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Articles from 2016 In July

Over a Cup - July 30, 2016

Over a Cup

Samuelson Sez - July 30, 2016

Samuelson Sez

Max's Tractor Shed | July 30, 2016

Pork industry loses leader; Doug Wolf passes away

The U.S. swine industry is mourning the loss of Doug Wolf, a pork producer from Lancaster, Wis. Wolf, a past president and board member of the National Pork Producers Council, passed away suddenly this week.

Wolf was a partner in Wolf L&G Farms LLC, which he ran with his wife, Kris, and son Shannon and family. Wolf L&G Farms includes a commercial swine operation, a cow-calf herd and crop operation that produces corn, soybeans and alfalfa.

In addition to his service with NPPC, Wolf was involved with the National Pork Board — most recently as chairman of its Trade Committee — the Wisconsin Pork Association, the Grant County (Wis.) Pork Producers, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, representing NPPC.

At the time of his passing, he also served on the Wisconsin State Board Of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and as a director with People’s State Bank of Prairie Du Chen, Wis., and was involved with Driftless Meats, a USDA-approved processing and retail enterprise in Viroqua, Wis.

“Doug was a great pork producer, a great servant to the pork industry and, most importantly, a great husband, father and person,” says NPPC CEO Neil Dierks. “He will be missed.”

National Pork Board president, Jan Archer, a pork producer from North Carolina, says, “Doug Wolf was a warm and genuine man who represented America’s pork producers with grace and tenacity all over the globe. ... He understood the implications of trade relationships and the important role it plays in keeping American farms alive. He took time away from his own farm and family to ensure that the rest of us could sell our products to the world. We all owe Doug a huge debt of gratitude and will miss him terribly.”

Following is the obituary as prepared by the Schwartz Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Lancaster, Wis.

Douglas D. Wolf, age 61, of Lancaster, passed away Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at his home. He was born on Dec. 15, 1954, the son of Robert L. and Marian D. (Keene) Wolf.  Doug graduated from Lancaster High School in 1973. On Aug. 9, 1975, he married his high school sweetheart, Kristine A. Noble at the Lancaster Congregational Church. Doug graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and furthered his education having received his master's from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville for a short time and later returned to farming. 

Doug, Kris, and their family currently operate Wolf L&G Farms. He served on the Wisconsin Pork Producers Board, National Pork Producers Council, Lancaster School Board and People’s State Bank Board. Doug served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

He had a passion to share his love for agriculture which lead him to being elected to numerous boards and committees for which he traveled many different states and countries leaving a legacy in the agriculture industry. Since 2013, Doug and Kris have owned Driftless Meats & More in Viroqua, Wis. 

He was also active in the Lancaster FFA Alumni, Lancaster Congregational Church, and enjoyed hunting trips with family and friends. Doug loved spending time with his five wonderful grandchildren and all of their activities.

Survivors include his loving wife of 40 years, Kris; their daughter, Megan and her daughters: Makenna and Malaina Graney; their son, Shannon (Melissa) and their sons: Mitch, Nolan and Ross; a sister, Jann (Richard) Harms; his brothers: Larry (Pam) and Mark (Rosemary) Wolf; his mother-in-law, Elsie Noble and her family: Terry (Kris); Robert (Diane); Kathy (Rodney) Vogelsberg; Douglas (Amy) Noble; many nieces and nephews.

Doug was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Marian Wolf; and his father-in-law, Stanley Noble.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Aug. 2 at the Lancaster Congregational Church with Reverend Mark Dieter officiating. Private family burial will be held in Hillside Cemetery, Lancaster, Wis. Family and friends may call on Aug. 1, from 3-8 p.m. at the church and on Aug. 2 from 9:30 a.m. until time of services. In lieu of plants and flowers, a Douglas D. Wolf Memorial Fund has been established. Schwartz Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Lancaster is assisting the family.

Missouri's Moon Ridge Foods opens pork processing, to create 160 new jobs

The Missouri Department of Economic Development announced that a highly differentiated pork business, Moon Ridge Foods, cut the ribbon on its flagship processing facility in Pleasant Hope. Activity at this facility will create 160 new jobs and represents an investment of $54 million over the next two years.

