National Hog Farmer is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Sitemap


Articles from 2010 In March


National Hog Farmer

Chr. Hansen Animal Health & Nutrition Adds Staff

Garland Parker joins Chr. Hansen Animal Health & Nutrition as Swine Account Manager, and will be responsible for developing swine business in the Southeastern U.S. with our direct-fed microbial product BioPlus 2B® — the gold standard in swine nutrition.

Garland came to Chr. Hansen after 11 years with Ft. Dodge Animal Health where he managed key accounts in both the swine and cattle industries. He has a B.S. degree in Animal Science from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.

Contact, Corporate Communications, Chr. Hansen

Telephone: +45 45 74 76 36

E-mail: dkhre@chr-hansen.com

Bill Braman, Chr. Hansen Animal Health & Nutrition

Telephone: 888-828-6600

E-mail: uswbr@chr-hansen.com

About Chr. Hansen

Chr. Hansen is a global bioscience company that develops natural ingredient solutions for the

food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. All solutions are based on strong

research and development competencies and significant technology investments. Revenue in FY2008/09 was EUR 511 million. The company enjoys market leadership in all its divisions: Cultures & Enzymes, Health & Nutrition and Color. There are more than 2,000 dedicated employees in over 30 countries.

For further information, please visit www.chr-hansen.com

Farm Bureau Asks for Dismissal of EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation

Congress must nullify greenhouse gas permit requirements that were announced this week by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

Efforts in Congress and legal challenges by states offer corrective paths to fix a very real disaster threatening farms.

“We believe the EPA’s greenhouse gas requirements will lead to costly and ineffective regulations on America’s farmers and ranchers,” says AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We vehemently oppose regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act because we believe it will require livestock producers and other agricultural operations to obtain costly and time-consuming permits as conditions to continue farming.”

Farm Bureau strongly supports a Senate resolution to disapprove of EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and a companion measure in the House introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO).

Stallman also supports legal challenges from many state government officials who have expressed their objections.

In 2008, the Agriculture Department warned if greenhouse gas emissions from farming operations are regulated under the Clean Air Act, many farms would become covered entities for the first time.

“We are concerned that the EPA decision announced Monday leads us down a direct path that fulfills USDA’s prediction. If Congress does not follow the lead of Sens. Murkowski, Lincoln and Reps. Peterson and Skelton, farmers will fall within the scope of regulation and struggle to cope with ineffective greenhouse gas regulations that are not economically sustainable. We urge Congress to take action before the regulations take effect next January.”

National Hog Farmer

New Traceback Standards Set by ScoringAg’s Interoperable Database for the Food and Feed Industry

ScoringAg’s interoperable and worldwide working database provides the Traceability Standard for the whole supply chain with its standardized data elements for all foodhandlers from field-to-fork to prove food safety documentation.

It is the only system that enables all worldwide partners in the food or feed supply chain to upload from their internal systems traceback relevant data and move it seamlessly to the next partner in the supply chain in a secure 128bit encrypted web-based system.

Thousands of existing software programs in the food supply chain used all over the world, are important as an in-house management tool but can not provide the needed traceback of all up and all down foodhandlers. Not all information that is needed to manage a company is important for traceback. With ScoringAg there is not a need to open company files by accessing a company server to get the information about a product or have no access at all if there is no computer system in place. Companies with existing programs can use ScoringAg as a third-party traceability supplier. Only traceback relevant data gets uploaded into ScoringAg’s standardized interoperable system that creates automatically an unique identifier code and a traceback barcode. The created e-Pedigree allows a traceback or trace-up in seconds in case of a recall. Every single package or individual product can be traced back from the refrigerator throughout all steps in seconds. This shortens the duration of food borne outbreaks, and helps the industry by saving millions finding the place of the exact handling problem in seconds.

ScoringAg works also for companies that don’t have any system in place as it provides all needed electronic records from birth/planting throughout any processing, commingling, shipping, distribution centers up to the retailer.

• ScoringAg location records for every food handler, including transporters show the full documentation of the origin, handling and previous distribution history of the food.

• ScoringAg production records show all stages of planting, growing, maintaining, harvesting, storing, cooling, packing, sorting, transporting, processing, more transporting, warehouse storage, and who done it when.

