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.

Cloned Pig Trials Successful

ProLinia Inc. and the University of Georgia have teamed up to produce three healthy, cloned piglets from skin cells from a commercial hog.

"This accomplishment and the methods used can be a benchmark to move forward developments in hog cloning efficiencies," says Steven Stice, professor and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in the school’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He is also chief scientific officer at ProLinia Inc.

The firm has licensed technology from Geron Corp., the company that owns the technology used to clone Dolly, the sheep. This is the first time ProLinia has cloned hogs.

"Cloning technology promises to provide significant improvements once commercialized within the hog and cattle industries," says Mike Wanner, president of ProLinia. Some industry experts estimate pig cloning will save $5-15/pig while providing consumers a consistent, superior product.

Smithfield Foods has an agreement with ProLinia to implement cloning on a large-scale hog operation. The pact is non-binding, meaning that ProLinia is free to pursue commercialization with other large-scale producers.

Moving USDA Agency Questioned

President Bush’s recommendation to make the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) part of the proposed Department of Homeland Security has drawn questions from farm groups.

In testimony before the House Agriculture Committee, the groups agreed some functions may belong at the new department. But APHIS performs many animal health functions that have nothing to do with security.

Gary Wilson, a cow-calf producer from Ohio, testified for cattle, pork and sheep interests at the hearing.

The livestock industry has created a series of "formidable barriers to the introduction of foreign animal diseases." While foot-and-mouth disease is found on all but two continents, North America and Australia, "we have been free of this disease for over 70 years," he states.

Wilson stresses, "Regardless of how the Department of Homeland Security is designed, we firmly believe that this science and risk-based process of determining and guarding against threats with a multiple series of firewalls will be the basis for our continued success. These must be the guiding principles."

Pilot Pork Purchase Program

The Agriculture Department is conducting a pilot purchase program whereby schools can buy cooked pork items through the National School Lunch Program.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and the Food and Nutrition Service are jointly developing a program allowing schools to order vendor-specific, cooked pork products from suppliers approved by USDA.

"This is a great opportunity for the pork industry to expand its horizons," says Hurley, SD producer Steve Schmeichel.

"Obviously, this opportunity is great to push pork supply and also to introduce pork to school-age children so it becomes a regular nutritious option for them to choose the rest of their lives," says the chairman of the Pork Checkoff Demand Enhancement Committee.

Meal preference surveys that USDA sent to schools showed pork was a definite choice for school meals.

For more information on pork checkoff-funded programs, log on to www.porkboard.org or call 515-223-2600.