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.

Ethanol Plant.
Purdue Economist Addresses Ethanol Mandate
Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Vice President Geoff Cooper said recently that if a partial waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is granted, as requested by some governors and a number of agricultural organizations, and it did reduce the amount of corn used for ethanol and biodiesel production, there would be consequences. Cooper says it would mean the price of distiller’s grain and soybean meal would increase and net feed costs might actually increase for some livestock and poultry feeders.
USDA issues guidance for Storm Sandy
The USDA is issuing guidance for residents in states that have livestock and pets that might be affected by Hurricane Sandy. The USDA is offering these tips to help residents protect the health of these animals in the event of power outages, flooding and other problems that could be associated with the storm.
Producers Face Large Losses Ahead

Pork producers are expected to continue to suffer very large losses in the next six months after already operating in the red for the last six, according to Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt. These large losses have been brought on by the extreme feed prices due to the drought.

Addressing Sow Lameness

Why is sow lameness such a big deal?

Animal welfare has always been and continues to be a priority for the swine industry, according to Tim Loula, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, MN.

Animal activists are also watching and taking undercover videos that make proper animal care even more important than ever, he says at the Feet First Sow Lameness Symposium in Minneapolis, MN, sponsored by Zinpro.

SowBridge Kicks off Fifth Year
SowBridge begins its fifth year of distance education on Nov. 7. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Swine Specialist Duane Reese says subscriber suggestions have helped maintain the value of the program.
Manure Calculator
With uncertain markets and narrow margins, producers become motivated to make the most of all resources — including manure, according to University of Minnesota Extension economist William Lazarus, Extension educator Jose Hernandez and Extension educator Les Everett.
Tips for Drought Application
This year’s drought has producers wondering what early harvest means for early manure application. Iowa State University (ISU) specialists provide some observations and some solutions to those concerns.
New Study Targets Pork Quality
The 2012 National Retail Benchmarking Study is a massive project divided into two parts. The first part and first year have been devoted to the development of a computer model that randomizes selection and aides collection of data from retailers and club stores that sell pork products, both prepackaged and those prepared for sale in the backroom.
Surviving the Feed Crisis
Since 1988, there have been 4-5 major downturns in the swine industry, each time challenging producers to find ways to decrease feed costs and boost feed efficiency, says Bob Thaler, South Dakota State University Extension swine specialist.
Drought Webinar is Aug. 29

In response to the current drought situation facing Iowa pork producers, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach swine program specialists will host a webinar on Wed. Aug. 29 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at various locations.

Refining Feedback
The Fairmont, MN, Vet Clinic puts a new spin on feedback techniques.
Enhancing Disease Surveillance
Whether tracking reported cases of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) or quickly addressing an animal health emergency, Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) officials are ready to respond.
Managing Gestation Sows in Groups
With major pork buyers such as McDonald’s, Hormel and Safeway announcing plans to move toward gestation stall-free suppliers, a growing number of the nation’s hog farmers are exploring group housing options.
Coalition Pushes Ethanol Waiver
In the midst of what may turn out to be the nation’s worst drought in about 70 years, a diverse coalition of livestock and poultry organizations is petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for the rest of 2012 and for an appropriate portion of 2013.
‘It Can Happen to You’
It’s been nearly four years since Minnesota pork producer Lynn Becker received the shocking message that an undercover farm video had been taken at a newly acquired 6,000-sow farm in Bayard, IA, and that it was being posted on the Internet.
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