It’s that time of year when lists are made. It starts with the Christmas list and seems to conclude with a list of resolutions for 2014. When it comes to the pork industry, you could make lists focused on a lot of things. For starters, we had some obvious hot topics here in 2013: a growing list of states with swine herds fighting a new disease, a list of those expressing opinions on both sides of the antibiotic use issue, lists pertaining to sow housing (and the list of grocery stores, restaurants and foodservice entities weighing in on the sow housing topic), just to name a few.
Because we live in a very performance-oriented, metric-driven world, we are constantly monitoring the stories gaining the most attention on the www.nationalhogfarmer.com website. Seeing what stories are being read makes it clear that our mission will continue to be to provide editorial content for serious, committed pork producers.
According to the numbers, our readers are still primarily focusing on improving the process of caring for their pigs, and pork producers are always working to improve their production practices. National Hog Farmer’s popular online educational photo gallery series, based on an equally popular series of educational posters, captured a lot of reader attention this year. The photo gallery entitled, “See What You Feel: an Assisted Farrowing Guide,” was viewed by more than 11,000 people. Photo galleries devoted to Heat Detection, Assisted Farrowing Tips and Sow Body Condition Scoring Guidelines also helped provide training and information that come in handy in the hog barn.
We know our readers have a healthy appetite for solid, research-based production information. National Hog Farmer’s Blueprint issues of the magazine, produced in April and October, serve as reference issues on key pork industry topics. The content, written by swine industry experts, continues to be read and requested long after the publication date of each issue.
This year, we compiled the content from more than 25 years’ worth of Blueprint issues into one handy Blueprint app for tablets and smartphones. You can download the new app for free at the Apple App Store or Android Market.
Keep the most in-depth pork production information available at your fingertips! Download our Blueprint app today.
The National Hog Farmer news team works hard to cover day-to-day pork industry news, too. Our daily news coverage this year has included the latest details about issues ranging from the ethanol debate and environmental regulations, to consumer perceptions about pork.
Looking back at 2013 pork news, we started the year worrying about the fallout from the drought of 2012 and wondering what the 2013 growing season would bring. Top of mind at producer gathering spots like the Iowa Pork Congress were topics like sow housing, animal care and country-of-origin labeling.
See "Pork Producer A-List Questions for 2013" to remember what was on producers' minds in January 2013.
Managing diseases like porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus was also a popular topic of discussion.
As hard as it may be to believe now, we didn’t run our first story about porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) until mid-May 2013. PEDV arrived with the ominous headline, “New Swine Disease Strikes Three States.” Since then, hardly a week has gone by without some coverage of this deadly new swine health threat. Nearing the end of the year, one of the most-read stories on the National Hog Farmer website was entitled, “PED Virus: FAQ and Survival Tips.”
Headlines later in the year went from, “How is PEDV Impacting Hog Markets?” to “Where Did All the Hogs Go?” The disease was still relatively new during World Pork Expo, and the industry was mobilizing a response. One of the most-read articles immediately following the world’s largest, pork-industry-specific event also reflects another one of the summer’s top news stories: “Smithfield Sale, PED Virus Jangles Producers’ Nerves at Expo.” It seemed pretty incredible to contemplate one of the country’s largest pork production entities transitioning to Chinese ownership.
The remainder of the year brought headlines on a variety of other events that speak for themselves, including:
We continued to deal with some “old news,” with stories such as, “Keeping PRRS Out of Sow Herds,” and learned about some new technology as well. Headlines trumpeted new immunological castration technology for U.S. producers (“Understanding Improvest”) and the new OvuGel ovulation synchronization product that can help improve reproductive efficiency (“Managing Logistics of Reproduction”).
Contemplating the dynamic list that impacts the business of pork production throughout the year is a dizzying exercise. What’s on your list of the pork industry’s 2013 hot topics? Is there a story we missed? Do you have any predictions for the headlines we will see in 2014?
Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts, comments or story ideas. In the meantime, the National Hog Farmer staff wishes you a peaceful holiday season.
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