• ScoringAg HACCP records show the sanitation, processing, and verification date-time stamped requirements.

• ScoringAg’s entity records for all agriculture commodities include manure/compost use, water quality, employee hygiene, sanitation, animal control, and temperature controls along with product testing.

• ScoringAg's database records allow anyone to upload any type of certification, documents, tests, paper records, pictures or videos.

• For computer-less societies ScoringAg provides paper documentation to be entered by 3rd parties into the database.

• ScoringAg's archiving system allows everybody from the smallest famer to the largest retailers to store the records according to the individual Countries law.

ScoringAg is the only world-wide working, full-chain traceback system at item-level or case/pallet level covering all agriculture commodities, ingredients and food products raw and processed, repacked or commingled, where the record as documentation moves with the product in the webbased system no matter where it comes from or goes to in real-time.

ScoringAg is a successful working multi-language system for many years and is used by all different types of industries. Our Professionals in North America, Latin and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Japan are helping customers every day with our proven low-cost, user friendly system to build a foundation of trust and accountability to the end-consumer.

ScoringAg is the only database covering every single requirement by the proposed laws H.R. 2749 and S 510 and the FDA 2002 Bioterrorism law and can be used today as it covers the recommendations of the IFT to the FDA ScoringAg also operates under the US code 21CFR Part 11.

ScoringAg’s records have the required standard for the new EU traceback law ISO/TS 22002-1:2009.

ScoringAg's traceback and trace up system for all agriculture products, featuring Site-Specific Recordkeeping™ and PIDC location codes, is one of the many divisions of ScoringSystem, Inc., located in Bradenton, Florida USA. ScoringAg.com and ScoringContainers.com makes managing data easier and does it in an extremely low cost effective manner for food safety.

For more information, please contact:

ScoringAg, Inc.

William Kanitz

Bradenton, Florida, USA

+1-941-792-6405

Pork Market Rebounds; Profits Seen Through 2011

The surprising reduction in the breeding herd inventory in the recent Hogs and Pigs report indicates pork production will drop more than anticipated. Reduced supplies will line up with much stronger demand in the U.S. economy and continued growth of pork exports.

“This means robust profits will return for producers,” says Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt. Profits should reach about $18/head this year, compared to an average loss of $20/head in 2008 and 2009.

The breeding herd on March 1 dropped by 4% from the inventory of a year ago, representing 232,000 fewer head.

“Most startling was the further collapse of the North Carolina herd,” Hurt says. “That herd was down 50,000 head last December and had an additional fall of 50,000 head in the last three months, for a total of 100,000-head reduction over the past year. This likely reflects the decisions of large integrators to further reduce their herds, as well as the bankruptcy and liquidation of the 30,000 sows in the Coharie operation last November.

“Given continued environmental concerns surrounding hog production in the state, this may signal a longer-term decline in hog populations there. The smaller breeding herd means farrowings will be down about 4% this spring and about 3% in the summer. Pork production is now expected to drop by about 3% for the year.”

The result is pork will cost consumers more in 2010, Hurt predicts. While pork production will be down about 3%, the amount of pork per person available to U.S. consumers will decline by about 5% due to U.S. Department of Agriculture projections that pork exports will expand by 8%, removing product from the domestic market. Rising U.S. incomes increases competition for limited pork supplies. Beef competition will be down with domestic stocks expected to be down 2% also. This should produce sharply higher retail pork prices, especially this summer and fall.

Live cash hog prices averaged about $50.50 in the first quarter for 51 to 52% lean carcasses. Prices are expected to move sharply higher over the next two months and could extend into the low $60s in late spring and summer. Quarterly averages are projected in the middle to high $50s for the second and third quarters, before falling back into the very low $50s for the fall and winter quarters.

“The outlook for lower feed costs is another important factor leading to those glorious profits,” Hurt says. “The pork industry has finally reduced the herd to a level that can support $3.50/bu. corn. Total costs of production for farrow-to-finish production in 2010 are estimated at about $47, down from $54 in 2008 and $50 in 2009. There is considerable optimism that the entire animal sector is now emerging into a period of better equilibrium between the prices of feed and animal product prices. This equilibrium has been reached by severe losses that resulted in reductions in animal production and by slowing growth in demand to use crops for biofuels, increasing crop yields and a growing crop acreage base as some Conservation Reserve Program land comes back into production.”

