Which brings me to this week’s rant. One thing is for certain: The December Hogs and Pig Report will be no better than producers’ responses to USDA’s survey which is ongoing. When quizzed about the obvious deficiencies in the September report, USDA statisticians repeatedly stated, “We continue to encounter problems with the response rate to the hogs and pigs survey.” That might be passing the buck, but the only way to keep it from being so is for everyone to respond with accurate numbers. And that especially includes you big guys, anyone who is experiencing PEDv losses and, for sure, any of you who fall in both groups! USDA uses historic data to estimate the numbers of large producers who do not respond. If a large producer is losing pigs, using historic data – the only thing USDA has! – will not yield accurate estimates. Therein probably lies the problems with the September report. Let’s not let it happen again.

To dispel the idea that all I do is rant, however, I want to de-rant (probably not a proper word but you get the gist) a bit regarding last week’s topic. Within a week of having one of the worst pork loins in memory, I had perhaps the best one I’ve ever eaten. It was prepared by Chef Mark Salter, proprietor of the Robert Morris Inn in Oxford, MD, at last week’s Pork Action Group meeting in Florida. It was a superb roasted rack of pork from a Berkshire program. Juicy, flavorful and almost unbelievably tender. Now Mark Salter knows exactly what he is doing but this product allowed his skills to be expressed in full!

Can every pork loin be this good? Probably not, because Mark Salter will not be cooking them all. But we need a lot of them to be more like the one I ate last week if we are to keep the consumers we have and win more to our products. 

north american pork industry data, December 7, 2013

Competing meats, December 7, 2013