Tag Archives: Pork

Hog farmers in North Carolina are watching with great concern the still-rising flood waters brought by the historic impact of Hurricane Florence. Efforts continue in affected areas to provide feed and care for animals, and fuel to power farms, while ensuring safety for our farm families and farm employees.

On-farm assessments and industry aerial surveys conducted today determined that flood waters have reached portions of our farms in at least three locations. We know that, in these same locations, animals were moved in advance of the storm or are continuing to receive attention from farmers. In many locations, trucks have been able to continue to move animals in response to the flooding.

Given that record-shattering flooding is forecast to persist for days, we expect additionally affected farms. We do not anticipate severe impacts to the vast majority of the more than 2,100 permitted farms in the state. There are no reported breaches of treatment lagoons and no reported instances of lagoon contents spilling out, known as overtopping.

We are saddened that Hurricane Florence has caused the loss of human life and has so broadly impacted state, county and municipal infrastructure, civic properties, and homes and businesses across Eastern North Carolina. This impact includes all sectors of crop and livestock agriculture.

Many hog farmers continue to assist with the ongoing emergency response in their communities, and we are grateful for their efforts. Additionally, we are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers from across the nation for our farmers.

We urge caution and context from the news media when reporting about our farmers.

A note of caution

In advance of the storm, and since its onset, the North Carolina Pork Council has seen widespread instances of inaccurate reporting in the media about the pork industry in the state. For example, on Sunday, Sept. 16, the Associated Press published and distributed nationally a photograph that labeled two garages as a hog farm. In previous years, we have seen photos of municipal waste plants, poultry houses and other agricultural facilities inaccurately labeled as pig farms. We have seen barns that have been empty for multiple years characterized as active hog farms. We urge caution, especially in a breaking news environment where initial information is often inaccurate. It is precisely in these first hours and days that activists with an agenda seek to exploit the media – or the media simply gets it wrong. Our request: Beware of what you hear about hog farms during Hurricane Florence.


On Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, the AP falsely called two garages a hog farm:

In 2016, the Washington Post falsely called a municipal treatment facility a hog farm:

Additional information

Hog farms & hurricanes: http://www.ncpork.org/primer/

Matthew, and buyouts: http://www.ncpork.org/buyout/

Beware of misleading agendas: http://www.ncpork.org/beware/

The storm’s threat: http://www.ncpork.org/concern/

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Large supplies of meat and dairy, possibly record-setting tons, are coming to U.S. consumers.

For consumers, this can be good news with lower prices at grocery cases. For producers of beef, pork, chicken and milk it doesn’t bode so well.

In a mid-year baseline update for livestock and dairy, University of Missouri economist Scott Brown offers mixed outlooks.

U.S. consumers have shown strong demand. But farmers gearing up for rising exports grew their herds. With shifts in trade and tariff policies, uncertainties cloud markets. If exports falter, supplies will build in this country.

“It is difficult to pin down how much meat and dairy products will go to exports,” Brown says.

Combined per capita pounds of beef, pork, chicken and turkey will be almost 19 pounds more this year compared to 2014. That’s a 9.5 percent boost. Further, a 3.5-pound increase looms in 2019.

“Producers must hope for strong U.S. consumer demand,” Brown says. People eating more could keep products from piling up in freezers. If not, the growing supply moves through the market chain only with price cuts.

With that uncertainty, farm prices are projected to decline for fed cattle, hogs and chickens, Brown says.

“Beef export demand has grown thus far in 2018,” Brown says. For the first half of the year, those exports were up 196 million pounds above 2017. That helped offset a 480-million-pound growth.

For pork, exports grew 176 million pounds out of a 422-million-pound growth, January to June. “Weaker pork prices helped move exports,” Brown adds.

Beef cow herd expansion slowed in 2018. Drought stress on forage and water supplies helped slowing. Beef prices remain under pressure through 2020, Brown says. Demand for high-quality beef slows what could have been bigger price declines.

For hogs, increasing sow numbers with high production per sow pushed pork growth up for the last four years. Growth continues through at least 2020, Brown says.

