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mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2008, 10:23:35 AM »
Thursday, May 01, 2008Print This Page
Biodiesel from Pork Fat Production Begins at Guymon
OKLAHOMA CITY — Texas County has long been recognized as the leading agricultural county in the state. Now it is also Oklahoma’s top biofuel county.



High Plains Bioenergy, a joint venture between Seaboard Foods and Oklahoma City-based Musket Corporation, held its grand opening ceremony April 24 in Guymon, Oklahoma. Seaboard Foods President Rod Brenneman said the biodiesel plant is currently producing more than 60,000 gallons of fuel each day and will produce 30 million gallons annually at full capacity.

"We’re committed to sustainable business practices and the biodiesel plant represents this commitment well," he said.

"This was an opportunity for Seaboard Foods to add value to a product and further diversify our operation. The result is more jobs and new opportunities for Guymon and the state of Oklahoma."

Porking Good Fuel Source
Pork fat, a relatively low-value byproduct of Seaboard’s Guymon processing facility, is remarkably efficient as a source of biodiesel. High Plains Bioenergy says one gallon of biodiesel can be made from every gallon of pork fat. Glycerin, a high value component used in a variety of products ranging from cosmetics to soaps feeds is a byproduct of the biodiesel manufacturing process.

The plant was the result of Seaboard employees experimenting with ways to add value to pork fat. Brenneman said the first batch of biodiesel from Seaboard Foods was actually made in someone’s garage.

"That experiment led us to spend $40-plus million for a biodiesel plant," he said to laughter during the grand opening.

The partnership with the Musket Corp. was necessary "because we did not want to market or distribute biodiesel," Brenneman added.

"We have no experience there and Musket is very successful both nationally and internationally. It’s a terrific partnership."
Co-operation Praised
Terry Peach, State Secretary of Agriculture, praised the partnership saying it shows what the state can accomplish when industries work together.

"When Governor Henry first took office he challenged everyone in his administration to find ways to bring everyone in all our industries together and find common ground to improve not only our state’s economy but our quality of life," Peach said.

"High Plains Bioenergy is the perfect example of our state’s two leading industries, agriculture and energy, to come together and create this tremendous asset to Oklahoma."
 





mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2008, 10:25:26 AM »
Thursday, May 01, 2008Print This Page
Minnesota's Pork Producers Suffering
US - Minnesota pork producers are not benefiting from higher prices. And rising feed costs are hurting the industry.



With rising food prices and skyrocketing commodity costs, the profits raining on farms across the country have not fallen evenly. Arablr growers may be benefitting from higher farm gate proces but pig farmers are suffereing

Faced with runaway feed and energy costs, the pork industry has gone months without turning a profit, say the Star Tribune. Analysts say it will be a year, possibly longer, before prices and costs break even.

The fallout will shutter some pig farms, shrink others and raise the cost of pork at supermarkets. It also has members of the Minnesota Congressional delegation asking the federal government to help shore up farmers' losses.







mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #32 on: May 04, 2008, 08:53:25 AM »
Friday, May 02, 2008Print This Page
Swine, Avian Flu Genes in Same Virus
US - An unknown pathogen isolated from infected pigs at two midwestern swine production facilities in 2006 has proved to be a new strain of H2 influenza virus.



The pathogen is similar to the one that caused the 1957 flu pandemic, says the USDA Agricutural Research Service.

Reporting the findings in the May June issue of Agricultural Research magazine, it says the virus was first identified by a University of Minnesota veterinary diagnostician - and it proved to have a startling new twist because it contained genes of both swine and avian influenza viruses.

Molecular studies indicate that the mystery pig pathogen is actually an H2N3 influenza virus closely related to an H2N3 strain found in mallard ducks—being seen for the first time in mammals.

Both swine facilities used pond water frequented by migrating waterfowl.

In the newly isolated swine H2N3, the avian H2 and N3 gene segments mixed with gene segments from common swine influenza viruses, giving it the ability to infect swine—as well as mice and ferrets

. This suggests the need for continued monitoring of both swine and livestock workers for H2-subtype viruses and other influenza strains.




mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #33 on: May 04, 2008, 08:55:55 AM »
Saturday, May 03, 2008Print This Page
Market Preview: Hog Prices Just an Anomaly?
US - Weekly US Market Preview provided by Steve R. Meyer, Ph.D., Paragon Economics, Inc.



To use an appropriate porcine question: Will demand save our bacon?

When we look at the last two weeks, the answer could certainly be a resounding “Yes!” Why else would packers be aggressively chasing hogs when slaughter rates are so high? And why else would prices be near year-ago levels on year-to-date (YTD) slaughter that now stands 11.5% higher than one year ago?

