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Lallemand announces summer intern

Lallemand Animal Nutrition is excited to welcome Mariah Martin, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as its marketing and communications summer intern.

Martin is majoring in life sciences communication with certificates in agricultural business management and leadership. Growing up in Brooklyn, Wis., Martin was active in 4-H and participated at the local, state and national level.

Her passion for agriculture continues at the collegiate level through her involvement with the student chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association, where she held numerous officer positions. Most recently, Martin served as the marketing team coordinator where she led a group of 30 students to a reserve national championship at this year’s NAMA marketing competition. She also is active in the Association of Women in Agriculture, Collegiate Farm Bureau and is a co-host for a weekly radio program, Ag Chat.

“We hope to provide Mariah with real-world experience that will help her better understand the opportunities available to her in animal nutrition and marketing,” states Wendy Hushon, marketing communications manager, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “We are looking forward to a productive summer with Mariah and know she will be a valuable member of our team.”

The Lallemand Forward internships recognize students who excel in academic studies and are interested in pursuing a career within the agricultural industry. Lallemand Animal Nutrition is committed to optimizing animal performance and well-being with specific natural microbial product and service solutions. Lallemand Forward encompasses the specifically chosen service solutions that enhance people, knowledge and production practices.

Lallemand Animal Nutrition is committed to optimizing animal performance and well-being with specific natural microbial product and service solutions. Using sound science, proven results and knowledge, Lallemand Animal Nutrition develops, manufactures and markets high value yeast and bacteria products ─ including probiotics, silage inoculants and yeast derivatives. Lallemand offers a higher level of expertise, leadership and industry commitment with long-term and profitable solutions to move our partners Forward. For more information, visit

3 things happening now in China that pig farmers shouldn’t ignore

Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images China meat market

China, the world’s most populated country, is the midst of turning point. The government’s priority to highly encourage more Chinese to exchange the rural lifestyle for urban dwellings is resulting in a shift in consumer’s preferences and fewer pig farmers. Although the changing China is not fresh news, the current trends in the country known for producing and eating the most pork are something to watch.

Here are three trends happening in China right now that no pig farmer should ignore.

1. Pork demand hits the ceiling, sales of vegetables climb — According to Euromonitor, last year China’s pork sales hit three-year lows of 40.85 million tonnes down from 42.49 million tonnes in 2014. At the same period of time, sales of vegetables climbed. Research from Nielsen, sales of vegetable-only dumplings grew 30% last year. 

An increase in disposable income fuels consumer’s selection. Chinese are seeking healthy food options. A consumer survey conducted by Nielsen shows 80% of Chinese will pay more for unwanted ingredients in their food items, much higher than the global average of 68%.

2. Pork expansion — The shift away from backyard pig farmers to larger operations is resulting in fewer hog farms to a more modern pork production system. Reuters reports that Chinese hog farmers are on a building spree. The reports from local media that shipments of live hogs from the United States arriving in the country’s hog region, diversifying the genetic portfolio of China’s swine herd, is another clear sign of expansion.

Yet, Rabobank Food & Agribusiness team expects the closure of hog farms will offset the expansion of new farms in the first half of 2017. As a result, Rabobank estimates Chinese pork product will increase 1-2% this year. Also, the environmental policies will continue to play a key role in reshaping the geographic distribution of pork production.

3. U.S. pork exports soften — As China’s domestic pork production rebounds, U.S. pork muscle cut exports to China/Hong Kong have trended below year-ago levels each month in 2017. Exports of pork variety meat, however, have continued to outpace year-ago levels and helped offset much of the decline in muscle cut exports. For combined pork and pork variety meat exports, April volume was down 7% to 48,457 metric tons, but value was steady with last year at $96.7 million, reports the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Overall, China is bouncing back from the large cull of sows from 2013 to 2015. Chinese pig farmers contribute the fallen pork sales to the lack of pork available from the country’s shrinking herd size, pushing hog prices higher.  

Last year, the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service reported China achieved the position of the world’s leading pork importer. As Chinese pork production ramps-up due to higher hog prices and because of government programs to reduce corn costs to livestock producers, the FAS forecasts pork shipments from the European Union and the United States will slip this year.

Nutriad launches trace minerals in the U.S.

The American pork sector continues strong in 2017, driven by the export market and slightly lower hog weights. Companies across the sector are investing in new plants and supply is set to increase by 3% to 4% this year. With this positive outlook in mind, the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, was set to be a success. At World Pork Expo, multinational feed additives producer Nutriad shared information on its leading technologies and new product lines.

