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Articles from 2009 In October


National Hog Farmer

November Assignment for Pfizer Animal Health’s “Virtual Walk the Pens” Simulator

Mysterious Coughing, Pigs Off Feed

New York (Oct. 29, 2009)—Pfizer Animal Health announces the release of the newest scenario for the “Virtual Walk the Pens” simulator. In the sixth scenario, pigs are arriving to the virtual barn, coughing and uninterested in food. Many arrived as fallouts and more are occurring each day. The last caregiver can’t figure out why the pigs didn’t take to feed and wants advice on what’s wrong and how to prevent it in the future. It’s up to players to use their skills and work with the virtual veterinarian and stop any more fallouts before death loss severely affects the 2,400-head herd.

The simulator is an online educational tool that can be played from any standard computer and is intended to help demonstrate the importance of Individual Pig Care.

“The educational component of the simulator has been a hit with producers and teachers alike,” says Eric Farrand, Pig Husbandry Team Manager, Pfizer Animal Health. “We are proud to provide an educational resource that industry professionals find value in.”

The newest scenario can be found at www.individualpigcare.com/WTPGame, where players can also check their scores and see how their farm system is standing up to others. The competition continues for best overall score and monthly winners for each scenario’s top score will receive an Individual Pig Care tool belt to help make working in the real barns a little easier.

Individual Pig Care™ is an approach that provides for pig needs to maximize potential, producer needs for increased profitability and societal needs for a sustainable, high-quality product, raised with sound husbandry practices.

About Pfizer Animal Health

Pfizer Animal Health, a business of Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE), is a world leader in discovering and developing innovative animal prescription medicines and vaccines, investing an estimated $300 million annually. Beyond the U.S., Pfizer Animal Health also supports veterinarians and their customers in more than 60 countries around the world. For more information on how Pfizer works to ensure a safe, sustainable global food supply with healthy livestock and poultry, or how Pfizer helps companion animals and horses to live longer, healthier lives, visit www.PfizerAnimalHealth.com.

# # #

News Media Contact:

Jill Spiekerman

515.971.9613

j.spiekerman@martinwilliams.com

National Hog Farmer

GROWMARK named to the InformationWeek 500

Bloomington, IL, (AgPR), Oct. 29, 2009 - GROWMARK has been named to InformationWeek magazine’s list of the top 500 most innovative users of business technology in the United States. This is the sixth time the agricultural cooperative has made the list.

“This recognition confirms the quality of the work we’re doing in information technology and gives us a measurement against other top organizations,” said Tim Piper, GROWMARK executive director of IT and chief information officer.

To be eligible for consideration, a company must have revenue of $250 million or more, complete a thorough questionnaire about their use of technology, and submit an essay about a recently completed project. This year, GROWMARK submitted its new employee website, eResource, as an example of adapting technology to fit specific needs.

GROWMARK is a regional cooperative providing agriculture-related products and services and grain marketing in the Midwest and Ontario, Canada. FS brand farm supplies and related services are also marketed to farmers in the northeastern United States and by GROWMARK subsidiaries. Additional information is available at www.growmark.com

Media Contact:

Karen Jones

GROWMARK, Inc.

(309) 557-6184

(309/212-9032 (cellular)

(309) 557-7065 (fax)

kjones@growmark.com

www.growmark.com

National Hog Farmer

American Meat Institute Elects New Officers

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chicago, Ill. ─ The American Meat Institute (AMI) has elected the six officers that will guide the organization through the next year. The election was held at AMI’s Annual Business Meeting during the Worldwide Food Expo, Oct. 28-31, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.

Elected to the chairmanship for 2009-2010 is Jeffrey Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Hormel Foods Corporation. He began his career with Hormel Foods in 1989 as a corporate attorney and has served in numerous leadership positions at Hormel Foods and Jennie-O Turkey Store. Ettinger was named president and chief operating officer of Hormel Foods in 2004 and was elected chief executive officer in 2005. He was elected chairman of the board for Hormel Foods in November 2006.

Dennis Vignieri, president and CEO of Kenosha Beef International, Ltd., will serve as vice-chairman for 2009-2010. Vignieri has served with the company since 1978. Prior to his current position he served as the director of transportation for 14 years. He has been a member of the Kenosha Beef Board of Directors since 1984.

