Missouri Pricing Law Changed

Missouri Gov. Bob Holden has signed a law to revise the state's controversial livestock marketing law.

Holden's signature reverses the law that went into effect May 29, which said packers could not discriminate in the prices they offered producers for livestock of similar quality.

The old law had a chilling effect on hog and beef purchases in the state, as packers avoided the risk of price discrimination lawsuits and markets for livestock were reduced.

University of Missouri agricultural economist Ron Plain estimates the state's pork producers lost $1.4 million under the old law.

The new law mirrors provisions in the federal Packers and Stockyards Act. The state department of agriculture is allowed to refer violations of the law to the attorney general, who has the authority to file lawsuits against price discrimination.

BSE Impact on Pork

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) will affect the pork industry, even though the disease has not yet been detected in pigs, says Will Hueston, DVM.

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is difficult to prove that a species is not susceptible and the remaining uncertainty, international trade restrictions on meat products, and consumers' food safety concerns will have an impact on swine producers,” says Hueston. He is director of the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety at the University of Minnesota.

Even without evidence of BSE in live pigs, some scientists are concerned that the BSE agent could be sequestered in pig tissue and pigs could be silent carriers of the disease, he pointed out in an address at the Leman Swine Conference in Minneapolis. Hogs fed BSE-contaminated feedstuffs could also expose other species by shedding the agent into the environment, says Hueston, who served six years on the United Kingdom BSE Advisory Committee.

He expects consumer concerns will rise as BSE is identified in other countries and more cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are diagnosed. The pork industry must be ready for the communications challenge that comes with the uncertainty about the disease and the continued media attention, he stresses.

Disease Conference

The Ninth Annual Swine Disease Conference for Swine Practitioners hosted by Iowa State University is slated for Nov. 8-9 in Ames, IA.

The first day's program focuses on farrowing health concerns, biosecurity, artificial insemination, audit systems and a health update.

The second day covers porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), food safety and public health concerns, health and welfare issues and postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome.

Register by mail: Continuing Education and Communication Services, c/o Janet Gardner, 102 Scheman Building, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1112; by fax: (515) 294-6223; or online: www.lifelearner.iastate.edu/conference/online.htm. For details, call: (800) 262-0015 or e-mail: jrgard@iastate.edu.

Federal Bribery Charges Filed

The U.S. District Court in Minneapolis has filed federal bribery charges against the Rock County, MN, director of land management and soil and water conservation, and Global Ventures, Inc., a Pipestone, MN, pork production company.

According to the indictment, John Burgers failed to report to the state pollution control agency a March 1996 spill of potentially hazardous waste at a Global Ventures production site. Later that same year, Global Ventures officials allegedly assisted Burgers in arranging $100,000 in loan consolidations through a local bank and provided him with $6,000 cash to pay down the loan.

Global Ventures released this statement: “Global Ventures vehemently denies these unfounded accusations that it engaged in any illegal activities with Mr. Burgers. Global Ventures is confident that it will be totally vindicated of any charges.”

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is investigating feedlot practices in the county, while county officials are conducting their own investigation. Burgers has been placed on administrative leave.

Manure Storage Book

A new, 120-page book on building manure storage structures can be ordered through the University of Minnesota.

“Manure Storages,” MWPS-18, Section 2 was developed by Midwest Plan Service (MPWS). It covers selecting and sizing a storage facility, choosing and preparing a site, constructing earthen impoundments, monitoring and managing a facility and proper plans for closing an earthen storage facility.

Cost is $15 plus sales tax per copy. To order, contact MWPS Orders, 219 Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1390 Eckles Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108; phone: (612) 625-9733; e-mail: mwps@gaia.bae.umn.edu, or go to the Web site: www.bae.umn.edu.

Pork Ahead of Curve

Two pork items are part of the dozen foods that show the greatest increases in sales in the 2001 Restaurants and Institutions Menu Census.

The barbecued pork sandwich ranked fifth and pulled pork sandwich ranked twelfth. The pulled pork sandwich jumped 59% in popularity from the survey two years ago.

