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Leman Swine Conference Scheduled for St. Paul

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The Allen D. Leman Swine Conference is targeted for Sept. 20-23 at RiverCenter, St. Paul, MN.

Hosted by the University of Minnesota, the program includes a number of keynote addresses. On Sept. 22, the Hanson Lecture is The Ongoing Challenge of Flu by Marie Gramer, DVM, laboratory diagnostician at the University of Minnesota, followed by Pork’s Carbon Footprint: Hot Air, Hot Opportunity or Both? presented by Garth Boyd, senior vice president of agriculture for Camco North America, Denver, CO.

Keynote addresses Sept. 23 include the Pijoan Lecure: The Art and Science of PRRS by Mike Murtaugh, University of Minnesota and Paul Yeske, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, MN. The talk, It’s a New Day will be given by Mark Greenwood of AgStar Financial Services, Mankato, MN, and Brett Stuart, Global AgrTrends, Denver. CO.

Concurrent sessions Sept. 22 include: PRRS, circovirus and production sessions covering employees, sow progeny and quality animal care, environmental impact of pork production and swine nutrition.
Concurrent sessions Sept. 23 feature: Mycoplasmal pneumonia, public health and managing the new economic reality.

For questions, contact the University of Minnesota at 612-624-3434 or [email protected].

Animal Drug Review Legislation Reauthorized

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) today lauded Congress for approving legislation to reauthorize an animal drug review law and to add a new generic animal drug review statute, providing pork producers with access to products that safeguard animal and public health.

The Animal Health Institute (AHI) also commended legislators’ quick efforts in passing H.R. 6432, the Animal Drug User Fee Amendments (ADUFA) that provide industry resources to support the science-based animal drug review process at the Food and Drug Administration.

The Senate today approved both H.R. 6432 and the Animal Generic Drug User Fee Act (AGDUFA) unanimously. The House of Representatives approved the measures by voice vote on July 30.

“We want to commend the leadership on both sides of the aisle in the Senate and House for approving this important legislation,” remarks NPPC President Bryan Black, Canal Winchester, OH, pork producer. “Congress’ action will help ensure that pork producers have access to products that keep our pigs healthy and our products safe and wholesome.”

H.R. 6432 reauthorizes the program first enacted in 2003, according to the AHI. It builds upon the existing performance goals for FDA review of new animal drug applications and provides $98 million of industry user fees over five years for program support.

Since ADUFA was signed into law, four new swine health products have been approved, helping producers fight the growing challenges from swine respiratory diseases. And last year alone, nine new products were approved to help pets live longer, healthier lives.

“Pork producers have always supported science-based efforts to protect public health,” says Black. “Today’s bill included enhanced animal health company reporting requirements to further promote public health. These additional requirements do not limit producer access to important animal health products.”

View more health news

Ag Secretary Schafer Disappoints

Wednesday was a disappointing day for livestock feeders as the USDA once again turned its back on helping reduce the huge increase in livestock production costs. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer announced that USDA would not allow penalty-free withdrawal of acres from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Schafer cited the recent fall of corn and soybean prices and the improving crop conditions as factors in his decision. “The strength and commitment of America’s farmers have made to meet the nation’s need for corn for food, feed and fuel have reassured the markets that there will be adequate supply available this year,” he added. Shafer also cited USDA’s decision to allow haying and foraging on 24 million CRP acres after the primary nesting season expires.

I’m sorry to be so cynical, but I would have thought that the Secretary of Agriculture could have figured out that releasing CRP acres now will do nothing for this year’s crop. Further, according to my nutrition classes, more hay will do little if anything to help non-ruminants. Finally, the secretary is correct that this year’s corn supply looks better and may be large enough to keep prices lower than once feared. But, shouldn’t government officials be looking a bit further ahead?