“Missouri’s agriculture industry, farmers, food sector, and consumers celebrate today, as this new facility is unveiled,” says Mike Downing, director of DED. “I am pleased to welcome Moon Ridge Foods to Pleasant Hope, where its investment and new jobs will make a huge impact in this community and the surrounding rural area, and further advance economic development in this key industry. Missouri has a long, rich history of feeding the world, and Moon Ridge’s expansion builds upon this tradition.”

Moon Ridge Foods is a farm-to-plate operation that will produce, process and market unique, highly differentiated, superior-quality pork products. The company combines progressive methods of production and processing and state-of-the art technology and information with uniquely artisan meat cutting.

Moon Ridge Foods has invested and installed next generation equipment and technology into its 110,000 square-foot facility, which will process about 600,000 hogs annually once up and running. Production will begin ramping up in late August.

“We want to create a company that sustains families and communities, throughout the value chain. It’s about farming and processing practices that are respectful to its workers, the welfare of the animals and enhance our natural resources,” says Russ Kremer, co-founder and CEO of the company.

The company used almost all local labor for the construction of the facility, and wages and benefits for the new positions are significantly above the region’s average.

Approximately 30% of the pork produced by Moon Ridge Foods will be exported to new markets in Asia.

Novel porcine sapelovirus found during diagnostic investigation

The initial and final case reports detailing the discovery of porcine sapelovirus including videos of the clinically affected pigs are posted on the Swine Health Information Center website
<p>The initial and final case reports detailing the discovery of porcine sapelovirus, including videos of the clinically affected pigs, are posted on the Swine Health Information Center website.</p>

Using funds from Swine Health Information Center’s Support for Diagnostic Fees program, porcine sapelovirus has been implicated in an acute outbreak of atypical neurologic disease. Paulo Arruda, Iowa State University, led a team of diagnosticians (Kent Schwartz, ISU; Albert Rovira, University of Minnesota; Jerome Nietfeld, Kansas State University) and research assistant professor Ben Hause, KSU, through the case, acting on the request of the submitting veterinarian and owner.

The initial and final case reports detailing the discovery of porcine sapelovirus, including videos of the clinically affected pigs, are posted on

To date, sapelovirus from other species have not been reported to be associated with nervous disease. In this case, a novel sapelovirus was the only agent detected associated with a unique clinical presentation of CNS disease. At least one previous case report documents the neuroinvasive potential of porcine sapelovirus in swine. However, knowledge gaps remain in disease causation (i.e. Koch’s postulates as yet unfulfilled), epidemiology, pathogenesis and biologic relevance of this potential pathogen.

In incidents of high or ongoing morbidity or mortality where an etiology is either not identified or there is a strong suspicion that the identified etiology is not the likely cause of the outbreak, SHIC is offering diagnostic fee support after the initial diagnostic workup is completed and paid for by the owner. In these cases, additional support for the fees of further diagnostic workup may help to identify newly introduced or emerging swine diseases. A description of the requirements, submission and review process for the Support for Diagnostic Fees program can be found on the SHIC website.

Production area does not affect phosphorus digestibility in soybean meal fed to pigs

Production area does not affect phosphorus digestibility in soybean meal fed to pigs

Research findings

• The chemical composition of soybean meal can be dependent on the area in which soybeans are grown.

• Soybean meal from three different growing areas in the U.S. showed no statistical differences in concentrations of phosphorus.

• An average value for apparent and standardized total tract digestibility may be used, regardless of the area in which soybeans are grown.

Research at the University of Illinois is helping to determine the effect of growing conditions on the nutritional value of soybean meal. “The digestibility of phosphorus is the same in soybean meal grown in various regions in the United States,” says Hans Stein, professor of animal sciences at the U of I.

“The chemical composition of soybean meal is somewhat dependent on the area in which soybeans are grown, but it was not known if there are differences in the concentration of phytate among soybeans grown in different areas,” Stein says. He and Kelly Sotak-Peper, then a doctoral candidate, set out to determine whether any differences existed.

They sourced soybean meal from crushing plants in three different areas within the United States: the northern growing area (comprising Michigan, Minnesota and South Dakota), eastern growing area (Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio), and western growing area (Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska).

They measured no statistically significant differences in concentrations of phosphorus, or in the percentage of phosphorus bound to phytate, among soybean meal from the different regions. There were also no differences in apparent total tract digestibility or standardized total tract digestibility among pigs fed soybean meal from the three growing areas.

