NPPC President Pleased with Farm Bill Progress

NPPC President Randy Spronk
<p> NPPC President Randy Spronk.</p>

National Pork Producers Council President Randy Spronk listed progress on the Farm Bill as one of the areas giving producers hope as they move further into 2013. Hear Spronk’s comments regarding the Farm Bill and trade topics in a video interview courtesy of National Hog Farmer’s sister publication, Delta Farm Press.

Visit the Delta Farm Press Web site at

USDA Report Downgrades Corn Crop

USDA Report Downgrades Corn Crop

USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released this week lowers the prospects for feedgrain supplies as delayed plantings reduce yield prospects for corn.

Projected corn production is lowered 135 million bushels to 14.0 billion bushels. Average yield is projected at 156.5 bushels per acre, a drop of 1.5 bushels from last month’s projections.

Adverse cool, wet conditions in late May and early June coupled with projected seasonally warmer temperatures and drier conditions in late July could affect pollination and kernel set in a larger share of this year’s crop.

With reduced production prospects, domestic corn usage is projected 70 million bushels lower for 2013-2014. Projected feed and residual disappearance is lowered 125 million bushels with the smaller crop, higher expected prices and increased availability of distiller’s grains.


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Corn-ending stocks for 2013-2014 are estimated 55 million bushels lower. Still, at the projected 1.9 billion bushels, ending stocks are expected to be 2.5 times the level of carryover for 2012-2013.

The season-ending average farm price range for corn is raised 10 cents per bushel on each end to $4.40 to $5.20 per bushel.

U.S. soybean supply and use projections for 2013-2014 remain unchanged from last month. The 2013-2014 season average price for soybeans is projected at $9.75 to $11.75 per bushel, up 25 cents on both ends of the range. Soybean meal prices are forecast at $290 to $330/ton, up $10 on both ends of the price range.

The forecast for total meat production in 2013 is increased from last month as higher beef and broiler production has more than offset lower pork production, the WASDE report indicated.

Pork production in the second quarter is lowered due to declining hog slaughter and slightly lower expected carcass weights. USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report to be released June 28 will provide an indication of producer farrowing intentions for the remainder of the year.

Read the full WASDE report at; click on Agency Reports.

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25th Anniversary of World Pork Expo Rated a Success

25th Anniversary of World Pork Expo Rated a Success

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the 2013 World Pork Expo attracted nearly 20,000 pork producers and leaders from 39 countries to the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, IA June 5-7. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Expo featured the world's largest pork-specific trade show with more than 400 commercial exhibitors from throughout the world. Expo's three days were filled with seminars offering the latest management insights, free pork barbecue and opportunities for attendees to interact with fellow pork producers. IN what has become a major youth event, the World Pork Expo Junior National  set another record for participation in its shows and other competitions.

“Overall this year, producers were upbeat, the exhibitors were busy, and we had great weather and good crowds,” says Randy Spronk, NPPC president and pork producer from Edgerton, MN. “World Pork Expo is a great place to share ideas and talk business with vendors and fellow pork producers. It’s a tremendous producer event.”

Busy Days for Trade Show Exhibitors

At 310,000 sq. ft., this year’s World Pork Expo trade show featured more exhibit space, taking advantage of a new display area in the historic Agriculture Building. During Expo’s three days, attendees viewed the products, services and technologies of more than 400 exhibitors from the United States and other countries. Expo exhibitors noted the producers’ positive attitudes, as well as their search for new technologies and products to fit into their long-term plans.

“Producers attending Expo had a very positive outlook for the future, even though pork production economics are still a challenge,” says Graydon Bell, U.S. sales manager, Nedap Livestock Management North America, a Dutch technology and electronic animal-identification company. “Producers today do an excellent job of marketing and working with smaller margins.”


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He adds that producers were looking for new products and the best options for their future business. “They understand labor, economics, and being good stewards of the animal and the environment. We had good, informed conversations every day of Expo.”

Gary Nelson, a U.S. and Canadian distributor for Rotecna, an equipment company based in Spain, echoes that sentiment.

“Producers were optimistic, and were looking down the road for the best alternatives in cost savings and new innovations,” Nelson says. “There was a lot of interest in new products. At World Pork Expo, you get quality producers asking good questions. We had two great days — probably the best in five years.”

