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October 17, 2011
In this issue:
  Pork Leads the Way in Domestic Meat Demand
  Pork Exports on Pace to Set New Records
  Recent FTAs Expected to Yield Nearly $2.5 Billion for Agriculture
  Research Team to Develop Hog Production Environmental Sustainability Model

Pork Leads the Way in Domestic Meat Demand
By Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, Inc., Des Moines, IA

Domestic meat demand for the past year remains well above year-ago levels, even though recent months continue to show some weakening.

Figure 1 shows annual demand indexes for pork, beef and chicken. Note that the last observation for each represents the period from September 2010 through August 2011, enabling us to compare demand for the same period one year earlier. By this measure, pork demand continues to lead the way, gaining 4.4%. Chicken demand softened slightly last month and now stands 3.6% higher than the previous year, while beef demand gained slightly in this 12-month measure to reach +0.9% from its 2010 level.

In comparing the monthly year-over-year figures, this marks the third month out of the last four in which chicken demand has been lower than one year ago. While not good, I must note that the declines for chicken have been between 1 and 2%, so the drop, though somewhat persistent, is not large.

The monthly year-over-year figures for pork are just the opposite. Pork demand has been higher than one year ago in 11 of the 12 months from July 2010 through June 2011, with three of those monthly indexes near or above 10% higher than one year ago. The first year-on-year decline of 2011 occurred in July, when pork demand was just 0.44% lower than last year. August’s figure was a rather shocking -5.3% vs. 2010.


Pork Exports on Pace to Set New Records
By Jim Herlihy, U.S. Meat Export Federation

The export market continues to provide the highest premiums for U.S. pork producers as 2011 international sales remain on a pace to break records for both volume and value.

Through the first eight months of the year, exports stand at more than 1.4 million metric tons (3.2 billion pounds) valued at $3.8 billion, increases of 16% in volume and 23% in value over last year. The high watermarks for U.S. pork exports were set in 2008, when 2.05 million metric tons (2.26 million tons) of product valued at $4.88 billion was sold internationally.

During August, the United States exported 27% of total pork production, with the per-head value of pork products reaching $56.27. One year ago, those totals were 22.4% of production with per-head export values of $40.87. The value of August exports ($531.2 million) was the second-highest monthly total on record.

“We are on a pace to set new export records,” explains U. S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng. “But we are continually looking beyond the near-term to determine what we can do to ensure continued growth. That is the real challenge – ensuring that producers continue to receive the higher margins pork products can realize internationally to offset the rising costs of production.”


Recent FTAs Expected to Yield Nearly $2.5 Billion for Agriculture
By P. Scott Shearer, Bockorny Group, Washington DC

In a bipartisan effort, Congress passed the long-awaited Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The International Trade Commission (ITC) estimates that when the three FTAs are fully implemented, they will create 250,000 jobs and the export revenue is expected to top $13 billion. The three trade agreements combined represent almost $2.5 billion of additional agricultural exports. Korea will be the United States’ most commercially significant FTA in more than 16 years. U.S. agriculture should see enormous benefit from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (KORUS). Currently the average tariff for U.S. agricultural products sold to South Korea face 54% tariffs, compared with 9% for Korean agricultural goods sent to the United States. Under the agreement, almost two-thirds of U.S. farm products exported to South Korea will become duty-free immediately. These include wheat, corn, soybeans for crushing, whey for feed use, hides and skins, cotton, cherries, pistachios, almonds, orange juice, grape juice and wine. Korean tariffs on imports of beef muscle cuts will decline from the current 40% to zero in 15 equal annual reductions. Ninety percent of U.S. pork products will become duty-free by 2016. This is a reduction from current applied rates of 22.5 and 25% and applies to all frozen and processed pork products. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) estimates the three FTAs are worth an additional $11 to the price of each hog producers sell.


Research Team to Develop Hog Production Environmental Sustainability Model
By Joe Vansickle, Senior Editor

A new tool created by University of Arkansas researchers and their colleagues will help hog farmers increase productivity, decrease costs of production and minimize the environmental impact of swine production in the United States.

With a total of $5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the multi-disciplinary team, which includes researchers at Purdue University and Virginia Tech, is developing an integrated management tool for swine production based on a comprehensive analysis of the many processes that comprise swine production – from crops used for feed – to various methods of managing waste.

“A primary purpose of this work is to evaluate and mitigate the environmental footprint of swine production facilities,” says Greg Thoma, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas.


Oct. 19-20, 2011: The American Meat Institute Foundation Animal Care and Handling Conference for the Food Industry; Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, MO. For more information contact:

Oct. 26-27, 2011: Antibiotic Use in Food Animals: A Dialogue for a Common Purpose, Hotel InterContinental O’Hare, Chicago, IL. For more information contact: National Institute for Animal Agriculture, or (719) 538-8843.

Oct. 27-28, 2011: Latinos in Agriculture: A Leaders’ Forum on Capitalizing Hispanic Talent El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, TX; ( For more information contact: Orlando Gil at (712) 240-0624.

Nov. 1-2, 2011: Meat and Poultry Research Conference, Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, MO; To view the full agenda or to register, go to

Nov. 8, 2011: University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Program, Stoney Creek Inn, Columbia, MO. For registration information, contact Travis Dixon of the University of Missouri Conference Office, (573) 882-6059 or; for information on the program or speakers, contact Katrina Turner at the Commercial Agriculture Program, or (573) 882-0378.


Porcitec Online is the new Web based swine management system. Run reports online. More than 100 reports including management lists, performance analysis, charts, benchmarking, growing, feed and financial. Standard reports, or design your own. True database analysis. Also available, Porcitec for Desktop and Mobile.
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The April 15, 2011 Blueprint edition of National Hog Farmer offers details on creating stable herd health by developing a herd health profile, provides a review of basic immunology and gives details on how to select the right vaccine. The final article looks at efforts by a consortium of swine disease researchers to understand genetic disease resistance.

MINTREX® Cu helps optimize antimicrobial effects in the GI tract resulting in improved gut health, mineral absorption and nutrient utilization in pigs. Research indicates MINTREX Cu, fed at 80 parts per million through the finishing period, improves ADG and feed/gain ration while also generating heavier carcass weights.


The Sept. 15, 2011 National Hog Farmer magazine takes a hard look at mitigating swine manure odors, EPA’s push to regulate CAFOs, new technology for curbing dust in hog barns, and a special report on the 2011 Environmental Stewards award winners. Find these articles and video clips of the 2011 Environmental Stewards 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.

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.

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