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Articles from 2017 In August

FMD vaccine bank on pork producers’ wish list

Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer Ken Maschhoff, NPPC presdient

Authorization of a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank is the top farm bill issue for America’s pig farmers. And National Pork Producers Council president and Illinois pork producer Ken Maschhoff took to the microphone to convey that message at farm bill listening sessions hosted by House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11), ranking member Collin Peterson (MN-7) and members of the House Agriculture Committee.

Farmers and ranchers flocked to Decatur, Ill., for the 2017 Farm Progress Show to kick the tires on new machinery and learn about the latest technology. So, it was the perfect location for a “Conversations in the Field” farm bill listening session with the House Agriculture Committee members.

“Producers from across the country gather at the Farm Progress Show every year for the latest in ag innovation and services. So there is no better place to gather insight and feedback about the challenges in farm country and how we can improve ag policy in the next farm bill than right here in Decatur,” says Conaway.

The listening session is a continuation of the Agriculture Committee’s effort to hear straight from various groups directly impacted by the farm bill, and pork producers did not waste the opportunity to explain the importance to the United States of being prepared for an FMD outbreak.

Generally, U.S. hog farmers do not request much in the farm bill, but an outbreak of the foreign animal disease would cripple the entire agricultural sector, immediately shutting U.S. export markets, and have long-lasting ramifications to the economic viability of U.S. livestock production.

“As a pork producer, the time my wife and I have spent in Washington, D.C., in the last 20 years, the pork producers have never gone to D.C. with their hands out. We never ask for any funding. Every time the farm bill comes up, we simply ask to be left alone,” states Maschhoff.

Iowa State University estimates an FMD outbreak would cost the United States over $200 billion across the entire agriculture sector, not just the pork industry.

“Our concern with increased global travel and trade is that eventually we could be facing this disease. We just want to be prepared for that,” Maschhoff explains.

Currently, the United States only has access to enough vaccine to deal with a small, localized FMD outbreak.

“NPPC is asking for authorization to allow APHIS to move forward on establishing a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank that would be adequate to protect the pork and beef sectors,” stresses Maschhoff during the listening session.

The NPPC and fellow livestock organizations are urging APHIS to:

  1. Contract for an offshore FMD vaccine bank that would provide vaccine antigen concentrate for all FMD strains currently circulating in the world;
  2. Contract for production capacity that would produce the 10 million vaccine doses needed for the early stages of an outbreak;
  3. Contract for the surge capacity to produce an additional 40 million doses.

In addition to the authorization, the FMD vaccine bank requires funding of $150 million annually over the five years of the 2018 farm bill. Pork producers realize it is a large dollar amount to ask for during a tight budget cycle, however, the funding does not compare to the pricey impact to the U.S. economy of an actual outbreak.

“We are asking the government for the cost that might be incurred to have the program. There will be a cost for producers,” notes Maschhoff. “One thing that is not in these numbers is the fact the government would be able to sell the vaccine to other countries around the world should we not need it. It would offset some of the cost.”


Veteran newsman Steve Alexander fills in with today’s report.

Today is final day of huge Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois.

20 charged in Dubuque, Iowa, yesterday, in a scam where several elderly people around the Midwest received a call from a person posing as a sheriff deputy. The caller told them relative in jail, most often a grandchild. The caller knew the name of the grandchild. When the relative sent money, it went to scammer.

Battle against Asian carp continues. The Army Corps of Engineers has mounted underwater speakers in lock gates to scare carp away.

Rebecca Campbell and her three children had just sat down to supper when mom got piece of chicken lodged in her throat. Her 8-year-old son did the Heimlich maneuver and saved his mom’s life.

Midnight Star in Deadwood opened in 1991 and is now closed. It was filled with Kevin Costner’s movie memorabilia.

Will be Devil’s Tower UFO Rendezvoous Sept. 14-16.


Steve Alexander fills in for Max Armstrong. It’s the final day of the Farm Progress Show. It brings in $10 million to the area, economist estimates.

One of the most dangerous things a police officer does is a traffic stop. An Indiana state trooper was hit by a passing car as he walked to car pulled over on Interstate 865. He was taken to the hospital and is listed in serious but stable condition.