During the show, Nutriad launched its NutriTrace minerals, a line of organic minerals, developed by using state-of-the-art technology, which finally offers the industry new ideas on mineral nutrition. According to Guilherme Bromfman, business director for Nutriad in the Americas, “The NutriTrace product line is a great addition to the company’s portfolio as it represents an improvement on the industry standards, the same way our other technologies do, showing once again Nutriad’s strength in science and research.”

World Pork Expo also offered Nutriad the opportunity to present and discuss its recently concluded safety studies in support of the precision delivery coated sodium butyrate, Ultramix C. “The safety studies, conducted in several renowned institutes in North America and Europe, required an investment close to a half million dollars. Nutriad considers such an investment and commitment a must, as we need to make sure our customer’s brand is protected,” says Steve Moreland, vice president Technical Services for Nutriad.

Nutriad is a market leader in the palatability business, with more than 50 years of experience, and customers were keen to interact with Nutriad’s technical and sales staff to find out about latest research and trends. The imprinting concept that Nutriad promotes generated a lot of interest from the producers present and confirmed the innovative strategy of the company.

Nutriad delivers products and services to over 80 countries through a network of sales offices and distributors. These are supported by four application laboratories and five manufacturing facilities on three continents. Find out more at

Foot-and-mouth disease rapid diagnostic kit gets license approval

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images U.S. Homeland Security

Source: Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate announced today the licensing of a rapid-response (three-hour) foot-and-mouth disease diagnostic kit by the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics. Developed by a large research consortium of federal agencies, academia and animal health industry scientists, this is the first licensed FMD diagnostic kit that can be manufactured on the U.S. mainland, critical for a rapid response in the event of a FMD outbreak. This diagnostic kit provides animal health first responders with an important tool to mitigate the potentially catastrophic economic and animal welfare impacts of an FMD outbreak. This high-performance test can be used for cattle, swine and sheep, and will be commercialized and sold by Veterinary Medical Research and Development Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of veterinary diagnostics.

“This assay will be a pivotal tool for U.S. emergency preparedness and response and for ensuring the resiliency of U.S. animal agriculture, a critical infrastructure” says DHS Under Secretary (Acting) William N. Bryan. “Successfully bringing this test to market exemplifies the type of public-private partnership among DHS S&T, Centers of Excellence, government labs, and commercial industry necessary to support U.S. agriculture and global FMD control and eradication programs.”

FMD virus is highly contagious in cloven-hoofed animals, including: cattle, pigs, small ruminants. Globally, FMD has a significant impact on livestock trade economics and extensive regulatory programs exist in the United States to facilitate identification of, response to, and control of the disease. With one in nine Americans employed in the agriculture or allied industries, the effects of an FMD outbreak in the United States would be devastating — estimated at nearly $200 billion in lost revenue over 10 years across affected industries.

This rapid, specific and sensitive FMD diagnostic assay was developed and validated over a seven-year period by a consortium of scientists at Texas A&M University and the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases in College Station, Texas (a DHS S&T Center of Excellence); DHS S&T’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and USDA Agricultural Research Service Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit; and through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with VMRD Inc. Funding was provided by the Agriculture Defense Branch of DHS S&T’s Chemical and Biological Defense Division and DHS S&T Office of University Programs. DHS S&T has also granted an intellectual property license to VMRD Inc. for the test and a patent application has been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Have you ever taken a look at legislative districts in your state? What a mess has been created by gerrymandering, drawing a district to gain political advantage. The Supreme Court will take a look at the constitutionality of the issue and experts say the decision could have far-reaching effects on future elections. Review redistricting case from Wisconsin, which was thrown out last year by lower court.

For farmers across our region, there's been too much rain, too little rain and hail. Now, there are pests. Slugs and grubs are especially a problem in fields with cover crops in Illinois.

Have you been to Omaha, Nebraska, in June? College World Series is there. Two decades after couple married, woman got letter they could buy tickets. Husband had since passed away.

Perdue names leadership in key USDA positions

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images Sonny Perdue, Agriculture secretary
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House.

Source: USDA
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue named three individuals who will take on leadership roles as the USDA continues the reorganization announced on May 11. In accordance with a directive in the 2014 farm bill, USDA created a new undersecretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs as part of a realignment of several mission areas. The reorganization also included a reconstituted mission area reporting to a newly named undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. The U.S. Forest Service, given its size and importance, will be the only agency to report to the undersecretary for National Resources and Environment. For these three mission areas, Perdue has named Acting Deputy Under Secretaries, who will serve in their roles until the Senate confirms permanent presidentially nominated appointees.

