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.


Articles from 2019 In August

This Week in Agribusiness, Aug. 31, 2019

Part 1

Max, Orion and Greg Soulje bring you the show from Farm Progress Show, and Greg offers an early weather outlook.

Max and Orion visit with Sonny Perdue about trade, including a phone call from President Trump.

Steve Nicholson, Rabo Agrifinance, joins the show to share a market outlook.

Part 2

Steve Nicholson is back, talking about commodity demand and marketing advice.

Chad Colby talks about the new technology featured at Farm Progress Show, including automation.

Steve Bridge talked with corn growers about demand for the crop. Kevin Ross, National Corn Growers Association, shares his thoughts.

Part 3

Max and Orion recap the Half Century of Progress Show.

Part 4

Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau, joins Max and Orion to talk about the Washington issues, including farm labor.

Greg Soulje is back with a weather outlook for the week ahead.

Part 5

Greg Soulje is back with an extended weather forecast.

Part 6

There’s a 1960 Oliver 880 Diesel in Max’s Tractor Shed this week.

The FFA Chapter Tribute goes to Humansville FFA in Missouri.

Orion marvels at the land that he’s seen while flying above farm country, as well as the farmers who farm it in Samuelson Sez.

Part 7

Steve Bridge reports on hemp farming, talking with Geoff Whaling, National Hemp Association.

Is a national Swine Health Improvement Plan needed?

National Pork Board Young pigs on a ramp entering a barn

Is it time for the U.S. pork industry to adopt a program similar to the National Poultry Improvement Plan?

Earlier this year, a team from Iowa State University concluded a study that was commissioned in 2018 with the aim of seeking a more in-depth understanding of the NPIP and assessing the potential for an NPIP-like program to support the U.S. pork industry.

The NPIP is a unique industry, state and federal partnership that has long served to safeguard, improve and assure the health of U.S. poultry and enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. poultry and egg industries in the domestic and global marketplace. Participation in NPIP is voluntary and almost universal among commercial poultry and egg operations throughout the United States.

Participants utilize the NPIP to certify the health status of U.S. poultry and egg flocks, hatcheries, slaughter plants, products and states in accordance with NPIP’s officially recognized standards and definitions. NPIP’s health status certifications are used to demonstrate evidence of freedom of both trade and non-trade impacting diseases of poultry. NPIP is a working and active system of animal health control whose programs content and direction are informed and updated every two years by a formal congress of industry stakeholders and subject matter experts. NPIP’s program definitions, standards, and health status classifications are broadly recognized across all 50 states and by international trading partners.

While participation in NPIP is voluntary, specified NPIP health status certifications are commonly required at points of sale, exhibition and for interstate and international commerce. NPIP’s avian influenza virus surveillance programs and health status certifications held by meat-type chicken and turkey slaughter plants, commercial table egg laying operations and states have played a primary role in helping sustain export markets and interstate commerce from unaffected regions during times of an AIV outbreak of significance affecting U.S. commercial poultry operations.

The landscape of the U.S. swine industry has changed with globalization, multi-site production and a greater dependence of exports, and the effect these facets have on swine health and the impact of disease incursion on the industry.

In particular, trade-impacting disease risks and recurring endemic diseases of high consequence are substantial challenges. Scalable solutions to these major and well-recognized challenges are largely beyond the immediate control or influence of any individual producer, packer, state or existing entity. Next generation animal health assurance and area regional disease control solutions are needed to secure the future of the highly mobile and export-centric U.S. pork industry. Experience affirms that solutions offered by government or industry, each acting independently, will not be timely, capable or robust enough to keep pace with industry needs. State and federal animal health agencies lack the resources, capacity and industry-specific know-how, while industry-only solutions lack the coordination and authority to establish official standards and health status certifications across legally recognized areas, states, regions or by well-defined segments of the commercial pork industry.

The NPIP’s unique industry, state and federal partnership provides a platform wherein industry stakeholders play a direct and on-going role in establishing poultry health standards, definitions and policies across the U.S. poultry and egg industries.

The basic tenets and approach used by the NPIP could serve as a road map for pork producers and packers (slaughter facilities) interested in more directly and systematically addressing the major swine health issues of high consequence and better positioning the future of the U.S. pork industry in the domestic and global marketplace.

The ISU team of Rodger Main, Pamela Zaabel, Kerry Leedom-Larson, James Roth and Jeffrey Zimmerman want to hear what producers and allied industry members think of the potential of adopting an NPIP-like program for the swine industry.

