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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
December 13, 2010
In this issue:
  Understanding USDA's Hog Price Reports
  Opportunities for Growth in the Global Pork Market
  Korean FTA & Agriculture
  Iowa Board Approves Plan for Swine Medicine Education Center

Understanding USDA's Hog Price Reports
I get questions all the time about USDA’s hog price reports. It is pretty amazing how the mandatory price reporting (MPR) law, which passed in 1999, created so many reports with so many numbers. As I will only scratch the surface with this column, here are a few characteristics of the reports that are important. The MPR reports can be found at by clicking on “swine,” and then on “direct swine reports.” Some examples from today are included.

A common question: “How are the reports related regarding geography?”

First, all prices are included in the national reports. There are national reports for both purchased swine and slaughtered swine (more on that later), but regional reports are published for only purchased swine. The country is split into two regions along the Mississippi River to create the Eastern and Western Corn Belt (ECB and WCB) reports. A subset of the prices in the Western Cornbelt Report is used for the Iowa-Minnesota Report.

What hogs are included in a given day’s report?


Opportunities for Growth in the Global Pork Market
While U.S. pork exports are approaching record levels, there are still significant opportunities for growth in the international marketplace. These new opportunities are not limited to the new, exotic and unexplored regions of the globe.

Examples of these unexplored or under-explored areas include Central America, Kazakhstan and South Africa. Those areas were recently identified by U.S. Meat Export Federation’s (USMEF) international directors and marketing experts in conjunction with representatives of the U.S. pork industry’s processors and exporters.

Other opportunities include niches within existing markets that have been dominated by foreign competitors, but offer significant potential for increased U.S. pork exports. Although both categories of prospects are being aggressively pursued, the latter group is particularly enticing.


Korean FTA & Agriculture
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) estimates when the Korean-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is implemented, it will result in an increase in U.S. agricultural trade of $1.8 billion annually. Some the benefits for U.S. agriculture according to the U.S. Trade Representative are:

• Nearly two-thirds of current U.S. farm exports to Korea will become duty-free immediately, including wheat, feed-grade corn, soybeans for crushing, hides and skins, cotton, plus a broad range of high value agricultural products, such as almonds, pistachios, bourbon whiskey, wine, raisins, grape juice, orange juice, fresh cherries, frozen French fries, frozen orange juice concentrate and pet food.

• U.S. farm products with two-year tariff phase-outs include avocados, lemons, dried prunes and sunflower seeds.


Iowa Board Approves Plan for Swine Medicine Education Center
The Iowa Board of Regents of Iowa State University (ISU) Thursday approved the development of the first-ever Swine Medicine Education Center at ISU in Ames.

The concept for the center, which is expected to attract national and international interest, is the brainchild of Pat Halbur, DVM, chair of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine at ISU.

Halbur presented the idea at last March’s annual meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians in Omaha, and it received solid support from swine practitioners, Iowa pork and allied industries.


Dec. 15, 2010: Illinois Farm Economics Summit, Best Western Prairie Inn Galesburg, IL. For more information contact: Sue Esposito by phone (217) 333-5506, fax (217) 333-2312 or e-mail

Dec. 16, 2010: Illinois Farm Economics Summit, Doubletree Hotel
Bloomington, IL. For more information contact: Sue Esposito by phone (217) 333-5506, fax (217) 333-2312 or e-mail

Dec. 16, 2010: Passion for Pigs Seminar & Trade Show, Holiday Inn Select Executive Center Columbia, MO.For more information contact: Julie Lolli at the Northeast Veterinary Service, Inc. in Shelbina, MO, at (660) 651-0570.

Dec. 17, 2010: Illinois Farm Economics Summit, Holiday Inn
Mt. Vernon, IL. For more information contact: Sue Esposito by phone (217) 333-5506, fax (217) 333-2312 or e-mail

NPPC and the National Pork Board have launched a program, We Care, to promote pork producers' commitment to responsible pork production. From animal care and the environment to food safety and quality, pork producers demonstrate best practices daily.
For more on continuing the tradition of doing what’s right, Click here


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 Nov. 15, 2010 edition of National Hog Farmer summarizes a four-year, University of Minnesota study to validate the effectiveness of air filtration as a safeguard against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). In addition, the swine health focus provides a report on periweaning failure to thrive syndrome (PFTS), a disease that continues to befuddle pork producers and swine veterinarians. The impact of foot health on sow culling rates, the return of rotavirus as a cause of baby pig scours, and the possible link between DDGS in sow diets and mulberry heart disease in young pigs are also featured.



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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