“The increase in the pork that comes from shoulder cuts is important because that's a part that's typically underutilized,” says Steve Schmeichel, Hurley, SD, pork producer and chairman of the National Pork Board's Demand Enhancement Committee. “This leading foodservice magazine survey echoes what checkoff-funded research has shown,” he says. “It also shows that we're ahead of the curve on the ethnic cuisine currently being served and likely to be added to the menus.”

Oklahoma Odor Rule

The Oklahoma Board of Agriculture has passed new, stiffer emergency rules for hog odors. The rules, expected to be signed by Gov. Frank Keating, force producers to act if neighbors file complaints.

Under the rule, neighbors who live within two miles of an operation of more than 2,500 pigs must file three valid odor complaints.

Once that happens, the producer must work with the state agriculture department to design an abatement plan. The producer must also agree to not spread manure onto land on weekends, state holidays or if wind speed exceeds 20 mph.

Swine Reproduction Seminar

A seminar on swine reproduction is scheduled for Dec. 12 at the University of Illinois Extension Building at the state fairgrounds in Springfield.

The program focuses on increasing swine breeding herd efficiency and the latest tips on reproductive management.

For a copy of the program or more information, contact Rob Knox at (217) 244-5177 or by e-mail at rknox@uiuc.edu. Register by calling (217) 782-4617.

Trade Promotion Authority

National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Barb Determan is urging Congress to schedule a vote on granting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to President George Bush.

“Congress is united like never before,” says the Early, IA, pork producer leader. “The United States is showing the world how to work together to achieve a common goal. Surely, in this spirit of achievement and inclusion, Congress can break the impasse over trade that is smothering the economic progress of American farmers and ranchers.”

TPA has not been renewed since 1994. It gives the president the authority to negotiate trade agreements that Congress can either approve or reject, but not amend.

“The only way our farmers and ranchers will succeed is through free trade and that can't happen in a meaningful way without TPA,” says Determan. U.S. agricultural tariffs average 12%, while global tariffs on agricultural imports average 62%. “We need TPA now so we can level the playing field and create new opportunities for our producers,” she says.

Veterinarian's Annual Meeting

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) 33rd annual meeting will be March 2-5, 2002 at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, MO. Conference focus is “Exceeding Expectations.”

Pre-conference workshops, March 2 and 3, will provide in-depth information on data management tools, swine reproduction, making predictions and projections, ventilation, diagnostic skills for the practitioner, nutrition, communication, financial planning, foreign animal disease, pharmaceutical issues and advances in circovirus and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) research.

The March 4 general session will be highlighted by the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture presented by Tim Blackwell, DVM, Ontario, Canada.

Concurrent sessions March 4-5 highlight reemerging diseases, research, audits, human resources, production and finishing management and PRRS.

For more information, contact the AASV, 902 1st Ave., Perry, IA, 50220; phone: (515) 465-5255; fax: (515) 465-3832; e-mail: aasv@netins.net; Web site: www.aasv.org.

Cash Market Stabilizes

A review of information from the USDA mandatory price reporting system shows the percentage of hogs sold on the cash market has stabilized.

"We believe this may signal a leveling of the decline that we have seen during the past few years," says Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri agricultural economist.

Data shows 17.3% of hogs marketed between Aug. 6 and Sept. 15 were in negotiated sales. That matches negotiated sales figures from January of this year.

"We have speculated for several years that the proportion of hogs sold through negotiated sales would reach some plateau or equilibrium," says Steve Meyer, director of economics for the National Pork Board. "Maybe we have found that level where both producers' and packers' confidence in the spot market wanes, thus, leading them to not put more hogs under contract. Only time will tell if this is true."

Animal Rights Moderation

Leaders of animal rights organizations are preaching moderation. They are asking followers to tone down the negative rhetoric of the Bush Administration, reports the National Pork Producers Council.

A memo sent recently directing the Sierra Club staff to "cease bashing President Bush" in light of the terrorist attaches. The Sierra Club said it had taken all its ads off the air, halted phone banks and removed any anti-Bush materials from its Web site.

Other groups, including PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), are following suit. "We will continue to fight animal abuse wherever we see it, but at least for the immediate time period, we'll focus on ways that do not involve public protest," says vegan campaign spokesman Bruce Friedrich, explaining the group's cancellation of protests at the World Dairy Expo held in early October in Madison, WI.