Despite the improved outlook, Hurt is opposed to producers expanding.

“I cannot remember a time when there have been so many possible negative events from outside the pork industry that should make producers cautious,” he notes. “We can start with traditional environmental concerns that include odor and water. But that has now been extended to potential negative implications of animal production if climate or carbon legislation moves forward.

“Then there is the Humane Society of the United States that is going directly to the voters to change management practices on animal farms. There is the small family farms initiative that is anti-commercial agriculture. This is certainly being reinforced by the Department of Justice now looking more closely into large-scale commercial agriculture.

“In addition, there are advocates for local production, often associated with small-scale production. Groups continue to hammer on the human health impacts of animal product consumption and U.S. policy in recent years has strongly favored using crops for biofuels rather than food.

“And finally, most lenders will not be willing to extend credit for expansion until balance sheets are enhanced. So, let’s follow the lenders’ lead and give the pork industry a year to get back on its financial feet, and give the world a little more time to sort out how important food is compared to fuel,” Hurt concludes.

National Hog Farmer

Land O’Lakes Purina Feed Offers $1,000 Scholarship to Animal Science with a bias in Swine Nutrition and Management Students

March. 26, 2010 (Shoreview, Minn.) – Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC announced today that five $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors who demonstrate scholastic achievement, leadership in agriculture, and a perceived ability to contribute to agriculture in the future.

The First Step™ Swine Creep Feed scholarship program is available to high school graduates taking their first step into higher education and pursuing a two- or four-year degree in animal science with bias in swine nutrition and management or, closely related fields.

To qualify for the program, a student must:

• Be a high school senior, graduating in spring of 2010;

• Demonstrate leadership abilities and academic performance;

• Complete an application; and

• Write essays describing why he or she is interested in an animal science with bias in swine nutrition and management career.

Applications are available on the Internet at www.UltraCareFeed.com and www.PurinaPigStarters.com. All applications must be postmarked by June 14, 2010. Winners will be notified by mail on or before July 31, 2010.

Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC introduces a unique swine creep feed, FIRST STEP™ feed, in April 2010. FIRST STEP™ is THE first step to nutritionally creating full market value pigs! Its specific form prevents wastage and, through the use of proprietary palatants and specialty ingredients, it has been shown to optimize feed intake and subsequently support the developing immune and digestive systems. This means that young pigs start eating sooner, thus gaining more in the nursery and through the finisher as shown by research conducted at LongView Animal Nutrition Center, Gray Summit, MO. To learn more and to download a scholarship application form, go to www.UltraCareFeed.com or www.PurinaPigStarters.com.

Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC, a Land O’Lakes Incorporated company, is a national organization serving producers through 4,700 local cooperatives and independent dealerships throughout the United States. The company, in combination with its wholly owned subsidiary Purina Mills, LLC, is North America’s leading feed company, providing producers, cooperatives and dealers with an extensive line of animal feed, ingredients and services.

Contact:

Suzanne Petersen, PhD

Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC

STPetersen@landolakes.com

651-765-5522

Literature Review Confirms Causes Of Manure-Related Fires, Explosions

Last fall’s weather-related delays in corn and soybean harvests produced major delays in manure pump-out and land application, setting in motion potentially dangerous situations on some hog operations.

“Unfortunately, several Midwestern swine facilities suffered flash fires and explosions related to liquid manure agitation and pumping from deep pit concrete storage,” says Allan Stokes, director of environmental programs for the National Pork Board.

Due to the rash of reported incidents, the Pork Checkoff’s Environmental Committee contracted with Iowa State University (ISU) researchers to conduct a literature review of the science related to the causes and possible factors and sources for manure-related explosions and flash fires.

The ISU researchers found:

  • Explosions and fires related to deep-pit manure storage have been experienced as early as 1969.
  • Gases resulting from anaerobic decomposition of manure (methane, hydrogen sulfide and phosphine) are the suspected source of most fires.
  • Methane is the most likely source of barn fires, since the lower explosive limits for both hydrogen sulfide and phosphines are far above the toxic level for swine and humans. Animal death would likely occur before either gas reached combustible levels.
  • Foaming may occur in anaerobic manure systems. This action increases the potential hazard as methane is trapped in the foam and released during manure agitation.