Larry Odom, chairman, CEO and president of Odom’s Tennessee Pride Sausage Inc. will serve as treasurer. Odom has worked in various positions for Odom’s Tennessee Pride Sausage Inc., for 35 years, including food service regional manager, quality assurance manager and later as director of quality assurance over a three plant operation. He was plant manager from 1982-1985. Odom became executive vice president in 1985 and president in 1992. Odom was promoted in 2001 to chairman and CEO.

Elected to serve as secretary for the 2009-2010 term is Nick Meriggioli. Meriggioli is president of Oscar Mayer, a Kraft Foods Business Unit. From 2001-2006, Meriggioli served as senior vice president of marketing for the Oscar Mayer Business Unit. Prior to that, Meriggioli spent three years (1998-2001) in the Kraft Cheese and Dairy Business Unit in a number of marketing positions including director of strategy and business director for the Philadelphia Cream Cheese business.

Rod Brenneman, president and chief executive officer of Seaboard Foods, becomes immediate past chairman. J. Patrick Boyle was reelected by the AMI membership to serve a twentieth year as the Institute’s president and CEO.

“This upcoming year looks to be one that will be filled with opportunities to address issues of great importance like continued advances in food safety, sustainable business practices, immigration reform and export enhancement,” said Boyle. “The leadership and diverse experience of these new AMI officers will be critical in our efforts to continue to advance this industry. I look forward to working with them to achieve our common goals,” he added.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI’s members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the United States. The Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the meat and poultry packing and processing industry.

National Hog Farmer

Elanco Top Vote Getter in International Online Competition

How Can We Feed the World?

Presentation showcasing how technology can help feed the world earns most votes in international competition

GREENFIELD, Ind., Oct. 27, 2009

A presentation titled "How Can We Feed the World?" has received the most votes in Slideshare.net's Best Presentation Contest 2009 Sponsored by Adobe Acrobat 9. The international, online competition invited entrants to submit presentations in five specific categories. Since being posted on the Slideshare.net site at www.slideshare.net/JAB1/how-can-we-feed-the-world-1968916 in September along with nearly 3,000 other entrants, the presentation has been viewed by more than 5,000 people, receiving more thumbs up votes than any other presentation in the contest.

The presentation was submitted by Joe Bannon, a 32-year employee of Elanco. In creating the presentation, Bannon focused on the United Nations projection that the world will need a 100 percent increase in food production by 2050 in order to feed 9 billion people. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 70 percent of the increased production must be achieved through efficiency-enhancing agricultural technologies.

While the issue of world hunger is complex, the four-minute presentation focused on solutions that can help the world achieve an ultimate win through collaboration, choice and technology. The message conveys that just as technology is used to increase the quality of life in everything from healthcare to communication, it can also be used to help us produce an abundant, affordable and sustainable supply of food to meet the world's growing demand.

"While research supports that consumers trust farmers more than any other group within the food chain, all of us within the supply channel have a responsibility to share the facts about food production," Bannon said in remarks about why he chose to enter into the competition.

"In a world where nearly 1 billion people consistently do not get enough to eat, we cannot lose sight of the value that technology plays in providing a safe, abundant and affordable supply of food for individuals around the globe," Elanco President Jeff Simmons said. It is rewarding to see Elanco employees embracing this message and sharing it in today's online conversation," he added.

Slideshare.net's World's Best Presentation Contest 2009 Sponsored by Adobe Acrobat 9 is an annual competition that encourages businesses and individuals around the world to share their ideas while leveraging the power of digital presentations and social networking.

About Elanco

Elanco is a global innovation-driven company that develops and markets products to improve animal health and food-animal production in more than 75 countries. Elanco employs more than 2,300 people worldwide, with offices in more than 40 countries, and is a division of Eli Lilly and Company, a leading global pharmaceutical corporation. Additional information about Elanco is available at www.elanco.com.

CONTACT:

Joan Todd, Elanco (317) 277-7464

Susan Miller, 5MetaCom (765) 620-2007

China Plans to Open Market to U.S. Pork

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that China intends to reopen the Chinese market to U.S. pork and live swine, consistent with science-based international standards.

The announcement came at the conclusion of meetings with Chinese officials at the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.

“Two-way trade of agricultural, fish and forest products between the United States and China has grown in recent years to over $21 billion per year, opening increasingly important connections that can benefit farmers, ranchers and consumers in both countries,” Vilsack says. “China’s intent to remove its H1N1-related ban on U.S. pork marks an important step forward in cooperation between the two countries on agricultural issues.”