The most recent data I have seen from Iowa State’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development suggest that we will have enough ethanol capacity to use corn at an annual rate of over 5.3 billion bushels per year by late 2009. That is nearly 1.5 billion bushels more than USDA is forecasting for the 2008-2009-crop year. While more acres will very likely be planted to corn next year, rising input costs that may drive corn planting cost to $600 or more will limit that growth.

In light of this decision, input cost risk will remain quite high through 2009-2010.

COOL Labeling Rules
USDA also released this week an interim final rule for mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL). The highlights include:

  • It does not apply to covered commodities produced and packaged before Sept. 30, 2008.

  • Animals in the United States on or before July 15, 2008, that remain in the United States will be considered of U.S. origin.

  • Foodservice establishments and processed food items are exempted from labeling. Examples include meatloaf, meatballs, fabricated steak, breaded veal cutlets, corned beef, sausage, breaded chicken tenders and teriyaki-flavored pork loin.

  • Labeling rules regarding ground meat require listing all countries of origin that may be reasonably contained.

  • Records must be maintained for one year and available within five days if requested by a USDA representative.

  • Slaughter facilities must possess or have legal access to records that substantiate their origin claims. A producer affidavit will be considered acceptable evidence as long as it is provided by someone having firsthand knowledge of the animals' origin and identifies the animals unique to the transaction.

  • The labeling requirement provides packers the flexibility to label animals born, raised and/or slaughtered in the United States, but not imported for direct slaughter, as “product of the U.S.,” and any other country in which the animal was either born or raised.

  • To label product as “product of the United States,” it must come from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.
The total first-year implementation costs of COOL for all directly affected firms are estimated to be $2.5 billion. USDA’s breakdown is $376 for each producer, $53,948 each for intermediaries and $235,551 each for retailers.

Price Rally Continues
Pork cutout values and hog prices continued to rally last week – cutout values to year-long highs and hog prices quite near the yearly high. The two major drivers have been ham prices (near $90/cwt.) and 72% trimmings ($73/cwt.). Both cuts are usually driven by exports at this time of year. Whatever the source, we’ll take it!

NOTE: Our normal Production and Price Data tables are not included in today’s North American Preview due to some technical difficulties. We apologize and certainly hope that the computers will be healed by next week!

Click to view graphs.

Steve R. Meyer, Ph.D.
Paragon Economics, Inc.
e-mail: [email protected]

Crisis Management Tips Offered On-Line

The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and the University of Illinois Extension service have introduced an interactive Web site to provide assistance to pork producers during these unsettling economic times.

“Managing Pig Production in Tough Times” is an online program that covers a number of key decision areas for producers. The website,, features seven presentations by swine industry experts. The presenters from the University of Illinois and their topics include: Rob Knox (reproduction), Larry Firkins (health and employees), Mike Ellis (management), Ted Funk (engineering), Hans Stein (nutrition), and James Pettigrew (feeding programs). In addition, Chris Hurt, Purdue University Extension economist will discuss risk management.

“Each of the seven specialists will offer three recommendations carefully chosen to be helpful to producers,” Pettigrew explained.

Additionally, a special call-in program has been scheduled for producers to ask specific questions. The program will be from 7 to 8 p.m. on August 19. Those with questions may dial-in at 1-800-347-8268. The meeting's identification number is 6455 and the password is 0819.

Questions may also be submitted in advance of the meeting by simply clicking on the address of the appropriate specialist on the Web site. If you’re unsure of whom to direct a question to, producers may e-mail Pettigrew at [email protected].

The program should prove of great assistance to producers, according to IPPA President Phil Borgic of Nokomis, IL. “We realize that these have been and continue to be very rough times for pork producers dealing with escalating input costs,” he noted.

“IPPA continues to look for ways to provide information that helps pork producers through these difficult financial times. This program has assembled a diverse group of experts who have focused in on some specific items that pork producers can do on their operations. These on-line seminars will allow producers to access the information when it works best for them.”

“We cannot change the very difficult conditions, but we can offer information on this site to help producers manage their business,” added Pettigrew.