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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Tag Archives: pork production


 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released on December 10 indicated U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2010/11 are projected 10 million bushels higher this month reflecting lower domestic use. Projected food use is lowered 10 million bushels on the latest mill-grind data from the U.S.

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The MeatingPlace reporters had an interesting article title this week, “Dutch supermarket commits to welfare pork”. I was intrigued thinking about sows lined up to get their welfare checks. Obviously, thats not the case, but the title brings out the old adage, “what’s in a name?”.

The article continued by explaining that beginning in December the Albert Heijn supermarket (part of the Royal Ahold group) in the Netherlands has agreed to source all its pork from “animal-friendly produced” pork.

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A new economic analysis by John Dunham and Associates on behalf the American Meat Institute notes that the Proposed GIPSA rule will have unintended consequences throughout this area of Texas and across the nation with meat and poultry prices will increasing by 3.3 percent and cost Americans $2.7 billion in higher prices.

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One of agriculture’s greatest nemesis, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has introduced an amendment to the pending energy bill that would pave the way for an expansion of the U.S. biofuels market by increasing the percentage of U.S. vehicles that can run on flexible fuels, boost the number of blender pumps at refueling stations and authorize loan guarantees for renewable fuel pipelines.

Specifically, the amendment would require 50 percent of vehicles manufactured for sale in the United States to be flex-fuel capable by 2013 and 90 percent by 2015; require major fuel distributors to have at least one blender pump at half of their stations by 2019;and authorizes grants of up to 50 percent of project costs for the installation of retail ethanol blend infrastructure including blender pumps, tanks and other equipment as well as loan guarantees covering 80 percent of project costs for renewable fuel pipelines.

Now if you’re a corn grower this sounds great, more demand for your commodity, but if you feed livestock or grow any other crop, bend over again. U.S. consumers will pay big time for this hand-out to Harkin’s corn lobby buddies.

It seems that Harkin has consistently supported actions that divide Ag producers and pit them against each other. It’s time for the ethanol industry to stand on its own merits. If consumers want more flex-fuel vehicles, the market will provide them without this legislation.

It would make much more sense to fund basic research in oil seeds for bio-diesel or cellulose based ethanol production and let producers meet the needs of a consumer driven economy.

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European Researchers found that men and women gained over four pounds of weight over a five-year period for every extra 250 grams of meat they consumed daily over dietary recommendations. 250 grams of meat is roughly equal to a 450 calorie steak.

A total of 103,455 men and 270,348 women aged 25–70 years of age were studied between 1992 and 2000 in ten European countries. The objective was to assess the association between consumption of total meat, red meat, poultry, and processed meat and weight gain after five years of follow-up study.

When participants who had had previous illnesses or were likely to misreport what they were eating were removed from consideration, processed meat had the strongest association with weight gain over a five-year period. Poultry was also linked to weight gain — in fact, it was the meat most strongly associated with annual weight change. The researchers reported red meat was only weakly linked to weight gain.

Their conclusion, a decrease in meat consumption may improve weight management.

The findings appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The science here looks pretty good; I just have a problem with the way the media presents it. It is a bigger story to plaster a headline that says “meat linked to weight gain” while the science says that eating excessive amounts of meat is linked to weight gain. The second thing that may happen is red meat will point out that chicken is more closely linked to weight gain and the poultry producers will point out that processed meat products are the problem. Dividing producers will only confuse consumers and drive them to alternative protein sources.

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MeatingPlace reporters note that a November ballot initiative that would have changed state law regarding confinement for livestock has been taken off the table, now that the state of Ohio and the Humane Society of the United States has reached an agreement on that and several other issues.

HSUS and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland both announced the agreement in news releases on their websites. It makes several recommendations to the newly created Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, the Ohio legislature and Gov. Strickland for:

  • A ban on veal crates by 2017, which is the same timing as the ballot measure.
  • A ban on new gestation crates in the state after Dec. 31, 2010. Existing facilities are grandfathered, but must cease use of these crates within 15 years.
  • A moratorium on permits for new battery cage confinement facilities for laying hens.
  • A ban on strangulation of farm animals and mandatory humane euthanasia methods for sick or injured animals.
  • A ban on the transport of downer cows for slaughter.

Other provisions address cockfighting, puppy mills and the purchase of dangerous exotic animals as pets.

HSUS said in its news release that it reached the agreement with the Ohio Farm Bureau and other agricultural commodity groups on the same day Ohioans for Humane Farms would have delivered more than 500,000 signatures to the Secretary of State, to put a similar initiative on the ballot as a referendum in November.

“Instead of expending tens of millions of dollars and unproductive energy fighting an acrimonious campaign through the fall, both sides will be able to continue investing in our agricultural base and taking care of animals,” Gov. Strickland said in his statement.

The agreement preserves the integrity of the Ohio Livestock Animal Care Standards Board and provides meaningful recommendations on animal welfare and animal care standards, he noted.

I find it interesting that HSUS is even allowed to bring forward ag issues based on politics and emotion without science and that the Ohio governor is threatened enough to force the advisory board into accepting them.

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Dan Fiedland with MeatingPlace notes that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that dietary changes and a growing population will drive food prices  up between now and 2019.  

The annual agricultural forecast says growing swine herds in Brazil and China will likely keep pork prices in check as other food prices increase over 1997-2006 levels.

On average, prices will remain below the levels they reached during the 2007 and 2008 price spike. Beef and pork prices did not go up during that period, and the forecast calls for these costs to increase by 10 percent to 20 percent by 2019 as compared to 2007-2008 levels.

Lower supplies and higher feed costs are behind the predicted increase in livestock prices, as well as increasing demand for meat and processed food in developing countries with rising income levels.

By 2050, the global population is expected to hit 9.1 billion, up from roughly 6.8 billion right now, and the FAO has said that food production will have to increase by 70 percent. Agricultural growth is on track to hit that level, according to this year’s report.

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