Supply is way up. Prices are hardly below last year. Life is good – or at least better.

But can this hold? Can hog demand maintain the 8% increase we saw from January through March, as was pointed out by Professor Glenn Grimes at the University of Missouri? Will packer margins remain large enough, without pushing hog prices downward, to maintain the incentive to process 420,000-plus hogs/day? Will the normal seasonal break in beef prices put pork behind the eight ball in the retail meat counter this summer? Can broiler producers reduce supplies enough to drive near-record prices to new highs and, thus, support the entire meat complex? Is the recent rise in the U.S. dollar (the June U.S. Dollar Index reached its highest level since early March last week) a turning point?

So many questions; here’s my inadequate answer: “We’ll see.”

All of these variables have contributed to a remarkable run-up in cash hog prices. I want to believe that the worst is behind us and the predictions of $80-90 hogs this year, and upward for next year, are correct. I really do. And if you believe that prices efficiently and accurately reflect all of the information in the market, then you should probably buy into those forecasts. Those $70-plus bids this week may be here to stay, but I’m not a believer yet.

The reasons are simple: Large meat supplies. Huge pork supplies. More beef on the way – at least seasonally. Higher fuel prices this summer. And even if the hog prices remain higher, we still face substantial risk for feed prices since we have thus far put seed corn in the ground at a pace roughly commensurate with that once achieved by a Model A John Deere and a two-row planter! Corn at $7/bushel is still well within the realm of possibility.

What are you saying to your banker when he poses these questions:

“I understand you are losing money, but what are you doing to minimize your losses?
“How long will these losses last?”
“What is the extent of your cash needs until cash flows turn positive?”
Bankers do not want to shut good producers down. They did not go into banking in order to own hog farms or, especially, take care of hogs. They make little money by holding cash. They want people in business so those people will borrow money and pay interest.

What they do not want is a customer who is borrowing money, doesn’t have a plan or an idea of how to limit that borrowing and, therefore, doesn’t know how much will be needed before the banker can stop advancing funds. They probably feel the same way you would feel if your college son or daughter came to you with a large credit card bill and no way to pay it. You want to help, but without a plan, you would (or at least should!) say “No” because it is the best thing for everyone.

I have admonished producers for some time to have a plan in place to limit the upside risk in feed prices. Though the level at which that protection can be placed is much higher than it once was. Still, it’s a prudent idea.

“But those call premiums are just a rip-off and I’m cash poor as it is,” you say. True. But are you going to drop the insurance on all of your hog buildings this year because cash is tight? That’s a similar proposition and the chances of higher-priced corn are, at the moment, probably better than the chances of a fire or a tornado.

And while the level of coverage available on corn is not as good as it once was, the potential “ceiling” level for soybean meal has fallen pretty sharply. So the news is not all bad.

As for hogs, the average of the eight futures contracts to cover the next 12 months is, as of Friday morning, $75.77/cwt., carcass or $56.82/cwt., live. The average for the rest of this calendar year is $73.95 carcass, $55.47 live. History tells us that the summer futures are likely near their peak as they normally fall from May 10 onward. In fact, Tuesday’s break in Lean Hog futures could have marked the seasonal peak.

How would your financial situation be if you put a lid on feed costs at current levels and could lock in hog prices at $72-$73/cwt., carcass? That is available. Would the answers for your banker be good enough to keep him/her on board and keep you in the business until the good times return?


NORTH AMERICAN PORK INDUSTRY DATA




COMPETING MEATS
PRODUCTION & PRICE

mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #34 on: May 04, 2008, 08:58:05 AM »
Saturday, May 03, 2008Print This Page
Weekly Review: Pork Demand Takes Giant Leap
US - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.

 
Ron Plain
Demand for pork from January-March of this year was up slightly from a year earlier at the consumer level. However, demand for beef at the consumer level was down 3 percent from the same three months in 2007.

Demand for broilers for January-March was up 3.2 percent and turkey was up 7.7 percent from twelve months earlier.

Demand for live hogs for the first three months of 2008 was up a whopping 8.0 percent from the same months in 2007. For these three months, the demand for live fed cattle was up 0.2 percent from a year earlier. The large increase in live hog demand was due to the sharply higher pork exports in 2008 than in 2007. The stronger live fed cattle demand then consumer demand for beef was also largely a result of larger exports and smaller imports.

