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Articles from 2010 In June

Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference Schedules 10th Annual Program

Two keynote addresses will be given at the 10th annual Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference, Sept. 9 at the Indiana Farm Bureau Building, Indianapolis, IN.

“Perspectives from Washington: Policies Impacting Animal Agriculture” features Lowell Randel, Washington, DC, representative for the Federation of Animal Science Societies.

“Near Infrared (NIR) (analysis) of Feedstuffs and Enhancement of NIR for Prediction of Nutrient Availability,” features John Black of John L. Black Consulting, Warrimoo, Australia.

Other presentations include:

  • Overview of environmental monitoring research at Purdue University with Brian Richert and Scott Radcliffe
  • Salmonella transmission, dissemination, colonization and control with Paul Ebner of Purdue University
  • Vomitoxin – How do we correct the problem in the future? with Don Mahan of Ohio State University
  • Net energy – current status with Jim Pettigrew of the University of Illinois
  • Linking our understanding of mammary gland metabolism to amino acid nutrition with Nathalie Trottier of Michigan State University and
  • A perspective on changes in the feed industry in the next 10 years with Pearse Lyons of Alltech Biotechnology Center.

Conference registration is $100 per person through Aug. 31 and $150 per person after Aug. 31 or on site. For further information, contact Merlin Lindemann at (859) 257-7524 or or visit to register online.

Leman Swine Conference Offers Several New Features

The 37th annual Leman Swine Conference Sept. 18-21, 2010 at RiverCentre in St. Paul, MN, offers a host of new features. There’s a Saturday night river cruise and dinner, distinguished lecture and master pass.

The distinguished lecture, “Bringing Prosperity to the Smallholder African Farmer Through Livestock,” will be presented by Gregg BeVier, DVM, senior program officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Saturday night river cruise and dinner on the Jonathon Padelford boat down the Mississippi River runs from 6-9 p.m. and costs $25/person.

With master pass, participants can attend the main conference with their choice of four preconference workshops for one standard price.

The conference includes two full days of presentations and seminars covering swine diseases, production and consumer issues, trade show exhibits and scientific poster presentations. Keynote sessions will include:

  • A Wall Street View of the Protein Markets presented by Farha Aslam, managing director, Stephens, Inc.
  • Elimination of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus from North America: United the Clans! presented by Scott Dee, DVM, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
  • How Do We Feed a Growing World Without Destroying the Planet? presented by Jon Foley, director of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment
  • Where Has All of the Research Gone? Presented by Mike Tokach, Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry.

For more information, go to

Baby Pigs Provide Model to Study Infant Brain Growth

University of Illinois (U of I) research is showing that the baby pig can help provide answers to the study of infant brain development in predicting behavioral problems such as cognitive deficits, anxiety disorders, depression and autism.

Researchers are finding that baby pigs can be trained in traditional learning and memory tests that can directly benefit human health.

“Studies suggest that inadequate nutrition, stress and infection leave fingerprints in early brain development that can make a person more vulnerable to behavior disorders later in life,” says Rodney Johnson, DVM, U of I professor of animal sciences and director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences. “We are interested in learning how the brain develops during this time and how cognitive ability is affected. Our goal is to understand how to promote brain and cognitive development, and minimize potential experiential influences that might hinder the process.”

The use of the pig in neuroscience research is gaining in popularity because pigs anatomically resemble humans and many of their organs grow and develop similarly.

Pigs are also precocial, meaning they are born with well-developed sensory and motor systems, allowing them to be very mobile and weaned at an early age.

“Most important, the pig brain’s growth spurt occurs perinatally – a little before and a little after birth,” Johnson says. “In contrast, the rodent’s brain growth spurt occurs after birth and the non-human primate’s occurs before birth, making them less ideal to study and compare to humans.”

The brain’s rapid growth spurt involves a critical period of time, Johnson says.

“We know that if something goes wrong during this developmental period, the brain can be permanently altered,” he says. “We believe that events occurring during this developmental period may underlie some of the behavioral problems that emerge later in life.”