Record Junior Show

From its humble beginnings in 2003 with 120 hogs, the World Pork Expo Junior National now ranks among the premier youth shows in the United States. This year’s edition, hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, set another record with 1,600 pigs exhibited by 678 juniors from 26 states.

Concluding World Pork Expo was the open show, which involved more than 200 exhibitors and nearly 600 hogs. The top-selling boar, the reserve champion Yorkshire shown by Kari and Kristin Boyum, and Zach and Katie Loppnow, BOLO Showpigs, Lake City, MN, was purchased by Hi Point Genetics of Chrisman, IL, for $100,000. A crossbred gilt shown by Cody Wolf, Whitesboro, TX, was the top gilt, selling to Rockin’ G Swine, Sentinel, OK, for $17,000.

More 25th-Anniversary Highlights

The ever-famous Big Grill returned for its 25th consecutive year. Volunteers from the Tama County (IA) Pork Producers Association once again manned the Big Grill and served more than 10,000 free pork lunches.

For the second year in a row during Expo, NPPC graciously donated $3,000 in Domino’s Pizza gift cards to the Food Bank of Iowa for distribution to area families in need. Another $1,000 of Domino’s Pizza gift cards were donated to Des Moines’ Youth Emergency Shelter & Services (YSS), which provides assistance to children, youth and families.

Also popular were nearly two dozen business seminars and PORK Academy seminars, offering the latest insights in production management, market outlook and strategic planning. A special session on Wednesday presented a panel of swine veterinarians and diagnostic experts to update producers on the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus that has surfaced in U.S. herds since mid-April. Discussion centered on PED symptoms and infection rates, as well as prevention and biosecurity protocols.

Looking ahead to next year, NPPC announced dates for the 2014 World Pork Expo — June 4-6, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, IA.

World Pork Expo, the world's largest pork-specific trade show, is brought to you by NPPC. On behalf of its members, NPPC develops and defends export markets, fights for reasonable legislation and regulation, and informs and educates legislators. For more information, visit

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Corn Planting Nears Finish Line


Struggling all season to catch up, corn planting reached 95% completion as of June 9, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Progress report released June 10.

A year ago, 100% of the corn crop had been planted, compared with 98% for the 2008-2012 average in the 18 top corn-producing states.

Topping the list with 100% of corn acreage completed was Colorado, Nebraska, North Carolina and Ohio. Several states trailed slightly behind. Lagging furthest behind were Iowa at 92%, Minnesota at 90%, Missouri at 93%, North Dakota at 89% and Wisconsin at 81%, raising the spectre that millions of acres of land would remain unplanted or be seeded with soybeans.

In all, 85% of corn planted has emerged, led by 100% in North Carolina. Just 67% of corn in North Dakota has emerged and 60% in Wisconsin. For the period of 2008-2012, 92% of corn had emerged as of June 9. Last year, 99% of corn had emerged, NASS reported.

As of June 9, corn condition for the 18 selected states averaged 12% excellent, 54% good, 26% fair and 8% poor or very poor.

NASS officials reported 71% of soybeans were planted as of June 9, compared with the five-year (2008-2012) average of 84% and last year’s 97% planted.

Soybean emergence averaged 48% in the top 18 selected states, compared with the past five years when 67% of plants emerged as of June 9. Last year, 88% of soybeans had emerged.

Full report is available at and click on  agency reports.

Heat Stress App Available Just in Time for Summer

Heat Stress App Available Just in Time for Summer

Even though the cool weather has lingered on, it’s nearly the official start of summer. The cool, low humidity days have been good for people and pigs.

Soon, however, there will be stretches of hot and humid weather to contend with. To help livestock and poultry deal with summer conditions, a new app on heat stress has been developed, according to the Iowa Pork Industry Center.

“The Heat Stress in Livestock and Poultry App” allows the user to calculate heat stress based on measured barn temperature and relative humidity. It then offers suggestions on reducing heat stress and improve comfort.

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The app works in English, French and Spanish for seven types of livestock, uses two-degree temperature increments and five-degree humidity changes (both in metric and English measurements); includes a variety of ventilation systems and offer practical actions to reduce heat stress.

It’s available from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph, and best of all – it’s a free download.

