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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
January 25, 2010
In this issue:
  Year-End Meat Inventories Down
  Nice Start to a New Year
  Food Safety Review Sought
  Smithfield Plans Closure of Sioux City Packing Plant

Year-End Meat Inventories Down
Friday’s Cold Storage report was not wildly bullish, but was certainly good news regarding the status of frozen meat and poultry inventories. Stocks for every species were well below year-ago levels and lower than the already-low levels reported in the December report. Data for all meat and poultry species appears in Table 1 and the monthly species totals are shown in Figure 1 to provide a historical perspective.

Total meat and poultry in freezers on Dec. 31 amounted to 1.813 billion pounds, 19.1% lower than one year ago and 1.2% lower than last month. That remains the lowest monthly inventory since November 2003. Stocks of pork and beef are about the same as at that time, but chicken inventories are 100 million pounds lower and turkey inventories are almost exactly 100 million pounds higher now than in November 2003.


Nice Start to a New Year
We have had an amazing run in swine prices in December and January. Cash prices are running close to $70/cwt. carcass, an unusual occurrence for this time of year. While attending the Minnesota Pork Congress this past week, I noticed many producers had smiles on their faces for the first time in almost two years. In talking with many producers, I found mixed emotions. Some feel that they might actually have a month where they have a chance at being profitable. The other thought is a concern about what could cause the market to turn down. The consensus that I heard was that they still have not gone a month in almost two years where they actually made money, “so let’s not get too excited. We have a long ways to go to get back to where we were in 2007." This is a nice start and a welcome change.

Cut out – Attached you will find a historical chart on pork carcass cutout. Notice that as of Jan. 21, we are at the highest value that we have been in the last nine years for this time period. The last time we had this kind of run was in 2005. There are two drivers here – demand has been very good across the board for all cuts of pork and hog supply numbers are running below a year ago. Higher demand coupled with reduced supply generally results in higher prices.


Food Safety Review Sought
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chairwoman of the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, has called for an independent science board to review USDA’s meat and poultry inspection system in reaction to the recent recall of approximately 864,000 lb. of beef contaminated with E. coli. DeLauro said, “Contaminated meat products continue to enter our food supply at a disturbing rate. And, as recalls like this attest, it is time for the meat and poultry inspection system at USDA to be subject to a comprehensive review by an external, independent science board to ensure that the current system is adequately protecting the public health. Such a board would support and advise USDA, ensure that the inspection process is rigorous and scientifically robust, and recommend changes to any practices that are insufficiently protecting our food supply.”


Smithfield Plans Closure of Sioux City Packing Plant
In a surprise move to the citizens of Sioux City, IA, and pork industry analysts, Smithfield Foods has announced that it will permanently shutter the John Morrell & Co. hog processing and fresh meat fabrication plant effective April 20, 2010.

“We deeply regret having to close this facility,” says Joseph B. Sebring, president of John Morrell. “We recognize that layoffs and plant closings are difficult for everyone concerned. But at the same time, we believe this is a necessary business decision. The Sioux City plant is one of the oldest, most outdated and least efficient plants in the Smithfield system,” he continues.

There are approximately 1,450 hourly and salaried employees at the Sioux City plant that will be affected by the closure.


Jan. 27-28, 2010: Iowa Pork Congress, Iowa Events Center, Des Moines, IA; contact: Iowa Pork Producers Association at (515) 225-7675 or go to

Jan. 28-29, 2010: Wisconsin Pork Association (WPA) Business Expo, Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI; contact: the WPA office at (800) 822-7675 (in state), (608) 723-7551 or go to

Jan. 29, 2010: Oklahoma Pork Congress, Express Event Center, Oklahoma City, OK; contact: (405) 232-3782 or


M2P2, LLC, is accepting applications for the following position:
General Manager: M2P2 a progressive pork production company and employer of choice in the industry, is seeking a talented and motivated individual for a general manager role in their organization. This position will have complete accountability for all swine production related activities in our North Carolina – (10,000 Sows in Production, Associated Isolation – Gilt Development – Staging) location.

Ideal candidates must have the following qualifications:

  • Three to five years of swine management experience preferred.
  • A minimum of a High School Diploma or GED.
  • Proven conflict resolution skills.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Expected to take an active role in companies all ready established bio-security and safety programs.
  • Prior supervisory experience preferred.
  • This individual will be responsible for focusing efforts on the reduction of costs and increasing throughput.
  • Responsible for developing yearly production output budgets, expenses budget and necessary capital spending budget.
  • Be able to influence change through educating and training at all levels in addition to frequent farm inspections.
M2P2 offers a competitive wage and benefit package which includes medical, disability, life insurance, 401K, vacation and paid holidays. Please send resume to be considered for this postion to

M2P2 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Our breeding technology is delivering what your operation demands, high production results across a wide range of environmental conditions. Count on the industry leader. Go to the trusted source.Click here for more information.


The news reports announcing the discovery of the H1N1 Flu Outbreak Virus on April 24, 2009 increased the urgency for proper biosecurity measures in hog operations. Producers continually face the challenge of managing the biosecurity of pigs, people, packages and pests as they redouble efforts to stave off costly swine diseases and retain their access to pork markets in this age of economic uncertainty. Click here for the complete Blueprint archive.

U.S. pork producers must be able to compete in foreign markets without restrictive tariffs or sanitary barriers to trade. NPPC’s mission of gaining and expanding access to markets through free trade agreements is paramount to the continued success of the U.S. pork industry — Click here to learn more.


This Month's Focus: Making Solid Business Decisions
Later Weaning Bumps Sow Herd and Pig Performance
Increasing weaning age while reducing breeding herd inventory may help cut losses.
Sensitivity Analysis Projects Impact of Economic Variables on Pork Production Systems
Assessment tool helps prioritize investment and management plans. Sensitivity analysis in the context of this article does not refer to a personality.
Start Pigs Right to Boost Market Value
Iowa swine veterinarian’s program targets 95% full-value pigs. The path to top-notch postweaning pig growth performance begins in the breeding-gestation

When two leaders come together, expect great things to happen. One-dose protection from wean to finish. That’s Ingelvac® CircoFLEX-MycoFLEX™. The only circovirus and Mycoplasma vaccines USDA-approved for mixing. The result? A true dose of confidence from two powerful leaders. Call Boehringer Ingelheim at 1-800-325-9167or click here for more information.


National Hog Farmer offers 10 posters targeting key production areas, offering guidance in critical areas such as feet and leg soundness and reproduction traits soundness in replacement gilts. Others include pig anatomy, heat detection, sow condition, etc. All posters are in English. Select posters are translated to Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.


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Our breeding technology is delivering what your operation demands, high production results across a wide range of environmental conditions. Count on the industry leader. Go to the trusted source. Click here for more information.

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