The full literature review and the Pork Checkoff’s Safe Manure Removal Policies Fact Sheet can be found on the Pork Science page on the checkoff’s Web page at www.pork.org.

For more information, contact Allan Stokes at AStokes@pork.org or (515) 223-3447.

USDA Hogs & Pigs Report – Finally Some Good News

After two years in which about any light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be an oncoming freight train, pork producers have every right to be encouraged by the USDA’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report issued last Friday.

The report indicates lower hog numbers across the board, relative to both last year (which we anticipated) and, more importantly, the market’s expectations going into the report. In fact, relative to the averages of analysts’ pre-report estimates, this was one of the most bullish reports in years. Just what the financial doctor ordered if you sell pigs!

Table 1 contains the key data from Friday’s report and readers can see from the right-most column that every number except one (the 180 lb. and over inventory) was smaller than analysts expected. It’s not that analysts are always right, but their pre-report opinions are meant to measure the changes that are already “in the market” – especially the futures market. These relatively large deviations imply strong Lean Hogs futures prices on Monday – most likely limit up at some point during the day. That conclusion applies more strongly to the deferred contracts where the impacts of a 2.4% smaller Dec-Feb pig crop might be more greatly felt.

As for the “smell” tests, this report is okay, but not great. The year-on-year change in the 180-lb. plus inventory (-1.1%) agrees almost precisely with March slaughter through last Saturday (-1%). The problem, if there is one, lies in the comparison of the Dec-Feb pig crop (-2.4%) to the under-50 lb. number (-4%). January-February weaner/feeder pig imports from Canada were 3.1% lower (about 25,000 head) than last year. That number is far too small to explain the difference between the pig crop and the lightweight inventory estimate. Pigs from this group will begin to come to market in June, so we will not have a good test for which number is closer to correct until then.

The report also indicates that the rapid productivity increases witnessed over the past two years may be slowing a bit. Reductions in farrowings and farrowing intentions were larger than anticipated, but are very much in line with the change in the breeding herd. The growth rate of average pigs saved per litter fell all the way (I’m being facetious) to 1.4% vs. one year ago. That still leaves the average growth rate for the past two years at 2.15%, the last three years at 2.08%, but it does mark the first quarter with under 2% year-on-year growth since the Dec 2007-Feb 2008 quarter. See Figure 1.

Figure 1 also shows the normal seasonal pattern of litter size growth picking up in the Mar-May quarter, and peaking in Jun-Aug. It will be interesting to see if that happens this year, given the difficulty we have seen with molds and toxins in corn. While producers have no doubt been careful about the corn they use in sow diets, one would expect some impact on productivity. Will it come in farrowings/breeding animal or pigs/litter? Regardless, any negative impact adds to the positive impact of this report on market prices.

Significant Supply Shift
These numbers change the supply outlook for 2010 pretty dramatically. The December report indicated modest reductions in Q1 and Q2 slaughter that actually tapered off in the second half of the year. As Figure 2 shows, this report indicates that the reductions will get larger as we progress through the summer and early fall before declining in December. When lower numbers of Canadian feeder pigs are factored in, this report says that slaughter will be down 4 to 4.5% from June through September. Any semblance of a normal summer and, thus, a normal market weight decline, could take another 1-2% off of pork supplies compared to last summer’s big hog-bloated total.

Talking about a 5% pork production decrease is something akin to speculating on a Chicago Cubs World Series championship – it just does not happen very often! Year-over-year pork production has fallen by 5% or more in only 30 of the 582 weeks since Jan. 1, 2001. Four of those weeks were between Dec. 26, 2009 and Jan. 30, 2010, and two of them were last summer when packers cried “uncle” over record low margins and slowed chain speeds or idled plants to push cutout values higher, which thereby created a major positive turning point for the hog market.

So 20% of the historical weeks with 5% or greater reductions have occurred in the past nine months and I doubt the tally is over. The long-predicted, long-anticipated reduction of pork supplies that simply had to happen to cover a quantum increase in costs is finally here. I just hope nothing goofy happens on the demand side to mess up the party. All of you deserve one!