For the study, piglets were weaned at 2 days of age and provided a milk system that delivered 14 small meals a day to mimic the number of meals they’d receive from their mothers.

At 2 weeks of age, piglets were trained to find a milk reward in an eight-arm radial maze, a large version of models typically used to study rodent behavior. The eight arms of the maze came equipped with cups the exact size piglets fed from during the day. Seven bowls contained inaccessible milk and one bowl contained milk that was accessible. The goal was to teach the piglets how to find the accessible bowl of milk.

To create cues for the piglets, researchers covered the opening of each maze arm with a blue or white curtain. The piglets learned color cues to remember where to find milk. In the first test, accessible milk was behind the blue curtain.

“The piglets learned quickly after day one where to find their reward,” Johnson says. “This simple associative learning task was not hard for them to complete.

“But then, we did a reversal learning test where the white curtain became the entrance to the cup of accessible milk. This was more complicated because the piglets had to learn to stop going to the blue and then associate white with milk. It required a greater cognitive load, but it was one that they learned over time.”

Researchers also studied how peripheral immune activation affects cognitive processing. One group of piglets received an immunostimulant to mimic a common viral infection, which took pigs more time to complete the reversal learning test.

“When the immune system encounters an infectious agent, it responds and conveys information to the brain,” he explains. “We were able to show that when the peripheral immune system conveyed information to the brain in the neonate, their cognitive abilities were hindered. That reveals another advantage of the neonatal piglet model.”

The Johnson lab is using MRI imaging to study brain development in piglets from 2 weeks of age until sexual maturity or an adolescent stage.

FDA’s Guidance Document Recommends Less Antibiotics

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a guidance document Monday that could lead to the elimination or costly review of previously approved animal health products, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), which says there appears to be no science behind FDA’s guidance.

The FDA document calls for antibiotics that are “medically important” to humans to only be used in animals when necessary to assure their health. Those antibiotics should be administered with veterinary oversight or “consultation.” FDA said while the document does not carry the weight of a rule, the guidance would be used to develop public policy on animal antibiotic use.

“This guidance could eliminate certain antibiotics that are extremely important to the health of animals,” says NPPC President Sam Carney, an Adair, IA, pork producer. “FDA didn’t present any science on which to base this, yet it could have a tremendous negative impact on animal health and, ultimately, the safety of food. As we know, healthy animals produce safe food, and we need every available tool to protect animal health.”

Under the guidance document, antibiotics that currently are not labeled for preventing, treating or controlling diseases could continue to be used if after undergoing a second rigorous FDA approval process, one of those label claims is proved. That process can take seven to 10 years and can cost pharmaceutical firms millions of dollars.

NPPC expressed concern about FDA’s call for animal antibiotics to be used under the “oversight” of, or in “consultation” with, a veterinarian. NPPC said a requirement that all antibiotics be accompanied by feed directives, for example, could be a problem given the country’s severe shortage of large animal veterinarians.

“Producers work with their veterinarians to develop animal health plans that include the judicious use of antibiotics,” Carney says. “The industry also has programs, including the FDA-reviewed Pork Quality Assurance Plus program, that educate producers about the responsible use of antibiotics.”

The guidance document from FDA is in response to increasing antibiotic-resistant illnesses in humans, attributed to the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry production by opponents of modern agriculture.

But NPPC says top scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health recently told a U.S. House committee that there is no scientific study that links antibiotic use in food animal production with antibiotic resistance.

Sixty-Dollar Hogs Are Rarer Than a Blue Moon

In May, live hog prices averaged about $63 per hundredweight.

“It is rare for monthly average hog prices to exceed $60,” remarks Purdue University Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt. “Since 1970, that has occurred only 13 times. There have been more blue moons since 1970, a total of 15.” A blue moon is characterized as a second full moon in the same calendar month, which only occurs every two or three years.

Still, the outlook is for strong and profitable hog prices to continue for some time, although prices will generally range below the $60 mark. Fueling profitable prices is USDA’s quarterly June survey of hog producers, which showed the U.S. breeding herd remains 3% below last year’s level. That decline of 180,000 sows was led by smaller herds in North Carolina and Texas.

