Pork Is - National Pork Board
A Pork Checkoff publication
of America’s pork producers
NATIONAL PORK BOARD
6 Producers say Checkoff
going in right direction
22 Industry focuses on sow
26 African swine fever
poses growing threat
30 Pork Checkoff’s
2011 annual report
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Gestation Stall Use
Consumers Can’t Get
Enough of the “It” Protein
New research… Pork ® Be inspired ® is helping
make pork a hot protein choice.
Heart-smart pork... Pork tenderloin receives
American Heart Association certiﬁcation.
Taste the revolution... Chef dishes on how
pork menuing momentum continues to build.
Your bottom line… Economist Steve Meyer
takes a look at 2011’s record pork exports.
Annual poll shows producers are optimistic, with 76
percent saying the industry is going in the right direction.
Producers Open Farms
Videos featuring South Dakota’s
Brad Greenway and Iowa’s Todd
Wiley recently debuted on the
Checkoff’s YouTube channel.
Pork’s Story Shared 5,000 Times
New and Improved
Sow Lifetime Productivity
Operation Main Street helps deliver the
industry’s We CareSM message.
The Checkoff’s Paul Sundberg shares
behind-the-scenes efforts to unveil an updated version
of Pork Quality Assurance® Plus in 2013.
The Checkoff has set a goal
of improving sow lifetime
productivity by 30 percent over
the next seven years.
s this issue was going to press, McDonald’s released a statement announcing that it will require its U.S. pork suppliers to
outline their plans to phase out the use of sow gestation stalls.
In response, the National Pork Board issued this response on
behalf of America’s pork producers:
McDonald’s Corp. announced that it would begin developing
a plan to transition its pork supply away from farmers who use
conventional sow gestation stalls. The National Pork Board
recognizes that food companies, including McDonald’s, make
decisions in the best interests of their businesses.
At the same time, the National Pork Board maintains the position, supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association
and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, that there
are numerous ways, including sow gestation stalls, to provide
proper care for sows. Each housing system, including gestation
stalls, open pens, free-access stalls and pastures, has welfare
advantages and disadvantages that must be considered by an
individual farmer. Regardless of the type of system used, what
really matters is the individual care given to each pig – a mainstay of our industry’s Pork Quality Assurance® Plus program.
The National Pork Board looks forward to sharing results of peerreviewed research it has conducted in the areas of animal care
and food safety as McDonald’s begins implementing its decision.
This most recent event underscores the importance of pork producers continuing to share how the industry’s We CareSM principles
come to life every day on their farms. Whether it’s through another
5,000 Operation Main Street presentations, a stepped up PQA®
Plus program or opening up producers’ farms through videos on
the Checkoff’s YouTube channel – all topics in this issue – producers are committed to being transparent and to doing things right.
— Jan Jorgensen, Editor
The Pork Checkoff works to help keep the U.S. swine
herd safe from African Swine Fever.
PORK CHECKOFF ® REPORT
2011 Annual Report
Clearing the Air
Check out the programs that helped
make a difference in 2011.
Some say otherwise, but the pork
industry is a small contributor of
greenhouse gas emissions.
Jan Jorgensen, &EJUPSKKPSHFOTFO!QPSLPSH
Mike King and Teresa Roof, Contributing Editors
Pork Checkoff ReportJTQVCMJTIFECZUIF/BUJPOBM1PSL#PBSE
Checkoff Resources Help
Producers Put Worker Safety First
any pork operations
have employees but
are not large enough to have
a dedicated individual to
locate, adapt and implement
basic workplace safety
resource tools. To help
bridge the gap, the Checkoff
is offering producers core
components of a successful
worker safety program.
“The resources are
designed to assist producers
in reducing accidents and
injuries, meeting regulatory
guidelines and fulﬁlling their
legal obligation to provide
a safe workplace,” said Jim
Lummus, manager of producer learning and performance
for the Pork Checkoff.
The Employee Safety in
Pork Production resource is
available on pork.org under
the “Resource” tab. Materials, provided in both English
and Spanish, can be customized for speciﬁc producer
needs. Here is an overview of
the available materials.
section, helps producers
assess their farm safety status
and determine the next steps.
Included are instructions,
examples, templates, a farm
program/facility audit, a safety manual and OSHA forms.
This section includes safety
standard operating procedures, a job safety analysis
for typical tasks of employees
working in breeding, gestation
and farrowing; safety resource
websites and production and
manure management safety
This section helps producers
develop consistent training practices so employees
learn how to do their job
safely, whether trained in a
group, one-on-one or through
self-study videos. Included
are workbooks, instructor
guides, lesson plans, Power
Point presentations and video
Share your story of environmental
stewardship with the industry by
becoming a 2012 Pork Industry
Visit pork.org to learn more about the
Pork Industry Environmental Stewards
program and to find out how to enter.
Entry deadline is March 31, 2012.
The Environmental Steward Awards are co-sponsored by the Pork
Checkoff and National Hog Farmer magazine.
©2012 National Pork Board, Des Moines, IA USA. This message
funded by America’s Pork Producers and the Pork Checkoff.
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Always read, understand and follow label directions. FLX-1124AP
And the Survey Says...
Annual poll gauges producer support of Pork Checkoff programs.
By Michael Wegner
nce a year, I’m a pollster.
It’s a task I enjoy. Working
with some respected experts
in the field of public-opinion
sampling, we devise a set of
about 30 questions designed
to help the National Pork
Board understand what pork
producers think about a variety
Wegner is vice
of topics important to the pork
for the Pork
The 15 members of the
board might know what farmers in their area of the country,
or those that serve on National
Pork Board committees, are
thinking. But it is difficult for
them to know if that thinking is
representative of a majority of
all pork producers. That’s where
our annual benchmark survey
I’m not a statistician, but I’ve
had a little experience in this
area. I once worked for a newspaper that conducted its own
public-opinion polls, and I wrote
stories that explained the results.
Most of the questions were
about important issues before
the legislature, or about levels of
support for politicians.
Occasionally, the editor liked
to have a little fun with the poll.
He’d throw in a question about
your favorite vegetable, or
whether you thought your neighbor was likely to go to hell (green
beans, and no, as I recall).
The National Pork Board’s
annual survey, usually conducted right after harvest, sticks to
questions related to issues that
can be addressed through the
Pork Checkoff. It is a randomsample telephone survey,
meaning that we draw about
Is the pork industry
going in the right
Wrong Track No Opinion
550 telephone numbers from
the National Pork Board database of roughly 80,000 records.
The statisticians have proven, within about 4 percentage
points either way, that this
sample both reflects a valid
representation of the database
and a valid sampling of opinion – assuming those surveyed
share their opinions honestly.
So if roughly 20 percent of all
pork producers live in Iowa, 20
percent of those drawn from
the database should be from
Iowa. Through the magic of statistics, that is how it works out.
So what did we learn this
First of all, producer attitudes on some questions vary
depending on the size of their
operation or their location. In
general, the larger the operation, the more likely producers
are to be optimistic and to be
aware and supportive of Pork
Checkoff and industry pro-
grams. Producers in the Plains
states tend to be a little more
critical of industry programs
and the idea of regulation.
Going Down the Right Track
Perhaps the most interesting
finding this year is that pork
producers in general are very
satisfied with the way things
are going. The first question in
the survey always is, “Do you
think things in the pork
industry are generally
going in the right direction, or do you think things
have pretty seriously gotten off
on the wrong track?”
This year, 76 percent of you
said, “right track” and only
16 percent answered, “wrong
track.” The remaining 8 percent
had no opinion.
