National Hog Farmer has launched a new electronic newsletter called North American Preview, a weekly e-newsletter targeting three areas vital to the pork industry.

The “Market Preview” segment of North American Preview will keep you abreast of production shifts and market trends through week-to-week and year-to-date updates. Steve Meyer, president and founder of Paragon Economics, will provide weekly production and price summaries in four categories — Cattle/Beef, Hogs/Pork, Chicken and Turkey — plus price updates for major feedgrains.

Meyer's unique ability to analyze production levels and prices trends will keep you current with ever-changing domestic and world markets.

In addition, Meyer will keep a running account of U.S. and Canadian production levels and slaughter data, including sow slaughter. When U.S. and Canadian quarterly pig crop reports are released, he will review the data, including farrowing intentions and quarterly price predictions. These reports will arrive as special “e-news blasts.”

Meyer's pork industry resume includes nine years as staff economist for the National Pork Board, a stint as swine business specialist for a major feed manufacturer and owner/operator of a swine seedstock business.

In the “Production Preview” segment of the e-newsletter, we have expanded our on-farm production coverage through a unique working relationship with PigCHAMP Knowledge Software.

PigCHAMP, the most widely used swine production software in North America, is used on over 18,000 farms that represent about 4.5 million sows. Developed at the University of Minnesota, the software has been in commercial use for over 20 years. The PigCHAMP Datashare program provides data to researchers investigating pork production systems and methods, while allowing pork producers to use the program as a benchmarking tool.

Pigs/Mated Female/Year (P/MF/Y) will be used as the standard for measuring breeding herd performance.

Other key performance indicators will be rotated weekly, each discussed with an eye on current productivity levels and their relationship to the systemic impact on P/MF/Y.

Performance indicators such as pigs born alive/litter (selected because it's the measure used by USDA to measure sow productivity), pigs weaned/litter (the best indicator for predicting future federally inspected hog slaughter) will be reviewed. This information will be benchmarked with data breaks for the top 10%, the bottom 10%, and the “average” performance for herds reporting to the PigCHAMP database. Interpretation and commentary will accompany the select performance indicators.

Finally, the “Legislative Preview” segment focuses on legislative and regulatory issues. Scott Shearer will report from the nation's capital, outlining key issues and legislation that could impact the North American pork industry and other agricultural industries. Based in Washington, DC, Shearer is with the lobbyist group, BBCHB Inc. He has served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries, Inc., was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, in which he directed the legislative efforts of USDA, including the 1996 Farm Bill, trade policy, reorganization of the USDA, food safety and nutritional programs. In the mid-1980s, Shearer was executive director of the National Corn Growers Association, and prior to that, served as legislative assistant to former U.S. Sen. Alan J. Dixon (IL).

To sign up for this new informational resource, simply go to our Web site, www.nationalhogfarmer.com, click on the North American Preview banner on the left side of the screen. Then, fill out the information requested, click on the “submit” button at the bottom and you will begin receiving the weekly newsletter with the next edition.

Got Questions?

We've got answers. The new Web site, www.hoginfo.com, is your new, on-line library of free, production-based research information. At www.hoginfo.com, you will find 22 general categories and over 40 subcategories.

For example, if you click on the “disease/herd health management” category, you will find a dozen swine health-related subcategories to choose from. If you're interested in the latest PRRS research, you will find 36 papers and research reports to choose from. You will also find links to over 50 major universities in the U.S. and Canada.

Added Value

Our goal is to supplement our monthly publication with timely marketing, production and legislative information, while building a production-based research archive that will create an ongoing dialogue about the productivity of the North American swine herd. As with any informational resource, our magazine and its electronic support centers are a work in progress. Your feedback will guide their evolution in coming years. We hope to hear from you.