“Today we continue our progress of making USDA the most-effective, the most-efficient and the best-managed department in the U.S. government,” Perdue says. “These three career USDA employees have already shown the leadership and expertise needed to deliver the highest quality service to our customers — the people of American agriculture. I welcome them to the leadership team and I thank them for their dedication to agriculture.”

Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs
Jason Hafemeister, until now serving as the acting deputy undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, will now be acting deputy undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. He has been involved in agricultural farm and trade policy for more than 25 years, including almost 20 at the USDA and with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Hafemeister’s responsibilities have included serving as the lead U.S. negotiator on agriculture in the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round negotiations, the Central America Free Trade Agreement and China’s accession to the WTO. He was instrumental in finalizing the recent agreement to allow the importing of U.S. beef to China. Hafemeister received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree from the University of California at San Diego, and a law degree from Georgetown University.

Agricultural trade is critical for the U.S. farm sector and the American economy as a whole. U.S. agricultural and food exports account for 20% of the value of production, and every dollar of these exports creates another $1.27 in business activity. Additionally, every $1 billion in U.S. agricultural exports supports approximately 8,000 American jobs across the entire American economy. As the global marketplace becomes even more competitive every day, the United States must position itself in the best way possible to retain its standing as a world leader.

Farm Production and Conservation
Robert Johansson, Ph.D. will serve as the acting deputy undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, while also concurrently remaining USDA’s chief economist, a position he has held since July 2015. Since 2001, he has worked as an economist at the USDA, in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, and at the Congressional Budget Office. In 2011 he was appointed senior economist for energy, environment and agriculture on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers where he also participated in the White House Rural Council and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Johansson served as deputy chief economist at the USDA from 2012-14. He received his bachelor's degrees in economics from Northwestern University and then served with the U.S. Peace Corps as an extension agent in several African countries from 1990-95. After returning to his home state of Minnesota, he entered the graduate program in Agricultural Economics at the University of Minnesota and received his masters in 1997 and doctorate in 2000. His research has spanned a wide range of issues, including biofuels policy, water quality and quantity policies, regulatory economics, food security and regional modeling of agricultural systems.

The Farm Production and Conservation mission area will focus on domestic agricultural issues. Locating the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service under this domestically oriented undersecretary will provide a simplified one-stop shop for USDA’s primary customers, the men and women farming, ranching and foresting across America.

Natural Resources and Environment
Dan Jiron will fill the role of acting deputy undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment. With more than 29 years of public service and natural resources management, Jiron was appointed associate chief of the Forest Service in July 2016. Prior to this appointment, Jiron served in many leadership positions, including regional forester of the Rocky Mountain Region; deputy regional forester in the Pacific Southwest Region; forest supervisor of the Santa Fe National Forest; district ranger on the Salt Lake Ranger District of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest; district ranger on the South Park Ranger District of the Pike and San Isabel National Forest, Comanche, and Cimarron National Grasslands; director of communications and Legislative Affairs of the Intermountain Region, national press officer in Washington, D.C.; and aide to U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado. Jiron earned a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and a master’s degree from Regis University of Denver.

Under the reorganization plan, the undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment will retain supervision of the U.S. Forest Service.

Rural Development
As previously announced, Perdue has named Anne Hazlett to lead the Rural Development agencies at the USDA. Hazlett, whose title will be assistant to the secretary for Rural Development, will oversee the Rural Utilities Service, the Rural Business Service and the Rural Housing Service. She most recently served as chief counsel to the Majority on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Hazlett’s position represents an elevation of Rural Development, which had previously been in the portfolio of an under secretary, who in turn reported to the deputy secretary of agriculture. Instead, Rural Development will now report directly to the Secretary of Agriculture.


That region around Kansas City, many who had planned quiet Father's Day were instead busy picking up and cleaning up after storms moved through.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said there are better ways he can assist Donald Trump as he pulled out of running to take job with Department of Homeland Security.

California isn't only place where lack of water was once a great worry, but is no more. Lake Michigan is at highest level since 1998. Damage to lakefront properties is now a worry.

Wheat market is now at highest level in about a year. 

Forest fire in Portugal is creating concerns about wheat yields in Europe.

Actor Stephen Furst has died. He was in Animal House movie. He died of complications from diabetes. Managed diabetes from age of 17. He was in Cincinnati a number of years ago where first made it known he had been on dialysis for two years. He was 63.

