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November 15, 2010
In this issue:
  Economic Uncertainties Slow Action
  Pork Butts Don’t Get No Respect
  GIPSA Rule Could Result in $1.56 Billion GDP Loss
  Pork Board Set to Trim Its Committee Structure

Economic Uncertainties Slow Action
I am neither an accomplished athlete nor an all-knowing coach. But there is one athletic principle that I know for certain: uncertainty equals slow. Regardless of the age or athletic ability, a player or team that does not know what they are supposed to do will be slow to act or react, significantly diminishing their chances of success. So it is with matters economic. Uncertainty causes caution and caution causes inaction. Our economy as a whole and the livestock sector in particular are facing significant uncertainties and are exhibiting the attendant inaction at present. Consider the following:

• Congress passed sweeping legislation “reforming” health care and health insurance and substantially changing the rules under which financial institutions operate. Both pieces of legislation are massive with many details and specific requirements. I haven’t read either, but I would bet that both have many internal conflicts and leave about as many questions unanswered as answered. Few, if any, know what these new laws mean from an operational standpoint. One result has been hesitation on the part of businesses to respond to what appears to be a recovering economy by adding new workers and stoking that recovery. Another has been an apparent paralysis in the capital markets where little is happening because the particular risks are unclear or unknown. A return to consistent and acceptable growth rates will require more jobs and more capital to support those workers and make them productive.


Pork Butts Don’t Get No Respect
The pork butt is the Rodney Dangerfield of pork cuts. It’s more tender, juicy, flavorful and affordable than many cuts in the pork carcass, but it doesn’t get any respect. A new international initiative is out to change that.

U.S. pork processors and exporters met with U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) international directors and U.S.-based staff this August in a New Opportunity Conference to identify which pork and beef products would benefit from additional attention in the global marketplace, and what USMEF could do to better position the targeted cuts to increase both sales and profitability.

In the minds of those participating pork industry executives, there were no ifs or ands about it, the butt was far and away the top pork cut identified with the greatest unrealized potential.

“The pork butt grades very well when compared to the ham and loin muscles in terms of tenderness, juiciness and flavor,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president of marketing and communications. “It truly is an attractive and affordable cut that is greatly underutilized.


GIPSA Rule Could Result in $1.56 Billion GDP Loss
A recent study concerning the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule on buying and selling livestock and poultry found that the annual drop in gross domestic product (GDP) would be as much as $1.56 billion. The annual loss in tax revenues is estimated at $359 million. The study found that the rule would result in “ongoing and indirect” costs to the livestock and poultry industries, borne by producers and consumers, of more than $164 billion. This would include nearly $880 million to the beef industry, more than $401 billion to the pork industry, and $362 million to the poultry industry. Informa Economics, which conducted the study, said, “Effects will have a very long tail. The affected industries will still be feeling an impact a decade or more into the future. All signs point to detrimental outcomes for small producers, the very ones the rule is designed to help.” The study was conducted on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Meat Association, National Pork Producers Council and the National Turkey Federation.


Pork Board Set to Trim Its Committee Structure
At its meeting this week in Des Moines, the National Pork Board will be reviewing its committee structure and mulling a report from a task force it appointed last spring to study how producer committees are organized.

The board currently has 11 pork producer-led committees that provide guidance on issues ranging from product marketing, environment, to animal health and food safety. The task force is recommending that the board trim the number of committees to eight by combining two committees that focus on producer services, education and communications and two others that focus on nutrition and pork safety.

It is also advising that a committee focused on niche marketing become a subcommittee of the merged producer group, and that the board assure that producers who specialize in providing niche market products be included on all board committees.

“Creating a task force to study our committee process was one of the recommendations in our new five-year strategic plan,” says Gene Nemechek, a swine veterinarian from Springdale, AR, who is president of the National Pork Board. “The task force recognized the importance of the work that producer-led committees do. They provide valuable expertise in areas the board, as a whole, might not possess. But the task force also found that there was some overlap between committees, prompting its recommendations on reorganization.


Nov. 11-17, 2010: United States Animal Health Association and American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians Annual Meeting, Minneapolis Hilton Hotel
Minneapolis, MN
for more information contact: or

Nov. 16-19, 2010: EuroTier 2010, Exhibition Grounds, Hanover, Germany; contact:

Nov. 18, 2010:2010 Kansas State Swine Industry Day, Kansas State Alumni Center, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Manhattan, KS
for more information contact: Jim Nelssen by phone (785) 532-1251 or e-mail or Lois Schreiner by phone (785) 532-1267 or e-mail



As positive margins return to pork producers’ ledgers, owners and managers are recounting the hard lessons learned as they redouble efforts to improve risk management skills, measure and manage production variance with greater precision, and produce quality pork in a safe and sustainable manner. At the heart of the 50th edition in the Blueprint series, published April 15th, 2010, is a focus on new and improved pathways to profitability.

According to a head-to-head trial1, LINCOMIX® (lincomycin) is equally as efficacious for ileitis control at 40 g/T as Tylan® is at 100 g/T. That means you’ll spend a whopping 40% less for comparable results. Contact your veterinarian or your Pfizer Animal Health representative to learn more.
1. Data on file, Study Report No. 768-9690-0-CPC-97-002, Pfizer Inc.


The October 15 Blueprint edition of National Hog Farmer provides guidelines for building a sound replacement gilt program, including nutritional considerations to maximize genetic potential and the importance of an effective herd health management program. In addition, the issue offers a special section on screening replacement gilt candidates for skeletal and reproductive soundness.

The proposed USDA GIPSA ruling will impact contract terms, restrict marketing arrangements, create legal uncertainty and limit the ability to negotiate prices — a recipe for chaos for U.S. pork producers. Click here to send comments to GIPSA.


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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