When microbial phytase was added to the diets to break down phytate, the ATTD and STTD of phosphorus for soybean meal from all growing areas increased by 24 and 22%, respectively.

“When you have ingredients that come from a wide variety of growing conditions, there’s a risk that using book values for nutritional information will not give you accurate information for a given batch,” says Stein. “What these data indicate is that an average value for ATTD and STTD of phosphorus may be used regardless of the area in which the soybeans are grown.”

The research was supported by funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Soybean meal was donated by AG Processing Inc., Omaha, Neb.; Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill.; Bunge North America, St. Louis, Mo.; and Cargill Inc., Elk River, Minn.

The paper, “Effects of production area and microbial phytase on the apparent and standardized total tract digestibility of phosphorus in soybean meal fed to growing pigs,” was published in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Animal Science. The full text can be found at

Kyle Schulte joins Ralco as a swine research nutritionist

Ralco announced today that Kyle Schulte has joined in the role of Swine Technical Service and Research Nutritionist for animal nutrition.

Schulte received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Studies and a Master of Science in Animal Science, both from Iowa State University.

Schulte has been working with pigs since he was a young boy. He grew up on a farm near Norway, Iowa, and showed livestock through 4-H and FFA.

Schulte believes in Ralco's approach to swine nutrition. “My previous roles have prepared me for my job at Ralco,” Schulte says. “The Ralco swine nutrition approach is all about understanding customers’ operations and their goals. First you understand, next you develop customized nutrition programs to help them accomplish their objectives, and then you assist them in implementation of Ralco swine nutrition technology into their operations.”

He is heavily involved in diet formulation for current and prospective Ralco customers. He does that work from his home office near Cambridge, Iowa, where he lives with his wife, Rachel. Schulte will also work with Ralco's swine research facilities near Balaton, Minn.

One of the things that led Schulte to Ralco is that the swine technical team is very much in the field. “Developing working relationship with customers and staying in tune with what is going on in their facilities is important.” Schulte says.

“Kyle comes to us with extensive industry experience, most recently with The Maschhoffs, where he was a senior site manager,” says Jim Hedges, vice president Swine Technical Services. “He also held positions in their research and technical operations.  Kyle has significant experience in operating research barns and equipment similar to the Ralco Research Barn feeding system. He is a vital team member for Ralco.”

Ralco is a third-generation, family-owned multinational company with distribution in more than 20 countries. A leading global provider of livestock nutrition, animal health products and crop enhancement products; Ralco supports large segments of the livestock, poultry, aquaculture and crop industries.

FDA begins on-farm inspections with VFD pilot project

FDA begins on-farm inspections with VFD pilot project

Although the much-talked about new antibiotic regulations do not go into effect until Jan. 1, U.S. pork producers may see inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration visit their farms any time now under the agency’s new Veterinary Feed Directive Field Pilot Project. According to the FDA, the project is focusing on education, rather than enforcement or compliance.

“The pilot will help us identify areas where there may be lack of clarity about the upcoming regulations so that we can help inform veterinarians, producers and feed mills of any adjustments they may need to make in order to be in compliance with updated regulations,” says William Flynn, deputy director for science policy in FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

The program is designed to help educate the FDA’s auditors as they prepare for the new antibiotic changes. Unlike the beef and dairy industries, the pork industry has had a VFD requirement for more than a decade for tilmicosin, florfenicol and avilamycin. That’s why the agency is seeking to work with pork producers, swine veterinarians, feed mill operators and farm retailers who currently handle and use feed containing those antibiotic compounds to ensure that they are in compliance with the existing regulation.

According to the FDA, the parts of the inspection tool come directly from the new VFD regulation itself and is covered in the VFD brochures and fact sheets that the agency has developed for producers, veterinarians and distributors. As always, producers, veterinarians and feed mills should make sure they’re in full compliance with the existing VFD rule, which includes the proper information and record-keeping.

In December 2013, the FDA published Guidance #213, which calls on animal drug sponsors of approved medically important antimicrobials, administered through medicated feed or water, to remove growth promotion uses from their product labels. It also calls for them to bring the remaining therapeutic uses of these products under the oversight of a veterinarian by the end of December 2016.

“On the FDA side of the equation, inspectors must clearly understand the need to abide by on-farm biosecurity protocols to help ensure that potential disease transmission is minimized,” says Jennifer Wishnie, Pork Checkoff’s director of producer and public health. “Everyone must do what’s necessary to safeguard animal and human health, so producers and their veterinarians should clearly explain what biosecurity procedures are needed before farm access is granted to anyone.”