Table 2 shows my price forecasts, as well as those of the University of Missouri, Iowa State University and the Livestock Marketing Information Center. It is important to note that the futures prices in Table 2 are from Friday, March 26. Chicago Mercantile Exchange Lean Hogs April futures are roughly $2 higher and the remainder of the 2010 contracts are up the $3/cwt. daily limit as of 10:40 a.m. today, Monday, March 29.

Click to view graphs.

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

Bullish Hogs & Pigs Report

The impact of the bad economic picture plaguing the hog industry for the last two years showed up in the USDA’s latest Hogs and Pigs report. Total sow numbers compared to a year ago were well below what the market was expecting. This is good news for many producers who were able to survive the extended market downturn and it looks like the economics for 2010 will be good. How good? It’s really too early to tell, but if you look at current cost of production and hog future prices, many producers have a chance to make $10-$15/head this year. This will certainly help heal the balance sheets of some producers.

Locking in a Profit Always Makes Sense – Many producers locked in some futures prices before the USDA report was issued and now wonder if they made the right decision. My response to them is this, “You locked in a profitable price and you will still have an opportunity to improve some margins on your open market hogs. And, having a better hog market should also improve your basis position concerning cash hogs.” The bottom line is this: you never go broke locking in a profit. Remember, when the market is going up, it is helping or improving your overall margin. You need to stick to your plan going forward because things can change quickly. The March Pig Crop report may also have given us better margin opportunities for the fourth quarter 2010 and the first quarter 2011 than earlier anticipated.

Cash and Cutout Needs to Lead the Way – Even as the Hogs & Pigs report shows fewer pig numbers, the next important steps are cutout values and cash hog prices need to rally. I have seen cutout values decline over the last week and, even though we have less supply coming, the bottom line is what we can sell our product for while keeping demand strong. For example, if July futures are at $81, we need cutout values to approach $90. That has only happened once – in 2008, when China came into the market. So, if cash hogs get to $80 or higher, keep an eye on how strong pork demand is at those levels. The U.S. pork industry is still the most cost-competitive place to raise pork in the world.

Don’t Even Think about Expansion - I don’t want to rain on everyone’s parade just when things are looking a little brighter, but it is important to understand that the strength in the market is a response to reduced supply. My concern is that some producers will think we can go back to higher production levels without consequences. Breakeven prices are around $130-$135/head today, but that could change, particularly if we have any weather concerns throughout the upcoming growing season. For now, enjoy making some money and focus on getting your balance sheets in better shape. Enjoy the good times, but remember the bad times.

Mark Greenwood
Swine Industry Consultant
Contact Greenwood at mgreenw@agstar.com

EQIP Funds Tapped for Child Nutrition Act

The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010,” which reauthorizes childhood nutrition programs (school breakfast, school lunch, summer feeding program, etc.). The legislation provides $4.5 billion in additional child nutrition program funding over the next 10 years. Part of the increased funding is the result of redirecting $2.2 billion from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help pay for the legislation. A number of members of the committee raised concerns about cutting EQIP funds. Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (R-AR) said the proposal would only limit the growth in funding for EQIP and not cut producer payments. She pledged to work with committee members on the funding issue. The legislation invests in new initiatives to enroll more children in the national school breakfast and lunch programs. It increases the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches by 6 cents per meal, which will help schools meet new meal standards to provide children with healthier school meals. To help combat childhood obesity, the secretary of agriculture will be given the authority to establish national nutrition standards for all foods sold on the school campus throughout the school days. The bill also provides funding for schools to establish school gardens and to help schools source local foods. The bill also expands after-school meals for at-risk children, nationwide, to provide an after-school meal. Currently, communities are reimbursed for providing a snack. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, “The Senate's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is a significant step toward legislation that reduces hunger, improves the health of our children, and supports their academic achievement.”

Legislation Will Extend Ethanol Tax Credit — Congressmen Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and John Shimkus (R-IL) introduced the Renewable Fuels Reinvestment Act. This legislation will extend the current Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the Small Ethanol Producers Tax Credit for five years. It will also extend the Cellulosic Ethanol Production Tax Credit for three years. According to the congressmen, a recent study warned that if the VEETC credit is allowed to expire at the end of 2010, it would cost 112,000 jobs and reduce domestic ethanol production by 38%. Congressmen Pomeroy and Shimkus said, “In 2009 alone, the increased tax revenue generated by American ethanol production returned $8.4 billion to the federal treasury, $3.4 billion more than the cost of VEETC.”