“I look forward to China resuming imports of U.S. pork products and live swine,” Kirk says. “Based on our discussions, we expect China to base its opening on science and internationally agreed standards.”

China was the fastest-growing market for the U.S. pork industry in 2008, purchasing $560 million in U.S. exports. China’s restrictions in May 2009, based on the 2009 novel H1N1 influenza virus, shut down U.S. pork shipments to China. Vilsack stressed in meetings with Chinese officials the need to remove all restrictions on trade in pork products related to the H1N1 virus, given clear guidance from international groups such as the World Organization for Animal Health, World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization that there is no risk to humans from consuming properly prepared pork and pork products.

More on the novel H1N1 influenza virus can be found at National Hog Farmer, Pork Checkoff, and the CDC.

African Swine Fever Threatens Russia’s Pigs

Due to the spread of African Swine Fever throughout Russia, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture is contemplating action to close all hog farms.

The action is to prevent further spread of the virus in the country, which officials suggest could result in the loss of one million pigs.

“In order to resolve this problem, we will have to transfer all hog farms to the closed type of production,” said the Russian minister of agriculture recently.

The direct economic loss from African Swine Fever could tally into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Further spread of the disease could also destroy the country’s pig production industry and the whole program of livestock development.

“New outbreaks of the disease can arise where there is no proper veterinary protection of pig farms and where farm management violates the veterinary and sanitary regulations,” the Russian minister of agriculture said.

Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO UN) has expressed concerns regarding the spread of African Swine Fever in Russia. FAO officials fear the deadly disease could spread to other regions outside Russia including the European Union, eastern Europe and areas around the Black Sea.

In a worst-case scenario, the disease could even spread to central Asia and China, which has the largest pig population in the world.

The virus can spread locally and over wide geographic regions by moving infected pigs or contaminated pork products.
National Hog Farmer

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Closes Deal to Acquire a Significant Portion of the Fort Dodge Animal Health Business from Pfizer

Acquisition positions Boehringer Ingelheim among the world’s top animal health companies.

Ingelheim, Germany and St. Joseph, MO (October 26, 2009) – Boehringer Ingelheim, a global pharmaceutical group of companies, together with its U.S. animal health business Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., announced today that it has closed its deal with Pfizer to acquire a significant portion of the Fort Dodge Animal Health business. The acquisition, which includes products in the U.S., Australia, Canada and South Africa, as well as two manufacturing and research facilities located in Fort Dodge, Iowa, significantly increases the size of Boehringer Ingelheim’s companion animal and cattle portfolios and strengthens the company’s position as a leading vaccine supplier. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Products being acquired in Europe are still subject to approval by European anti-trust authorities.

“Boehringer Ingelheim and Fort Dodge share a strong commitment to innovation and this will continue to be the imperative basis of all our activities as we move forward,” said Hubertus von Baumbach, Member of the Board of Managing Directors of Boehringer Ingelheim responsible for Finance and Animal Health. “With the closing of this deal, our attention now turns to ensuring a seamless integration of the highly committed teams of people as well as the transition of the product portfolio. We aim to jointly execute a robust business strategy that ensures the continued growth of our animal health business in the U.S. and globally by continuously providing innovation to our customers."

As part of the deal, Boehringer Ingelheim will acquire the Duramune® line of vaccines for dogs, the Fel-O-Vax® line of vaccines for cats, and the Rabvac® line of rabies vaccines manufactured and sold in the U.S., Canada and Australia. In addition, a portfolio of pet and equine pharmaceutical products currently sold in the U.S. is also included in the deal. The company will also acquire cattle vaccines in the U.S. and Canada including the Triangle®, Pyramid®, and Presponse® vaccine lines. Pharmaceutical products being acquired include Cydectin® (moxidectin) for cattle and sheep as well as Polyflex® (ampicillin sodium). The dairy portfolio includes the key brands Today® and Tomorrow®. Several Canadian swine vaccines are included in the acquisition as are some cattle vaccines sold in Europe and South Africa.

“The products included in this acquisition complement our already strong product lines and help to broaden our innovation base across more species and boost our global pipeline,” said Prof. Andreas Barner, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors of Boehringer Ingelheim. “We look forward to applying our innovative culture to the products included in this acquisition as well as to the research and discovery of new products that will continue to bring value to our customers and our business.”