Click here for more information on the potential Swine Health Improvement Plan. This website provides interested stakeholders:

  1. Download a one-page Industry Summary
  2. Download a pdf copy of Case Study Report
  3. Read an electronic book version of Case Study Report
  4. View narrated PowerPoint version of the Case Study Report
  5. Order a bound copy of Case Study Report
  6. Participate in an online (six-question) survey as means of providing feedback
Source: Iowa State University, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

With pork demand getting all the attention, don’t forget supply

National Pork Board Loading market hogs onto a semi trailer

Much of the attention surrounding hog markets has focused on global demand over the past year, and with good reason. The United States lifted Mexican steel and aluminum tariffs in May. In turn, retaliatory tariffs on pork were removed in the highest volume pork export market for U.S. pork producers. Additionally, President Donald Trump at the recent G7 summit announced a trade agreement with Japan. Once implemented, this will place the United States back on a level playing field with international competitors in its highest value pork export market.

Meanwhile, African swine fever has destroyed, by some estimates, upwards of 30% of the total pig herd in China. This decrease in supply has created opportunity for exporting countries to fill the void in China, the world’s largest pork consumer. While U.S. producers face steep retaliatory tariffs in the Chinese market due to the ongoing trade war, this pork shortage should provide opportunities for back-filling other partner country demand needs, so the logic goes.

Given the seemingly bullish demand developments, why have lean hog futures dropped since their highs in April and come under more pressure as of late? It’s appropriate to look back at the oft forgotten other half of the economic equation: supply.

U.S. protein production creates competitive retail case
The expansion that the U.S. pork industry has embarked upon since the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus crisis in 2014 has led to five straight years of record pork production. The USDA estimates 2020 production will set another record at 28.4 billion pounds. Total slaughter this year should top 130 million head. The average U.S. consumer’s pork consumption patterns have changed over time as bacon has become a staple in new menu items, but per capita consumption of pork has largely been stagnant since the early 1980s.

Often lost in the discussion of pork market forces is pressure exerted on American consumers from increased production of other animal proteins, as well. According to the USDA, total red meat and poultry production will be record large in 2019 and again in 2020. While beef and turkey per capita consumption have largely flatlined in recent years, chicken meat consumption has skyrocketed over the past four decades (see Figure 1). Competition in the retail meat case from other proteins weighs on the pork complex. The fresh beef and broiler complexes have increased at a slower rate through the first seven months of the year than pork retail prices.

Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC Historical U.S. per capita protein consumption

Historical U.S. per capita protein consumption

A closer look at the pork carcass cutout
The CME lean hog index takes a weighted average for two consecutive weekdays for negotiated, swine or pork market formula, and negotiated formula hogs according to the National Daily Direct Hog Prior Day Report-Slaughtered Swine released by the USDA. As more hogs are priced off the cutout, the cutout in turn plays a larger role in the lean hog futures price. It is important to understand how it is constructed and what primals are driving changes to its value.

Mandatory price reporting of wholesale pork began in January 2013. The USDA pork carcass cutout is computed daily and provides an estimate of the value of a 205-pound hog carcass based upon current wholesale prices. The largest component of the calculation is the loin (25.23%), followed by hams (24.68%) and bellies (16.22%).

We typically observe a peak rise in price heading into the summer grilling season as demand picks up and production begins to wane in the loin primal. Over the past several years, the loin’s price movement has been largely subdued. Throughout the majority of 2019, the weekly loin primal value has lagged previous years’ levels. Heavier carcass weights and higher slaughter counts have pressured the primal, leading to new lows since mandatory reporting began (see Figure 2). USDA also reported end-of-July loin stocks in cold storage at a record high for July 31 since records began in 1960 (see Figure 3).

Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC Pork loin primal price history (LM_PK 602 Report)

Pork loin primal price history (LM_PK 602 Report)

Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC USDA pork loin cold storage (current versus 10-year range)

USDA pork loin cold storage (current versus 10-year range)

The ham primal, which accounts for the second largest share of the overall cutout, has had its share of volatility over the past year. Mexico is the largest market for U.S. pork exports, the lion’s share of which is chilled bone-in hams and shoulders. Up until May, these products faced a 20% tariff in the lucrative Mexican market. This, in turn, weighed on the carcass cutout in general and the ham primal in particular. The trade barrier caused ham stocks to soar to record levels earlier this year for the end of February timeframe. Hams hit a low of $59.64 per hundredweight heading into Independence Day before gaining $25 per hundredweight by the end of July.