“The breeding herd was at a peak in September 2007, when losses began to set in due to high feed prices and collapsing hog prices,” Hurt says. Losses continued through this February, then prices finally turned profitable in March.

The high profits have some wondering if producers will quickly expand.

“Losses eroded much of the equity of many producers, so they and their lenders want a period of profits to stabilize their financial position,” Hurt comments. “The extremely high May hog prices were a short-term aberration. Retail pork prices will continue to move higher this summer and will slow pork consumption. Retail pork prices already reached record highs in May at $3.04/retail pound, and the climb will continue into the summer. The economic recovery is slow and unemployment will remain high, contributing to overall weak retail demand and more moderate live hog prices.”

Hurt projects pork supplies will be down about 4% for the last half of the year, reflecting almost 4% fewer pigs in the market herd. “Given the expectation of lower feed costs, weights are expected to rise in the last half of the year after being down fractionally in the first half,” he says.

Pork supplies are expected to rise slightly in the first quarter of 2011 and about 2% in the second quarter. “Some additional increases in production should be expected for the last half of 2011, with perhaps 3-4% more pork. This would increase 2011 annual production by 2-3% over 2010,” Hurt says.

Hurt’s latest predictions are for live hog prices to average in the high $50s for the rest of summer before starting a seasonal decline in September. Third quarter prices are pegged at $56 to $59 and to fall to $50 to $53 in the final quarter of the year.

“For 2011, prices may average around $55 in the spring quarter and around $53 in the summer,” Hurt says. “Further buildup of pork production by the fall of 2011 might pressure prices back into a range from $45 to $50 for the final quarter of 2011.”

Feed costs for the next 12 months appear to be the lowest since 2007, dropping total live hog costs to an estimated $46-48/ hundredweight. This compares to $54 in 2008 and $50 in 2009.

Profit levels for the second quarter of 2010 were estimated near $33/head, $29/head for the third quarter and about $15/head in the final quarter.

The profit outlook looks rosy for 2011 as well, especially through the summer.
“By the fall, prices could fall closer to costs of production,” he relates. “Yield uncertainty for the 2011 crops could also greatly impact feed prices. Early projections for 2011 are for profits of $11/head, but all coming in the first three quarters.

“Over the past two years, the pork industry has been forced to adjust production downward to accommodate corn prices at $4/bushel or higher. Now corn (and meal) prices are lower. Those who believe corn prices will generally move back to $4 or higher would not want to expand hog production.

“Alternatively, those who believe corn will be under $3.50 might elect some moderate expansion in the range of 3-5%. Only time will tell who is correct,” Hurt says.

Friendly Pig Crop Report, but Keep an Eye on Litter Size

Friday’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report contained few surprises, but a few interesting numbers that should be carefully noted as producers make plans for the coming months. See Table 1 for data.

The key number for short-term markets is a market herd at 58.612 million head or 96.3% of one year ago. That is not a small market herd by any stretch. In fact, it is the third-largest ever for a June 1 count. The only two larger were in 2008 (61.27 million) and 2009 (60.842 million).

This relationship underscores the fact that we almost need to put any of these all-time records in a pre-porcine circovirus (PCV) vaccine and post-PCV vaccine context. While PCV vaccine is not the only driver of higher numbers, it is definitely a major one and the only one that we can track to a particular point in time.

The key number for longer-term markets is, of course, the breeding herd, which is estimated at 5.788 million head as of June 1. That is 3% lower than last year, but 28,000 head (0.5%) larger than on March 1, 2010.

Does this mean that the herd is growing again? Probably not. I think the more likely explanation is an effort to be ready for seasonal infertility simply because I don’t see enough financial health among producers to get the herd turned that quickly.

The status of the 2010 corn and soybean crops is another factor that has probably delayed a quick move to expansion, but we have to think that source of uncertainty is getting smaller every week. Rain makes grain, it is said. If that platitude holds true, there should be plenty of grain because there has been plenty of rain. More than plenty in some areas but, barring a real catastrophe the remainder of this summer, damagingly high feed prices are not in the mix of realistic possibilities.

