Joe Vansickle

Senior Editor

Joe, a native of Indiana, is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He worked on daily newspapers in Albert Lea, MN and Fairmont, MN, before joining the staff of National Hog Farmer in 1977. Joe specializes in animal health issues, federal regulations, environmental concerns, food safety and writing about the swine veterinary community. Joe has won several writing awards from the Livestock Publications Council. In 2002, he earned the Master Writer Program Award from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association.

Melissa McKendree and Nicole Olynk Widmar
Facing the New Pork Consumer
Production agriculture is facing increasing pressure from consumers about pork — not so much about whether the products are lean or not, but for the farming practices used to produce that product, says Purdue University agricultural economist Nicole Olynk Widmar. “When consumers talk, they mention things like the welfare associated with the production of bacon or the welfare associated with making pork chops. It’s the new consumer reality,” she says.
Pig Adventure Draws Consumers, Critics
Young and old, city folks and farmers, agricultural advocates and activists –– all showed up on a sunny morning at Fair Oaks (IN) Farms in early August for the grand opening of Pig Adventure.
Time to Get Tough on Biosecurity
Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus is often compared to transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE). But pork producers are quickly learning if they let their guard down, this virus shows just how much more of a challenge it can be.
PQA Plus Handbooks.
Future of Antibiotic Use Is Clearer
Despite the apparent conflict over antibiotic use in livestock production, the opinions of producers, veterinarians and regulatory officials are not all that far apart when their goals are compared.
Particle size is important in swine feed.
Coping With Pesky High Feed Costs
Just as early June hog futures prices soared to $100 per hundredweight, so, too, did feed ingredient prices nearly increase in lockstep to $97 to raise a finished pig (50 to 280 lb.), lamented Joel DeRouchey of Kansas State University in a talk at World Pork Expo (WPX) held June 5-7 in Des Moines, IA.
Pork Board Addresses Penicillin Residues in Sows
The National Pork Board (NPB)is taking a number of proactive steps to address producer concerns over antibiotic residues in cull sows at harvest.
Battling Antibiotic Residues
Pressure from trading partners resulting in increasing federal scrutiny of antibiotic use in the swine industry has swine veterinarians quickly adapting to the changing regulatory climate.
Spend Time and Money On Succession Planning
One risk a farmer can manage: succession planning, says Angela Gloy, Purdue University Extension farm business planning specialist.
Malcolm DeKryger.
2013 Master of the Pork Industry Malcolm DeKryger
Truly, for Malcolm DeKryger, there is no such thing as an average day at the bustling offices of Belstra Milling Co., DeMotte, IN. Supervisor of five swine complexes that serve as gilt multipliers for PIC across the nation, DeKryger is also general contractor-manager of an innovative project dubbed “The Pig Adventure,” which includes a working hog farm (Legacy Farms) that consumers can visit, see pig displays, farm activities, and visit a restaurant tied to the popular Fair Oaks Farms dairy adventure at Fair Oaks, IN.
Rodney "Butch" Baker, DVM,  Iowa State University.
2013 Master of the Pork Industry Rodney “Butch” Baker, DVM
For Rodney “Butch” Baker, DVM — despite a long, respected career as a consulting swine veterinarian practicing in several states — in his mind he had not reached the pinnacle of success until seven years ago, when he joined Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames. No matter where in the world someone hails from, ISU is known as “swine central” — the mecca of swine production and education, Baker explains in his persistent southern drawl. “The move here has really been the best thing that has happened to me in my career — it is such a great place,” he says.
Robert Thaler.
2013 Master of the Pork Industry Robert Thaler
At a time when the pork industries in most states are striving for stability, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension swine specialist Bob Thaler finds his state’s industry in the midst of a growth spurt of sorts.
Tightening PRRS Controls
If you are serious about staying ahead of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus, then it’s time to tighten biosecurity measures and take aggressive steps to protect your operation from the virus. That’s the message from Cameron Schmitt, DVM, Pipestone Vet Clinic of Iowa, based at Independence.
Iowa Resolutions Address Hog Transport Issues
At the annual meeting of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) in Des Moines in late January, delegates passed two resolutions dealing with hog transportation issues.
Keep’em Cool
Transporting hogs to packing plants can produce casualties: 0.27% of groups arriving at packing plants were classified as “subject,” based on an earlier study by Cate Dewey, DVM, University of Guelph in Ontario.
PRRS Cloud
Approximately 20-plus years into the fight to rid the nation of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus, a more realistic approach may be to improve efforts to control the persistent disease.
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