About Boehringer Ingelheim

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 138 affiliates in 47 countries and approximately 41,300 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2008, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of U.S. $17 billion (11.6 billion euro) while spending approximately one-fifth of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.

www.boehringer-ingelheim.com

About Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (St. Joseph, MO), is a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation based in Ridgefield, CT and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

For more information, please visit us.boehringer-ingelheim.com.

###

CONTACT:

Amy Kunkel

Public Affairs & Communications

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Phone: 203.798.5538

Email: amy.kunkel@boehringer-ingelheim.com

The “Good” and “Bad” Sides of a Cheaper Dollar

As I begin this week’s column, I’m reminded of two different “flip side” statements that may help characterize the topic at hand. The first is the old Archie Campbell schtick – “That’s good – no that’s bad,” which I have used before. The second reflects President Truman’s frustration with economists’ incessant use of the qualifier – “on the other hand” – to introduce the contrary opinion on a given topic. President Truman once demanded in his usual colorful language: “Will someone please find me a *!&%$*?>
At the risk of again being accused of being such an economist, let’s talk about the value of the U.S. dollar and its implications for U.S. pork producers.

To say the dollar is cheap is an understatement. Figure 1 shows the weekly chart for the nearby dollar index futures contract. As can be seen, the index has fallen by roughly 15% since March 2009, and is once again approaching the lows of March through July 2008.

Those lows, of course, coincide with the remarkable run-up of pork exports last summer and pre-dated the collapse of credit markets and the worldwide economic crisis last fall. Just when U.S. dollars looked worthless, the entire world decided the United States and its currency, in spite of our problems, were still the best safe haven available. The dollar gained 20% in four months.

But dollars are a commodity, too, and when the supply of a commodity grows faster than the demand for that commodity, its value falls. The U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank pumped trillions of U.S. dollars into the economy last fall and winter. But the dollar’s value did not fall because demand for those dollars was growing just as quickly as the supply. Much of that demand came from banks that needed cash to shore up very shaky balance sheets. Thus, dollars flowed out and bank reserves grew and many asked: “Where are the dollars that are supposed to be freeing up the credit market?” The answer from banks was: “In our vaults, where they are needed.”

Those dollars are now entering the economy and the dollar’s value is falling. Good news, right? Yes, indeed, if you are an exporter like the U.S. animal protein sector. The weaker dollar should push more U.S. beef, pork and poultry into export markets. No doubt, that’s a plus.

Competing for Corn
But on the other hand, the weaker dollar also means that oil prices are rising. The weekly nearby crude oil futures chart (Figure 2) broke through $80/barrel last week, reaching its highest level since October 2009. In addition, the weaker dollar has made other U.S. commodities such as corn, soybeans and wheat, more competitive in world markets, which has contributed to recent price strength there as well.

The impact is a double-whammy for corn, however. Not only does the weak dollar encourage corn exports, but higher oil prices have put ethanol refineries firmly back in the black, encouraging higher bids for corn from them as well.

So, who will win in the coming year – hog prices or feed costs? I don’t know the answer to that. There are simply too many factors at play here to make that call. I do think U.S. livestock and meat prices will be higher, but I do not think they are going to result in profits of any significant magnitude. Costs are likely to rise as fast as revenue – much like they did in 2008.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Lean Hog Futures held up well this week in the face of the news that a pig tested in August had indeed been infected with the novel H1N1 influenza. The facts that a) the case was isolated and b) it happened two months ago were fortuitous to say the least. The fact that the story broke the same day as the “balloon boy” fiasco was positively wonderful! Futures prices, cutout values and hog prices have held their own in spite of an onslaught of H1N1 cases and stories. Those are all good!

Futures markets are still offering some profits in 2010. Watch them closely for opportunities to put some black ink on your bottom line. CME Group Lean Hogs futures are still trending upward, but producers should watch closely for signs that the market is making a top.



Click to view graphs.

Steve R. Meyer, Ph.D.
Paragon Economics, Inc.
e-mail: steve@paragoneconomics.com

Targeting Profit-Robbing Non-Productive Days

The term “non-productive days” is readily used as a measure of breeding herd performance, but in doing so, it is important to standardize how the information is collected.

