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Articles from 2020 In February


This Week in Agribusiness, Feb. 29, 2020

Part 1

Max joins us from Commodity Classic in San Antonio, where he spoke with Kevin Ross, president, National Corn Growers Association, about his thoughts on the corn industry going forward.

Max also spoke with Bill Gordon, president, American Soybean Association, about the organization's outlook for 2020 and the soybean industry.

Part 2

Mike Pearson is also in San Antonio and spoke with Ted Seifred, Zaner Ag Hedge, about the impact of coronavirus, corn and soybean market outlook, planting intentions and the wheat market.

Chad Colby visits with Robert Saik, Dot Technology Corporation, about autonomous farm equipment and farmer reactions.

Part 3

Max spoke with Matt Lohr, chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, about his connection with farmers and what the NRCS does for farmers.

Part 4

In the Plan Smart, Grow Smart series, Max visited with Corey Atley, Ohio farmer, and BASF innovation specialist Matt Cook, about fungicide trials and his farm operation.

Greg Soulje is in studio for the weather forecast.

Part 5

Greg Soulje is back with an extended weather outlook.

Part 6

There's a Farmall M in Max's Tractor Shed this week.

The FFA Chapter Tribute goes to Verona FFA in Missouri.

Time and financial limits for campaigns? That's what's on Orion's mind in Samuelson Sez.

Part 7

Max spoke with Bob Bowman, Commodity Classic co-chair, about the trade show and education at the show.

Another possible trade payment may be coming

Getty Images/iStockphoto Storm clouds over a field

President Trump tweeted that if the benefits of the trade agreements with China, Mexico and Canada are not in force farmers could receive another round of Market Facilitation Program payments if needed.

Trump says, "If our formally targeted farmers need additional aid until such times as the trade deals with China, Mexico, Canada and others fully kick in, that aid will be provided by the federal government, paid for out of the massive tariff money coming into the USA!" What Trump did not mention is the tariff money is the result of American companies and consumers paying higher prices for products because of the tariffs.

The day before Trump's tweet, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue had indicated that farmers should not count on another trade payment.

USDA is forecasting an increase of $4 billion in exports to China this fiscal year ending Sept. 30, and total U.S. agricultural exports will reach $139.5 billion. If the forecast is correct, China would have to import massive amounts of agricultural products the last quarter of 2020 to meet the "Phase-One" commitment of $36.5 billion for calendar year 2020.

U.S. open to Brazilian beef
USDA announced late last Friday it has lifted the ban on Brazilian beef and now fresh Brazilian beef can be exported to the United States. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service had banned Brazilian beef in June of 2017 because of repeated sanitary and health violations.

FSIS' decision did not set well with a number of organizations:

Kent Bacus of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in a statement says, "NCBA strongly supports science-based trade and the Trump administration's efforts to enforce science-based trade with all trade partners. But to be clear, NCBA has serious concerns about the re-entry of Brazilian beef to the U.S. market. … Should Brazil continue to have food safety or animal health issues, we expect the U.S. government, including Capitol Hill, to take all necessary and immediate action to protect U.S. consumers and U.S. beef producers."

In a statement, the Food & Water Watch says, "Despite ongoing investigations into corruption in the Brazilian meat inspection system, Trump's USDA is suddenly rolling out the red carpet to Brazil's dodgy beef. It took two U.S. taxpayer-funded audits this past year for Brazil to have allegedly gotten its act together. We are not convinced. USDA made the right call in 2017 to enact a ban on imported beef from Brazil, and today's about-face is a breach of public safety."

USMCA moving forward in Canada
The Canadian House of Commons International Trade Committee sent the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement implementing legislation to the full House for a vote next month.

Meat and poultry user fees proposed
The administration's fiscal year 2021 budget is proposing $600 million annually in user fees for government mandated food safety inspection programs for meat, poultry and egg products that would be paid for by industry.

A coalition of industry and producer groups urged Congress to reject the new "food safety taxes" and fully fund USDA's food safety activities. In a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, the coalition says, "The proposal would remove any incentives for FSIS to manage program costs, develop efficiencies, or improve results."

Those signing the letter include the American Sheep Industry, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation and the North American Meat Institute.