Police are defending the decision an officer made to shoot an Evansville, Ind., man who was chasing an officer with a baseball bat.

Several elderly people around the Midwest received a call from a person posing as a sheriff deputy. The caller told them relative in jail, most often a grandchild. The caller knew the name of the grandchild. When the relative sent money, it went to scammer.

Rebecca Campbell got a piece of chicken stuck in her throat. Her 8-year-old son knew what to do. Did the Heimlich maneuver and he saved his mom’s life.

Farm Progress America, August 31, 2017

Max Armstrong shares insight from a recent Kansas listening session held by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., where the senator shared the value of the safety net of crop insurance. Roberts has been involved in listening sessions across the country. He also discussed the need for regulatory reform and strong trade support for agriculture.

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

Seaboard Triumph Foods pork processing plant operations to start

Seaboard Triumph Foods Aerial shot of the Seaboard Triumph Foods pork processing plant set to open Sept. 5 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Aerial shot of the Seaboard Triumph Foods pork processing plant in Sioux City, Iowa.

Source: Seaboard Triumph Foods
Seaboard Triumph Foods will start operation of its new pork processing plant in Sioux City, Iowa, on Sept. 5. The facility will begin with one shift of commercial operations that will ramp up employment to approximately 1,100 employees once the shift reaches full production. At full one-shift capacity, the facility will process upwards of 10,000 head of market hogs a day.

Focused on high-quality, consistent, wholesome pork, the new pork processing facility will use robotics and innovative technologies to produce a full line of fresh pork products for retail, international, food service and further processing markets to help fill the increasing world-wide demand for pork. Seaboard Foods will market and sell the pork produced by the Sioux City plant under the PrairieFresh Premium Pork and Seaboard Farms brands. The plant will also supply Daily’s Premium Meats with raw materials for its premium pork products, including raw and precooked bacon.

The plant opening marks a milestone for Seaboard Triumph Foods, a joint venture owned equally by Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods, which was formed to construct a new pork processing facility in Sioux City. Seaboard Foods is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seaboard Corp. with a pork processing plant in Guymon, Okla. Triumph Foods is owned exclusively by pork producers with a pork processing plant in St. Joseph, Mo. Seaboard Foods markets and sells pork products produced by both the Guymon and St. Joseph plants under the PrairieFresh Premium Pork and Seaboard Farms brands. Together, Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods also own Daily’s Premium Meats, which manufactures and distributes premium bacon products throughout the United States and internationally.

Approximately 30% of the market hogs at the Sioux City plant will be sourced from regional farmers who align with Seaboard Foods’ and Triumph Foods’ animal care and environmental stewardship practices, and share a common commitment to seeking a better way to produce wholesome pork. The remaining hogs will be supplied by Triumph Foods producer-owners and Seaboard Foods’ farms.

Since site work began in late-September 2015, numerous local and regional contractors partnered with STF and its project design and construction management firm, Epstein, to build the modern fresh pork plant focused on food safety and efficiency to meet the growing demands of domestic and international customers. The pro-business environment, local and state leadership, ample regional hog supplies, and shovel-ready site made Sioux City the prime location to build this state-of-the-art facility.

Chief Operating Officer Mark Porter states, “We’ve seen great support from the community and local and state government. With their input and our focus on stewardship, the plant design includes modern odor control technologies, bioenergy solutions, and numerous environmentally friendly features.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the new plant, our team and all the local and state partners that have helped bring this project to completion over the past two years,” he adds. “We are excited to begin commercial operations and supply the most sought after pork products to our diverse global consumers.”

Manitoba swine industry tackling novel PRRS virus

National Pork Board Piglets nursing, one looking at camera

By Paul Sundberg, Swine Health Information Center Executive Director
Preweaning mortality of 60%; up to 10% abortion rate; triple the rate of mummified fetuses. All of these were reality for swine herds in Manitoba after a novel strain of Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome broke last October. Consequences continue to be felt while practitioners and stakeholders work to control this outbreak.