The ham primal continues to be pressured as the industry looks for the Mexican export market to fully recover to pre-tariff levels, recently dropping back below the July low.

Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC Pork ham primal price history (LM_PK 602 Report)

Pork ham primal price history (LM_PK 602 Report)

Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC USDA pork ham cold storage (current versus 10-year range)

USDA pork ham cold storage (current versus 10-year range)

The third largest component, and the primal that has provided the most volatility to the cutout in recent years, is the belly. Despite record large pork belly production, belly stocks have remained largely in line with historical norms and relatively current. Bacon demand in the retail space has held up well — July 2019 bacon retail prices averaged $5.60 per pound, the third highest July price level over the past decade. As the popularity of bacon continues to grow, the ebb and flow of the belly primal has been the main driver of cutout movements.

Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC Pork belly primal price history (LM_PK 602 Report)

Pork belly primal price history (LM_PK 602 Report)

Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC USDA pork belly cold storage (current versus 10-year range)

USDA pork belly cold storage (current versus 10-year range)

U.S. pork production is poised to grow by 5.5% in the fourth quarter and another 2.8% in 2020, according to the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. Official export data are currently available through June 2019, which indicates pork exports are 2% lower than 2018. In order to achieve USDA projected export levels, exports must increase significantly between now and the end of the year.

A new quarterly hogs and pigs report will be released at the end of the month and if recent trends continue, we can expect to see significant improvements in litter rates contributing to a growing herd. As we move into the cooler months of fall, domestic supply tends to become more of a headwind and weigh on cash markets.

First quarter through third quarter margins next year exceed the 70th percentile of profitability over the past decade. While they lag the stronger profitability projected earlier this year, these levels may fit into some operations’ risk management strategy. Although the supply side looks to remain cumbersome for the foreseeable future, opportunities may present themselves ahead of time to protect favorable margins. For example, it was possible back in April to protect margins above the 90th percentile for the fourth quarter 2019 and throughout the majority of 2020. It is important to be ready to strike when the iron is hot and take advantage of favorable market opportunities that fit into your operation’s profitability goals.

Export demand and the geopolitical environment provide the market with volatility and market analysts with fodder. It is exciting to discuss bullish opportunities, but it is also necessary to recognize hard realities of the significant amount of protein we already have, and more heading our way. Given strong margins in deferred periods, producers may choose hedging strategies that would still allow for unlimited upside potential while retaining protection from lower price levels should the promising demand outlook change.

There is a risk of loss in futures trading. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
Source: Dustin Baker, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Ohio Pork Council to feature Bacon Vending Machine at Ohio Stadium

Ohio Pork Council NHF-BaconVendingMachineOPC1.jpg

After grabbing international media headlines last winter, the Ohio Pork Council is pleased to launch its new-and-improved Bacon Vending Machine at Ohio Stadium just in time for football season. The Bacon Vending Machine will be available starting this Saturday for Buckeye fans to purchase ready-to-eat bacon, while supplies last, at Ohio Stadium all season long.

“The Ohio Pork Council is proud to support Ohio State Athletics and could not think of a more fitting location to launch our new Bacon Vending Machine than Ohio Stadium,” says District 1 director Nathan Schroeder, a pig farmer from Putnam County, Ohio. “Thanks to the Bacon Vending Machine, fans can cheer the Buckeyes on to victory with a classic game day favorite – bacon.”

Developed in collaboration with Innovative Vending Solutions, the custom machine features a variety of ready-to-eat bacon for fans to enjoy at an affordable price. The modern machine also features a touch screen interface with educational videos and facts about Ohio’s pig farming community on display – enabling consumers to learn more about responsibly raised pork.

“In partnership with the We Care initiative, the Bacon Vending Machine serves as a unique conversation piece for Ohio’s pig farmers to educate consumers about their commitment to responsible animal care and providing quality pork products,” says Schroeder.

The Ohio Pork Council invites Buckeye fans to visit the Bacon Vending Machine, located near section 37A in the south stands, at tomorrow’s game against Florida Atlantic and each home game for the remainder of the season.

Source: Ohio Pork Council, who are solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly own the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Possible calm in escalating trade war with China

iStock/Getty Images Plus/Bet_Noire Illustration of China wrecking ball smashing through U.S. flag

The trade war between the United States and China escalated last Friday when President Trump announced the United States would retaliate by increasing tariffs on Chinese goods and ordered U.S. companies doing business in China to explore relocating their operations elsewhere.