Kiecker named FSIS administrator
Paul Kiecker has been named administrator of the Food Safety Inspection Service. Kiecker has 30 years of experience with the FSIS, starting as a food inspector in 1988. Most recently he has been serving as the FSIS deputy administrator.

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Time to register for 2020 World Pork Expo

World Pork Expo World Pork Expo big grill
More than 10,000 free pork lunches are served over the three days of World Pork Expo thanks to the help of volunteers.

Registration is now open for the 2020 World Pork Expo presented by the National Pork Producers Council. Attendees, media and exhibitors can complete their registration by visiting the World Pork Expo website. This year's trade show will be hosted June 3-5 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

"We are thrilled to continue the tradition of the World Pork Expo this year," says David Herring, NPPC president, and pork producer from Lillington, N.C. "There's truly something for everyone at the Expo — from the trade show to networking. Anyone in the pork industry is encouraged to attend!"

With 360,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than 500 exhibitors are planned for the 2020 World Pork Expo.

World Pork Expo logo 1988-2020

Continually maximizing indoor and outdoor trade show space
Organizers plan to take advantage of all the space available in order to give attendees and exhibitors the best experience possible. Of the 500-plus companies attending the show, they will be displaying products and services from animal health, nutrition, build and equipment, financial marketing, genetics and more.

The Expo will be held in the Varied Industries Building and the Jacobson Exhibition Center, outdoors on Grand Avenue and the areas between the two main buildings. Attendees are encouraged to explore the fairground space to experience all the Expo's offerings.

"We're currently making adjustments around the show to maximize the flow of the entire trade show. This will help with show continuity for years to come," says Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing for NPCC.

Company-sponsored hospitality tents will continue to be around throughout the fairgrounds. Organizers are expecting 60-plus tents this year, giving industry representatives an opportunity to network with producers and employees in a more-relaxed setting.

The trade show will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on June 3-4, and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on June 5.

Start planning your Expo experience
The Expo is packed with three days of learning and networking opportunities, events and activities. More than 15 educational and informational seminars are free to attend. These seminars address innovative production and management strategies, and current issues and topics related to the pork industry.

Other activities you won't want to miss include:

  • MusicFest — Join us on the evening of June 4 to relax and enjoy free live music and refreshments. Stay tuned to find out who this year will feature!
  • Big Grill — Stop by and enjoy a free pork lunch during all three days of the Expo. More than 10,000 lunches are served. Lunches are available between 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • NPPC Hospitality Tent — Visit one-on-one with NPPC board members and staff to learn about current legislation, regulation and public policy issues that impact pork production.

Additional registration information
Registration is now available online until May 28. Tickets include entry to the Expo for all three days. Discounted rates are available during advanced registration including $10 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $1 for children (6 to 11 years old). Registration on-site will be $20 per adult. There is an on-site Friday-only option for $10.

Save the date for June 3-5 to visit Des Moines. Three days of education, fun, networking and delicious pork await you.

Source: World Pork Expo, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

MORNING Midwest Digest, Feb. 28, 2020

Victims of the Molson Coors shooting are being remembered.

Nebraska lawmakers are trying to pass a bill to stop vaping in public places.

There's a battle betweeen Indiana and Illinois on which state is better.

How will Rod Blagojevich make a living after prision? Perhaps personalized video greetings.

Farm Progress America, February 28, 2020

Max Armstrong offers insight on the work of animal rights extremists against farmers raising livestock. The challenge is that activists want to put an end to all animal agriculture. Max shares information from the Animal Ag Alliance showing the ways that activist groups break into farms, steal animals and do other actions that can cause challenges for livestock facilities.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Contributor/Getty Images News

Webinar: Managing your gilts and sows for summer heat

National Pork Board Sow drinking water in her stall

A lot of factors go into having a high-performing and productive breeding herd on your farm. Some of those production-limiting factors can be exaggerated as the temperatures rise and gilts and sows are negatively impacted.

National Hog Farmer brings you "Breeding herd management: Preparing for summer," a one-hour webinar sponsored by Merck Animal Health, that will focus on general gilt and sow management topics that you can implement on your farm today, as well as things to consider as you prepare for the summer breeding challenges that will be upon us in a few short months. This webinar will take place 1 p.m. Central on March 31.

Webinar presenters are Tim Safranski, Fred Kuhr and Rob Knox.