The right-track number is the
highest in the 10 years I have
been doing the survey and is
12 points above the previous
high in 2006. Back in 2003,
right track was only 28 percent,
and as recently as 2009 it was
as low as 40 percent.
Another question we ask is,
“Generally speaking, do
you support or oppose
the Pork Checkoff program?” This year’s survey
also showed the highest support ever for this question – 82
percent, with only 8 percent
opposed. The low point of the
last 10 years was in 2003, when
support was 53 percent and
opposition was 34 percent. In
subsequent years, support has
gradually increased and opposition has gradually decreased.
The National Pork Board
over the last several years has
been addressing pork producers’ concern about the image
of the pork industry. We’ve
attempted to track producer
attitudes about their image
in the last five surveys. In the
latest survey, 58 percent of all
producers believe they enjoy
a positive public image, while
20 percent believe they suffer a
Since 2007, those numbers
have remained fairly constant,
although there was a big swing
in 2009, the year of the H1N1
flu scare. That November, only
43 percent thought their image
was positive and 36 percent
thought it was negative. Additionally, 42 percent believe
their image today is better than
it was two years ago.
How Does the Image
of Pork Producers Compare?
This year, we also had little
fun and asked pork producers
how they believe their image
compares to others in production agriculture. They think it’s
quite a bit better than poultry
farmers: 32 percent said better,
9 percent worse and 53 percent
about the same.
But they think their image is
worse than organic farmers and
corn and soybean growers: 21
percent better, 38 worse and
30 percent about the same for
organic; and 15 percent better,
37 worse and 45 percent about
the same for corn/soybean.
For beef producers, the results
were 14 percent better, 24
worse and 59 percent the same.
For dairy, 11 percent better, 19
worse and 64 about the same.
The survey indicates broad
program. Nearly two-thirds
of producers say they would
even if their packer did not
require it. But 29 percent say
their packer’s requirement is
the only reason they participate. Also, nearly two-thirds
of all producers – 64 percent
– believe a pass-fail test for certification is unnecessary.
Asked, without prompting, what they consider their
biggest overall challenge, 16
percent say high feed costs.
Close behind, at 15 percent, is
hog health and diseases. The
remainder of the sample is fairly evenly divided among about
a half dozen concerns.
Given a list of seven possible “biggest concerns” and
asked to pick one, 26 percent
selected the ability of opponents of livestock agriculture to
influence production practices.
That is followed by:
production and food safety
at 21 percent,
of feed at 16 percent; environmental regulations at 14
at 9 percent,
tools due to regulation at 7
ucts through regulations at 3
The industry’s We CareSM
initiative, developed by the
cil, has a ways to go before
being embraced by all producers. The survey indicates that
58 percent of all producers
have heard of We Care, but
39 percent haven’t. And only
20 percent were able to name
specifically one of the six ethical principles that form the core
of the We Care initiative.
A few other survey tidbits:
ers connect to the Internet
using a “smart” phone or
producers also have rowcrops.
ers indicate they will increase
the number of hogs marketed in 2012, while 77 percent
say no change from 2011.
PORK IS HOT
PORK IS HOT
Consumers can’t get enough of the “it” protein
By Darcy Maulsby
ome trends hide in plain
sight, simply waiting to
be noticed. Consider pork,
which has risen steadily
in prominence in recent
months. Pork is claiming its
title as the “most valuable
protein” in a variety of arenas,
from entrees to exports.
“Pork is hot, and it’s well
positioned for 2012,” said
Chris Novak, National Pork
Board chief executive ofﬁcer.
“We are optimistic that we
have the right message,
the right programs and the
right investment to continue
Pork increased 7
menu mentions in 2011
building markets here and
The Checkoff’s Pork® Be
inspired ® campaign is helping
drive this success.
“Research proves that the
Pork Checkoff’s marketing
messages are resonating with
consumers,” said Ceci Snyder, vice president of domestic marketing for the Pork
Checkoff, who cited the latest
tracking data from December.
An online survey of 1,200
households across the country revealed that fresh pork
has continued to make some
signiﬁcant gains. Consumers
within the Pork Checkoff’s
target audience, as well as
consumers outside this audience, were asked a number
of questions, including: Does
cooking with pork make you
feel creative? Is pork one of
your favorite foods to order at
a restaurant? Do you like to
cook with pork at home?
A growing number of
consumers noted that pork is
one of their favorite things to
cook and eat at restaurants,
as well as usually being on
their mental shopping list.
“Producers always have
known that we have an
excellent product, and it’s
gratifying to see home cooks
and foodies get the message
about how to cook pork for
a great eating experience,”
said Dianne Bettin, a Truman,
Minn., pork producer and
chair of the Checkoff’s domestic marketing committee.
The online survey also
showed that consumers are
paying attention to the Pork
“We’re making gains in
how consumers view pork in
terms of providing creativity, inspiration and fun in the
kitchen,” said Snyder, who
noted that pork’s target audience includes people who
enjoy cooking but do not consider themselves gourmets.
PORK IS HOT
It’s exciting to see that the
Checkoff is on the right track
with the Pork Be inspired
campaign, Bettin said.
“This is giving us a perfect opportunity to build on
consumers’ renewed interest
in cooking and to tie in with
retailers and chefs who want
to spice things up and love to
do so with pork,” she said.
dishes revealed that bacon,
sausage and ham are the
most common pork ingredients on menus.
The data also show that
pork is increasingly used in
combination with other proteins. Pork use increased 15
percent in shellﬁsh dishes, 13
percent in chicken dishes and
8 percent in both beef dishes
and burger dishes during the
second quarter of 2011.
Pork Menuing Up 7%
“Restaurants are using
Restaurants are offering
pork more often in main
more pork-inspired menus,
dishes and as an accompanywhich have become a tour de
ing ingredient in menu items
force of inventive dishes and
for various reasons,” said
appetizing ingredients. With
Bernadette Noone, director
a 7 percent increase in menu
of the Technomic MenuMonmentions in 2011, pork is now
itor, which tracks additions
being showcased in appetizBetter with Bacon
to leading independent and
ers, entrees and side dishes,
Bacon also has become a
chain restaurant menus.
according to Technomic, a
key menu ingredient, said
“First, the higher cost of
consulting and research ﬁrm Sutton, noting that 69 percent
serving the food industry.
beef has made pork a nice
of all foodservice operators
“Pork is a growing mainpurchase bacon, with demand substitute in combo dishes,”
stay in foodservice,” said
continuing to grow. Technom- Noone said. “The popularJarrod Sutton, assistant vice
ity of bacon is another key
ic’s most recent look at pork
factor. For the last few years,
we’ve seen bacon-related
Pork Used in Combination with Other Proteins
menu items increase by over
on Foodservice Menus
7 percent annually.”
Last year’s launch of the
Pork Be inspiredsm brand has
given the Checkoff a solid
platform to build effective,
successful marketing strategies for a variety of pork
cuts in various foodservice
outlets, Sutton said.
“From our national adincrease
vertising to retail customer
marketing to foodservice,
this call-to-action message is
resonating with consumers,
and it works with foodservice
operators, too,” Sutton said.
Source: Technomic MenuMonitor
president of channel marketing for the Pork Checkoff.
“The Checkoff has worked
hard to help drive pork
demand and has seen much
success in 2011, including the
establishment of pulled pork
as a ‘must have’ on menus.”
Pulled pork has been
showcased at national chains,
such as Quizno’s and Subway,
and regional chains, such as
Togo’s and Pita Pit, alike.