Starts with feed mill/retailer
FDA says a farm visit starts with FDA pilot program inspectors going to feed distributors. There they will examine three randomly selected VFD forms, picking one form to follow back to the veterinarian and forward to the producer.

The FDA has shared the elements that are included in the inspection tool for the investigators to use to ensure that the required items appear on the VFD form. Here are the main items producers should know how to answer prior to an inspector visiting their farm. (See complete list here.

  1. Veterinarian’s name, address and telephone number
  2. Client’s (producer’s) name, business or home address and telephone number
  3. Premises where the animals specified in the VFD order are located
  4. Date the VFD order was issued
  5. Expiration date of the VFD order
  6. Is the name of the VFD drug or drugs identified on the form?
  7. Species and production class of animals to be fed the VFD feed
  8. Approximate number of animals to be fed the VFD feed by the expiration date of the VFD order
  9. Reason the VFD order was issued (the indication)
  10. Level of VFD drug in the feed and duration of use
  11. Withdrawal time, special instructions and cautionary statements necessary to use the drug according to its approved labeling
  12. The number of reorders (refills) authorized, if permitted by the drug’s approval, conditional approval or index listing
  13. This required statement: “Use of feed containing this veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug in a manner other than as directed on the labeling (extra-label use), is not permitted.”
  14. Affirmation of intent for combination VFD drugs
  15. Veterinarian’s electronic or written signature

Pork Checkoff provides tools
For more than a year, the National Pork Board has been offering a host of pork-specific information related to the upcoming antibiotic regulations. The creation of the Checkoff’s Antibiotic Resource Center found at is a clearinghouse of information and how-to steps for producers to prepare for the changes. The comprehensive biosecurity protocols also serve as a good resource for producers to review prior to any off-farm visitors.

“We hope that pork producers will take the opportunity to learn more about the upcoming antibiotic changes if they haven’t already done so,” Wishnie says. “We know that we’re reaching many producers through our ‘Don’t Wait … Be Ready!’ education campaign and with our many practical, on-farm resources. However, we’re committed to continued outreach to help ensure that all producers are aware of what’s changing with antibiotic use and to being fully prepared. It’s all about doing what’s best for people, pigs and the planet.”

3 ways HSUS is pressing meatless agenda

Long summer days have most farmers and ranchers busy caring for the animals on the farms while sneaking in some much needed family time. However, summer is also the time when animal rights activist organizations like the Humane Society of the United States are circling and rallying the troops at its Taking Action for Animals conference. The Animal Agriculture Alliance reports three clear ways HSUS plans to tout its meatless campaign.

1. Push for restrictive food policies
The Alliance reports that several sessions centered on HSUS’ pressure campaigns targeting restaurants and retailers. The goal is to turn up the temperature on the food industry. During one panel discussion Matt Prescott, HSUS senior director of food policy, encourages attendees to positively approach shareholders and company leaders but escalate the pressure to get results. He says “When you don’t get the right reaction, be ruthless — find a way to yes.”

The hope is the food industry will adopt restrictive policy that does not necessarily improve animal well-being, but rather drive the cost of animal care, which ultimately gets passed onto the consumer. Higher prices equal less animal protein on the average consumer’s plate.

2. A tiny little trick
Another HSUS senior policy director Kristie Middleton calls the Meatless Monday campaign “a tiny little trick for a holiday from meat.” She explains that the goal is to get food service companies and restaurants on board with initiatives to further their mission to “alter the course of history for animals.”

3. Exploiting the Gospel
Promoting animal rights through faith-based organizations is the third leg of the effort to end animal agriculture. Reasa Currier, HSUS’s strategic initiative manager for faith outreach, shares that “many faith groups are weighing in on industrial agriculture” and telling participants that people have a duty to “let these creatures engage in natural behavior” and “put aside the differences and work to get something done.”

Furthermore, she says that “evangelicals return to their roots to protect God’s lowliest creatures.” Her call to action urges developing youth curriculum for churches to include animal protection in their moral education and writing letters to your legislators to push for animal rights legislation.

The Alliance's conference report illustrates that the mission to make the entire world “meatless” is still alive and kicking. The game may have changed. The tactics may be refined, but the agenda is rocking on.