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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
January 17, 2011
In this issue:
  Pork Board's Pork Demand Goals Set the Bar High
  Pork Exports Remain Strong
  Corn and Soybean Projections Trimmed
  Asian Markets Offer U.S. Trade Growth

Pork Board's Pork Demand Goals Set the Bar High
The National Pork Board’s five-year strategic plan, developed in 2009, and officially adopted one year ago, includes four key metrics regarding consumer pork demand. They are:
1. A 10% increase in real per capita domestic consumer expenditures for pork, using 2009 as a baseline, by 2014.

2. Increase consumer awareness of how to cook pork in a way that results in a juicy, tender and flavorful experience as measured by a 10% improvement in a national market survey between 2009 and 2014.

3. Increase U.S. annual “eatings” per capita of fresh pork, as measured by the NPD Group’s National Eating Trends data, by 10% from 2009 to 2014. For more on NPD Group’s market research, go to:

4. Increase the U.S. share of global pork exports annually between 2009 and 2014 to 37%.

Those are pretty well-crafted goals, I think. They recognize a key barrier (cooking), the fact that people must actually eat pork (eatings) and the issue of how much people are willing to pay (expenditures), as well as a key global metric.

Goal 2 addresses what we have long believed to be a major detriment to consumer’s pork demand – the inability to cook pork properly. The majority of that inability, we still believe, is mama’s or grandma’s admonition that there is “something in there that needs to be killed,” referring, of course, to trichinae. At one time, I argued that the bigger issue was that no one actually wanted to cook. That may still be the case, but it appears that the Food Network, Guy Fieri, Emeril and others may have rekindled an interest in cooking in the past few years, so we may be at a teachable moment. Still, I fear that our products, especially those from the loin, are a challenge to many kitchen warriors, primarily because they are so lean. Pumping and basting and marinating help, but can they overcome the troika of leanness, lack of knowledge and “kill-whatever-it-is” mentality? Maybe, but I will continue to admonish breeders and producers to improve pork muscle quality. Take the initiative instead of forcing your customers to be perfect in their attempts at culinary mastery.


Pork Exports Remain Strong
The positive trend for U.S. pork exports continued through November with strong results in the top three markets – Mexico, Japan and China/Hong Kong – and higher returns on a per-head basis.

Total U.S. pork exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) for the month of November increased 4.5% in volume over year-ago levels to 177,203 metric tons (390.7 million pounds), but the value of those exports jumped 15.5% to $443.4 million.

For the year as a whole, the volume of pork exports is up 2% to 1.7 million metric tons (3.8 billion pounds), but the value of those exports is up 10% to $4.3 billion.

Exports accounted for 23.8% of November production with a per-head export value of $44.80. One year ago, exports accounted for 24% of production and $40.92/head.

Mexico continues to be the volume leader for U.S. pork exports and November was a banner month. The volume of exports jumped 28.3% to 53,699 metric tons (118.4 million pounds) compared to November 2009, but the value of those exports jumped 44.3% to $95.3 million.


Corn and Soybean Projections Trimmed
USDA has lowered its forecast of corn and soybean production and stocks in its “Crop Production 2010 Summary.” Corn production totaled 12.4 billion bushels, down 5% from last year’s record high. This is a reduction of 93 million bushels from its earlier projection. Corn yield for 2010 is estimated at 152.8 bu./acre, down 11.9 bu./acre from 2009. Corn ending stocks are estimated at 745 million bushels. The stock-to-use ratio is projected at 5.5%, the lowest level since the 1995-1996 marketing year. USDA estimates the average corn price for the year ending in September in the range of $4.90 to $5.70. Soybean production is estimated at 3.33 billion bushels, down 1% from the record of 2009. The average soybean yield for 2010 is estimated at 43.5 bu./acre. Soybean prices are estimated at $11.20 to $12.20/bu.


Asian Markets Offer U.S. Trade Growth
Iowa State University Professor of Economics and Finance Dermot Hayes embarks today (Jan. 18) on a trip to Bejing, China to provide research support to efforts to open the vast Chinese market to U.S. pork exports.

Inflation that has pushed up food prices by 11%, land-use policies that are growing cities and forcing farmers off the land, causing China’s livestock farms to buy commercial feedgrains, have combined simultaneously to make U.S. pork a good buy – once policy issues can be overcome.

The United States is in a good position to supply the Chinese market, Hayes says. In the summer of 2008, the Chinese purchased ½ of 1% of U.S. pork production during the Summer Olympics, boosting live U.S. hog prices by $12/head. “As a result of that, our pork industry didn’t contract as much as some of our competitors; Canada, for instance, saw a fast rise in production costs but didn’t have our export markets to help balance that out.”


Jan. 25-27, 2011: Iowa Pork Producers Association Annual Meeting and Iowa Pork Congress, Iowa Events Center, Des Moines, IA; for exhibitor information, contact Doug Fricke by e-mail: or call (515) 225-7675; for seminar information, contact Tyler Bettin by e-mail: or call (515) 225-7675.

Jan. 31, Feb. 7 and 14, 2011: Employee Management Workshop for Agricultural Operations (three-part workshop), Hardin County Extension Office, Iowa Falls, IA; for more information contact: Russ Euken, extension livestock specialist by phone (641) 923-2856 or e-mail or Mark Storlie, swine field specialist, by phone (563) 425-3331 or e-mail

Feb. 1-2, 2011: Illinois Pork Expo, Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Ill; contact: Illinois Pork Producers Association at (217) 529-3100 or go to

Feb. 1, 8 and 15, 2011: Employee Management Workshop for Agricultural Operations (three-part workshop), Amana Colonies Clarion Inn, Williamsburg, IA; for more information contact: Russ Euken, extension livestock specialist; by phone (641) 923-2856 or e-mail: or Mark Storlie, swine field specialist by phone (563) 425-3331 or e-mail:

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.


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 Dec. 15 edition of National Hog Farmer features our annual roundup of swine research conducted at universities in the United States and Canada this past year. Presented in six primary categories – swine health, nutrition, meat quality, manure management, genetics, animal welfare – you will find reports from 23 trials. Those and additional research reports are posted at .



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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