“Pulled pork serves as
a great base for countless
cuisines that are on-trend,”
Sutton said. “It also is a terriﬁc value for operators and
PORK IS HOT
Retail Pork Sales Strong
Although U.S. consumers
are ﬁnding higher meat prices in the grocery store, which
has cut into pork’s sales
volume, the Pork Checkoff is
making progress in the quest
to capture a larger share of
the consumer’s protein dollar.
“Pork is still a great value,
especially when compared
with beef, and we’ve made
progress to increase real per
capita expenditures in the grocery store,” said Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing for the Pork Checkoff.
promotions make a positive
difference, he added.
“Pork cutout values were
strong in the third and fourth
quarters of 2011, which is
when we conducted a lot of
promotions,” Fleming said.
“To keep the momentum
going, we’ll be working with
major retailers this spring
and summer to promote grilling campaigns featuring pork
loin chops, ribs and more.”
Department of Agriculture
and compiled by the U.S.
Meat Export Federation.
“This equated to more
than $55 per head, nearly $12
higher than in 2010,” said
Becca Hendricks, assistant
vice president of international marketing for the Pork
Checkoff. (For more on exports, see pages 18 and 19.)
In 2012, the Pork Checkoff
is supporting a number of
new initiatives to keep pork
top of mind with consumers
at home and abroad. And in
late March, the Checkoff will
conduct additional market
research to test the effectiveness of Pork Be inspired
U.S. Pork Exports Soar
“The world is always changAmericans aren’t the only
ing, and we want to keep our
ones enjoying pork. Foreign
ﬁnger on the pulse of today’s
buyers’ appetite for U.S.
Pork continues to grow, with consumers to ensure that
record-shattering exports put- pork has a prominent place at
the table,” Snyder said.
ting more money in producThis is one of the many
The United States exported ways the National Pork Board
is working to help producers
a record $6.108 billion in
receive a measurable return
export value, up 28 percent
on their Checkoff investment,
from 2010 and up 25 percent
from the previous record
“Two years ago, we set a
year of 2008, according to
statistics released by the U.S. goal to strengthen our domes-
tic pork marketing efforts
and increase our share of the
global pork market,” Novak
said. “We knew that strong
pork markets were going to
be vital in helping producers
meet rising feed costs.”
He added, “Today, we’re on
track, and the fact that ‘pork
is hot’ speaks to the strength
of pork markets that have
helped producers maintain
proﬁtability in uncertain
exports of U.S.
record set in
Chili-Rubbed Pork Chops
with Grilled Pineapple Salsa
When you get into the kitchen with pork, you’ll find yourself thinking about
the possibilities. Pork inspires you to have more fun with flavor. Find your next
delicious meal at PorkBeInspired.com
PORK IS HOT
Sliders with Th
Prep time: 20
ok time: 3 mi
Sautéed Pork Medallions
with Garlic-Lemon Sauce
Pork at 145°F with a 3-minute
is medium rare and it’s the new
© 3ODFH©WKH©WHQ W©õ©PLQXWHV©RQ©HDFK©VLGH©
Get this recipe
and more at
or scan this QR code
Des Moines, IA USA.
©2011 National Pork Board,
by America’s Pork Checkoff
This message funded
2/6/12 3:40 PM
Tenderloin Receives American Heart Association Certiﬁcation
avoring a meal with no regrets is deliciously simple
with juicy, ﬂavorful pork
tenderloin, which ounce-forounce is as lean as a boneless, skinless chicken breast.
Now that pork tenderloin also
is certiﬁed by the American
Heart Association’s iconic
Heart-Check mark, distinguishing it as a heart-healthy
protein in the meat aisle, the
Pork Checkoff is spreading the
word to help inspire healthier
lifestyles in the new year.
“Many consumers and
health professionals are
surprised to learn how lean
pork tenderloin is,” said Adria
Sheil-Brown, manager of
nutrition communications and
research for the Pork Checkoff. “We’re excited about the
Heart-Check mark, which
provided an opportunity to remind retailers and consumers
about pork with our national
In the ﬁrst quarter of this
year, the Pork Checkoff took
a multi-pronged approach to
promote pork tenderloin’s role
in a healthy diet, including:
which has more than 1,000
stores in the Southeast,
included lean cuts of pork
during its weekly advertising
promotions. The chain, which
is among the top 10 grocery
retailers in the United States,
also showcased pork during January and February
through point-of-sale materials in the meat department,
radio ads, targeted online
ads, direct mail to Publix
loyalty card members, social
media and in-store pork
sampling through Publix’s
“In addition, we encouraged bloggers in the area to
talk about pork and promote
the National Pork Board’s
Healthy Eating Challenge,
which was tied to Publix’s
weekly pork specials,” SheilBrown said.
NFEJBTo reach an even
PORK IS HOT
wider audience, the Pork
Checkoff distributed a press
kit to media outlets across
the nation. Spokesperson
Michelle Dudash, a registered dietitian and a Cordon
Bleu-certiﬁed chef, touted
pork tenderloin as a “healthy
eating superhero” and shared
her recipe for Sage Pork Tenderloin Medallion with White
Wine Jus, which has only 224
calories per serving.
Dudash also offered tidbits
on pork’s role in any healthy
lifestyle, noting that:
t$POTVNJOHMPXGBUQSPtein, such as pork tenderloin,
while dieting has been linked
to greater satiety and retention of muscle mass,
Department of Agriculture
cuts of pork have 16 percent
less total fat and 27 percent
less saturated fat, on average,
than 21 years ago and
t64%"SFDFOUMZBOnounced that pork can be
safely cooked to 145 degrees
Fahrenheit, followed by a
three-minute rest time, resulting in juicy, tender pork that’s
more delicious than ever.
t Sponsoring social media sweepstakes. Throughout February, the Pork
Checkoff hosted a Love Me
Tenderloin daily sweepstakes.
Pork fans could visit Facebook.com/PorkBeInspired
and pledge to eat healthier for
a chance to win free pork.
To ﬁnd additional inspiration year-round, the Pork
Checkoff encouraged people
to visit PorkBeInspired.com,
“like” America’s Pork Producers at Facebook.com/PorkBeInspired, “circle” the Pork
Be inspired page on Google+
and follow @AllAboutPork
“The Pork Checkoff will
work with the American
Heart Association and more
grocery retailers in the future
to promote pork tenderloin
with the Heart-Check mark,”
Sheil-Brown said. “We want
to show consumers that pork
tenderloin is easy on the
waistline and offers creative
meal ideas in the kitchen.”
Dudash, a registered dietitian
and a Cordon
chef, says pork
tenderloin is a
Sautéed Pork Medallions
with Lemon-Garlic Sauce
Sautéed Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Lemon-Garlic Sauce are deliciously
lean, incredibly juicy and oh-so-easy to prepare. Discover more inspired ways
to eat better at PorkBeInspired.com
©2012 National Pork Board, Des Moines, IA USA
This message funded by America’s Pork Producers and the Pork Checkoff.
PORK IS HOT
Taste the REVOLUTION
Chef Dishes About the Magic That Is Pork
is the Pork
Checkoff’s director of foodservice marketing.
t’s hard not to get excited about
pork, which continues to captivate
the palate of consumers worldwide.
We recently caught up with Stephen
Gerike, director of foodservice marketing for the Pork Checkoff, as well
as a chef, to get his take on what
everyone is talking about.
Q: Why is pork on-trend?
stars have aligned beautifully for
thanks to two big factors. People’s tastes are
much more global and regional, from southern Italian to Szechuan Chinese to Latin American ﬂavors.
Since pork is so widely consumed in the world, it’s
an authentic protein choice for many cuisines.