Exports offset a large part of pork increases. That left per capita supplies at or below historical levels through last year.

Now trade doubts and production growth push domestic pork supplies next year to the highest levels since 1981.

Big supplies of beef and chicken compete with growing pork supplies. The result could be lowest the hog prices in a decade. That dollar drop can lead to financial losses for most hog producers.

Not helping pork is lack of return of the strong bacon demand in 2017.

On the poultry side, wholesale chicken prices hit records for three weeks this spring at $1.20 per pound. That had been seen only two other weeks in history. That was surprising, Brown says. Poultry production was high and chicken in storage was 10 percent above a year ago.

Chicken prices could retreat as production grows and demand returns to normal.

Turkey prices still struggle as they have for the past 18 months.

Egg demand regains footing following two years of low prices.

In the expansion mode, dairy cow numbers will likely grow in 2018 even as milk prices hit the lowest since 2009. Large herds in Texas, Kansas, Idaho and Arizona keep cow numbers largely unchanged.

Dairy exports have remained impressive, Brown says, although low prices triggered federal milk price margin protection for some dairy farms.

High production in livestock and dairy kept the consumer price index for food below 2 percent for the fourth year in 2018. The CPI runs less than the rate of inflation.

This baseline update came in conjunction with the MU Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute baseline. That covers crops and biofuels. Reports are available at fapri.missouri.edu(opens in new window).

Livestock and dairy are covered by Brown and Daniel Madison in the MU Division of Applied Social Sciences. All are in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

Whatever you think of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager who was recently convicted on eight tax fraud and bank fraud charges, I think we can all agree that here is a man who does not start each morning with the old Shaker hymn “Tis A Gift To Be Simple” rising from his pampered lips.

Indeed, the whole world learned in the opening days of the federal trial that Mr. Manafort’s preferred lifestyle was one of money-be-damned excess. From a $19,000 ostrich coat to a $21,000 watch to a warehouse full of $1000 suits, the high-rolling political operative could, on a good day, make the most spendthrift Saudi prince look like a penny-pinching piker.

When prosecutors droned on and on with examples of Manafort’s profligate behavior, the judge cut them off and reminded the jury that being rich and senselessly extravagant did not constitute criminal activity in America. That may be true enough as a point of law, but when it comes to wise and life-enriching consumption, the combined net worth of every Russian oligarch can never overshadow real taste and quality.

Take, for example, the lowly BLT sandwich — the magical and delicious layering of bacon, lettuce and tomato. This late-summer masterpiece’s value can never be fully expressed in terms of dollars, rubles or wire transfers.

In fact, I was blissfully slamming down my second BLT late yesterday afternoon when news of the Manafort conviction smoked across the internet. Manafort details were fascinating enough to at least slow my Jurassic bites, but once Michael Cohen, the president’s ex-lawyer, pleaded guilty to a variety of charges, I knew another BLT was crying to be assembled and devoured.

I raced to the refrigerator, confident that it was stuffed to the max with tomatoes donated by relatives, neighbors and complete strangers made desperate by the huge ripening surplus. But given how greedily I had been stacking the salty slices, would there be enough bacon?

When I found nothing but a depleted package filled with a few sad crumbles, I indignantly showed it to my wife as if some master thief had slipped past the palace guards and absconded with the crown jewels.

“Yep,” she said matter-of-factly, “it looks like you’ve eaten your way through another 10 pounds of bacon. Just run down to Walmart and get your bacon boat loaded.”

Ever since bacon-mania took roots soon after the turn of the century, I had warned her about the danger of being caught short bacon. The taste of bacon simply became the rage of retail demand. Strips of bacon found their way on everything commonly known as food, adorning hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, pizzas, hot dogs, pies and cakes.

Furthermore, the essence, smell and crunch of bacon had become such a wildfire that it comes infused in such unlikely hosts, such as milkshakes, syrups, bacon mints, bacon ice cream, bacon cologne, bacon soda, bacon jellybeans and bacon toothpaste.

All of this explains why I stopped at the ATM before moving on to Walmart to fill the trunk, whatever the cost, with enough heart of BLT to get me past Labor Day.

