50 events that shaped the U.S. pork industry.

1956

The first edition of National Hog Farmer (Vol. 1, No. 1) was published in February, 1956 in Grundy Center, IA. The eight-page newsletter was the first national paper devoted exclusively to pork producers. On Jan. 15, 2005, National Hog Farmer published Vol. 50, No. 1, marking the beginning of the magazine's 50th Anniversary celebration.

1956

William P. Switzer first isolated Bordetella bronchiseptica from a pig's nasal cavity and suggested that several agents may cause turbinate atrophy associated with atrophic rhinitis.

1957

Actinobacillus pleuropneumonia was first observed by I.H. Patterson. Originally called Haemophilus pleuropneumonia in 1964, the name was changed in 1983, recognizing it is from the actinobaccillus genus.

1958

First National Swine Industry Conference held at Purdue University.

1960

Pseudorabies first acknowledged in the U.S. in early '60s.

1962

State-federal hog cholera eradication program launched in the U.S. Last outbreak occurred in 1976.

1963

Early experimentation with injectable iron dextran by R.B. Talbot led to replacing sow udder swabbing with soluble iron salts to prevent anemia in baby pigs.

1963

Amendment to Packers & Stockyards Act paved the way to start a voluntary pork checkoff.

1963

National Porkettes, a national women's auxiliary, formed; later renamed National Pork Council Women, which merged with the National Pork Producers Council in 1992.

1964

Delegates to the National Swine Growers Council annual meeting, St. Louis, MO, voted to change name to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

1965

“Moline 90” meeting held May 25; “Blueprint for Pork” developed as a master strategy to organize pork producers and begin more formal fundraising.

1965

Mycoplasma isolated from pneumonic pig lung by C.J. Mare and W.P. Switzer. Mycoplasmal pneumonia remains one of the most common and economically important diseases in swine.

1966

Chicago Mercantile Exchange began trading live hog contracts.

1966

Producer poll favors checkoff; 800 producers meet in Springfield, IL, endorse market checkoff of 5¢/market hog, 3¢/feeder pig to fund national pork promotion campaign. First voluntary pork checkoff funds collected in six pilot counties in Illinois in 1967; national voluntary pork checkoff, “Nickels for Profit,” launched in 1968.

1966

Rolland “Pig” Paul named first, fulltime executive of National Pork Producers Council, opens headquarters in Des Moines.

1968

USDA adopts new grade standards (U.S. No. 1-4) for pricing slaughter hogs.

1970

First American Pork Congress held, combining the National Pork Producers Council annual meeting with the National Swine Industry Conference.

1971

D.J. Taylor and T.J.L. Alexander successfully propagated a pathogenic anaerobic spirochete to explain the etiology of swine dysentery.

1972

Autosomal recessive inheritance of Porcine Stress Syndrome first proposed by Lauren Christian, who later championed the Halothane screening procedure for identifying stress-susceptible pigs.

1973

Pig Improvement Company (PIC, Inc.) introduced first genetic lines to American market at Spring Green, WI.

1973

Wendell Murphy introduces contract finishing to the pork industry, offering farmers in the Rose Hill, NC, area feed, fences and $1 for every pig taken at 8 weeks old and returned to him for marketing 15 weeks later.

1974

National Association of Swine Testing Stations organized with an objective to standardize swine testing programs; reorganized in 1975 as National Swine Improvement Federation (NSIF); published “Guidelines for Uniform Swine Improvement Programs” in 1976.

1975

Development of new extender for fresh and deep frozen boar semen by Lawrence Johnson and Vernon Pursel at USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD.

1978

Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland declares the United States hog cholera-free on Jan. 31.

1979

National Pork Producers Council court action blocks USDA from banning nitrites as a safe preservation method for pork.