Second, a new generation of chefs is looking
for ways to distinguish themselves while running
proﬁtable restaurants, and pork offers countless
possibilities. These chefs are moving away from
the homogeneous, boxed foods that dominated
foodservice from the late 1970s through the 1990s,
and they are rediscovering the craft of making most
of the products they serve from scratch, including
smoking their own bacon and making their own
is the local food movement also
inﬂuencing these trends?
The local food movement is more about community than anything else. The focus is more about
supporting local businesses, rather than speciﬁc
farming methods or breeds. Chefs are redis-
covering quality pork from all breeds,
including Duroc hogs, Duroc/Chester White
crosses and Chester White/Berkshire crosses. The
independent restaurants that are thriving are the
local eateries with high-quality food.
Please visit our website www.porkfoodservice.org and sign
up for our monthly newsletter, The 400.
©2012 National Pork Board, Des Moines, IA USA
This message funded by America’s Pork Producers and the Pork Checkoff.
What pork cuts are hot right now?
Pork shoulder is popular, and pork belly is getting there.
Not only is pork shoulder inexpensive, but it can be sold
at a much higher value in a foodservice setting. Consider
carnitas, which were almost unheard of in most of this
country a decade ago. Now carnitas are on menus everywhere. Also, we’re seeing a new appreciation for charcuterie (dry cured and fermented meats), since sausages
and cured meats, ranging from chorizo to salamis, pack a
lot of ﬂavor in smaller servings.
How are dining trends playing into
pork’s role on cutting-edge menus?
“Social eating” is on the rise, as sharable entrees
become more popular. Pork ﬁts this trend very well
because pork delivers a lot of ﬂavor in a reasonable
is the pork menuing momentum
continuing to build?
Pork ﬁts all day parts, from the centerpiece at
breakfast to hearty, rustic applications for lunch
to sophisticated dinners. The pork buzz is strong
in foodservice, and there’s good news about the
longevity of pork’s popularity.
In Nation’s Restaurant News, for example, the
highly respected columnist Nancy Kruse recently
PORK IS HOT
the “It Protein”
By Ceci Snyder, Pork Checkoff Vice
President of Domestic Marketing
proclaimed that “Pork is the ‘It’ Protein.” (See sidebar.) She noted that “pork mania is nowhere
near saturation, as powerful culinary trends
support continued growth and experimentation.”
What foodservice projects will the
Checkoff focus on in 2012 and 2013?
For pork, the changing world of college and university foodservice is a battleground for share of plate.
The Checkoff will be surveying students about
what inﬂuences their food choices. We also want
to make sure that pork is on the menu and show
students how pork can be part of a healthy diet.
The foodservice sector, in general, offers the
perfect opportunity to integrate the Checkoff’s
Pork® Be inspired® brand. To highlight all that
pork brings to the table, we’ll continue promoting
the Checkoff’s new website for foodservice professionals (porkfoodservice.org); the monthly newsletter, The 400; the popular Pork Summit for chefs
who win Taste of Elegance competitions and Pork
Crawls, which showcase chefs’ innovative pork
menu items to foodservice media professionals.
ork producers can look back at 2011 and ahead at
2012 and see that pork is in an enviable position.
Despite a 9 percent increase in average retail pork prices
in 2011, consumers are continuing to buy pork.
While the total pounds of meat sold at retail in 2011
was down due to rising prices and less domestic availability, pork fared better in measures of domestic demand.
The Pork Checkoff cannot control the available supply,
but we can motivate consumers to pay more for pork at
retail or restaurants. Pork® Be inspired®, one factor in the
marketplace, appears to be assisting our target consumers to choose pork for reasons other than price.
How do we know this? First, retail scanner data show a
2011 sales increase despite record-high prices. We also
measure our target consumer’s attitudes and behaviors
twice a year. The most recent results, gathered in December, show that our target market increasingly
associates inspiration, creativity and versatility with pork. Also, consumers who are aware of the
Checkoff’s pork marketing efforts rate pork’s best qualities
higher and eat more of our product.
And ﬁnally, the measures of consumer pork expenditures and the demand index, both calculated from the
USDA average retail price and pork supply, showed that
2011 was a challenging year for all meats due to higher
prices. However, pork exceeded beef and chick-
en in terms of consumer demand.
The pork industry can turn to several examples of
pork’s success to back up the category data. For example,
a Jan. 14, 2012, article in Nation’s Restaurant News said,
“Product versatility and culinary creativity
have combined to make pork the ‘it protein’
of the moment.” Also, the 2011 USDA announcement
about the new lower recommended cooking temperature was a public relations success for pork. In fact, Good
Housekeeping named the temperature change one of the
top six food stories of 2011, with the article using a pork
photo from the Pork Checkoff.
USDA’s announcement covered all meats, but most
consumers missed that point, probably because Checkoff
staff worked hard to get the message out. And prior to
the announcement, producers, Checkoff staff and the
National Pork Producers Council worked cooperatively so
that decision would ﬁnally happen.
As we head further into 2012, expect more excitement
centered on pork.
PORK IS HOT/ YOUR BOTTOM LINE
U.S. Pork Exports SHATTER Records
By Steve Meyer
and a Pork
he final data are in, and 2011
is now officially a year for the
record books when it comes to
exports of pork and pork variety
meats by the U.S. pork sector.
Last year, 2.255 million metric
tons (4.971 billion pounds) of
pork muscle cuts, pork variety
meats and hog sausage casings
valued at $6.109 billion dollars
left our shores.
Both numbers are far and
away record highs, with export
volume eclipsing the prior
record, set in 2008, by 10.5
percent and the export value
breaking last year’s record
$4.780 billion by 27.8 percent.
What a year! Let’s consider
China/Hong Kong – The big
news, of course, was the ascent
of China/Hong Kong to a clear
No. 3 position among export
markets for U.S. pork muscle
cuts (see Figure 1). The two
destinations (which most analysts consider just one market)
imported 262,753 metric tons,
product weight, of U.S. pork
cuts and carcasses last year.
That number was more than
double (+134 percent) the 2010
total and was within 3 percent
of the record set in 2008.
More importantly, the value
of pork shipments to China/
Hong Kong last year rose dramatically from both 2010 and
the 2008 record (see Figure 2).
Last year’s value, $569.808 million, was up 194 percent from
2010 and 14.6 percent from
2008. The average per pound
value of pork products going to
China/Hong Kong was 18 percent higher than in 2008.
Japan and Mexico – These
countries remain our two largest pork markets in both volume
and value. A record 477,678
metric tons of U.S. Pork valued
at a record $1.936 billion – up
18.5 percent and 20.9 percent,
respectively, from 2010 – went
to Japan last year.
Sales to Mexico fell 1.3 percent in 2011 to 379,091 metric
tons, but the value increased 5.4
percent to just over $816 million.
Sales to Mexico were slowed
in the second half of 2011 by a
drop in the peso’s value.
Canada – Canada remains
our fourth largest pork customer in terms of volume and third
largest in terms of value. Shipments northward increased by
14.6 percent last year to reach
nearly 263 thousand metric
tons, while value grew by 19.3
percent from 2010. Note the
steady growth of both figures
over time. The $711.75 million
of pork sent to Canada last year
was far and away a record.
South Korea – Shipments
to South Korea, spurred last
spring by the foot-and-mouth
disease outbreak that resulted
in the loss of an estimated
30-35 percent of Korea’s swine
herd, ended the year more than
twice as large as in 2010 and
53 percent larger than the previous record set in 2008.
The value set a record at
$441.5 million, up 157
percent from 2010 and
84 percent from 2008.