Now China is signaling a possible calming of the trade war.

Last week Trump announced a new tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods that currently do not have a tariff will be 15% instead of the previously announced 10%. The new tariff goes into effect this Sunday or Dec. 15, depending upon the product. Beginning Oct. 1, the United States will increase tariffs from 25% to 30% on $250 billion of Chinese goods.

The latest retaliation is a result of China announcing it was raising its tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods. U.S. agriculture gets hit again with the latest round of tariff increases. Products hit include pork, soybeans, beef, oats, barley, potatoes, apples, oranges, lettuce, tomatoes and almonds.

According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the new Chinese tariff rate for U.S. pork will be 72% and 47% on U.S. beef items.

There are now indications that China is signaling a possible calm in the trade war. Yesterday, China says it does not plan to retaliate on Trump’s latest announcement of increasing tariff rates. According to media reports, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce says that China was “willing to negotiate and collaborate in order to solve this problem with a calm attitude.”

U.S. and Japan reach agreement in principle
President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the United States and Japan have reached an “agreement in principle” on a trade deal concerning agriculture, industrial tariffs and digital trade.

The agreement will cut Japanese tariffs on U.S. pork, beef and other agricultural commodities while delaying the threat of increased tariffs on Japanese auto and auto parts exports. The reductions in tariffs coincide with those under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. This levels the playing field for U.S. agriculture. Trump indicates that Japan would increase its purchases of U.S. corn.

The National Pork Producers Council says, “We look forward to rapid implementation of the agreement as international competitors are currently taking U.S. pork market share through more favorable access.” NPPC says that Dermot Hayes of Iowa State estimates U.S. exports to Japan will increase from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says, “Removing the massive 38.5% tariff on U.S. beef will level the playing field in Japan, and we are very thankful to President Trump and his trade team for continuing to fight on behalf of America’s ranching families.”

Final details of the agreement are being worked on with the plans to have Trump and Abe sign the agreement next month during the UN General Assembly summit.

Japan imported approximately $14 billion of agricultural goods in 2018 and the U.S. Trade Representative estimates this agreement will increase exports by $7 billion.

USDA to investigate cattle markets
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has directed USDA’s Packer and Stockyards Division to investigate the cattle markets as a result of the recent fire of Tyson Food’s Holcomb, Kan., beef plant. With the uncertainty in the market as a result of the fire, various producer organizations have asked USDA to investigate.

Perdue says, “As part of our continued efforts to monitor the impact of the fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kan., I have directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition or other unfair practices. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action. USDA remains in close communication with plant management and other stakeholders to understand the fire’s impact to industry.”

The NCBA says, “Today’s announcement by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue demonstrates the government’s understanding of the extreme strain placed on the cattle industry by the plant fire in Holcomb, Kan. We encourage USDA to look at all aspects of the beef supply chain and to utilize internal and external expertise in this investigation. We believe it adds transparency that will help build confidence in the markets among cattlemen and women.”

The Holcomb plant processed approximately 6,500 cattle per day.

Trump signs bankruptcy bill
President Trump signed into law the “Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019” which eases bankruptcy rules for farmers. The bill expands the debt cap cover under Chapter 12 bankruptcies to $10 million from the current $4 million.

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Swine influenza’s evolution explored in upcoming webinar

National Pork Board Feeder pigs

Influenza has been plaguing U.S. swine herds for decades, and the virus has continued to evolve over the years. Where does the industry stand today in this fight?

Phil Gauger, Tavis Anderson and Christine Mainquist-Whigham will give their viewpoints on the influenza virus from a diagnostic, bioinformatic and field perspective during the next Science Talks. Webinar “Influenza: Where are we today?” This webinar will be 1 p.m. Central Sept. 11. This National Hog Farmer webinar is sponsored by Merck Animal Health.

The trio will focus on the changes in the virus over the years and the impact of the disease today to producers, veterinarians and the industry.

Title: Influenza: Where are we today?
Date: Sept. 11
Time: 2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
Duration: 1 hour

Phil Gauger is a 1994 graduate of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and was a partner in a mixed animal practice for 12 years. Gauger received a master’s in 2008 and PhD in 2012 in Veterinary Microbiology from ISU. He is currently an associate professor and veterinary diagnostician at the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine and section leader of the molecular diagnostic testing at the ISU VDL.

