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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
March 15, 2010
In this issue:
  More Federal Market Oversight Likely
  More Gilt Management Tips to Improve Breeding Herd Performance
  Call for Stronger Enforcement of the Humane Slaughter Act
  USDA Offers Loan Guidance To Contract Pork Operations

More Federal Market Oversight Likely
Friday’s USDA/Department of Justice “Competition in Agriculture Workshop,” held in Ankeny, IA, was long on rhetoric, but surprisingly balanced regarding substantive issues. A wide range of opinions were expressed and the proceedings were far more orderly than most expected.

The first of four scheduled workshops, the original title was “Issues of Importance to Farmers.” But the Ankeny event included discussions on seed and pork issues. The seed discussion focused primarily on Monsanto’s position in the soybean and corn trait market. The pork industry discussion was much broader.

Future sessions will be held in Normal, AL, focusing on poultry issues, Madison, WI, targeting dairy issues, and Fort Collins, CO, on beef and lamb issues. A final workshop will be held in Washington, DC, and concentrate on issues regarding farm-to-retail price spreads.


More Gilt Management Tips to Improve Breeding Herd Performance
Last week, we listed several management areas that have an impact on “total pigs born.” (To review, click here).

In addition to the number of recorded heat cycles before breeding and the gilt’s exposure to gestation stalls before breeding, there are additional management factors that affect gilt performance. Following are a few additional considerations:

Level and length of lighting in the gilt development area. Studies have documented the impact of light intensity and duration on gilt development and cycling, especially in the fall as daylight decreases. Light does affect onset of puberty and length of breeding periods. We suggest having a timer in the gilt development area that allows for a minimum of 16 hours of light per day, with an intensity of 50 lux, roughly 100 watts of light for every 100 sq. ft. of floor space. Gilts do need a sleep period, so the lights need to be off during the night.


Call for Stronger Enforcement of the Humane Slaughter Act
The House Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing concerning the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report on USDA actions need to strengthen enforcement of Human Methods of Slaughter Act. The report indicates that USDA inspectors have been inconsistent in their reporting of humane handling violations. GAO recommends stronger enforcement of the act, including establishing “clear and specific” criteria for suspending plant operations, improving standards for compliance, and more closely examining noncompliance reports.” An inspector with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) testified that USDA officials not only overturned his recommendations in enforcing the act, but agreed with slaughter plants.

House Bill Sets Requirements for Federal Meat Purchases — Congressmen Diane Watson (D-CA) and Elton Gallegly (R-CA) have introduced H.R. 4733, the “Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act,” which would require federal agencies to purchase meat from sources that raised the animals free from cruelty and abuse. The legislation requires that food purchased for federal programs (school breakfast and lunch, military, federal prisons, etc.) come from animals raised with enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around and stretch their limbs. Congressman Watson said, “Americans are increasingly demanding that we move away from abusive confinement in tiny cages on factory farms. The federal government has a responsibility to help lead the way on this important issue.” The Humane Society of the United States has endorsed the legislation.


USDA Offers Loan Guidance To Contract Pork Operations
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced March 11 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will expand guidance for loans to contract poultry operations meant to protect them from questionable business practices to include contract pork operations.

USDA currently provides county Farm Service Agency offices analysis and evaluation of applications for direct and guaranteed loans for contract poultry operations, and how those loans are issued and serviced.

“Contract poultry and pork operations face increased risk in these challenging economic times, and this additional guidance for pork, putting it in agreement with the poultry guidance, will aid the loan officers in county offices as they continue to make informed decisions on loans for contracted pork operations, providing opportunities for producers while at the same time protecting the interests of the taxpayers who fund the loans USDA makes,” Vilsack says.


March 16-17, 2010: Second Annual Passion for Pigs Seminar and Trade Show, Holiday Inn Select (Expo Center),
Columbia, MO; contact: Julie Lolli at (660) 651-0570 or

March 23, 2010: Swine Health Symposium, Der Dutchman, Plain City, WI; contact: Dale Ricker at (419) 523-6294 or

March 24-26, 2010: NSF International and USDA Co-Host 2010 Food Safety Education Conference in
Atlanta, GA; contact: Paula DeGangi at (646)-935-4029 or

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.

NPPC works diligently to protect and promote the interests of America’s pork producers who in turn provide safe, nutritious pork to domestic and foreign markets, generating thousands of jobs and more than $30 billion of gross national product to the U.S. economy. Click here to see how NPPC is working for you.


This Month's Focus: Feeding
Gilt Development Program Improves Sow Performance
Early attention to gilt development pays dividends. To ensure that a sow becomes a productive member of the breeding herd requires close attention
Pork Industry Seeks Answers About Fat Quality
Pork producers and packers are concerned about carcass fat quality, but definitive guidelines remain elusive
Effects of Energy Intake on Gilt Development
Performance of energy-restricted and ad libitum-fed gilts were tracked through four parities

Social Networking For Pork Industry Professionals National Hog Farmer content is available on Facebook, a social networking tool increasingly used by pork industry professionals. Interact with readers and editors, participate in discussions and keep up-to-date with industry happenings. Become a fan of National Hog Farmer!
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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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