We have added two lines to the bottom of Tables 1 and 2 to include non-productive days/female and non-productive days/mated female. The tables provide 52-week and 13-week rolling averages for key performance indicators (KPI) of breeding herd performance. These tables reflect the most current quarterly data available and are presented with each column. The KPI’s can be used as general guidelines to measure the productivity of your herd compared to the top 10% and top 25% of farms, the average performance for all farms and the bottom 25% of farms in the Swine Management Systems’ database.

Following are a few definitions we use in defining non-productive days.

BREEDING FEMALES are mated and unmated females kept for breeding purposes.
MATED BREEDING FEMALES are females that have been mated at least once and have not been removed from the breeding herd.
MATED BREEDING FEMALE DAYS are days from the first mating until removal from the breeding herd.
UNMATED BREEDING FEMALES are females entered into the breeding herd but have not been mated.
UNMATED BREEDING FEMALE DAYS are days between entry in the herd and the first mating or entry into the breeding herd and removal from the breeding herd having never been mated.
PRODUCTIVE DAYS are days which a breeding female is either gestating or lactating. Gestation days that do not result in a farrowing are not considered productive days.
NON-PRODUCTIVE DAYS are days which a breeding female is neither gestating nor lactating.
MATED FEMALE NON-PRODUCTIVE DAYS are days which a mated breeding female is neither gestating nor lactating. At SMS, we do not compare non-productive days between farms. Instead, we compare “mated female non-productive days.” The reason is simple – there is too many variation in the way gilts are entered into the breeding herd. We work with farms that enter the gilts into their recordkeeping program when they arrive, while other farms enter the gilts at first breeding.

“Entry-to-first-service interval” ranges from 0-120 days, with an average of 25.8. We are seeing a trend of fewer farms entering gilts on arrival because of the way software companies are charging for their services on a female basis instead of on a farm basis. At SMS, we recommend entering gilts upon arrival because they are the future of your farm and there is much that can be gleaned from this information.

Another reason for using “mated female non-productive days” to compare farms is usually the manager does not control the number of “unmated female non-productive days,” which is determined by the way the gilts are entered into the records and the biosecurity protocol for the days in isolation and development.

“Unmated female non-productive days” incurs feed cost of $0.50 - $0.80/day and a yardage cost of $0.10 - $0.20/day, but this is some of the best dollars you can invest on the farm.

“Mated female non-productive days” cost the farm from $1.60 to $2.60 /day, which includes all expenses on the farm. An easy way to calculate cost for your farm is to take your breakeven/weaned pig x pigs weaned/mated female/365 days.

Example 1: $28.00 x 26.00 / 365 = $1.99
Example 2: $34.00 x 26.00 / 365 = $2.42
Example 3: $32.00 x 20.00 / 365 = $1.75
Example 4: $38.00 x 20.00 / 365 = $2.08 In the SMS database, “non-productive days/mated female” averages 36.4 days. The Top 10% average is 31.6 days, the top 25% averages 30.1 days, and the bottom 25% average s 41.5 days.

Here are some areas that affect the number of “non-productive days”:

• “Wean-to-first-service interval” is the number of days from weaning until a female is mated again. In the SMS database, the top 10% of farms are at 6.23 days, while the bottom 25% is currently at 8.49 days. This figure is inflated when managers lose track of weaned sows and then breed them 60-100 days after weaning.

• “First service-to-repeat-service interval” is the time it takes to find recycling females after breeding. Top farms will find over 60% of regular returns to heat by Day 25 after mating. In some herds, often after a porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) break, this figure will rise as high as 81 days. Your breeding crew is responsible for finding those open females.

• The number of sows bred three times or more will also add an extra day to your average.

• “Wean-to-removal” is determined by how you handle your culls after weaning and can add several days to “non-productive days.” Some farms remove cull females the day of weaning, while others hold them until they have a truckload. Some farms remove cull sows on a standard schedule.

• “Death loss” also contributes to non-productive days. The female that dies at 113 days of gestation registers 113 non-productive days. As you can see, there are several areas that can affect the number of “mated female non-productive days.” Your management team can improve this measure by identifying recycling sows sooner, reducing female deaths, working to get weaned females to cycle sooner, and by tracking non-cycling weaned females or culling repeat females after two services.