Live hog weights for barrows and gilts last week in Iowa-Minnesota at 264.6 pounds were down one pound from a week earlier and down 2.9 pounds from a year earlier. Average carcass weight for barrows and gilts finally dropped to a year earlier level for the week ending April 12th and 19th. Hopefully we will continue to see a bigger decline in weights than normal as we move from spring to summer.

On Tuesday, the Food, Safety and Inspection service, a branch of the USDA, announced they were notified last week that four pork plants will be ineligible to export pork to Russia because of violations of Russia’s drug tolerances. The futures market responded by being 200-290 points lower at the close then a day earlier. On Wednesday, the futures market rallied and on Thursday was $5.26 per cwt to $0.90 per cwt lower than the close on Friday, April 25th.

Sow and gilt slaughter continues to run well above a year earlier. Gilt slaughter since the 1st of March through the week ending April 26 has been up over 2 percent and sow slaughter through the week ending April 19th from March 1 has been up 11.9 percent from twelve months earlier. This data continues to indicate some sell-off of the breeding herd is occurring.

Pork product prices pushed higher again this week with the cut-out per 100 pounds of carcass at $74.38 per cwt Thursday afternoon up $2.17 per cwt from a week earlier. Loins were at $104.67 up $9.59 per cwt, Boston butts were at $77.96 up $0.18 per cwt, hams were at $54.20 down $6.73 per cwt and bellies were at $84.98 per cwt up $4.08 from seven days earlier.

Live hog prices Friday morning were up $3-4 per cwt compared to a week earlier. Weighted average negotiated carcass prices Friday morning were up $1.13-1.80 per cwt compared to seven days earlier.

The weighted average negotiated carcass prices were western Cornbelt $72.55 cwt, eastern Cornbelt $70.18 per cwt, Iowa-Minnesota $72.63 per cwt and nation $71.27 per cwt.

The top live hog prices at select markets were Peoria $45 per cwt, Zumbrota Minn. $51 per cwt and interior Missouri $52.75 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 2155 thousand head up 9.3 percent from a year earlier but down 4.3 percent from a week earlier.



mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2008, 08:05:37 AM »
Monday, May 05, 2008Print This Page
USDA Announcement Pleases AFBF
KENTUCKY - The USDA has made an announcement to purchase up to $50 million worth of pork products.



In a statement, Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation said:

“The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased with the Agriculture Department’s announcement this week that it will purchase up to $50 million of pork products for child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programs. AFBF, along with the National Pork Producers Council, requested this action last month in response to continued low prices for pork and live hogs, which have resulted in financial distress to many producers.

“Prices for live market hogs have plunged to levels not seen in nearly a decade. Experts have predicted that 2008 will likely be the worst financial year for pork producers in modern history. USDA’s help could not come at a more critical time.

“This procurement program offers two important benefits: it helps farmers facing record-low pork prices, while at the same time providing healthy, nutritious protein to their fellow citizens who are in need. It's a win-win for producers and the public.”





mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2008, 09:16:09 AM »
Tuesday, May 06, 2008Print This Page
The Pros and Cons of Individual and Group Housing
MISSOURI - At the Missouri Pork Expo, Tim Safranski, University of Missouri Extension swine specialist reviewed individual and group housing and described the pros and cons of each.



He said either option can work with proper pig care, which improves performance in any system. Proper care means ensuring basic needs like food, water and protection from weather, Mr Safranski said. It also means reducing hazards and competition and allowing sows to express most normal patterns of behavior.

Pig welfare depends not on the use of gestation stalls or group housing but on the quality of individual pig care, said Mr Safranski University of Missouri Extension swine specialist.

"Managed correctly, any of the housing systems can work. If we look at the body of scientific literature, it doesn't matter how sows are housed. It matters more how they're cared for," said Tim Safranski.

At the Missouri Pork Expo, Mr Safranski reviewed individual and group housing and described the pros and cons of each. He said either option can work with proper pig care, which improves performance in any system.

Proper care means ensuring basic needs like food, water and protection from weather, Mr Safranski said. It also means reducing hazards and competition and allowing sows to express most normal patterns of behavior.

"With all the sow-housing options, gestation stalls fit most of those. Group housing could fit most of those. None of them really fit every point perfectly," he said.

Mr Safranski cited a 2005 paper from the American Veterinary Medical Association that concluded that "no existing housing system for pregnant sows is better than another."

Overall, stalls prevent fighting, reduce stress and injury, and make vaccinating, medical care and artificial insemination easier. Stalls also make individual care much easier, Mr Safranski said. "We can control individual feed intake: get those skinny sows more food, give those fat sows less."