Even if the sow herd is not expanding, this report does point to higher output in relatively short order. A 3% smaller breeding herd is predicted to yield 2.3% fewer litters in the summer quarter and only 0.5% fewer litters in the fall quarter. And, perhaps more important, it appears likely that the size of those litters is again growing at a near-record pace.

Litter Size Averages Up Again
The March-May number for pigs saved per litter was 9.81 – a record by over 0.1 pigs! That number returns the U.S. industry to its record-setting growth pattern of 2008 and 2009 (Figure 1) and implies that even a steady sow herd will result in 2-3% more pigs in 2011. In fact, the return of litter size growth to this recent trend says that we will see more pigs than in 2010 in the Q1 and Q2 of 2011 (Table 2). I have supplies slightly higher than either Iowa State University or University of Missouri economists’ predictions, but their forecasts are moving quickly back toward year-earlier levels as well. LMIC’s forecasts were not available at press time.

Will domestic demand growth (population still grows at a short 1% per year) and foreign markets be enough to push prices higher? I don’t think so, but I also don’t think that we are in for any sort of debacle as my quarterly average price forecasts (Table 3) are all higher than projected breakeven levels at this point. In fact, those quarterly averages will result in profits of $15 to $20/head.

For what it’s worth from someone with no direct investment in a pig farm: $15 to $20/head over a long period of time looks very good – high enough to earn a decent return on investment (and especially on the level of equity that many have at present) and low enough to not be too attractive to “outsiders.” One may not get rich quick, but getting rich slowly is not such a bad deal - right?

Is the Odd Number for Real?
One very interesting number in the report was the 50-119-lb. inventories at 16.877 million head, 5.4% lower than one year ago. The odd thing about the number is that it is far different from any other weight category and it’s 2.5% lower than was expected by the analysts surveyed by Dow Jones.

Why the big shortfall? It may be PRRS-induced (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome). As many readers know, I have always been very hesitant to forecast lower slaughter numbers due to disease outbreaks because a) they usually are not that much different from year to year, b) they usually affect small geographic areas – at least relative to the entire nation, and c) history says that the impacts get “washed out” of the data over time. It is possible, though, that USDA has found an abrupt shortfall in pig numbers and the timing does, in fact, agree with the reports I had this spring of severe PRRS outbreaks. Slaughter from mid-August through September will tell us if the shortfall is real, but that will not definitively provide an explanation.

Finally, this report clearly shows where much of the pain of high feed costs has fallen – North Carolina. North Carolina accounted for 110,000 of the 180,000 sow reduction in the breeding herd since last year. Minnesota was a distant second with a 30,000-sow reduction. Nebraska (-20,000) and Iowa (-10,000) were third and fourth.

Click to view graphs.

Steve R. Meyer, Ph.D.
Paragon Economics, Inc.

Postweaning “Fading Pig/Anorexia Syndrome”

Found in pigs worldwide, Hemagglutinating Encephalomyelitis Virus (HEV) infection has been largely ignored for decades, but the disease is still present and causes clinical problems. HEV was first linked to neurological disease in baby pigs in Ontario, Canada in 1962. Shortly thereafter, it was also identified as the cause of a postweaning syndrome of anorexia, lethargy and depression that was called Vomiting and Wasting Disease.

HEV is an RNA virus. HEV is a serologic Group 2 coronavirus different from the serologic Group 1 coronaviruses that include Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) and porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCV). Bovine coronavirus is more closely related to HEV. HEV only infects pigs.

Researchers at different institutions have been able to reproduce both clinical syndromes by experimentally infecting pigs with HEV. HEV replicates in the nasal cavity and tonsils and is also subsequently found in lung, stomach and small intestine. HEV is thought to spread to the brain through sensory nerves. Inflammation of nerves in the stomach is associated with the Vomiting and Wasting Disease in postweaning pigs.

HEV should be considered when failure-to-thrive syndromes are observed in pigs pre- or postweaning. The virus is thought to be present in most swine herds without causing clinical disease. The virus is being detected most often in nursery pigs from farms with an inappetence and lethargy syndrome. Vomiting has rarely been reported as a clinical sign.