1979

D. L. Harris combined various disease eradication program features with a medicated-early-weaning program to eliminate a wide spectrum of infectious diseases; later refined as the Medicated-Early-Weaning (MEW) and Segregated-Early-Weaning (SEW) programs; Harris introduced Isowean in 1988, a three-site production system using simplified MEW techniques to broaden their application.

1985

National Pork Producers Council drafts legislative initiative, the Pork Promotion, Research and Education Act, to provide for a national, mandatory checkoff program including imported hogs and pork products. The national legislative checkoff program initiated a year later at the rate of 25¢/$100 value of market hog receipts.

1987

“Pork, the Other White Meat” campaign launched.

1987

Mystery Swine Disease first recognized in North Carolina, Minnesota and Iowa herds. Acknowledging the predominant reproductive and respiratory clinical signs results in new term, SIRS (Swine Infertility & Respiratory Syndrome); commonly referred to today as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS).

1988

First World Pork Expo held at Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines.

1989

Imported Chinese hogs arrive at the Harry S. Truman Import Center in Florida on March 26; 140 boars and gilts placed at the University of Illinois, Iowa State University and the USDA Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE, led to major gene mapping.

1989

PigChamp 1.1 production recordkeeping system developed and released by the University of Minnesota.

1989

National pseudorabies five-stage eradication program launched with goal to eradicate the disease from all domestic swine in the U.S.

1989

McDonald's introduction of the McRib pork sandwich marks pork's introduction to the fast-food market.

1989

NPPC introduces Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) program, a producer education and management tool emphasizing good management practices and the safe handling and use of animal health products.

1994

First extensive genetic linkage maps for swine published in 1994 and 1995 by USDA and the PiGMAP consortium.

1995

Chicago Mercantile Exchange began trading futures and options on new lean hog contracts.

1995

Results of the NPPC-coordinated National Terminal Sire Line Evaluation Program released.

1995

NPPC introduces Environmental Assurance Program to help pork producers successfully manage their operations in an environmentally conscious way.

1998

Results of the NPPC-coordinated Quality Lean Growth Modeling Project provide extensive information on lean/fat deposition rates, their impact on packer value-based buying programs, pork quality and eating quality measures.

1998

Live hog prices sink to a modern-day record low of $8/cwt. in December.

1998

Drs. Bruce Janke and Young-Jin Yoon, Iowa State University, identified a new subtype of swine influenza virus, SIV H3N2, the first new subtype detected since the disease was discovered in the U.S. in 1918.

1999

Campaign for Family Farms files petition with USDA calling for a national referendum on the mandatory pork checkoff.

1998

Results of the NPPC-coordinated National Genetic Evaluation Maternal Line Program tracked reproductive traits of 3,600 gilts through four parities, and provided a complete evaluation of the genetic value of six commercially available maternal lines.

2000

Smithfield Foods acquires the nation's No. 1 pork production system (Murphy Family Farms, Rose, Hill, NC), joining Carroll's Foods, Inc. (acquired 1999), Brown's of North Carolina and Utah-based Circle Four Farms (acquired 1998) to bring Smithfield's sow total to roughly 840,000 sows. The group formed Murphy-Brown, LLC in 2001.

2001

USDA, the Michigan Pork Producers Association and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) reached an agreement that ensured the continuation of the mandatory pork checkoff and called for a decisive separation of the NPPC and National Pork Board.

2004

The National Pseudorabies Control Board granted Stage V (free) status to Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas, and declared all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands free of pseudorabies (PRV) in commercial swine for the first time in history. If the United States remains free of PRV infection, the target date for declaring the country free of the disease is October 2006.

2004

U.S. pork exports set a new record of 2.2 billion pounds on a carcass weight basis.

2004

On Dec. 8, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory beef checkoff. The justices' decision, expected by June of 2005, will likely determine the fate of the mandatory pork checkoff.

2005

The National Pork Board rolls out a new advertising and marketing campaign designed to extend the value of the highly recognizable “Pork — the Other White Meat” slogan, featuring the tag line: “Don't be blah.”