To find out how it works, look at the downloadable information page, especially at the screen shots, and give it a try:




Possible Trade Retaliation Over COOL

Canada announced that it may seek retaliatory action against a number of U.S. products because of the final country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) rule implemented last month by the United States. Canadian officials said, “Our government is extremely disappointed that the United States continues to uphold this protectionist policy, which the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled to be unfair, and we call on the United States to abide by the WTO ruling.  We are preparing to launch the next phase of the WTO dispute settlement process on the new U.S. rule, which we had hoped to avoid by the United States living up to its trade obligations.” 

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Canada listed a number of products that may be targeted, including live bovine animals; live swine; meat of bovine animals, fresh, chilled or frozen; fresh, chilled or frozen pork; apples; cherries; glucose and glucose syrup; certain fructose and fructose syrup; pasta; bread, pastry, cakes and biscuits; frozen orange juice; wooden office furniture; ethyl alcohol and other spirits, denatured, or any strength.  Mexico is expected to take similar action.

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ADUFA Awaits President’s Signature

In a strong bipartisan effort, Congress reauthorized the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA), which has been sent to President Obama for his signature.  This legislation (S. 622) allows the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to collect fees from animal health companies for the review of animal medicines. 

The additional resources have allowed FDA to meet performance goals that make the review of products more efficient while maintaining strict safety standards.  The legislation does not include any restrictions on the use of antibiotics in food-animal production and does not require reporting of on-farm uses of animal health products as had been advocated by various groups and congressional members. 

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The Animal Health Institute (AHI) said, “Animal medicines play an important role in public health by providing veterinarians, pet owners and livestock producers with the tools needed to keep animals healthy.  Reauthorization of ADUFA helps ensure continued access to innovative medicines that allow our pets to live longer, healthier lives and contribute to food safety by keeping food animals healthy.”  ADUFA was first authorized in 2003.  

Final Farm Bill Up for Senate Vote Today

The Senate invoked cloture on the farm bill, which will allow senators to move forward and vote on final passage today at 5:30 p.m.  Last week, over 120 agricultural organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging them to “finish the farm bill in the next few days.”   The organizations said, “This bill affects 16 million Americans whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. We must pass a farm bill this year to provide certainty to those individuals. We must cut unnecessary spending. We must ensure that consumers will continue to have a safe, healthy and affordable food supply. We must provide an effective farm and natural resource safety net. We must invest in initiatives that boost exports, and spur innovations in new industries.”  Those signing the bill included American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, CoBank, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council and USA Rice Federation.

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New Labeling Rules for Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing labeling requirements for mechanically tenderized beef products, including validating cooking instructions, so consumers know they are purchasing product that has been mechanically tenderized.

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FSIS said, “This proposed rule would enhance food safety by providing clear labeling of mechanically tenderized beef products and outlining new cooking instructions so that consumers and restaurants can safely prepare these products.”  To increase tenderness, some cuts of beef go through a process known as mechanical tenderization, during which they are pierced by needles or sharp blades in order to break up muscle fibers. According to FSIS, research has shown that this process may transfer pathogens present on the outside of the cut to the interior. “Because of the possible presence of pathogens in the interior of the product, mechanically tenderized beef products may pose a greater threat to public health than intact beef products, if they are not cooked properly.”

Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Named

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the appointment of the 15 members of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.  HHS and USDA say the dietary guidelines serve as the foundation for national nutrition programs, standards and education. In addition, the dietary guidelines provide key recommendations for the general population as well as specific population groups to help people choose an overall healthy diet that works for them.

The first meeting of the new committee will be held June 13-14.  Those appointed to the advisory committee are: Dr. Barbara Millen, professor, Boston University School of Medicine; Alice Lichtenstein, Tufts University; Dr. Steven Abrams, Baylor University; Dr. Lucile Adams-Campbell, Georgetown University Medical Center; Dr. Cheryl Anderson, University of California; Dr. J. Thomas Brenna, Cornell University: Dr. Wayne Campbell; Purdue University; Dr. Steven Clinton, Ohio State University School of Medicine; Dr. Gary Foster, Temple University; Dr. Frank Hu, Harvard School of Public Health; Dr. Miriam Nelson, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Dr. Marian Neuhouser, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Dr. Rafael Perez-Escamilla, Yale School of Public Health; Dr. Anna Maria Siega-Riz, University of North Carolina; and Dr. Mary Story, University of Minnesota. 

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