These top five markets
accounted for 83.1 percent of total export volume and
84.1 percent of the total value.
What About Variety Meats?
U.S. pork variety meat
exports are dominated by
China/Hong Kong and Mexico,
which took 75.2 percent of all
U.S. pork variety meat exports
last year. The two markets
accounted for 74.3 percent of
the total value of 2011 variety
China/Hong Kong was the
No.1 customer for U.S. pork
Figure 1 – U.S. Pork Exports – Volume
Thousand Metric Tons
PORK IS HOT/ YOUR BOTTOM LINE
Figure 2 – U.S. Pork Exports – Value
What Does It Mean to You?
The impact of record U.S.
Pork exports by the numbers:
in total pork, pork variety meat
and hog sausage casing exports
accounts for $55.10 for each of
the 110.864 million U.S. hogs
that went to market in 2011.
tons (3.865 billion pounds) of
product-weight muscle cut
exports equates roughly to
5.16 billion pounds of carcassweight equivalent pork exports.
That represents a record 22.7
percent of total carcass-weight
pork production, breaking the
previous record of 19.9 percent
set in 2008. A higher percentage of production going to
exports means higher risks and
accentuates the importance
and value of biosecurity at the
borders and on our farms.
tLast year’s records were set
with a relatively cheap U.S. dollar, which has strengthened some
since mid-2011. This has made
U.S. Pork more expensive for
some buyers and relatively more
expensive than pork from some
competitors. But a “stronger”
Figure 3 – U.S. Pork Variety Meat Exports – Volume
Thousand Metric Tons
variety meats for the second
straight year, importing 205,637
metric tons (see Figure 3)
valued at just over $279 million, up 25.5 percent and 47.9
percent, respectively, from the
records set in 2010.
Mexico was the No. 2 market, with 145,549 metric tons
valued at $190.3 million. Those
figures are 2.1 percent lower
and 7.7 percent higher, respectively from 2010.
dollar is a far cry from a “strong”
dollar. Our product remains a
bargain for most countries.
becoming more important. The
Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver estimates
that pork by-products, which
include variety meats, skin, etc.,
reached a record value of $23
per head last summer and were
near $22 per head at year’s
end. That is double the level of
just five years ago.
ed last year with South Korea,
Colombia and Panama promise
to add significantly to these
totals over the next decade.
A Major Change Since ‘86
The United States has gone
from being the world’s largest pork importer in 1986 to
its current status as the largest
exporter. The fact that domestic pork exports total more than
20 percent of our output has
opened terrific opportunities
for U.S. producers. Continuing
the trend will not be easy, but
if it were, anyone could do it,
right? Here’s to everyone who
is up to the challenge.
New Videos Showcase Modern Production
By Darcy Maulsby
hile Brad and Peggy
Greenway freely share
information about their
wean-to-ﬁnish pork operation
with anyone who asks, not
everyone can come to their
South Dakota farm for a ﬁrsthand look. That’s why the
couple is bringing their farm
to consumers through eight
new YouTube videos from the
“As I’ve given speeches for
the Pork Checkoff’s Operation Main Street program,
I’ve realized how little people
understand about modern
agriculture,” said Brad, a
third-generation farmer from
Mitchell, S.D., who serves on protect pigs’ health and how
the climate-controlled conthe National Pork Board.
ﬁnement barns provide better
animal care than when they
raised pigs outdoors.
What’s in a Name?
tThree Generations of
You might wonder about Checkoff video titles Farmers – The Greenways
that talk about “keeping pigs happy” or “get- share their passion for
ting rid of the stink.” The titles and key words
farming and explain why it’s
are carefully selected, according to Teresa
important for them to carry
Roof, public relations manager for the Pork
on the family tradition.
“I love being out here, and
“When consumers search online, we want
it gives me great pride to
them to easily ﬁnd accurate information about work with my dad every day
how pigs are raised today,” Roof said.
and raise my son and daughter on the farm,” Brad said.
“It’s a great way of life.”
In 2011, the Greenways
tProtecting the Well-Being
participated in video shoots
of Pigs – Providing the best
to show the complete cycle
possible care for their aniof pork production on their
mals is important to Brad and
farm. The videos, found at
Peggy, who explain how their
youtube.com/porkcheckbarns shelter the pigs from
inclement weather and protKeeping Pigs Happy
vide animals plenty of room
and Healthy – Brad opens
to move around so they can
the barn doors to show why
socialize with each other.
changes to their operation
With the videos from the
and a recently
and his family,
YouTube channel offers 48
them out at
munity – Brad and Peggy live
out the industry’s We CareSM
ethical principle of contributing to a better quality of life
in their community by raising
money for college scholarships for high school seniors
and donating food to the local
Iowa Producer Invites
Consumers to “Visit”
Todd Wiley, a third generation Iowa pork producer,
also has opened up his pork
operation to consumers. The
Checkoff recently debuted a
series of videos taken at his
farm. These include:
%PDLJOHPG1JHMFUTo Todd and
his employees demonstrate
and explain the process of
castration and tail docking of
piglets while showing proper
handling techniques of the
piglets and how the piglets
react to these procedures.
OPERATION MAIN STREET
Pork’s Story Shared 5,000 Times
#JSUIo Providing great care
to mother pigs as they give
birth to piglets is a top priority for Todd and his employees. Todd explains how stalls
protect the sow and piglets.
Todd shows how they use
manure to grow the crops
that end up feeding the pigs
on his farm.
with consumers, says Peggy
Harnessing the Power
of Social Media
Social media tools like YouTube offer a powerful way for
farmers to connect with the
non-farm public, said Peggy.
“It’s vital to tell agriculture’s story from the
farmer’s perspective, and
I’m not afraid to show
people what we do.”
While Brad accomplishes this through
public speaking, Peggy
is more comfortable with
social media tools. She is
active on Facebook and also
began posting Twitter updates
last June. And she listed the
links to the YouTube videos
featuring the Greenways in
her family’s Christmas letter.
“I want people to know that
farmers protect the environment and focus on animal
well-being as we produce safe,
high-quality food,” said Peggy,
who enjoys sharing farm facts
with friends online. “Social
media empowers us to show
how we live the pork industry’s
We Care principles and do our
best to keep improving.”
merican pork producers recently celebrated
the 5,000th Operation Main Street (OMS)
presentation, which was delivered by Arcola, Ill.,
pork producer Pat Titus to the Ambucs Club in
Danville, Ill. The Checkoff program is helping
millions of consumers understand the We Care
principles pork producers practice every day on
“The OMS program has allowed me to have
a dialogue with consumers who rarely have any
contact with agriculture,” Titus said. “It’s really
up to us to tell our story and connect with consumers so they know that
we are committed to producing good, safe food, and to caring for our animals and the environment.”
Through the Pork Checkoff-funded community outreach program, more
than 150,000 people have heard firsthand from the almost 950 OMS
volunteer speakers in more than 30 states about how the pork industry
is working to improve how food is raised and to provide consumers with
healthy choices. Media coverage of their collective speeches has reached
an estimated audience of more than 24 million.
OMS speakers are reaching out to consumers, youth and important
opinion leaders, such as dietitians who can also earn Continuing Professional Education credits for attending an OMS speech. The Pork Checkoff
also has developed partnerships with the National FFA Organization and
the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) to extend the
OMS program’s value beyond the pork industry.
Today, OMS speakers have reached beyond their local civic organizations to connect with consumers in cities such as Chicago, Detroit and
San Francisco. They also are educating opinion leaders, setting the record
straight with the news media and utilizing social media to reach influencers.