As things turned out, I had a much better day than either defendant Manafort or Cohen. And all it took was recognizing that the bottom had fallen out of the belly market.

In July, the average price for bacon in grocery stores was 40.1 cents per pound lower than in July 2017 (i.e., off 7%). While part of this decline can be explained in terms of greater year-to-date pork production (i.e., up 3.3%), other cuts in the carcass have held up much better.

July retail ham prices were 19 cents per pound higher than a year earlier, and boneless pork chops were down only 3.1 cents, year over year. Therefore, it’s fair to say that slumping belly prices this year have been primarily responsible for imploding carcass values and crashing cash sales.

The average wholesale price for the pork belly primal on Wednesday afternoon was $76.42 per hundredweight, FOB the plants, down nearly $17 from a week ago, down roughly $93 from a month ago, down approximately $129.50 from a year ago and the lowest price for any day since May 14, 2015. This price drop is doubly worrisome since August pork belly prices are usually near their annual peak.

Finally, take a sober look at the new cold storage report. As of July 21, frozen bellies totaled 38.54 million pounds, down from 53.28 million the month before, but more than double the freezer inventory last year (i.e., 17.6 million). Bellies may be historically cheap, but product is not being thawed at a very fast rate.

So has the great bacon craze of the early 21st century expired and been sent to the graveyard? It may be too early to tell, even though the product has certainly lost its sizzle in 2018.

I suppose many would say the same about Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.

MANHATTAN — Kansas State University experts are providing guidance to officials in East Asia on the emerging problem of African swine fever.

Jürgen Richt, Regents distinguished professor and director of the university’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, known as CEEZAD, is an internationally recognized expert on transboundary animal diseases. He was in Asia to deliver a series of presentations when an outbreak of African swine fever was reported in China on Aug. 1. A second outbreak was reported on Aug. 16, and a third on Aug. 19.

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease of domestic pigs and wild boar. The disease causes high fever, respiratory problems, weakness, and stillbirths. The economic consequences for the pork production industry are grim: Mortality rates among affected animals approach 100 percent. More than 8,000 pigs were culled in response to the initial outbreak, according to news reports.

“Efforts to handle a potential outbreak have not succeeded, so we have to be concerned about the disease spreading across national boundaries,” Richt said. “The first outbreak occurred only a little more than 120 miles north of North Korea.”

Richt spoke with veterinary medicine faculty and students at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea, and with members of South Korean media and swine associations. He said South Korea is not well prepared to handle the outbreak and that the country is working to improve its emergency procedures. Containing the disease is particularly difficult because it tends to spread via wild boars.

Richt also discussed the challenges facing those trying to develop vaccines for African swine fever. CEEZAD is actively involved in the effort to produce mitigation strategies to control African swine fever and to develop vaccines.

Young Lyoo, dean of the Konkuk University College of Veterinary Medicine, said Richt’s information will help provide a front line of defense to save a major industry and protect a valuable protein source.

“Dr. Richt provided not only expert knowledge and opinion on the disease and a control, but also disseminated awareness to the public, government and industry through media exposure,” Lyoo said. “His visit showed how important international cooperation is to fight against contagious transboundary disease.”

Richt said the disease presents trade problems for China and other Asian countries. China produces nearly half the world’s pork.

“African swine fever is a threat to world trade in the pork industry, which will ultimately affect western Europe, the United States and other trade partners,” he said.

Stephen Higgs, director of Kansas State University’s Biosecurity Research Institute, and Wenjun Ma, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine, also traveled to China to give invited talks at the Conference on Animal Infectious Diseases and Human Health jointly conducted by the Chinese Association of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine and the Chinese Society for Immunology in Harbin, China. Higgs described work at the Biosecurity Research Institute, Richt presented a lecture on Rift Valley fever virus, and Ma discussed his work on bat influenza viruses.

Higgs said the invitations indicate international respect for Kansas State University research in infectious disease and biodefense.


“Our facilities and experts are second to none,” Higgs said. “We are keeping a close eye on disease outbreaks around the world and maintaining a rigorous research program to defend against economically devastating livestock diseases.”