Pork Checkoff Award

A pork checkoff-funded program has won retail industry honors for helping grocery stores organize the meat case and sell more meat.

The National Pork Producers Council's (NPPC) Category Management Program organizes the meat case by species, aided by colorful signs and on-pack recipe labels. The labels are purchased and attached to meat packages to help educate consumers on pork preparation.

This program has helped category management retailers increase total meat sales by 4-7%. Half a percent change is considered a big improvement.

“By working as a third-party adviser, we can offer regional or national grocers help to determine what items are making money, no matter what the species,” says Karen Boillot, NPPC director of retail marketing.

“The benefit for pork is larger than other species because pork is often under-utilized in the meat case, so we can gain more space for pork by showing retailers how to best lay out their meat case,” she says.

Swine Genome Mapped

A physical map of the entire swine genome has been constructed by Dekalb Choice Genetics, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company.

This physical map was generated in collaboration with Incyte Genomics. It will help enable researchers to advance genetic progress in traditional swine breeding at a rapid rate, when used with extensive core genomic technologies assembled by Monsanto.

This will enable Dekalb to take traditional breeding programs to the next level, says Tom Kasser, Dekalb general manager.

Foot-and-Mouth Outbreak

Great Britain has been hit with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), prompting government officials to place a ban on meat exports.

The disease was discovered in 27 pigs at a slaughterhouse northeast of London and resulted in several countries imposing their own bans on imports of British meat, milk and livestock. It's the first case of FMD in Britain in 20 years and follows farmers' battles with swine fever last summer.

PSF Loses Court Appeal

The Missouri Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling against Continental Grain, now known as ContiGroup, majority owner of Premium Standard Farms (PSF).

Fifty-two neighbors of PSF's northern Missouri hog operations will each receive $100,000 for nuisance damages. The court ruled that ContiGroup could reduce the odor, flies and wastewater spills from its hog farms to the point at which they do not interfere with the neighbors' rights.

PSF officials responded: “While we are disappointed in the court's ruling, our time and energy is focused on our ongoing environmental improvement efforts. We have made significant improvements in our systems since April 1999 when the trial concluded.

“We are evaluating the latest action by the Court of Appeals and have not made any decision on whether or not to pursue additional appeals.”

Originally, 108 people from five northern Missouri counties filed suit against ContiGroup, charging the hog farms prevented them from using their land.

Hog Plant Scrubbed

Plans to build a producer-owned packing plant at Carlinville, IL, have been scrapped because of concern about nearby mining operations.

The American Premium Foods cooperative, based in Effingham, IL, planned to slaughter 2,000 hogs/day and employ about 130 people.

Cooperative spokesman Bruce Leman says the plan was nixed when cooperative officials learned the site was next to one open mine and two closed mines.

Four other sites in central Illinois are being considered for the plant siting, says Leman.

Ohio Is PRV-Free

After more than 20 years of work by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and pork producers, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has declared Ohio pseudorabies-free (stage 4 status).

If Ohio stays free for a year, it will advance to stage 5 free status. For more on PRV cleanup efforts, see “Crunch Time” on page 26.

Porcine Embryo Transfer

Struthers Inc. has performed the first transpacific, non-surgical porcine embryo transfer in the Pacific Rim.

The live demonstration was performed in the Philippines using the company's patented Gourley Scope. About 200 embryos from the U.S. were implanted non-surgically into sows.

This was the first time that porcine embryos were transported and transplanted to create a daughter nucleus herd instead of transporting live animals, says Douglas Beatty, chief executive officer of Struthers.