If you reduce your “mated female non-productive days” from an average of 41 days to 31 days and you have a breakeven cost of $34/pig, with 26 pigs weaned/mated female/year, your non-productive day cost would be $2.42/day. Decreasing “mated female non-productive days” will increase your “litters/mated female/year” and the “pigs weaned/mated female/year” by 3% and reduce your breakeven/weaned pig by $1/pig.

If you have questions or comments about these columns, or if you have a specific performance measurement that you would like to see benchmarked in our database, please address them to: mark.rix@swinems.com or ron.ketchem@swinems.com.



Click to view graphs.

Mark Rix and Ron Ketchem
Swine Management Services LLC

U.S. Pork is Safe

A key message at the House Agriculture Livestock Subcommittee hearing on the economic conditions of the pork industry was clear: “Our pork is safe to eat.” Congressional members, USDA officials and pork industry representatives all emphasized that U.S. pork is safe to eat and one cannot get infected with the novel H1N1 influenza virus from eating pork or pork products. USDA said that the recent economic distress was due to overexpansion in response to higher than normal profits in previous years, combined with recession-driven declines in domestic and international demand. USDA expects the hog sector to “improve substantially” over the next year as the breeding herd continues to contract and domestic and international demand improves. According to USDA, from October 2007 through September 29, 2009, the hog sector lost approximately $4 billion. Members of Congress urged USDA to consider purchasing more pork products for federal feeding programs and to work with various countries, especially China, to reopen their markets to U.S. pork.

Pork Producers Asks Congress to Help — The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) at the House Agriculture Livestock Subcommittee hearing called upon Congress to take steps to help U.S. pork producers. NPPC stated: “To stop producer foreclosures and bankruptcies and for producers to continue providing consumers around the globe with the safest, most nutritious meat protein, we need to find a way out of this two year-old crisis. Pork producers asked Congress to:

• Urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make more purchases of pork for various federal food assistance programs. USDA recently bought $30 million of pork.

• Reexamine a spending cap on USDA’s Section 32 program so the agency can meet the goals of the program. Congress implemented the cap as part of the 2008 Farm Bill.

• Pressure U.S. trading partners, particularly China and Russia, to eliminate their barriers to U.S. pork imports.

• Approve as soon as possible the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, which would add greatly to pork producers’ bottom lines.

• Conduct a study of the economic impact on the livestock industry of an expansion of corn-ethanol production and usage. The Environmental Protection Agency is considering an increase in the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline from the current 10% inclusion rate to 15%.

• Support allowing the ethanol import tariff and federal blenders’ tax credit to expire.

• Support regulations and legislation that promote pork producers’ ability to run their operations.

• Oppose measures that would place on pork producers undue burdens and higher costs such as restrictions on access to capital and contract arrangements or prohibitions on production practices, including banning the use of certain animal health products. Livestock & Poultry Ask Congress to Restrict Greenhouse Gas Reporting — Livestock and poultry groups have asked Congress to restrict the implementation of any rule requiring the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems in place on livestock farms. According to the group, “(under the) proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations, livestock producers who emit over the equivalent of 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide would be required to calculate and report the level of those emissions. The requirement would treat farms in a manner identical to coal-fired power plants and petroleum refineries and would impose an onerous burden on livestock producers to ascertain emissions from diffuse sources.” This issue will be decided by the House-Senate conference committee considering the Fiscal Year 2010 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Those signing the letter to Congress were American Sheep Industry Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers Council and the National Turkey Federation.

E. Coli Testing — Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced legislation, “E. Coli Eradication Act,” that would require meat plants to test beef before and after it is ground. The legislation would require all plants that process ground beef to test their products regularly before it is ground and again before it is combined with other beef or ingredients and packaged. Senator Gillibrand said, “In America, in 2009, it is unconscionable that food is still going straight to our kitchens, school cafeterias and restaurants without being properly tested to ensure its safety.”

Groups Support Agricultural Trade Nominee — Forty-six agricultural and food organizations sent a letter to the Senate stating their support for the nomination of Dr. Isi Siddiqui as chief agricultural trade negotiator at U.S. Trade Representative. Siddiqui currently serves as vice president of CropLife America. In the late ’90s, he served at USDA as under the Office of the Secretary for marketing and regulatory programs and senior trade advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman. Those signing the letter included American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, American Soybean Association, Growth Energy, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Meat Association, National Pork Producers Council and the United Egg Association.

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.