Blaine Tully, DVM, is a partner at Swine Health Professionals, a swine-specific veterinary practice in Steinbach, Manitoba, and president of the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians. He and the staff at SHP have been engaged in the care of animals affected with a novel strain of PRRS since last fall. This more virulent strain of PRRS has had devastating impacts on affected producers.

One of the farms Tully specifically deals with is well-managed with good production numbers by Manitoba standards. The owners moved to antibiotic-free production recently and have been operating in a PRRS-positive but stable status for 10 years. This farm has 700 sows in a farrow-to-finish enterprise. The practice also has a large breed-to-wean farm infected with the new strain of PRRS. Tully says they have seen the disease impact farrow-to-finish farms as well as those with three site production models.

“By the end of 2016, there were three or four sites infected that we were aware of,” Tully remarks. “Subsequent to that, more farms have been identified.” The first signs of PRRS infection were increased abortions. “Abortions on some of our farms went from being quite rare to 8 to 10% of the sow inventory affected.” The disease moved very quickly after this discovery with high levels of stillborn pigs.

“Within 10 days, we were seeing preweaning mortality levels doubling and tripling. At the peak for PRRS infected herds, preweaning mortality was close to 60% of suckling piglets,” Tully reports. One on-going and sustained impact of PRRS has been double and triple levels of mummified fetuses.

Tully says their practice had dealt with PRRS but never with this highly pathogenic version. They had heard about similar breaks in the Midwest United States and eastern Canada, but this PRRS outbreak has been their first exposure to this level of impact.

“When we had farms break in spring and early summer this year, we were more prepared,” Tully says. “We were able to talk to producers to outline what they can expect.” The most recent PRRS break the area’s veterinary community is aware of was in June. He also says they have experienced a relatively large porcine epidemic diarrhea virus epidemic in Manitoba not long before the PRRS outbreak which resulted in heightened biosecurity, a benefit now as they face PRRS.

Affected farms are now able to go quickly on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs where possible to control fevers, to benefit lactating and pregnant animals and for keeping sows eating and otherwise productive. “Going into the fall, we’re expecting to see more farms infected despite a somewhat monumental attempt at biosecurity,” Tully says. “There’s a fairly significant collaboration effort amongst veterinarians. Ours is a four person, swine-only practice. There are at least three other swine practices and companies we know of trying to understand control and elimination strategies.” He says there is currently not a good understanding of how this novel strain of PRRS is moving from site to site or entering facilities.

“What’s been interesting, as we’ve investigated and collaborated with other veterinarians, is to realize we’re convinced it’s not a matter of vaccine or PRRS status with the new strain,” Tully states. “The clinical impact is just as significant regardless of vaccine history. We are still in low double-digit numbers of farms. We may see more trends develop as more farms become infected.”

Red dog has more nutritional value than wheat middlings for pigs

Getty Images/Sean Gallup Wheat field

By Hans H. Stein, Jennifer Roth and Gloria A. Casas, University of Illinois
Wheat middlings and red dog are coproducts of the wheat milling industry and these coproducts are often used as a source of energy and protein in animal feed. However, because wheat coproducts vary in terms of the conditions under which they are produced, their nutritional value may vary as well.

Despite being produced in the United States in relatively large quantities, there is limited information about the nutritional value of wheat middlings and red dog when fed to pigs. Therefore, two experiments were conducted to determine the digestibility of crude protein and amino acids and the concentration of digestible energy and metabolizable energy in 10 sources of wheat middlings and in one source of red dog.

Composition of ingredients
The 10 sources of wheat middlings were collected from flour mills located in the eastern part of the United States or in the Midwest and the one source of red dog was procured from a production facility in Iowa. The concentration of gross energy was slightly greater in wheat middlings (3,978 kilocalories per kilogram) compared with red dog (3,801 kilocalories per kilogram), but both ingredients contained approximately 17% CP (Table 1).

University of Illinois

Table 1: Analyzed composition of the 10 sources of wheat middlings and red dog (as-fed basis)

However, the fiber components (ADF, NDF, lignin) were much greater in wheat middlings than in red dog, which reflects the different parts of the wheat kernel that are included in wheat middlings compared with the parts that are included in red dog. There was also a much greater concentration of starch in red dog than in wheat middlings, which further indicates the difference in the components included in the fractions in the two coproducts. The concentration of indispensable AA was consistent among the 10 sources of wheat middlings. Wheat middlings contained an average of 0.71% lysine and 0.26% methionine, compared with 0.63 and 0.37% in red dog.

