.

Pork Quality Program Exceeds Expectations

The National Pork Board’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program has exceeded expectations since its launch in June 2007, says Erik Risa, Education program manager for the National Pork Board.

In the first 15 months of the program, more than 18,000 producers have been trained. The number of advisors has also surpassed goals with more than 800 individuals conducting training sessions.

“We are extremely pleased with the success we’ve seen with the PQA Plus program and the number of producers who have been certified under the new program,” says Risa. “This is just one of the many programs the pork industry has in place that serves to maintain a safe, high-quality supply of pork. All of these programs fall under the ‘We Care’ philosophy that our entire industry is committed to,” he adds.

Boehringer Ingelheim Announces Circovirus Research Recipients

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) announces the recipients of its annual research awards program for porcine circovirus-associated disease (PCVAD).

Each of three researchers receives $75,000 for research studies aimed at improving the industry’s understanding and management of the devastating disease.

Recognized at the Leman Swine Conference in St. Paul, MN, were:

Brad Leuwerke, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, MN, for a study to determine the influence of maternal antibodies to circovirus type 2 (PCV2) on interference of circovirus vaccination efficacy in young pigs.

Tanja Opriessnig, DVM, Iowa State University, for a study to determine the prevalence of PCV2 viremia (viral infection of the blood) and persistent infection in conventional piglets at birth.

Tanja Opriessnig, DVM, Iowa State University, for a study to evaluate the influence of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus viremia on circovirus vaccine efficacy in conventional growing pigs.

NPPC Testifies on Use of Antibiotics in Pork Production

Antibiotics are a necessary tool to protect animal health, stated National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) representatives as they urged legislators in a congressional hearing not to restrict their use in pork production.

Testifying in late September, Craig Rowles, a veterinarian and partner with Elite Pork Partnership, Carroll, IA, told the House livestock subcommittee that pork producers judiciously use antibiotics to keep animals healthy and produce safe, nutritious and quality pork.

Rowles commented that two pork industry initiatives – the Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Take Care: Use Antibiotics Responsibly – include principles and guidelines on antibiotic use that help protect animal and public health and animal well-being.

Banning certain antibiotics, as was done in Denmark, could have a detrimental impact on pig mortality and even public health, he says.

And Rowles told the committee a ban would raise producers’ production costs by more than $700 million over 10 years. a number of bills have been introduced in Congress over the years, including current legislation sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) to prohibit the use of certain antibiotics in livestock.

Employee Management Conference is Nov. 6

The National Pork Board has scheduled an Employee Management Conference for Nov. 6 in Cary, NC, to address the challenges of managing human resources.

The conference is being held at the Embassy Suites; hotel reservations should be made by Oct. 20 by calling 919-677-1840.

The morning agenda covers managing and evaluating employees, recruitment and retention and conflict management.

The afternoon program explores cultural diversity, immigration compliance, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliance and working as a team.

Missouri Swine Institute Planned for Nov. 11-12

“Weathering the Storm” is the theme of the 2008 University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Swine Institute set for Nov. 11-12 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Columbia, MO.

This year’s topics cover environmental pressures; improving feed efficiency to compensate for higher feed costs; the use of alternative, lower-cost feeds; improving energy use and thermal comfort of pigs. Goal of the conference is to provide strategies to help producers monitor and manage more efficiently.

A featured speaker will be Mike Brumm of the Brumm Swine Consultancy in North Mankato, MN, who will address energy management in hog buildings.

Keynote speaker will be agricultural activist Trent Loos, a sixth-generation farmer from Nebraska, who will speak on his mission to share the positive story of production agriculture with consumers and the world.

New Building Dedicated During Kansas Swine Day

The Kansas State University (KSU) Department of Animal Sciences and Industry will unveil a new grow-finish swine building as part of the 2008 Swine Day Nov. 20 in Manhattan, KS.

Fundraising for the $650,000 building began three years ago, with all funds coming from donations to support research and teaching programs in swine production, says Joel DeRouchey, KSU livestock specialist in Research and Extension.

The new 75x208-ft. facility replaces an older building, he says. It also complements several existing swine units, including a headquarters building comprised of classrooms, farrowing and nursery, gestation and breeding barns and metabolism research facilities.

“The new facility will house pigs indoors and remove extra pigs not used for research and teaching off of dirt lots,” explains Extension Swine Specialist Jim Nelssen. “That will help reduce pathogen loads, decrease odor and generally aid the health of KSU’s swine herd.”

The new building features large viewing windows that permit students better visibility than was possible in the previous facility. “This building, which features a computerized feeding system, allows us to take pigs all the way from weaning to market,” says Nelssen. “Students will train in a state-of-the-art facility. They will have exposure to not only the newest technology, but also some of the technology that has been used in the industry for awhile in some of our older buildings. That way, they will be familiar with newer, as well as older technologies when they go into industry.”

The building will house about 1,000 grow-finish hogs in four separate rooms, he adds.

Primary sponsors included the Kansas Pork Association, the KSU Livestock and Meat Industry Council and chemical company, Lonza. Other support came directly from pork producers and allied industry, plus KSU swine nutrition graduate student alumni.

Featured speaker at Swine Day will be Ron Plain, agricultural economist, University of Missouri. He will give two presentations: “Feed vs. Fuel – What Will Be the New Trends for Corn and Soybean Meal Pricing?” and “What Can We Expect for Pork Prices in 2009 and Beyond?”

For more information on Swine Day and to view the new grow-finish barn, go online, click on Research and Extension and on Swine Day or call 785-532-1267.

National Swine Improvement Federation Sets Annual Conference

The National Swine Improvement Federation (NSIF) has slated its Annual Meeting and Genetic Symposium for Dec. 4-5, 2008 in Nashville, TN.

Registration before Nov. 14 is $150. After that date is $175. Questions about the conference should be directed to Glenn Conatser, University of Tennessee, at 865-974-9238 or [email protected].

Hotel reservations should be made before Nov. 14 by calling the Embassy Suites Nashville-Airport at 615-871-0033.
Some program highlights include:

Litter size and birth weight impact on postweaning performance by George Foxcroft, University of Alberta, Canada;

New feeding resources and feeding challenges by John Patience, Iowa State University;

Genetic evaluation of longevity traits by Ken Stalder, Iowa State University;

Nutrition to maximize production of the high-producing sow by Joel DeRouchey, Kansas State University;

Genetic relationships among measurements of pig behavior, growth and survival by Joe Cassady, North Carolina State University;

Pig’s immune responses to the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and porcine circovirus type 2 virus are heritable and selection for greater resistance/tolerance is possible by Rodger Johnson, University of Nebraska; and

Swine genetic challenges of the future will be explored by Max Rothschild, Iowa State University.

A roundtable discussion, moderated by National Hog Farmer Editor Dale Miller, will focus on genetic challenges of the future and possible solutions.