But stalls restrict movement and some natural behaviors, like socializing and foraging. Limited mobility may cause joint stiffness. Stalls also make sows entirely dependent on humans for basic needs and physical comfort.

With sows in stalls, daily observation is critical, Mr Safranski said. An exercise pen may help sows showing signs of difficulty. "If we see a sow having trouble walking, giving her space to exercise and stretch may help the system overall be more productive," he said.

Group housing makes specialized care and feeding harder, but also allows sows more social interaction and movement.

Sow groups range in size from five or six sows to 80 or more. Group size affects management issues like sorting, daily observation and whether new sows can be added.

With small groups it is essential to sort, creating groups based on size, appetite, body condition and speed of eating. With 25 sows, for example, five or more groups are needed. "Somebody's still going to be the boss pig, he said, "but if we can at least get them even to start with, they're going to stay a lot closer to uniformity than if we don't."

Once created, small groups should remain fixed. Changing sows will increase fighting and producer costs. If sows must be mixed, it's helpful to mix them into a new pen to reduce territorial behavior. "Get them all out, walk them down the aisle and put them somewhere else," Mr Safranski said. "That way, nobody's invading my house; I'm moving into a house with strangers."

Pens must also have adequate space. This can be hard, as very little data exists on how much space group-housed sows need, Mr Safranski said.

With large-group housing, the idea is that sows fight less because they can't figure out who the bullies are, Mr Safranski said. This allows for dynamic groups that can be continually mixed. Broad sorting is still helpful to account for different feeding needs or temperaments.

Observing individual sows is still harder, which can complicate breeding, vaccinating, heat checking and control of individual feed intake.

Trickle feeding or electronic sow feeders offer possible technological solutions for the feed dilemma of group housing. Each has pros and cons.

Limiting sow stress just after mating can also improve group housing, Mr Safranski said. "Sows are most sensitive to stress from the time of mating to about 30 days after," he said. "If we can avoid stressing sows from group housing during that period, it adds value."

After that, sows can physiologically handle a lot of stress, such as fighting, which is associated with group housing, and still maintain pregnancy.

Mr Safranski said the European standard combines both housing types. Groups are used post-weaning to deal with stress, help sows cycle and sort those in heat. Sows ready for mating move to the boar area to be mated. They remain in a stall for 30 days then return to groups.

Regardless of housing type, the key is attention to detail, Mr Safranski said.





mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2008, 09:17:57 AM »
Tuesday, May 06, 2008Print This Page
NPPC Urges USDA to Address Pork Industry Crisis
US - Pork producers, who are losing an estimated $30 to $50 per hog, called on USDA to take steps that would address what the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) calls an “industry economic crisis.”



NPPC leaders in a recent meeting with Ag Secretary Ed Schafer requested USDA purchase an additional 50.5 million pounds of pork for various federal food programs.

USDA this week responded to that request, announcing plans to purchase as much as $50 million of pork products for donation to donate the pork to child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programs.

“The action by USDA to buy additional pork will benefit America’s pork producers, the U.S. economy, and people who rely on the government’s various food programs,” said NPPC President Bryan Black.

U.S. pork producers in the past seven months have lost an estimated $2.1 billion. Lenders estimated some producers could lose half or more of the equity in their operations by year’s end, NPPC reported.

Phil Borgic, president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and farmer from Nokomis, last week during an interview with FarmWeek discussed the impact higher input prices and mounting financial losses are having on the pork industry.

“I’ve been saying all along the pork industry will make money. I just don’t know what it (the industry) will look like,” Borgic said. “I don’t know how many pigs we’ll be producing and how many farms will be left.”




mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2008, 08:32:29 AM »
Wednesday, May 07, 2008Print This Page
Chicken and Pork Prices Expected to Rise
US - According to the Tennessean, it is likely that the US will be getting yet another dose of inflation, with the rise in chicken and pork prices.



Overall food inflation could double this year, lifted by the rising costs of fuel, corn and soybeans, some analysts predict.

Food inflation hit four per cent last year, up from 2.4 per cent in 2006.

While beef prices were already high, chicken and pork prices didn't reflect record costs for feed and fuel.

That's poised to change as chicken and pig producers who have been losing money slaughter more animals to decrease the supply and raise the prices they can charge.

U.S. shoppers spent 5.8 per cent of their income on food in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a lower proportion than in any other nation. In the United Kingdom, consumers spent 8.7 per cent of their income on food, and in most of the world it's at least 10 per cent.

But the U.S. portion seems certain to rise, as chicken and pig producers say prices have to go up as feed costs increase.