Since January of 1996, Safranski has been the swine breeding specialist for the state of Missouri. He is also on faculty at the University of Missouri in Columbia where he leads an integrated Extension/Research/Teaching program in swine genetics, genetic conservation and reproductive management. He teaches the Capstone course in Swine Production as well as an online course in Farrowing Breeding Herd Management.

Safranski earned his bachelor of science degree in animal science from Oregon State University, and his masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Missouri.

Kuhr is currently the production supervisor for Dykhuis Farms in Holland, Mich. He started his 40-plus-year pig production career with National Farms. He has also worked in senior production director roles at Heartland Pork, The Maschhoffs and Professional Swine Management.

Knox is a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois where he serves as a state extension specialist in the area of swine reproduction. His areas of research include the areas of gilt and sow fertility, seasonal infertility, reproductive diagnostics, hormone control of reproduction and fertility of frozen sperm.

He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Delaware and his masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Nebraska.

Kevin Schulz, National Hog Farmer senior staff writer will moderate this ninth offering in the Science Talks. webinar series.

Register for this webinar by clicking here.

Not able to attend? Register anyway, as archived versions of National Hog Farmer webinars are available to watch On Demand shortly after broadcast. You will receive an email with login instructions as soon as the replay is available.

MIDDAY Midwest Digest, Feb. 27, 2020

Have you had enough of daylight saving time? Ohio congress is considering not participating.

The skull breaker challenge is injuring children around the nation.

A lot more Subarus will be built at the Indiana plant after a planned expansion.

An award-winning coon-chasing dog in Indiana ran into a hole that turned into a deep cave. 

Dunkin' unveils new Snackin' Bacon

Dunkin' nhf-dunkin-snackin-bacon-1540.jpg

For anyone who's seeking a satisfying snack but is stuck with a sad selection at their desk, office kitchen or vending machine, Dunkin' is adding some extra sizzle to its menu. This week Dunkin' launched its new Snackin' Bacon product to help on-the-go customers conquer their cravings without settling for tired and typical snacking choices.

Now available at participating Dunkin' restaurants nationwide, each order of Snackin' Bacon with Sweet Pepper Bacon seasoning features eight half-strips of bacon wrapped in a portable sleeve for on-the-go snacking ease. 

According to the company announcement, Snackin' Bacon starts its journey smoked with natural cherrywood. It's then treated to a sweet and savory blend of brown sugar and black pepper seasoning, creating a delightfully caramelized bacon Dunkin' fans know and love from its Sweet Black Pepper Bacon Breakfast Sandwich.

With its classic flavors featured in everything from toothpaste to vodka, the multinational coffeehouse and donut company says "bacon is a phenomenon, but at Dunkin', we believe the best way to enjoy bacon is simple: eat it."

Source: Dunkin', which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly own the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Detecting African swine fever

National Pork Board nhf-npb-pigs-pen-1540.jpg

As I begin preparing for a busy two weeks out of office for both business and pleasure, I've got old Willie Nelson playing in my head. "On the road again. I just can't wait to get on the road again. The life I love is makin' music with my friends. And I can't wait to get on the road again."

Now I won't be making music but am looking forward to seeing so many of our industry friends, first at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, Mo., and then at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians Annual Meeting in Atlanta. I follow that up with a family vacation with the in-laws to Anna Maria Island off of Florida's Gulf Coast.

While I haven't been shouting my upcoming travel plans from the rooftop, my social media accounts are in tune, trying to sell me everything from new shoes and skirts to beachwear and bathing suits. Sometimes I think they are reading my mind.

Speaking of reading my mind, after hearing the last few months at pork congresses about various diagnostic needs the industry would have surrounding a foreign animal disease outbreak, a press release came through offering a glimmer of hope.

Silver Lake Research Corp., a company out of southern California, has unveiled PenCheck, a low-cost rapid African swine fever test onto the market with accuracy rates they say are greater than 95%.

According to the release, Juergen Richt, DVM, PhD at Kansas State University, conducted an independent clinical validation study to determine the accuracy of PenCheck. The sensitivity was 95.5%, with a specificity of 99.3%. In the sensitivity tests, the test correctly identified 21 out of 22 pigs with moderate to severe symptoms of ASF. In the specificity tests, in 144 pigs with no prior symptoms, PenCheck correctly determined 143 pigs did not carry the virus.