To speak up for pork and join OMS, call (800) 456-7675.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Watch for the “New and Improved”
PQA Plus® Program in 2013
By Dr. Paul Sundberg
of science and
for the Pork
here will be plenty going
on behind the scenes in the
coming year as we develop an
updated version of Pork Quality
Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®)
for rollout at the 2013 World
Pork Expo. The revamped
program will build on a legacy
Since its introduction in 1989,
the Pork Quality Assurance
(PQA) program has been a model for how to build and support
a food-safety producer-education certification program. The
program has evolved through
the years to meet the changing
needs of pork producers, packers, retailers and consumers.
In 1995, for example, PQA
incorporated the standardized
Hazard Analysis and Critical
Control Points (HACCP) system
that more packing plants were
adopting. As a result, different
packers weren’t imposing different standards on producers.
Enter PQA Plus in 2010 to
address increased customer
concerns about animal wellbeing, as well as food safety
issues. The program’s system of
certiﬁcation, assessments and
veriﬁcation has proven invaluable in advancing the industry’s
commitment to continuous
Staying on the Leading Edge
This spirit of continuous
improvement also is guiding
the latest revisions to PQA Plus.
And pork producers are guiding
the revamping process every
step of the way.
A PQA Plus Task Force has
already met and given its direction for the revision, which will:
t Expand information on antibiotic use and food safety,
t Ensure that animal handling
information is compatible
with the Transporter Quality
Assurance® program and
t Revise and rearrange the
Good Production Practices.
The task force members also
have talked about customizing the training, based on the
needs of the producer audience
and providing opportunities for
more online training.
Each of the Pork Board
subject committees – Swine
Health, Animal Welfare, Public
Health and Producer Safety,
Pork Safety, Quality and Human
Nutrition, Environment and
Producer Services – will be
meeting early this year to discuss the specifics of the task
force’s direction. The producerled committees will draft the
language and content for the
new PQA Plus program.
Throughout the process, the
Checkoff’s board of directors
will receive updates and will
have the ultimate authority for
review of the program’s content
After a working draft is complete in the coming months,
there will be another round of
reviews. The U.S. Food and
Drug Administration’s Center
for Veterinary Medicine will be
asked to look at the content
to ensure that it is consistent
with federal guidelines and
regulations regarding residue
avoidance. The American
Association of Swine Veterinarians also will review the draft
to ensure that it is compatible
with how veterinarians interact
with pork producers and deliver
Next will come extensive
field testing of the program.
The updated PQA Plus content
(including new professional
photography), delivery, supporting materials and training
materials will all be tested with
producers to see what does –
and doesn’t – work.
FInally, the committees will
review all this feedback before
the Pork Checkoff’s board of
directors ﬁnalizes and approves
the new PQA Plus program.
While a year and a half
sounds like a long time to
complete this ambitious project, we’ll be very busy in the
months ahead. We’re confident
that the results will be worth
the effort and look forward
to unveiling the new and
improved PQA Plus program at
the 2013 World Pork Expo.
COSTS A LOT LESS
THAN YOU THINK
When pigs get sick, choose Denagard® (tiamulin) Liquid Concentrate, the only water soluble formulation that treats both
swine pneumonia (Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae) and swine dysentery (Brachyspira [Serpulina] hyodysenteriae).
Easy to mix and convenient to use, Denagard LC delivers fast, effective control—you’ll typically see improvements
within 24 to 48 hours. Plus, its new, bigger bottle means you can treat more pigs without spending more.
It’s like getting 7 percent free.
To help sick pigs get well sooner, see your Novartis Animal Health representative or call 1-800-843-3386.
The label contains complete use information including cautions and warning. Always read and follow the label and use directions.
Denagard is a registered trademark of Novartis AG. © 2010 Novartis Animal Health US, Inc. Greensboro, NC 27408
www.livestock.novartis.com (800) 843-3386
BY STEVE MEYER
Charting a Course Toward Improved
SOW LIFETIME PRODUCTIVITY
By Mike King and Lora Berg
ow productive sows are
during their lifetimes has
sizeable economic and animal
welfare implications for the
U.S. pork industry. That’s
why the Pork Checkoff created the Sow Lifetime Productivity Task Force to chart a
“road map” of research tactics
to improve sow retention
rates and pig survival.
The task force, made up of
leading industry experts, has
set a goal of improving sow
lifetime productivity by 30
percent over the next seven
years, according to Chris
Hostetler, director of animal
science for the Pork Checkoff.
Sow lifetime productivity
is largely affected by two
measures – how long a sow
remains in the herd and how
many pigs that sow produces.
It’s no surprise that those
productivity numbers directly
According to Steve Pollmann, president, Western
LLC, the ﬁnancial importance
of improving sow lifetime productivity is easily illustrated.
An increase of 0.5 pigs per
litter is worth about $27.6 million to the U.S. pork industry
annually. Also, one open-sow
day costs about $2.12 with
today’s market prices.
Ironically, sow lifetime
productivity is not commonly
measured or benchmarked
and can have a high variation
under commercial conditions. For example, about 42
percent of all females have 19
or fewer piglets per year.
and spread the cost of gilt
development over a greater
number of pigs (see graph).
Billy Flowers, professor of
reproductive physiology at
North Carolina State University, said some producers
have begun to shift their focus from increasing pigs per
sow per year to increasing a
sow’s productive lifetime.
“I think we may be close
30 Pigs Per Sow Per Year? to the biological limit of what
But what number should
some sows can farrow in one
producers shoot for? The U.S. litter, with pigs having a reapork industry has been talksonable chance of survival,”
ing about numbers such as
“Sows can farrow 18 pigs
30 pigs per sow per year, but
there may be a better way of
looking at the big picture.
“Pigs per sow per year
is a popular number that is
easy for many producers to
measure,” Hostetler said. “We
need to start thinking about
he Pork Checkoff Sow Lifetime Productivthe lifetime productivity of
ity Task Force recommends research prithe sow, incorporating the
be concentrated on three main areas:
number of pigs farrowed and
sow life in the herd through
also the length of time that
on increasing average
the sow is producing pigs.”
per sow and decreasFor example, a 30-percent
the early parities.
improvement in average
of pigs weaned
lifetime productivity is equivaper
litter size at
lent to going from an average
parity of 3.5 to 4.6, Hostetler
and resaid. This would result in an
additional 10 to 15 pigs produced during a sow’s lifetime
Pork Checkoff Sets
is the total quality pigs weaned
per sow over her lifetime in the herd,
from the time a female is eligible for
breeding until leaving the herd.
– Deﬁned by the Checkoff’s Sow Lifetime
Productivity Task Force.
born alive, but most people
will tell you that seven to
eight of those pigs are so
small that they may not survive,” Flowers said. “The ﬂip
side would be a sow staying
in production one to two parities longer and still weaning
10 to 11 viable pigs.”
A Moving Target
On the surface, a sow’s
lifetime can be deﬁned as the
number of days of herd life.
However, the deﬁnition of a
sow’s lifetime differs from
one system to the next, depending on when the female
enters the herd.
For example, producers
typically enter females in the
herd after completion of gilt
development, when estrus is
ﬁrst observed, when bred or
when conﬁrmed pregnant.
This can have a large impact
on the days of herd life.
Until a consistent day
of entry is agreed upon by
the entire industry, each
producer needs to set goals
for sow lifetime productivity
within his or her own herd,
Also, there are differences
in measuring productivity from one producer to
the next. Some producers
monitor total number of pigs
weaned, while others extrapolate that to pounds of pork
That brings up the question of focusing on the
number of full-value pigs
that a sow produces. But this
number may be difﬁcult to
measure, Hostetler said.