"American consumers are only just beginning to feel the impact of sharply higher food prices," said Pilgrim's Pride Corp. Chief Executive Clint Rivers.

Tyson Foods Inc., the world's biggest meat producer, forecasts that its expenses will rise $1 billion this year, including $600 million for corn and soybean meal and $100 million on grain.

Pork farm losses, though, may total $3.8 billion for 2008, one-quarter of total production, according to Chris Hurt, an agricultural economist at Purdue University.

He calls the industry "a financial disaster in progress."

The biggest driver to prices is grain costs, which have been affected by the rise in ethanol production and strong export demand due to the weak dollar.

Corn costs have more than doubled over the last two years from $2.50 a bushel to $6.

Smithfield said in February that it would slaughter four per cent to five per cent of its breeding sows.

A smaller breeding population and a wave of expected hog farm failures will boost pork prices by 2009, Hurt predicted.







mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2008, 09:01:41 AM »
Thursday, May 08, 2008Print This Page
AFBF Speaks Up About HSUS Livestock Auction Video
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, speaks about the mistreatment of farm animals.



In a statement, Mr. Stallman said: “If allegations related to the marketing of non-ambulatory cattle or the mistreatment of any farm animal are substantiated during an investigation by legal authorities, and those actions are in violation of our tough industry standards, or laws were broken, those who were knowingly responsible must be held fully accountable.

“Neither our laws nor industry standards, which have become much stronger over the years, allow the inhumane treatment of farm animals. Quality assurance programs at the national and state levels provide farmers and ranchers with strict guidelines for the production of safe, wholesome animals, including recommendations on necessary animal handling and facilities. Those standards are based on the expertise of veterinarians, farmers, ranchers and animal scientists – the people who work with farm animals daily.

“We are not certain of the validity or scope of the claims HSUS is making about the marketing of non-ambulatory cattle, however, America's farmers who rely on animals for food production know that healthy, well-cared-for animals mean healthy, safe food for Americans and their families. America’s farmers and ranchers take all possible steps to ensure that animals are well cared for seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. As farmers and ranchers, we recognize that superior animal welfare practices lead to the production of high-quality, safe and wholesome meat, milk and eggs, and we’re constantly seeking ways to improve the well-being of our animals. Simply put, without healthy and content animals, farmers and ranchers would not be in business.”





mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #40 on: May 12, 2008, 07:27:04 AM »
Saturday, May 10, 2008Print This Page
Pork Futures: Hogs Settle Mostly Firm
CHICAGO - Feeder cattle and pork bellies also finished higher while most lean hogs closed firm, reports FXStreet.



CME hogs settled mostly firm on generally supportive cash quotes, June/July bull and July/August bear positioning and deep-month speculative buying.

Most pork contracts at first moved up slightly on follow-through buying and positive fundamentals, but quickly faded after profit takers arrived. Also, some in the pit were compelled to sell October and 2009 April through June contract that made new contract highs Thursday.

Meanwhile, nervousness about futures premiums and sporadic CBOT corn pullbacks pressured deferred hog months that were later rescued by late-session speculative buyers.

Also, those who fished for a market bottom were lured by spot-June and nearby-July psychological support levels at around 76.50 cents.

Country hog buyers anticipate steady to firm cash hog bids for Monday. Some producers are expected to conduct fieldwork that might limit the number of animals trucked to market.

Pork bellies ended higher on speculative hedging and technical support.

June lean hogs closed up 40 points at 76.87 cents a pound, and July closed down 15 points at 76.95 cents.




 


mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2008, 08:22:06 AM »
Monday, May 12, 2008Print This Page
Manure Management Webcast Coming Soon
US - A live webcast for those interested in adding to the bottom line by implementing certain manure management practices will be broadcast on 16 May.



The program, viewable on the Web at http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/lpelc/ will begin at 1:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The Web meeting room opens 15 minutes before the start time.

Three presenters will give an overview of market-based conservation and experiences from two programs. One program generates carbon credit revenue with methane capture covers on manure lagoons and storage facilities. The other is the New York City watershed program; upstate farmers are paid to implement best management practices to protect the New York City water supply. The webcast will end with a discussion of what is needed to promote market-based conservation in the United States.

The webcast is produced by eXtension, an educational partnership of cooperative Extension services throughout the United States. K-State Research and Extension is a partner in eXtension.

The presenters for the May one-hour seminar are Suzy Friedman, Environmental Defense Fund; Dale Dewing, Cornell University; and Jim Jensen, Environmental Credit Corporation.