Tavis Anderson is an ORISE Established Scientist hosted by the National Animal Disease Center (USDA-Agricultural Research Service). Anderson has more than 15 years of experience in animal health research. The primary focus of his research is the evolution of infectious disease, combining computational and experimental studies to understand how pathogens are transmitted among hosts and across complex landscapes. A main area involves the study of the epidemiology of emerging and endemic RNA viruses of swine. In addition, he conducts studies that quantify viral genetic and antigenic variation and how that variation influences transmission and vaccine control strategies. The unifying theme of his research is explaining how genetic signatures affect influenza host range and virulence, the use of sequence data to understand the genetic and antigenic variability of endemic viruses, and the application of these results to develop applied solutions to preventing virus transmission.

Christine Mainquist-Whigham is a veterinarian with Pillen Family Farms in Columbus, Neb. Mainquist-Whigham received her doctorate in veterinary medicine and master of science in veterinary preventive medicine from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016, with a focus on antibiotic residues. Her role at Pillen Family Farms includes overseeing health of 75,000 sows as well as the downstream nursery and finishing system.

National Hog Farmer’s Senior Staff Writer Kevin Schulz will moderate this Sept. 11 webinar

Click here to save your seat for this webinar that promises to be educational and informative. By registering for this webinar, you also gain access to previous Science Talks. webinars.

Be sure to register even if you cannot attend, as archived versions of National Hog Farmer webinars are available to watch On Demand shortly after broadcast. You will receive an email with login instructions as soon as the replay is available.

Auburn-CDC study examines suicide among all veterinary professionals

RGtimeline/Thinkstock Veterinarian and farmer in hog barn

Authors of a new study, Suicides and deaths of undetermined intent among veterinary professionals from 2003 through 2014, published in the Sept. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, report that veterinarians and veterinary technicians have significantly higher rates of death by suicide than do members of the general U.S. population.

According to standardized mortality ratios, from 2003 through 2014, 1.6 times as many male veterinarians and 2.4 times as many female veterinarians died by suicide than did members of the general population. During that same period, five times as many male veterinary technicians and 2.3 times as many female technicians died by suicide than expected. Researchers from Auburn University and the Centers for Disease Control reviewed records from the National Violent Death Reporting System for the study.

For all three groups (veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants or animal caretakers) in the study, self-poisoning was the most common method of death, but veterinarians were more likely to die of pentobarbital poisoning than were individuals in the other groups. Most deaths did not occur at work, and it was not known where individuals obtained these substances. Veterinarians were less likely to have a history of a suicide attempt before the fatal incident, compared with individuals in the other two groups. About a quarter of decedents had disclosed their suicidal intent prior to their deaths, and just more than half had a history of mental health treatment.

In their report, the authors point out that veterinarians in the United States and abroad have previously been reported to have a high suicide risk. However, information has been lacking on the circumstances of death, including suicide methods and on suicide among other professionals in the veterinary field.

“Every bit of light we can shine on suicide is a step in the right direction,” says John Howe, president of the AVMA. “Suicide is complex. It not only affects the veterinary profession, but is also a critically important public health crisis and the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.”

The study provides evidence that access to pentobarbital may help explain the high risk of suicide among veterinarians, and stresses the importance of restricting access to lethal methods, such as poison and firearms, for individuals at risk of suicide. At the same time, the authors acknowledge the critical need for additional research on suicide risk factors and call for implementation of evidence-based “upstream” suicide prevention and intervention strategies, such as promoting social connectedness, identifying and supporting individuals at risk and enhancing problem-solving and coping skills.

Methods to address the high suicide risk among veterinarians have been — and continue to be — actively explored by the AVMA and industry partners to ensure that efforts are consistent with best practices advised by suicidology experts. In recent years, the AVMA has implemented QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training to help veterinarians identify and refer colleagues who might be at risk. This online “gatekeeper” training, offered free of charge for members and veterinary students, teaches people without professional mental health backgrounds to recognize the signs that someone may be considering suicide and helps them establish a dialogue.

“Often times, people may suspect someone is suffering but they don’t know what to say, or they worry that what they say may make the situation worse,” says Jen Brandt, AVMA director of member wellbeing and diversity. “It is my goal to have every veterinary professional complete approved suicide prevention training. It provides guidance on what to say and ways in which you can enhance a sense of belonging and help alleviate the sense of fear that some may have about being a burden to their friends, family or colleagues.”