Amino acid digestibility
The average standardized ileal digestibility of CP in wheat middlings was 58.5% (Table 2). There were no differences in SID of CP, histidine or methionine among the 10 sources of wheat middlings, but there were variations in the SID of all other indispensable AA. The SID of CP and all AA except arginine and histidine was, however, greater (P < 0.05) in red dog than in wheat middlings. The SID of lysine was 72.3% in red dog, but averaged only 46.2% in wheat middlings, suggesting that the wheat middlings may have been damaged by excessive heat during production.

University of Illinois

Table 2: Standardized ileal digestibility of crude protein and amino acids in wheat middlings and red dog

Concentration of DE and ME and digestibility of energy and fiber
The mean apparent total tract digestibility for GE in the 10 sources of wheat middlings was 67.2% with only minor variations among sources (Table 3). The ATTD of NDF in wheat middlings ranged from 31.5 to 56.6%, with a mean of 40.7%. The ATTD of ADF ranged from 15.6 to 37.2%, with a mean of 28.0%.

University of Illinois

Table 3: Apparent total tract digestibility of gross energy, NDF and ADF, and concentration of DE and ME in the 10 sources of wheat middlings and red dog

The concentration of DE in wheat middlings ranged from 2,352 to 2,844 kilocalories per kilogram on an as-fed basis (mean: 2,653 kilocalories per kilogram) and from 2,637 to 3,185 kilocalories per kilogram on a dry matter basis (mean: 2,990 kilocalories per kilogram). Metabolizable energy ranged from 2,272 to 2,751 kilocalories per kilogram as fed (mean: 2,568 kilocalories per kilogram) and from 2,546 to 3,125 kilocalories per kilogram dry matter (mean: 2,893 kilocalories per kilogram). The mean ATTD values of GE was less (P < 0.005) than the values for red dog, but the mean ATTD of NDF was greater (P < 0.001) in wheat middlings than in red dog. Red dog contained 3,058 kilocalories per kilogram DE and 2,952 kilocalories per kilogram ME on an as-fed basis, and 3,418 kilocalories per kilogram DE and 3,300 kilocalories per kilogram ME on a dry matter basis and the DE and ME in red dog were greater (P < 0.001) than the mean values for wheat middlings.


Max at Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. Odds are he's at ADM or Case IH tent. Parking lots open at 7 a.m.

Time is running out for drought-impacted ranchers in Northern Plains to apply for hay lottery. Dozens of semi-trailer loads of hay have been donated.

Attention bank robbers in Nebraska: Pinnacle banks are not going to take it anymore. They are adding security features and armed guards to Lincoln branches. Overall, bank robberies are way up in the Corn Husker state, rising from 14 in 2015 to 75 last year.

Indiana lost $77 million in 2012 because it couldn’t collect online sales tax if a retailer doesn’t have a physical presence in the state. Indiana is now suing Wayfair and Overstock to try to get a Supreme Court ruling in its favor.

The University of Illinois is banning a war chant at games.


Max is at Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.

Have you heard of minimum security federal prison for women in New Jersey known as Camp Cupcake? Latest convict going there is Barbara Byrd-Bennett, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools. The 68-year-old scheduled to spend 4.5 years there.

Credit card skimmers were found inside the gas pumps in South Dakota, suggesting it was an inside job.

Attention bank robbers – Pinnacle bank branches in Nebraska are beefing up security after being held up five times in last year. They are adding armed guards and making other security improvements. There were 14 hold ups in 2015 in Nebraska. Last year there were 75

Indiana lost $77 million in 2012 because it couldn’t collect online sales tax if a retailer doesn’t have a physical presence in the state. Indiana is now suing Wayfair and Overstock to try to get a Supreme Court ruling in its favor.

Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, a critic of outsourcing jobs, is selling his stock in a family arts and crafts business that operates in Mexico. He’s up for re-election next year.