The seminar is hosted by the Livestock and Poultry Environmental (LPE) Learning Center, part of eXtension. The center advocates that individuals involved in public policy issues, animal production and delivery of technical services for confined animal systems should have on-demand access to the nation's best science-based resources.

The center has a monthly online newsletter, to which anyone can subscribe. All information, including archived monthly Webcasts from the past year, is on www.eXtension.org under the resource area animal manure management.

Another Webcast will be available June 20 on nutrient management for small-scale farms.




mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2008, 11:02:50 AM »
Tuesday, May 13, 2008Print This Page
2008 Beef/Pork Exports Continue Upward Trend
US - U.S. red meat exports continued their strong showing in the first quarter of 2008 with an increase of 41 percent in pork exports and 29 percent in beef (including variety meat), according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

 
“We’re seeing continued strong performance in both sectors,” said Erin Daley, USMEF manager of research and analysis. “The weak U.S. dollar is certainly a factor, and gains are being made despite the growing shortage of shipping containers to take our exports to overseas markets. That issue may become more significant in the second quarter, particularly as the South Korean beef market begins to heat up.”

U.S. Pork Exports
Pork exports for the first quarter totaled 366,411 metric tons (807.7 million pounds), 39 percent more than the first quarter of last year. When combined with 87,631 metric tons (193.2 million pounds) of pork variety meat exports (up 54 percent), the U.S. pork industry sold 454,042 metric tons (1 billion pounds) valued at more than $1 billion to international markets. March exports of 149,391 metric tons (329.3 million pounds) were second only to the monthly record set in February of 2008.

Japan resumed its position as the No. 1 volume and value market for U.S. pork, with exports up 11 percent in the first quarter: 105,780 metric tons (233.2 million pounds) sold for $336.6 million. March exports to Japan were up 24 percent compared to 2007, setting a new monthly record at 40,853 metric tons (90 million pounds). At the same time, Japan’s imports from the European Union (primarily Denmark) fell 20 percent. According to Daley, this trend is expected to continue since Danish hog numbers were down 10.4 percent in April. Danish producers are losing an estimated 47 euros ($72) per hog slaughtered, mainly due to high feed prices, according to the European Market Survey (MLC Economics).

U.S. pork exports to China and Hong Kong valued at nearly $170 million totaled 102,469 metric tons (225.9 million pounds) — 74,007 metric tons of muscle cuts and 28,462 metric tons of variety meat — 280 percent more than the first quarter of 2007. In March alone, pork plus pork variety meat exports to China and Hong Kong totaled 27,724 metric tons (61.1 million pounds) compared to 7,651 metric tons (16.8 million pounds) in March 2007, but down from the record 40,894 metric tons (90.1 million pounds) set in February 2008.

According to Chinese import statistics, the United States was the largest supplier during the first quarter, followed by the EU (France and Denmark) and Canada. Chinese pork production is expected to remain around 16 percent below the peak of 2005 due to continued disease issues. The decrease in Chinese production, as estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is around 6 million metric tons (13.2 billion pounds), compared to total (record) U.S. production of 9.96 million metric tons (21.9 billion pounds) last year.

U.S. pork exports to Mexico rebounded 3 percent from last year’s levels, totaling 78,646 metric tons (173.3 million pounds) valued at $123 million, while quarterly exports to Canada were 22 percent greater (39,995 metric tons or 88.1 million pounds) with monthly exports remaining at more than 13,000 metric tons (28.6 million pounds) since September last year.

The U.S. pork industry sold 39,864 metric tons (87.8 million pounds) to Russia during the quarter, an increase of 142 percent, including 7,186 metric tons (15.8 million pounds) of variety meat. Already the United States has met two-thirds of the annual tariff rate quota (TRQ) for Russia with exports valued at $85.7 million. In a surprise move, Russia banned imports from Canada in April then delisted a number of EU plants and, most recently, delisted four U.S. plants. Over the same first quarter of the year, Brazil’s exports to Russia have declined 17 percent.

U.S. pork (including variety meat) exports to South Korea in the first quarter were 1 percent higher at 35,270 metric tons (77.7 million pounds) valued at $72 million.

Another monthly record was set in U.S. pork exports to the ASEAN region in March: 4,608 metric tons (10.1 million pounds), primarily to the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, again showing the competitiveness of U.S. pork enhanced by the weak dollar. Exports to the ASEAN valued at $17.6 million totaled 10,119 metric tons (22.3 million pounds) for the first quarter, an increase of 239 percent.