Farm Progress America, June 19, 2017

Max Armstrong notes that Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., recently spoke to the Kansas City Federal Reserve about the importance of the risk management support that is a key part of the farm bill. And Roberts zeroed in on another key topic – government regulation.

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: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

One for the record books

World Pork Expo World Pork Expo '17 drew more than 20,000 pork producers, ag professionals and media, including 1,000 visitors from nearly 40 countries.

Source: World Pork Expo
Seeking out new ideas, information and innovations, more than 20,000 pork producers and ag professionals from throughout the world attended the 29th World Pork Expo, June 7-9, in Des Moines, Iowa. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council, the 2017 Expo hosted more than 1,000 international guests from nearly 40 countries.

Highlights included the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, a wide variety of educational seminars and another barn-busting Junior National swine show. Iowa’s summer weather provided a pleasant backdrop for the allied industry hospitality tents that lined the streets of the Iowa State Fairgrounds, as well as a relaxing evening for MusicFest. As always, there was plenty of mouthwatering pork served, including more than 10,000 free lunches from the Big Grill — prepared by Iowa’s Tama County Pork Producers Association members — throughout the three days.

“World Pork Expo gives producers the opportunity to see and touch the newest products and technologies for their pork businesses,” says Ken Maschhoff, NPPC president and Illinois pork producer. “It’s a place for producers to interact with each other and share ideas. It also gives employees at all levels a chance to learn, deepen their connection to pork production and have some fun.”

Innovation takes center stage
Expo presents the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, and this year’s event included more than 450 commercial exhibits from companies throughout the world. Another 53 allied industry hospitality tents offered companies and producers the opportunity to discuss products, services and technologies that can help produce high-quality pork efficiently, responsibly and successfully.

Steady traffic flow within the trade show left exhibitors with a positive impression of this year’s Expo. “What’s new? What makes your product different? and What’s on the horizon?” were common inquiries from producers walking the 320,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Today’s Expo visitors are more technology savvy and data-driven, points out Eric Holtkamp, chief executive officer of Control Tech, whose company has exhibited for more than a decade. “For both new and older barns, producers want to monitor the facilities from their cell phones. They want to track factors like feed, water, temperature and then get immediate alerts if there’s an issue,” he notes.

This type of technology also makes data collection and analysis easier and more useful. “Previously, when customers looked at building controls, purchasing decisions were more cost-driven. Today, they’re more feature-driven; producers are looking for specific functionality,” Holtkamp says.

Interactions between vendors and producer-customers are key drivers for a successful Expo. “It was a fantastic week. We had good traffic and customer interactions,” says Matt Kocher, marketing director for Ceva Animal Health, a first-time exhibitor. “We’re here to help producers solve challenges and advance their businesses, and the conversations we had were forward-looking and constructive.”

Kocher particularly likes Expo’s atmosphere, which combines a learning environment with some fellowship, and that it presents a broad view of the industry all in one place. “Naturally, pork business owners attend Expo, but you’ll also find managers at various levels and barn workers. It gives you a perspective on what they do and what they need. Expo cuts pretty broad and deep,” he adds.

Junior National sets another record
To accommodate its ever-expanding presence, the World Pork Expo Junior National began on June 5, with events filling out the week. Hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, the Junior National set another record for the number of participants, with 1,050 youth exhibitors from 32 states. Considered one of the nation’s premiere youth swine shows, the Junior National combines educational activities such as a Skillathon and Youth PQA Plus certification, with swine judging, live-hog competitions and showmanship.

The youth show filled the swine and sheep barns with 2,500 hogs exhibited this year, up slightly from 2016’s record setting 2,351 hogs. Juniors also were eligible to join other swine breeders to exhibit their pigs in the open show on June 9, with more than 1,000 crossbred and purebred boars and gilts. Breeding stock was presented for sale on the morning of June 10, including Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace, Poland China, Spotted, Yorkshire and crossbred swine. Results for the open shows and sales for National Swine Registry breeds can be found online at their blog.

Education and networking round out the events
Educational and business seminars filled out the schedule for both June 7 and June 8. In all, pork producers and their employees could select from 18 free seminars, where they could interact with a range of pork experts and get answers to their questions.

This year’s business seminars addressed topics from consumer impressions of pork production to data analysis, piglet care and nutrition management. Meanwhile, the PORK Academy seminars provided insights into pork quality research, sow housing tools and third-party audits. Of particular note was an in-depth discussion of the Secure Pork Supply Plan and strategies to maintain business continuity should the United States ever encounter a market-limiting foreign animal disease. The producer program’s focus is to be proactive and prepared.