The study concluded:

  • In symptomatic animals, a positive test result is a highly reliable indicator of ASF.
  • In animals with moderate to severe symptoms, the test can be used to detect ASF with high sensitivity.
  • PenCheck may be used as the foundation for an effective and inexpensive monitoring program for swine populations, focused on early detection of ASF in symptomatic animals.

According to the company announcement, the product can be easily administered pen-side with results in just 20 minutes. 

In an interview with China Global Television Network, Richt says "the results still need to be confirmed by a laboratory which can do a confirmatory test because sensitivity and specificity of confirmatory tests are usually higher than point-of-care or point-of-need rapid tests."

According to Paul Sundberg, executive director of Swine Health Information Center, the market for these kits will most likely be China, southeast Asia and maybe Eastern Europe. Similar tests are already being used in China and Vietnam.

Sundberg says in the United States, diagnostic labs are able to run whatever test they want, however the USDA does have standards for regulatory disease tests and, for those tests to be official, they have to be registered with the USDA. This means the USDA approves and gives them an official test number so the U.S. government can track the results of all the tests by that number, including confirmation tests that would be done at Plum Island.

Prior to the ASF concerns in China, the only tissue that was approved by the USDA to test in any investigation was whole blood. Now in addition to whole blood, diagnostic labs are also permitted to do official ASF tests on spleen, tonsil and lymph node tissue samples.

Sundberg says liver and lung tissue samples could also be further considerations as they are currently accepted in diagnostic laboratories in the European Union.

"Anything that we can do to broaden that list of tissues that are accepted officially would be important," Sundberg says.

Even with the availability of these types of pen-side tests, Sundberg says the reality is that we are most likely a long way from being able to use them as an official test for ASF.

"Should we get ASF, there will be interest in these kinds of tests even though they wouldn't be recognized by USDA," Sundberg says. "One thing that SHIC is trying to set up with the project in Vietnam is a field comparison of the various pen-side tests out there."

Once again, someone is reading my mind. I look forward to seeing more research on this type of technology, the USDA possibly expanding its list of diagnostic samples, such as liver and lung tissue, and any great strides the global swine industry can take in defeating this devastating disease.

American football fans in Mexico celebrate Super Bowl with U.S. pork

U.S. Meat Export Federation nhf-usmef-mexico-superbowl.jpg

U.S. pork and beef cuts were grilled and served to fans of American football in two of Mexico's major urban centers on Super Bowl Sunday. Funded by the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, U.S. Meat Export Federation's second annual Super Bowl parties and grilling workshops were the result of a partnership with restaurants in Aguascalientes and Mexico City. 

"We tried this activity for the first time during the 2019 Super Bowl after taking note of the NFL's growing popularity in Mexico," says Lorenzo Elizalde, USMEF trade manager. "Each year, more and more American football fans in Mexico are gathering in a central location to watch their favorite teams and big games like the Super Bowl – just like fans in the United States. We saw it as a great opportunity to introduce U.S. beef and pork dishes that go well with these kinds of gatherings, and really received a lot of positive feedback from consumers and from our commercial partners that participated."

In Aguascalientes, USMEF's second annual "Tailgate Super Bowl Grilling Workshop" was organized by Los Manes de la Parrilla ("The Grill Men," a group of barbecue enthusiasts) at the Campfire Brewing Garden restaurant. The workshop began two hours before kickoff and continued until the final whistle. Along with some of USMEF's commercial partners in the region, 35 consumers took part. They were shown how to grill U.S. beef and pork as they enjoyed the game on large-screen TVs set up for the event.

Cuts used in the workshop were U.S. beef ribeye and short ribs, as well as U.S. pork belly and sausages. Chef Pedro Martinez, owner of Hell's Kitchen restaurant in Aguascalientes, taught participants how to prepare several dishes made with these cuts.

In Mexico City, USMEF partnered with Jaso Restaurant to host a Super Bowl party where a special menu made up of U.S. beef and pork barbecue items and sausages was served. More than 60 brand managers, foodservice directors and social media influencers attended the event.

Guests posted pictures and stories on Facebook and Instagram praising the flavor and quality of U.S. red meat.

Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly own the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.