Enhanced Food Safety Rule — USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is seeking public comments on proposed measures to enhance food safety. The proposed rule would implement a provision of the 2008 Farm Bill and is a priority for the administration’s Food Safety Working Group. The proposed rule would require that regulated establishments: 1) Promptly notify FSIS if any unsafe, unwholesome or misbranded meat or poultry product have entered commerce; 2) Prepare and maintain current procedures for the recall of meat and poultry products produced and shipped by the establishment; and 3) Document each reassessment of the establishment's process control plans or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans. Public comments are due by May 24.

Joint Climate Change Prediction Research Program — USDA, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation announced the creation of a joint research program that designates nearly $50 million to develop climate system models that provide insights on climate variability and impacts on ecosystems. Roger Beachy, director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture said, “Climate change and its impacts on the land, crops and animals raise some of the most serious issues faced by producers and by society at large. It is important to understand its potential effect on our world and how we can proactively mitigate its consequences. Accurate and reliable scientific information is critical to sustain economically viable agricultural operations."

Meat & Poultry Appreciation Day — Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives declaring that March 20 is celebrated as National American Meat and Poultry Appreciation Day. The resolution was in response to the proclamation signed by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm declaring March 20 as “Michigan Meatout Day.” Congressman Camp said, “No one can dispute the fact that agriculture, including the meat and poultry industry, has buoyed the Michigan economy through an extremely difficulty period. Nearly 136,000 Michigan farm families get their livelihood from the meat and poultry industry that represents nearly $115 billion for the Michigan economy, and nearly 6% of the nation’s domestic product.”

Pork Producers Come to Washington, DC — Pork producers from throughout the Untied States came to Washington, DC last week to visit with their senators, congressmen and administration officials to discuss key issues facing the pork industry, including food safety, antibiotics, trade, and environmental issues. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) again hosted the Rack-of-Pork reception, one of the most popular congressional receptions held on Capitol Hill each year.

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

Ohio Livestock Care Board Moves Forward

With passage of House Bill 414, the establishment of the nation’s first livestock care board, in Ohio, moves ahead with the governor expected to sign the authorizing legislation in the coming weeks.

“I applaud the legislature for its hard work in passing this important piece of legislation that will further strengthen Ohio agriculture, and I am excited to serve Ohioans in my new role as chairman of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board,” says Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs. “I am confident that creating comprehensive livestock care standards will not only assure better livestock care, but will also promote safe and affordable food, help prevent the outbreak of both animal and human diseases and will encourage local food production.”

The 13-member board is being created as a result of Ohio voters overwhelmingly supporting passage of Issue 2 last November.

Dick Isler, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Producers Council, believes the board should be given time to act. “I think the animal care standards board will work as quickly as they can start bringing their thoughts together on gestation stalls for pigs, crates for veal calves and cages for chickens. Those are the issues we are under attack for so we certainly want our board to take action.”

Isler points out that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has announced plans to gather signatures for a ballot initiative this fall. Their goal is to usurp authority of the livestock care standards board, replacing it with language of Proposition 2 passed in California, plus address euthanasia and downer cow issues.

Isler says Ohio already follows euthanasia standards approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association. And the issue of downer cows entering the foodchain has already been addressed at the federal level.

“HSUS is trying to trick Ohio voters on some of the things that have already been addressed,” he says. “This is the first attempt in the United States to establish an animal care standards board. We feel like Ohioans ought to be the ones deciding this issue, not outside animal rights groups.”

Isler says Ohio voters have already decided this issue with their vote last November, and they will do so again this November, if the ballot initiative comes up for a vote.

A steering committee has been formed to campaign in defense of Issue 2, comprised of pork, poultry, beef and dairy cattle, corn and soybean groups, working in concert with the Ohio Farm Bureau.

“We appreciate the nationwide support that we got for Issue 2 last year, and this year we are going to have to dig deeper to defend what we did last year.

“The bottom line is we in agriculture need to gain back control of the animal care issue to convince consumers that farmers are the animal care group – not the HSUS,” Isler says.