Pork Exports Support Hog Prices

The United States was a net exporter to the tune of 4.5% of production for the first six months of this year, says agricultural economists Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain, University of Missouri.

That was one of the main reasons that hog prices have held stronger than most analysts expected, the pair point out. The gain of 2.9% of production in net exports increased live hog prices at least 6%.

That’s because January-June U.S. pork exports rose 32% from a year earlier, while pork imports declined by over 12%. For June, pork exports increased 31% from 2000.

For the first six months of the year by country, sales to Japan climbed 34% over last year; Canadian purchases were up 54%, Mexico’s were up 28% and Russia’s over 600%. Russia was the fourth largest export market for the U.S. during this period.

Canadian live hog imports were up nearly 23% for January-June, with feeder pigs increasing almost 31% and slaughter imports up about 14%. The chance appears very good for the U.S. to import at least 5 million hogs this year from Canada, say the economists.

The full report can be viewed at http://agebb.missouri.edu/mkt/bull1c.htm.

Texas Bans Feeding Meat Scraps

To protect against the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Texas has banned feeding of meat or meat scraps to hogs.

"This new law not only affects swine producers in Texas who feed waste food containing meat and meat scraps, but it will also change the way food processors, restaurants, schools, hospitals and other establishments dispose of food scraps, if they have allowed them to be picked up for waste food feeding," says Linda Logan, Texas state veterinarian and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission.

"The state legislature’s move to ban meat and meat scraps for swine feeding stemmed from the global spread of FMD, the world’s most costly and highly contagious livestock disease," she says. "Since January 2000, more than 34 countries have battled FMD outbreaks. The virus is most often introduced into a country by imported, infected animals or in uncooked meat products derived from infected animals." The virus can remain viable in uncooked meat products for long periods of time.

Texas has more than 611 pork producers registered to feed waste food. Of these, more than 69% currently feed waste food containing meat or meat scraps.

Pork Board Selects Officers

The National Pork Board has selected new leadership to serve for the next year.

Hugh Dorminy, Russellville, AR, producer is president. Craig Christensen, Bouton, IA, producer is vice president. Dorminy is in his third year of a three-year term. He wants to expand on plans to gather ideas from producers for checkoff-funded programs.

Christensen is serving his second year on the Pork Board.

In other business, it was announced that the search for a new chief executive officer has narrowed and final candidates have been interviewed. Plans are for the new chief executive to be on board by Oct. 1.

New Drug Residue Policy

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) plans to post a list of repeat livestock and poultry drug residue violators on the agency’s home page. The home page can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

The agency also plans to modify policy by condemning entire animal carcasses if levels exceeding limits of chemical residues are found in target tissues.

Illegal drug residues are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA investigates violations and maintains a list of persons with more than one violation in a 12-month period. To be taken off the list, producers must present FSIS with five consecutive non-violative test results.

FSIS will now work with FDA to create a list of repeat violators for the FSIS Web site to help packing plants with buying decisions.

Judge Rules Iowa Law Unconstitutional

A Sioux County, IA, district judge has ruled a state law barring nuisance lawsuits against livestock feeding operations is unconstitutional.

A nuisance case was filed in April 2000 by Joseph and Linda Gacke, Rock Valley against Pork Xtra, a 4,000-hog operation. The owners of the operation contended they were immune to the lawsuit under state law. The trial in the case is set to begin Dec. 18.

The decision may set a precedent for similar disputes pending in district courts across Iowa and trigger more nuisance suits against hog operations.