Gilt Development Plays
Key Role in Productivity
may be the ﬁrst place to focus
in improving sow lifetime
productivity. Spreading the
cost of gilt development over
a greater number of litters,
and thus a greater number of
pigs, can help producers gain
Ken Stalder, animal science professor at Iowa State
University, said producers
invest signiﬁcant resources in
each sow through the initial
Cost per Pig vs. Useful Life of Sow
Relative results were generally intensive to changing
cost of replacement gilt and feed costs.
Total Cost per Weaned Pig ($)
Sow lifetime productivity
Gilt development is a
major cost of producing
a weaned pig. As the
total number of pigs
produced by a female
increases with each additional parity, that cost
is spread over more
pigs, effectively lowering the costs.
Parities Before Culling
“An increase of 0.5 pigs per litter is worth about $27.6 MILLION
to the U.S. pork industry annually.“
– Steve Pollmann, president,
Western Operations, Murphy-Brown LLC
Top Reasons Producers Cull Sows
purchase price, gilt development and vaccination, among
“So a sow needs to give
sufﬁcient output before that
investment is proﬁtable,”
Stalder said. “If you don’t
have enough sows that are
achieving that goal, you are
slowly chipping away at your
operation’s equity. This can
often sneak up on producers.”
“We may be close
to the biological limit
of what some sows
can farrow in one
litter, with pigs
having a reasonable
chance of survival.”
– Billy Flowers, North
Carolina State University
What’s Down the Road?
Improvements in sow
lifetime productivity will
come from improvement in
a variety of areas, including genetics, nutrition, sow
housing and management,
newborn pig management,
animal health and environment, Hostetler said.
‘Although, the pork industry continues to increase
the number of pigs born per
litter, there are many other
opportunities to improve
herd productivity and producers’ bottom line,” Hostetler
said. “Checkoff research is
helping ﬁnd solutions that
producers can implement at
the farm level.”
he U.S. sow herd experiences a greater than 50 percent replacement rate
annually, an average parity at culling of 3.5 to 3.8 and fewer than 40 pigs
produced during a sow’s lifetime, according to Ken Stalder, an Iowa State University animal science professor, who has reviewed available databases.
The ﬁve most common reasons sows leave the
1) Reproductive failure
2) Feet and leg soundness
5) Post-weaning issues
While reproductive failure tops the list of reasons that sows are culled, recent Checkoff-funded research by Stalder suggests that 86 percent of females
are culled for this reason although their reproductive tracts appeared normal
at harvest. Taken together, this indicates that when sows are being culled for
reproductive failure, there is actually an underlying factor.
Feet and leg soundness is the second-most identiﬁable reason why sows
leave the breeding herd, said Stalder, adding that the scope of the problems
related to soundness issues is probably underestimated.
“When producers cull sows, they check the box for the problem that they last
observed.” Stalder said. “So, for example, producers check the box ‘did not
conceive.’ If the sow was lame or had feet and legs soundness issues, she may
not have had sufﬁcient feed intake during lactation.”
He added, “Thus the real reason the female did not return to estrus in a
timely manner or did not conceive is that she got too thin resulting from a lack
of feed intake caused by structural problems or lameness.”
Pork producers need to make sure that they are properly identifying the real
cause of problems rather than the latest symptom of a much broader problem.
The Pork Checkoff offers education materials, such as a heat detection poster
and a feet and leg soundness poster, to help employees improve their livestock
management skills, which in turn will help improve sow lifetime productivity.
Gilt Selection Criteria – Traits to Examine
Long level rump
High tail setting
Uniform level top
Bold spring of rib
Correct set of knee
Cushion to pasterns
Source: The Pork Checkoff’s Pocket Guide for the Evaluation of Structural,
Feet, Leg and Reproductive Soundness in Replacement Gilts.
African Swine Fever Poses
By Mike King
Dyou. African swine fever
on’t let the name fool
(ASF) can now be found in
many parts of Russia and
is threatening the eastern
European countries of
Belarus, Latvia and Ukraine.
It may still seem like a distant
threat, but ASF is as close as
the next international flight
carrying contaminated meat
or produce into the United
States, which would cause a
nightmare scenario both on
and off the farm.
Defense Is Best Offense
Although confirmation of
a foreign animal disease in
the United States would be
“a very bad day” for the U.S.
pork industry. Patrick Webb,
Pork Checkoff director of
swine health programs, said
the industry has been reviewing efforts to help prevent
that from ever happening.
(See “Searching for America’s
Most Unwanted,” Pork Checkoff Report, March 2011.)
“We’ve cooperated with
many organizations across
the country, including the
U.S. Customs and Border
Patrol,” Webb said. “Specifically, we’ve reviewed
that agency’s protocols and
provided input that may help
prevent contaminated items
from reaching this country.
We are continually looking
for ways to ensure the bios-
What You Should Know about African Swine Fever
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food-safety or human-health issue.
USBOTNJTTJPOJTCZJOGFDUFEQJHTNFBUTDSBQTBOEFRVJQNFOUFeral pigs and
wild boars also can harbor and transmit the virus.
t ASF is not present in the United States.)PXFWFSJUJTDPNNPOJONBOZ
No treatment or vaccine exists, TPRVJDLEJBHOPTJTGPMMPXFECZIVNBOF
ecurity of our nation’s herds.”
The implications of ASF
reaching U.S. shores would
mean untold numbers of sick
and dying animals – an obvious concern for producers
and their veterinary partners
who strive to maintain good
herd health and animal wellbeing, Webb said. However,
that’s only the beginning of
the havoc that the menacing
disease would cause.
Economics Drive Precaution
U.S. Pork exports provide
significant value to each U.S.
market pig, but our markets
could disappear overnight
and take years to be reestablished if a disease such as
ASF was confirmed domestically, Webb said.
The value of U.S. Pork
exports has grown from $1.97
per head in 1986 to more than
$55 in 2010. A 2008 economic
analysis conducted by economists Ron Plain, Glenn Grimes
and Steve Meyer, estimated
that the total income of all U.S.
pork producers improved $7.4
billion over the last 22 years,
thanks to increased exports.
Aside from what pork
exports mean to the U.S. market, the cost of controlling or
eradicating a foreign animal
disease, such as ASF, would
be staggering. According to
Lisa Becton, Pork Checkoff
director of swine health, the
current outbreak in Russia is
estimated to cost $1 billion to
clean up (see sidebar).
continued on page 28
Checkoff Visits ASF Hot Spot: Russia
Current Movement of African
Swine Fever in Russia
Epidemic area and ASF
Zone of immediate risk
Remote cases in Russia
Source: FGI-ARRIAH, Vladimir, Russia
U.S. delegation of swine health experts visited
Russia late last year to learn how their Russian
counterparts and National Union of Swine Breeders are dealing with the latest outbreak of African
Swine Fever (ASF) there.
“We were pleased by the sharing of information
that took place during our visit,” said Lisa Becton,
the Pork Checkoff’s director of swine health. “We
wanted to learn about their protocols in dealing
with ASF and other diseases so that we could be
better prepared here at home.”
In 2011, the spread of ASF continued in Russia,
spread by live pig movement, contaminated feeds
and meat products. Of Russia’s 90 regions, 17 are
currently involved with ASF outbreaks. The news
so far in 2012 is no better, with tens of thousands
of infected pigs euthanized to stem the spread of
In the neighboring country of Georgia, where
ASF has raged for years, Becton reported that the
infection most likely occurred due to contaminated
swill feeding from Mozambique, Africa. The initial
infection occurred in the southern Caucuses and
then spread into Russia. Garbage feeding, contaminated meat scraps and even illegal disposal
of carcasses continues to cause infection in both
domestic and wild hog populations.