As well as working closely with their partners in veterinary medicine, the AVMA is working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and other suicidology experts to enhance suicide prevention, education and intervention efforts within the veterinary profession.

Examples of some current programs and tools available to tackle specific stressors:

  • Because veterinary professionals are susceptible to moral or ethical distress, which results from “taking on the burden” of an ill or dying patient, the AVMA has collected and developed a number of resources to help veterinarians combat moral and ethical distress.
  • Financial burdens can also play a part in harming veterinarians’ mental health. With educational debt on the rise, veterinarians may be struggling to make ends meet and find it difficult to plan for the future. The AVMA has resources on financial planning — including a personal financial planning tool, a salary calculator and tips on student loan repayment to help veterinarians address these concerns.
  • The potential for drug abuse and addiction is higher in medical professions than in other workplaces because of greater access to controlled drugs. To address these issues, the AVMA has developed an online wellbeing and peer-assistance toolkit.
  •, a website aimed at students and early-career veterinarians, is geared to helping them navigate wellbeing, finances and career concerns.
  • AVMA’s 100 Healthy Tips to Support a Culture of Wellbeing offers strategies and practical steps one can apply at work and at home to support healthful living and create a positive work environment.
  • Peer assistance programs around the country can be found at AVMA’s State Wellbeing Programs for Veterinary Professionals page.
  • The annual Veterinary Wellbeing Summit provides veterinary practitioners, as well as those in industry and academia, researchers and others, an opportunity to discuss strategies and programs for supporting enhanced wellbeing throughout the profession.
  • Numerous educational efforts through public speaking and webinars aimed at creating cultures of wellbeing are ongoing.
  • The AVMA is working with the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association to improve the health and wellbeing of all those who work on veterinary teams across the globe.

“We can all help prevent suicide,” Brandt says. “The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. For assistance, please call 800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.”

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

What is a flexitarian and should the meat industry be concerned?

vaaseenaa/GettyImages NHF-vaaseenaa-GettyImages-Flexitarian-1540.jpg

The term flexitarian, first coined in the early 1990s, has been getting some buzz lately as more millennials are now identifying themselves as one. For those of you, like myself, who do not regularly include the jargon in your daily dialogue, a flexitarian is a person who consumes mainly vegetarian food but occasionally eats meat or fish.

According to a 2017 North American Meat Institute and Rabobank study, 24% of millennials say they aim to eat more meatless meals or eat meat alternatives. So, should we be worried about this new dietary movement stealing our meat industry’s thunder?

According to Dallas Hockman, vice president of Industry Relations for the National Pork Producers Council, no, flexitarians will not be the demise of the protein industry. In fact, they lend support to all proteins.

“Overall plant-based protein is expanding the protein market,” Hockman says. “That’s a good thing for us overall; if people feel positive about protein.”

During the 29th annual Carthage Veterinary Service Swine Conference this week, Hockman shared data from the Nielsen company about buying habits and consumption for flexitarians. Almost all meat alternative buyers (98%) also purchase meat, and they do so more than the average meat buyer ($486 versus $478 per year). Less than a third (27%) of meat alternative purchasers buy meat alternative products five or more times a year.

As Hockman points out, for the food service and retail industry adopting these meat alternatives, it’s not about providing another option to meat, but providing all options of protein to meet consumer needs. That’s why chains such as Burger King are now offering the Impossible Burger, an alternative burger made out of wheat and potato proteins, canola oil and leghemoglobin, nationwide.

“It’s a way for them to get into this and compete — with families who have a daughter or a son that has moved away from meat consumption, now they can bring the whole family back to Burger King to eat,” Hockman says.

Finally, when it comes down to price, meat wins. Chicken, pork and turkey cost the least per gram, at 2 cents, well below the meat alternative competition at 10 cents.

While we don’t need to be afraid of the flexitarian movement, Hockman says the NPPC is concerned as more of these products are trying to mimic meat products in taste and appearance, but the real threat comes from their marketing claims on health, nutrition and sustainability. Labeling needs to be accurate and these products should follow the same federal inspection and approval process as real meat products.

“We can’t stop these products from hitting the shelves, but we must fight for a level playing field and full disclosure,” Hockman says.

What can the swine industry learn from Indiana’s HPAI incident?