Exports to the European Union (EU) increased 80 percent to 8,452 metric tons (18.6 million pounds), primarily destined for France, Germany and Britain. They were valued at $22 million. Daley noted that EU pork production is contracting, resulting in higher prices, but not enough to offset the high costs of production. Export refunds for chilled and frozen pork continue and the 100,000 metric tons (220.4 million pounds) of pork in storage, subsidized by private storage aid, will be released onto the market through the summer months.

Exports to Central and South America were up 6 percent, totaling 8,410 metric tons (18.5 million pounds) valued at $17.4 million, with most of the growth occurring in exports to Honduras.

Exports to the Caribbean were up 48 percent to 6,884 metric tons (15.1 million pounds), including the Dominican Republic, which was up 250 percent to 2,778 metric tons (6.1 million pounds). The exports were valued at $13.4 million.

U.S. Beef Exports
In the first quarter of 2008, U.S. beef exports increased 37 percent over the first quarter of the previous year to 117,730 metric tons (259.5 million pounds) and beef variety meat exports increased 19 percent to 79,913 metric tons (176.1 million pounds) for a combined 29 percent increase to 197,643 metric tons (435.7 million pounds) – a 40 percent increase in value to $682.7 million.

March exports of beef plus beef variety meat totaled 67,669 metric tons (149.1 million pounds) compared to 51,005 metric tons (112.4 million pounds) last year and 99,189 metric tons (218.6 million pounds) in 2003. Mexico and Canada remain the top two markets: exports to Mexico are up 21 percent for the quarter to 97,353 metric tons (214.6 million pounds) valued at $328.7 million while exports to Canada are up 64 percent to 32,449 metric tons (71.5 million pounds) valued at $145.4 million.

Excluding variety meat, Japan is the No. 3 market, with exports increasing 23 percent in the first quarter to 9,517 metric tons (20.9 million pounds) with a value of $50.7 million, an increase of 33 percent over the previous first quarter. According to Japanese import statistics, beef imports from Australia fell 16 percent in the first quarter to 81,898 metric tons (180.5 million pounds), but still accounted for 80 percent of total Japanese beef imports. Japan’s chilled beef imports from the United States increased 57 percent during the first quarter, reflecting growth in the retail presence of U.S. beef compared to last year and an increase in the supply of U.S. beef that meets Japanese import requirements. Japan’s delisting of National’s Brawley Beef plant did not keep Aeon from resuming U.S. beef sales in May — supported by USMEF’s “We Care” campaign.

Vietnam has emerged as the fourth-largest market for U.S. beef, with exports valued at $23 million totaling 9,016 metric tons (19.8 million pounds) in the first quarter. March exports to Vietnam were 3,600 metric tons (7.9 million pounds), breaking the previous monthly record of 3,145 metric tons (6.9 million pounds) set last October. Exports to Vietnam reflect the strong demand in the Greater China region amid tight supplies and high prices for both beef and pork, said Daley.

Exports to Taiwan continued to increase through March, with March exports at 2,243 metric tons (4.9 million pounds) up 37 percent from March last year and second only to the record set in November 2007. For the first quarter, exports were up 27 percent in volume and 37 percent in value (6,116 metric tons or 13.4 million pounds valued at $29.76 million). USMEF-Taiwan notes that importers are expecting higher U.S. prices with the resumption of U.S. beef exports to Korea, but also due to strong demand for beef from Australia and New Zealand in Russia and the EU. Taiwanese importers plan to continue to import U.S. beef even at higher prices, but demand could be constrained by dampened consumer purchasing power, Daley said. Due to the growing popularity of yakiniku restaurants, USMEF-Taiwan plans to promote chuck short ribs, short plate, chuck flap and other low- to medium-priced cuts.

“U.S. beef is popular at these barbecue-style restaurants due to its marbling and high quality attributes, and it is price-competitive with Australian beef – and a bargain compared to Australian wagyu,” Daley said. She noted that USMEF-Taiwan also initiated more promotion activities with high-end restaurants due to the recent price competitiveness of U.S. tenderloins, ribeyes and striploins. U.S. beef has a 65 percent market share of Taiwan’s chilled beef imports and a wide presence in retail stores.

First-quarter beef exports to the EU exceeded last year’s first quarter by 263 percent, totaling 3,335 metric tons (7.3 million pounds) valued at $20 million. The EU is facing tight supplies of beef due to restrictions on Brazilian beef imports, which permit only small volumes from less than 100 approved farms, and the impasse over Argentina’s export restrictions. Daley noted that Argentina has announced a complicated resolution to its beef export ban, which could result in a monthly allowance similar to the previous export quota, about 45,000 metric tons (99.2 million pounds) per month. Beef exports have not yet resumed, however.