Typically, pigs quit eating, get thin and die with no evident gross lesions. Generally 1-4% of pigs have been affected postweaning. We have seen this syndrome in herds that are negative for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and in pigs that are negative for porcine circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Microscopic lesions we have seen in recent cases of postweaning failure-to-thrive syndromes have included rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal turbinates), and inflammation of nerves in the stomach wall at the pylorus. Tonsil has been the best sample for virus detection by HEV PCR, especially early in the course of disease.

HEV is more easily detected in acutely affected pigs and has been difficult to detect in chronically affected pigs. The virus has been detected by HEV PCR in the following tissues in descending order of frequency: 1) tonsil, 2) nasal turbinate, 3) stomach, 4) lung and 5) small intestine. Genetic sequencing of portions of recently detected HEVs indicates the virus is closely related to historic HEV viruses.

A hemagglutination inhibition (HI) serology test is available and has been useful in evaluating clinical cases. Pigs with low or no titer at weaning appear to be candidates to develop clinical disease. In comparison to serum HEV titers in pigs at weaning, pigs with chronic clinical disease will show evidence of seroconversion to infection. Low titers and low seroprevalence in breeding herds have been typical for most herd profiles.

In comparison to other RNA viruses such as PRRSV and swine influenza virus, this disease appears to maintain a low seroprevalence in the breeding herd as well as a relatively low level of clinical disease in postweaning pigs (1-4%).

Young pigs are supposed to be protected from clinical disease by colostral antibodies. There is also supposed to be an age-associated resistance to clinical disease as active immunity develops from natural exposure in pigs 8-16-weeks of age. HEV is thought to maintain itself in the breeding herd by natural exposure; however, recent breeding herd serologic surveys we have done have not shown this. There are no commercial vaccines.

There are numerous disease processes that can cause a failure-to-thrive syndrome in pigs postweaning. HEV should be considered as a clinical rule-out and included in routine diagnostic testing.

Kurt Rossow, DVM
University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

EPA Delays E15 Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it would delay until fall a decision on whether to increase the blend rate for ethanol above the current 10% limit. In a statement, EPA said more testing still needs to be conducted on cars to how they perform on a 15% ethanol blend. EPA said the ‘preliminary results “look good.” Growth Energy said, “As you would expect, we find this further delay unacceptable. The fact that the federal agencies involved here cannot meet their own deadlines – on a decision that means so much to our nation – reinforces a public perception that government bureaucracy does not work in the best interests of the public. With fossil fuels getting dirtier, costlier and riskier to extract, as we are witnessing with the epic catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, now is the time we should move on expanding the production and consumption of clean, renewable fuels like ethanol.” Growth Energy filed the petition last year requesting the increase to 15% blend.

Roadmap to Achieve Renewable Energy Goals — USDA released a report outlining the current state of renewable transportation fuels efforts and a plan to develop regional strategies to increase the production, marketing, and distribution of fuels in the United States. The report, “A USDA Regional Roadmap to Meeting the Biofuels Goals of the Renewable Fuels Standard by 2022,” provides information on current production and consumption patterns and projections to meet the RFS mandate of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. USDA's report identifies numerous biomass feedstocks to be utilized in developing biofuels and calls for the funding of further investments in research and development of:

• Feedstock;
• Sustainable production and management systems;
• Efficient conversion technologies and high-value bioproducts, and
• Decision support and policy analysis tools.
The report is available at

Corn-Ethanol Improving Energy Efficiency — A report by USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses indicates the net energy gain from converting corn to ethanol is improving in efficiency. The report measured all conventional fossil fuel energy used in the production of 1 gallon of corn ethanol. For every British Thermal Unit (BTU) unit of energy required to make ethanol, 2.3 btus of energy are produced. The ratio is somewhat higher for some firms that are partially substituting biomass energy in processing energy. Since the last study in 2004, the net energy balance of corn ethanol has increased from 1.76 btus to 2.3 btus of required energy. According to the report, overall, ethanol has made the transition from an energy sink, to a moderate net energy gain in the 1990s, to a substantial net energy gain in the present. To review the report go to:

Conservation Practices Work in Upper Mississippi River Basin — A comprehensive study released by USDA found that conservation practices installed and applied by agricultural producers on cropland are reducing sediment, nutrient and pesticide losses from farm fields in the Upper Mississippi River Basin (URMB). Key findings from the study, “Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Upper Mississippi River Basin,” include:

• Suites of practices work better than single practices;

• Targeting critical acres improves effectiveness significantly; practices have the greatest effect on the most vulnerable acres, such as highly erodible land and soils prone to leaching;

• Uses of soil erosion control practices are widespread in the basin. Most acres receive some sort of conservation treatment, resulting in a 69 percent reduction in sediment loss. However, about 15 percent of the cultivated cropland acres still have excessive sediment losses and require additional treatment;

• The most critical conservation concern in the region is the loss of nitrogen from farm fields through leaching, including nitrogen loss through tile drainage systems.

According to USDA, the study also revealed opportunities for improving the use of conservation practices on cropland to enhance environmental quality. For instance, the study found that consistent use of nutrient management (proper rate, form, timing and method of application) is generally lacking throughout the region. Improved nutrient management would reduce the risk of nutrient movement from fields to rivers and streams.

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

Build Coalitions to Counter Animal Activists’ Message

Polls estimate that 83% of Americans approve of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the director of the Center for Consumer Freedom reported at the recent American Agri-Women Symposium (AAW) held in Washington, DC.

David Martosko said most people still believe that the money they donate to HSUS will go to local animal shelters. In fact, HSUS is using the funds to mount campaigns to eliminate meat from the diet. To combat that agenda, Martosko has founded a Web site,, which shadows HSUS and other animal rights groups. Visitors to the Web site can find out how much of the HSUS budget goes to animal protection compared to staff salaries, advertising and fundraising expenses.

Martosko and Steve Kopperud of Policy Directions Inc. agreed that animal rights groups are building coalitions and that animal agriculture should do the same. Kopperud suggested that agriculture should develop alliances that involve new partners such as with unions, churches, educators and less radical humane groups.

Kopperud recalled a referendum that was defeated in Massachusetts in 1998 with the help of Boston labor unions. He urged the women “to talk to people you’ve never talked to before.”

Chelsie Redalen, director of government relations for the National Pork Producers Council, warned about the proposed legislation to limit use of antibiotics in livestock production. One report on antibiotics seen on the evening news gave the livestock industry one minute to tell its story vs. 13 minutes for the opponents.
The PEW Commission last year funded ads on metro trains in Washington, DC, that read, “Up to 70% of U.S. antibiotics go to farm animals that aren’t sick.” These figures were based on unreliable data, she said.

Kay Johnson Smith, executive vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, urged the women to use social media to their advantage. She reported that 45% of people get their news from their e-mails and nearly two billion people use the Internet.

Pictures are a good means of telling your story. For example, a cow rubbing her back on a back scratcher illustrates the owner cares about the cow by providing the equipment.

Northwest Iowa Rep. Steve King stressed, “You have to go on the offensive. Tell the facts and put the opposition on the spot.”

Following the symposium, AAW members visited their congressmen and senators and spoke with them about the importance of animal agriculture.

To learn more about AAW, visit their Web site at

Farm Tour Offers View of Best Management Practices

Farmers interested in learning more about best management practices that can impact profitability and neighbor relations are invited to attend a “Doing Things Right” on-farm workshop sponsored by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF).

The event is planned for June 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ryan and Lana Reed hog farm located at 17747 110th Ave., Ottumwa, IA.

The program will cover timely updates on state and federal regulations impacting livestock and poultry farmers, on-farm energy conservation and the benefits of installing vegetative environmental buffers. The Reeds recently installed a comprehensive tree planting around their hog farm and will provide tours of the project.

An overview of the coalition’s Green Farmstead Partner program will be provided during the workshop and a barbecue catered lunch. Agriculture and regulatory officials, CSIF officials and Trees Forever representatives will be on hand to visit with farmers and answer questions.

The event is open to the public at no cost. For more information, visit or call (800) 932-2436 or (515) 225-5515.