DarcyMaulsby/GettyImages NHF-DarcyMaulsby-GettyImages-turkey-1540.jpg

If you ask Bret Marsh, everyone in the livestock industry is in the ADR business. If you see an animal “ain’t doing right,” say something.

The Indiana state veterinarian knows a thing or two about ADR calls. He received quite a few of them in January 2016 when the highly pathogenic avian influenza H7N8 virus was found on a turkey farm in the southwest part of the state. In addition to the initial HPAI H7N8-infected farm, the low-pathogenicity avian influenza virus was identified in another nine nearby commercial flocks. More than 400,000 birds were affected in the outbreak.

“These viruses can percolate below pathogenic level and then mutate into high pathogenic and flow from farm to farm,” says Marsh. “I was hoping that we got in there early enough to detect those early sites.”

Early indeed, as the state was able to achieve AI-free status in just three-and-a-half months. While his experience with controlling an emerging infectious disease lies within the poultry sector, Marsh says there are many parallels the swine industry can draw from the event. The state veterinarian shared the experience this week with more than 700 pork industry members during the 29th annual Carthage Veterinary Service Swine Conference.

Immediately following that first ADR call and identifying that HPAI was identified on the Dubois County commercial turkey farm, a 6.2-mile control area and an additional 6.2-mile surveillance area was established. Poultry and poultry products could not enter or leave the control area without a negative avian influenza test and a permit issued by the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. Because the tests had to be completed within 24 hours of the movement, many commercial egg farms had to be tested daily to continue to move products.

During the control period, the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University ran more than 4,300 avian influenza tests and the Indiana BOAH issued 55 different kinds of permits among the total 738 movement permits distributed during that time. Thirty-eight days later, after all farms had consistently tested negative, the BOAH was able to lift the control area.

“In hindsight, we feel we got ahead of this virus by testing neighboring farms the first day. The discovery of so many AI-positive sites — nine — in one day was unheard of, even at the height of the 2015 event,” says Marsh. “Our teams in the field had to scale-up, overnight. But we did it, and completed the task, in 38 days.”

While Marsh’s experience eradicating a disease was on the poultry side, he says there are some lessons pork industry members can take away from the case:

  • Plan for the biggest job. While initial attention goes to the infected sites on quarantine and depopulation and disposal, more time will need to be dedicated to the negative herds in the control and surveillance areas. How do uninfected pork production systems keep business as usual? This will involve getting premise identifications for all sites, sampling, testing, reporting and getting permits for movement.
  • Partner with the industry to plan. In addition to establishing premise identification for all sites, pork production systems need to make sure authorized testers are trained on how to collect and send samples to the laboratory. During an outbreak, biosecurity between farms will be heightened and state and federal agents are not going to be able to be on-farm to collect those samples. What extra personal protective equipment is needed for these testers? Is electronic reporting set up with the laboratory and what is the laboratory’s surge capacity for samples? What is their processing schedule for issuing permits?
  • Create a Secure Pork Supply plan. Have you designated someone as the biosecurity manager? Do you have a plan written for each site and trained all employees on the plan? Have you exercised the process for getting a movement permit for each site?
  • Have your own depopulation plan. Don’t get locked in on one solution. You may need alternative methods for euthanasia and disposal. Have a back-up plan for every site as weather or equipment failure could impede the process.
  • Preplan disposal options. Work with your state environmental agency to pre-identify viable options. Are burial, composting or incineration options? Be sure to communicate that plan to solid waste handlers.

Finally, Marsh encourages pork producers to have a face-to-face meeting with their state veterinarian before a foreign animal disease such as African swine fever reaches U.S. soil. It’s an additional step Marsh recognizes many producers across the country have already taken.

“In my years of dealing with animal health initiatives, I have not seen a heightened sense of awareness in any commodity like I’ve seen over the last year in the swine industry. It’s absolutely unprecedented and it provides opportunities for us to be better prepared,” Marsh says. “I’m reminded of the Army general at the start of the Iraq war almost 15 years or more ago, who was famous for saying, ‘if you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly.’ I’m not looking for a fair fight and I don’t think that you are either.”

Farm Progress America, August 30, 2019

Max Armstrong considers the fact that in most cases that the general public doesn’t think about famine. Max shares some insight from Neville Spear who wrote in Feedstuffs about a survey of Millennials that looked at consumer sources of stress. The sources of stress in the survey never mention one area – fear of famine.

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: elenabs/iStock/Getty Images Plus