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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
April 5, 2010
In this issue:
  Managing Risk in an Unpredictable Global Pork Market
  Investigating Mysterious Sudden Deaths in Finishers
  Pork Price Reporting Analysis Released
  Governor Signs Ohio Livestock Care Bill

Managing Risk in an Unpredictable Global Pork Market
For all of you feeling particularly giddy after last week’s markets, allow me to mention one thing to keep you grounded: H1N1. I mention it because there have been several outbreaks in the Southeast recently. And, it serves as an example of what can go wrong just when things are looking jolly good. Reality checks are part of the job. There is a good reason economics is called the dismal science.

What if H1N1 or foot-and-mouth disease or classical swine fever or any other swine disease that Russian or Chinese buyers could cite as a reason to stop imports of U.S. pork occurred? How would that affect the improvement in potential profitability that we saw last week as Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group Lean Hogs contracts rallied to contract life highs, corn futures fell to six-month lows and soybean meal futures lost $10/ton?


Investigating Mysterious Sudden Deaths in Finishers
Determining the cause of a growing number of cases involving sudden deaths in finishing pigs can be a daunting task because the pigs commonly show no outward signs of disease. Investigation into these sudden deaths requires four steps:

Step #1: Very careful observation of the pigs, looking for subtle symptoms or clinical signs that are not readily apparent. This process may call for visiting the barn, sometimes at odd hours, or simply sitting on a bucket for an hour watching and listening to pigs. Don’t underestimate the value of objective observation.

Step #2: Perform necropsies of affected pigs to assess whether there are specific lesions which might identify a likely cause for pigs to suddenly die. Often a complete set of tissues or blood work is submitted to a diagnostic lab. But the gross lesions observed on necropsy of a dead pig can be misleading and confusing, depending on how long it has been dead. For instance, congested lungs that don’t collapse, reddened intestines, or pale muscles are commonly observed in any dead pig.

Step #3: Collection of complete and accurate information to support observations (listed below) is an important step. Focus on information that appears relevant to the problem. Keep an open mind as to which information could be biased or misleading.


Pork Price Reporting Analysis Released
USDA has released its Wholesale Pork Price Reporting Analysis as required by the 2008 farm bill. USDA was directed to conduct a study on the effects of requiring packer processing plants to report information on wholesale pork cuts, including price and volume. The scope of the study included:

    1) Identifying problems with current pork price reporting;

    2) Determining how changes in pork processing and trade are affecting pork price reporting;

    3) Assessing the extent that mandatory price reporting would reduce pork price reporting problems; and

    4) Identifying potential benefits and costs of moving to a mandated pork price reporting system.


Governor Signs Ohio Livestock Care Bill
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has signed House Bill 414 into effect, creating the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board and providing the terms of office for board members. The board will be responsible for developing animal care and well-being standards through regulation of Ohio’s farms.

Gov. Strickland along with the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House will name appointees to the 13-member board. The board will be comprised of the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, a food safety expert, three family farmers, two members who represent statewide farm organizations, a licensed Ohio veterinarian, the state veterinarian, a dean of agriculture from an Ohio college or university, two Ohio consumers and a county humane society representative. Board appointees are expected to be selected by mid-April.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts on behalf of both the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate, in addition to Gov. Strickland, to enact this legislation,” says Dick Isler, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Producers Council. “Our hog farmers appreciate the opportunity to have livestock regulations for Ohioans stay in our state.”


April 28-29, 2010: Animal Agriculture Alliance 9th Annual Stakeholders Summit, Westin at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel
Arlington, VA; For more information contact: (703) 562-5160 or

Memphis, Tenn; For more information contact: alan Duttlinger at (765)-463-3594 or

May 16-19, 2010: Alltech's 26th International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium,
Lexington, KY; For more information contact:

It’s Expo time! Thousands of producers and industry professionals from all over the world will be in attendance. Don’t miss three jam-packed days of learning, networking and training plus discover the latest trends, products and innovations. And, don’t forget the fun — click here for all the details!


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.

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.


This Month's Focus: Air Quality
Peeling Away the Layers of Pork's Carbon Footprint
Pork Checkoff's Life Cycle Assessment of greenhouse gas emissions is entering the final phase and the outcome will be a producer-friendly, greenhouse gas prediction tool.
Evaluating Biosecurity Risks During Feed Transport
Links in the feed processing and delivery chain identify disease prevention challenges and opportunities.
Food Safety Expert Counters Katie Couric's Claims
Key facts discount comments made on antibiotics segments aired last month.

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!
National Hog Farmer is also on Twitter, a micro-blogging site that provides brief status updates on people, groups or organizations. Users can "follow" people or groups, including news organizations that they want to keep up-to-date with. Follow National Hog Farmer on Twitter!


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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Join thousands of your peers for three days of learning, networking, training and fun at the 2010 World Pork Expo. From the world’s largest pork-specific trade show and America’s Best Genetics Alley to lunch at the Big Grill, it’s all at the Iowa State Fairgrounds June 9–11. Click here to register.

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