Transporting hogs to packing plants can produce casualties: 0.27% of groups arriving at packing plants were classified as “subject,” based on an earlier study by Cate Dewey, DVM, University of Guelph in Ontario....More
While the time and effort placed on winterizing hog facilities is well spent, from an economic standpoint, there are probably more reasons to prepare barns for the summer’s heat.
An estimate of the economic loss from heat stress for various U.S. livestock industries, conducted by Norm R. St-Pierre and associates at Ohio State University in 2003, showed the average annual loss due to heat stress was costing the pork industry about $300 million....More
The Intelligence Surveillance System (ISS) from Conception Ro-Main, Inc., was recently awarded the F.X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production at the 2013 Banff Pork Seminar in Banff, Alberta, Canada. This new technology is designed to significantly reduce energy costs while providing optimal ambient temperature for piglets in a micro-zone area under a specially designed creep cover....More
In a narrative dubbed over a video track of 35 images depicting America’s farmers and ranchers, the late Paul Harvey, in his trademark cadence, delivered the thoughtful message — “So God Made a Farmer” — captured from his keynote address at the 1978 Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention....More
When it comes to the use of antibiotics in pork production, some things boil down to simple logic. We all know that appropriate antibiotic use can keep both animals and humans healthy. We also know that only antibiotics approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are used to treat hogs, and that veterinarians oversee which antibiotics are used to treat, prevent and control swine diseases. Healthy pigs grow better and eat less feed. And healthy pigs are directly related to a safer food supply. Of course, veterinarians work closely with farmers to make decisions on which pigs may need antibiotics to treat or prevent disease. Remember, those antibiotics do come at a cost, which means pork producers focus on preventing the need and expense of using antibiotics unnecessarily in their herds. In spite of this simple logic, we still have wild statements about the amount and intent of antibiotic use in pork production flying around in the news. Sadly, it’s all in the wording. Recent news stories and statements seem particularly designed to incite fear among consumers....More
British pig farmers are challenging food manufacturers, retailers and caterers to give a public commitment that they are not selling illegally-produced meat from farms that are flouting new European welfare legislation outlawing the prolonged confinement of sows in gestation stalls.
They have set up a Web site “Wall-of-Fame-and-Shame,” which will list companies that have pledged to source imported pork products only from farms that are operating legally....More
Fearing arrest under laws pushed by the agriculture industry, animal rights activists have halted undercover camera investigations into animal cruelty in five farm states, including Iowa and Utah where the laws went into effect last year, according to a report from ABC News.
“We are not conducting our investigations in those five states,” says Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals, a group whose most recent hidden-camera exposé led to criminal charges against employees at the largest dairy farm in Idaho....More
Two pork producers were among the four winners announced this week by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) for its Faces of Farming & Ranching program, a nationwide search launched in summer 2012 to help put real faces on American agriculture. More than 100 applications were submitted from passionate, dedicated farmers and ranchers across the country....More
The role of meat and other animal products in Americans’ diets continues to come under fire, with activist organizations’ continued efforts to push for the introduction of meatless meals in the home, in the workplace, in school cafeterias and even in state legislatures.
The Animal Agriculture Alliance learned this week that popular Food Network, Inc. personality, Giada De Laurentis launched her 2013 season with an episode entitled “Meatless Mondays.”...More
The need for agriculture to maintain the public's support of animal production practices while at the same time provide enough food for the world will be examined by experts at Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Balancing Act: Meeting the Growing Demands for Food, Enhanced Animal Well-being and Consumer Trust” will be the topic of discussion Feb. 2 during the annual Ag Forecast...More
I know you care what your customers think, because one of the most-read stories on the National Hog Farmer Web site the past few weeks reports on a consumer perception survey conducted by Purdue University last summer. Here’s what else I know, you are doing a good job caring for your animals and producing a safe, affordable pork product. But are consumers aware of the real story behind how pork is produced?...More
A first-of-its kind effort to provide a centralized resource where Iowans can receive information about appropriate farm animal care was announced today in Des Moines by a unique coalition of farmers, animal well-being experts, veterinarians and industry leaders....More
This year up to 40%of European Union(EU)pigs will come from farms that are flouting animal welfare rules. To avoid this trade in illegally-farmed pigs, British shoppers should look for the British independent Red Tractor logo, says Britain’s National Pig Association....More
Antibiotic use in animal agriculture and headlines about antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” are a common theme in popular media, among activist groups, some legislators, regulatory agencies and perhaps the general public....More
How would you rank the pork industry challenges in the order of importance? Would your list include sow gestation housing, antibiotic use in livestock, the Renewable Fuels Standard/ethanol production, 2013 Corn Crop, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)?...More
Brownfield Radio Network reports that the Nebraska Farmers Union is working with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on the launch of a new marketing program for “humanely-raised” livestock and poultry products. The program is called Farm to Fitness. Farmers Union spokesman Graham Christensen says the program will use health and fitness centers as drop points for cooperatively-purchased food orders....More
Most of the infectious causes of diarrhea in pigs are commonly present in herds but only occasionally expressed. These “endemic” diseases include rotaviruses, E. coli, Isospora (coccidiosis), salmonella and Lawsonia intracellularis (ileitis)....More
HSUS has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General asking for an investigation into the National Pork Board’s potential use of checkoff dollars to support the NPPC’s lobbying efforts....More
Whether due to lameness or unproductivity, culling sows is a frequent event on most hog farms. Because it is not a daily task, it is not given the emphasis and training needed to effectively manage this neglected profit center, says Terry Whiting, DVM, manager of Animal Health and Welfare, Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives....More
Why is it that whenever you mix unfamiliar sows or pigs in a group a fierce battle ensues?
It’s in their genes. Pigs are hard-wired to establish a hierarchy when placed in the near proximity of others. That’s the conclusion USDA livestock behavioral specialist Jeremy Marchant-Forde offered at a sow housing workshop during the Leman Swine Conference recently. But he adds a caveat: Given a choice, they might just avoid the altercation altogether. At least, that’s what their ancestors would do....More
You may have noticed that we had an election this week. It seems like there has been almost as much time devoted to analyzing the election results on various media outlets as there was time devoted to political advertising—I did say “almost.” I’ve spent several days sorting through the various election results—and I’m still sorting....More
Danish pig producers have announced they are confident of being ready in time for the European Union’s partial ban on the use of sow stalls. According to the latest estimates from Denmark, the industry claims around 85% of its farmers are already keeping pregnant sows in group systems, according to a report Monday by Ed Bedington for the Global Meat News....More