Uruguay is exporting more beef to the EU in the absence of the other South American suppliers. It is benefiting from record prices at this time of unprecedented demand and total slaughter through April was up 12 percent year on year. Cow slaughter increased 10 percent, which will lead to a future tightening of supply, she said. At the same time, U.S. beef imports from Uruguay are down nearly 90 percent.

U.S. beef exports to the Caribbean were down 2 percent at 3,135 metric tons (6.9 million pounds) but up 12 percent in value to $15.6 million. Exports to Jamaica, the second-largest destination following the Bahamas, increased 35 percent to 567 metric tons (1.2 million pounds) valued at $2.6 million.

Exports to Hong Kong grew 4 percent over last year, due to strong volumes in January, but are still restricted to boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age. According to Hong Kong import statistics, imports from Brazil increased 77 percent and accounted for 42 percent of the total.

“While USDA data do not show significant volumes of beef exports to Russia, judging from the number of Statements of Verification (SOVs) issued by the U.S. Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), exports for December 2007 through April 2008 totaled about 5,300 metric tons (11.6 million pounds), including variety meat,” said Daley. “USMEF understands that both U.S. beef and pork are extremely competitive in Russia due to relatively high prices for Brazilian beef and pork and Australian beef. Australia’s beef exports to Russia are about five times larger than last year, further reflecting the drop in exports – and higher prices – from Brazil.”

Beef variety meat exports in the first quarter increased 40 percent in value to $176 million. Mexico, the top destination, jumped 29 percent to 47,541 metric tons (104.8 million pounds). Exports to the second largest market, Egypt, fell 13 percent to 17,950 metric tons (39.5 million pounds). Exports to Russia are beginning to recover, at 1,719 metric tons (3.7 million pounds), and exports to Central and South America, especially Peru, increased 79 percent to 1,668 metric tons (3.6 million pounds). Exports to the ASEAN also increased 95 percent to 1,236 metric tons (2.7 million pounds) in the first quarter.




mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #43 on: May 17, 2008, 09:44:05 AM »
Friday, May 16, 2008Print This Page
Revised Meat Packers' Legislation Issued
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The much anticipated legislation requiring meat packers to report the prices they pay producers for food animals has finally been issued.



The National Pork Producers Council worked diligently to get the mandatory price reporting law approved and submitted comments on the regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act, first approved in 1999 and amended and reauthorized in October 2006, is administered by USDA to provide information to producers, packers and other market participants on pricing, contracting for purchase and supply and demand conditions for livestock, livestock production and livestock products.

Packers have been voluntarily reporting livestock prices since the law expired Sept. 30, 2005. Making the reporting mandatory, points out NPPC, means that USDA can audit reports.

“During this time of economic crisis for many pork producers, having mandatory price reporting helps producers make business and production decisions that will allow them to get the best price for their hogs,” said NPPC President Bryan Black, a pork producer from Canal Winchester, Ohio.

The reauthorized price reporting law, which will take effect July 15, 2008, includes three enhancements to the pork reporting provisions:

More sows are included in pricing reports to more accurately reflect the sales and prices paid in the sow market.
Changes in the timing for data reporting to help USDA with its workload and, thus, to increase report accuracy and efficiency.
USDA may publish price distributions for net prices to provide more information that is more reflective of market situations.




mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2008, 10:07:19 AM »
Tuesday, May 20, 2008Print This Page
Sustainability Becomes a Desirable Product Factor
US - Half of U.S. consumers say they consider at least one sustainability factor when selecting brands to buy or stores to shop, according to a recent Information Resources Inc. (IRI) survey.



In the study, 22,000 U.S. consumers surveyed were asked to determine the impact of four key sustainability features in their product and store selection—organic, eco-friendly products, eco-friendly packaging and fair treatment of employees and suppliers. One-fifth of those surveyed were determined to be “sustainability driven,” taking at least two sustainability factors into account when making their selections.

Key findings highlighting the evolution of sustainability factors in consumer decision-making include:

Approximately 30 percent of consumers said they look for eco-friendly products and packaging in their brand selection
Up to one-quarter of those surveyed consider fair trade practices along with eco-friendly or organic designations in selecting a shopping destination
Nearly 40 percent of consumers search specifically for organic products
The survey also underscored the significance of sustainability across every consumer age group. Though contrary to assumptions that the focus on sustainability is a more youth-oriented phenomenon, IRI data shows that older consumers are actually the more likely audience to weigh multiple sustainability factors in their purchases.



 

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