Market outlook and weather presentations, as well as discussions on export and international trade issues, completed the educational events and provided producers with information to use for long-term planning.

While World Pork Expo provides pork professionals with a wealth of networking opportunities, MusicFest has evolved into a relaxing evening of fun and fellowship. Free music and plenty of pork are the featured festivities along Grand Avenue of the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“World Pork Expo is always surprising. This year’s event had more exhibit space, more hogs, more hospitality tents and more new products and technology,” NPPC’s Maschhoff says. “It’s a dynamic show, and a great place to learn what’s going on politically, globally and among fellow producers that could impact your business. It’s truly an impressive event.”

Looking ahead, 2018 will mark World Pork Expo’s 30th Anniversary. NPPC has selected June 6-8 as the dates for next year’s show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Remember, it’s never too early to start making plans to attend the 2018 World Pork Expo.

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

No big surprises expected in upcoming report

National Pork Board Semi with livestock trailer leaving a hog operation

USDA will release the results of their June hog inventory survey on the afternoon of June 29. The trade predictions should come out next week. One question that is not asked in the trade survey is about revisions to past Hogs and Pigs reports. USDA bases revisions primarily on actual hog slaughter. It looks like slaughter of U.S. raised barrows and gilts during March-May was a bit lower than implied by the March inventory survey (up 4.88% versus up 5.26%). Therefore, don’t be surprised if USDA revises down the September-November 2016 pig crop and number of sows farrowed by an equally small margin.

The March report implied summer hog slaughter would be roughly 3.8% higher than last year.

USDA/NASS Hogs & Pigs Reports

The day after the Hogs and Pigs report is released, USDA will release their June acreage estimates. How many acres of corn and soybeans farmers got planted this spring is obviously of great importance to pork producers.

There are lots of hogs out there. April-June will be the third consecutive quarter with record slaughter. The odds are good that hog slaughter during the next two quarters will also be record high. Record slaughter puts pressure on producer profits, but is good for packers.

According to USDA-Economic Research Service, the farm-to-wholesale price spread was 80.3 cents per retail pound in May. That was the highest ever for May and the fourth highest for any month. This is a major change. Over the last 10 years, May has had the lowest average farm-to-wholesale price spread of any month.

ERS/USDA June 2017

The farm-wholesale spread is one of the commonly used proxies for the profitability of hog packers. Typically, the wider the spread, the more profitable hog packers are. As the chart implies, hog packers have done well recently. That is why three big new hog slaughter plants are being built. Both the Seaboard-Triumph plant in Sioux City, Iowa, and the Clemens Foods plant in Coldwater, Mich., are expected to start operations in September. The Prestage Foods plant in Eagle Grove, Iowa, should open about a year and half later. This huge increase in slaughter capacity is likely to squeeze packer profits and bring the farm-wholesale price spread back down.

Retail pork prices tend to lag farm level hog prices by one or two months. Hog prices bottomed in November and retail pork bottomed in January. Hog prices peaked in February and retail pork prices peaked in March. Hog prices bottomed in April, and it looks likely retail pork bottomed in May. Hog prices appear likely to peak this month or next. Look for grocery store pork prices to peak in August or September.

Retail pork prices continue to be boosted by bacon. Bacon prices in grocery stores have averaged above $5 per pound for 48 of the last 49 months. Boneless pork chops and boneless ham have both been under $4 per pound for each of the last seven months. Pork chops used to sell at a consistent premium to ham. That has not been the case during the last four years.

The surge in bacon prices most likely reflects a steady increase in bacon demand as bacon has become popular as a condiment on other foods. It is not clear whether the decline in pork chop prices relative to ham prices reflect a change in consumer preferences or the impact of a big increase in the tonnage of hams being lost to the export market.

USDA/ERS June 2017

Slaughter weights have been below both the one and two year-ago levels for 14 of the 24 weeks thus far this year. Weights will move lower as summer weather heats up and then rebound when the weather cools this fall. Weights during the fourth quarter of 2016 were unusually low, likely because hog prices were exceptionally low. With more slaughter capacity coming online, look for higher hog prices and heavier slaughter weights this fall compared to last.



The Federal Reserve Bank increased the federal funds target interest rate by another quarter point last week. This was the third increase in the last seven months. This is not particularly good news if you have variable interest rate debt. Rates on many credit cards will automatically increase. The move indicates the FRB is confident the U.S. economy is getting stronger. As a general rule, the faster the economy grows, the stronger meat demand is.