“None of our hosts were very optimistic about
the short-term eradication of ASF in Russia,” Becton said. “It’s more realistic to deal with containment and control at this point, focusing on prevention of additional areas of new infection.”
From an economic standpoint, the Russian
veterinary authorities estimate ASF control and
eradication efforts will run about $1 billion. Aside
from covering the expenses from the country’s few
western-style commercial operations, this amount
also must cover the costs of reaching Russia’s many
small farms that still have free-range pigs with little
or no biosecurity in place.
The Russians extended an invitation for additional collaboration, communication and visits.
Becton said a major goal would be to further develop and validate U.S. testing capabilities for ASF.
“We’re excited about the possibility of returning
to Russia to learn more about this disease and how
to deal with it in a real-world setting,” Becton said.
“It also reminds us of the critical importance of taking preventive steps in the United States to ensure
that we don’t get ASF here.”
continued from page 26
Photos courtesy of Plum Island Animal Disease Center and The Center
for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University.
Diagnostics: A Critical Tool
Because no treatment or
vaccine currently exists for
ASF, fast diagnosis is critical to curtail its spread since
mortality is nearly 100 percent. Also complicating the
situation is the fact that ASF
can take 14 days to incubate,
thereby creating carrier pigs.
That means simply waiting
on the clinical signs of high
fever and pigs going off feed
and becoming lethargic isn’t
a viable option.
“ASF can mimic many
other diseases, such as classical swine fever, or even
erysipelas, salmonellosis or
African swine fever (ASF) symptoms often include
mucous from the snout, along with moderate
anorexia and listlessness. Skin blotching and
lesions on extremities are also common visible
signs. However, ASF can take up to 19 days postinfection before outward symptoms can be seen,
making pigs possibly go unnoticed as carriers.
actinobacillosis,” Becton said.
“We must have the ability to
quickly ascertain whether the
disease in question is ASF
and take appropriate action.”
According to Richard
Hesse, a virologist at Kansas
State University and member
of the Pork Checkoff’s Swine
Health Committee, the U.S.
pork industry must continually seek new ways to improve
“We can detect a disease,
such as ASF, now with the
real-time PCR assay, but
validating laboratories to
run the tests is not as easy,”
said Hesse, adding that a
return trip to Russia (page
27) would be beneficial to test
U.S. assays with those of the
Russians and on pigs actually infected with ASF. “This
would validate our PCR system for ASF infection.”
Looking to the future,
Hesse points to the need for
additional funding of nextgeneration diagnostics.
“Serological screening for
ASF and other foreign animal
diseases is where we need to
go next,” Hesse said.
Prevention Is Paramount
The lack of a vaccine for
ASF adds another level of
complexity when trying to
prevent or control an outbreak. This makes planning
at the national, state and local
“Keeping ASF out of this
country is critical to the protection of the national herd,”
Hesse said. “Inspection of
meat products prior to or
upon entry into the United
States is the front-line strategy in keeping ASF out.”
Surveillance and rapid
reporting are vital in the
battle against ASF and all
foreign animal diseases. Becton advises producers who
choose to feed food scraps to
be sure to follow current U.S.
federal regulations. In Russia, improper feeding of food
scraps is one of the primary
routes of disease transmission, along with pig-to-pig
spread, including wild boars.
At the farm level, Becton
underscores the importance
of practicing good biosecurity.
“This is the most important
link in keeping the disease
out of farms,” she said. “With
the growth in the feral pig
population in the United
States, this is more important
With improving diagnostics, international
collaboration, a renewed call
to adhere to strict biosecurity
and concerted efforts to find
a vaccine, the future of the
U.S. pork industry is one that
doesn’t have to include the
scourge of ASF.
Becton added, “It’s a matter
of preparation and vigilance.”
For More Information...
For biosecurity tips, visit
pork.org. Also, visit Iowa
State University’s Center for
Food Security and Public
Health at www.cfsph.iastate.
edu for more resources about
ASF and other diseases.
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2011 Pork Checkoff Annual Report
Fellow Pork Producers,
Opportunity can be found in every challenge; change should be evaluated and embraced,
rather than feared. And there is always room to keep learning. In 2011, the pork industry did
It is my privilege to introduce our 2011 Annual Report which highlights some of the key
accomplishments that our Pork Checkoff investment provided:
t One major change for the pork industry was the launch of the new brand campaign,
Pork ® Be inspired.® The launch of this new brand-positioning campaign for pork included
the ﬁrst national television advertising in several years. Early research results show the new
campaign is having a positive impact on per capita spending for pork by consumers.
t The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection service, using research funded through the Pork
Checkoff, lowered the recommended cooking temperature of pork muscle cuts from 160
degrees to 145 degrees, followed by a three-minute rest. This announcement is expected
to have a long-term, positive impact on pork production.
t Sustainability is a buzz word that continues to be part of everyday conversations. The pork
industry embraced the term and completed a major research project that quantiﬁed the
pork industry’s carbon footprint. From that research, which showed that pork production is
a very minor contributor to the country’s carbon footprint, the Checkoff created the Carbon
Footprint Calculator, an easy-to-use computer tool.
t While we as an industry still have a lot of work to do in Pork Quality Assurance® Plus,
certiﬁcations reached an all-time high. More than 53,000 producers are now certiﬁed and
sites representing 80 percent of all pigs have been assessed by a trained advisor. This is a
good start, but we must continue to keep learning and improving.
t Exports continue to be another bright spot for the pork industry. In 2010, exports of U.S.
Pork set a record at more than $6 billion in export value.
t As the pork industry continues to ﬁnd ways to improve the image of the industry, it
provided personal and ﬁnancial leadership that resulted in the formation of the U.S.
Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, a coordinated effort by more than 60 agricultural
organizations to build trust with key audiences and key consumers.
t And we can’t overlook the continuing research efforts that undergird and direct the
planning and programs that the National Pork Board implements.
The points above are only a few of the highlights. I encourage you to review the remainder of
this report. If you have questions, your board members would be happy to respond. You can
ﬁnd their contact information on pork.org, or contact the Pork Checkoff Service Center at
One ﬁnal thought as I reﬂect on 2011 and the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the
Pork Checkoff. There will always be new demands and challenges, but we are blessed with
dedicated producers and a forward-thinking organization.
President of the National Pork Board
2011 National Pork Board of Directors
Leading a world-class food industry.
Responsible. Sustainable. Professional. Profitable.
The National Pork Board harnesses the resources of all producers to
capture opportunity, address challenges and satisfy customers.
The National Pork Board will protect the rights and ability of U.S. farmers
to produce pork in a socially responsible and cost-competitive manner.
Pork Quality Assurance® Plus
(PQA Plus®) certiﬁcation
reached an all-time high. More
than 53,000 producers are now
certiﬁed. Additionally, sites representing 80 percent of all pigs
have been assessed by a trained
advisor. Also, the ﬁrst round of
independent third-party veriﬁcations resulted in visits to approximately 100 sites selected at
random to help identify ways to
improve the PQA Plus program.
Humane euthanasia is an
important aspect of pork
production and is sometimes
the best option for the wellbeing of the pig. An On-Farm
Euthanasia of Swine training
module was completed, translated to Spanish and distributed to producers in 2011. To
receive a copy of the module,
call (800) 456-7675.
of Swine Recommendations
for the Producer
80% of the U.S. pig inventory has
achieved PQA Plus site status
The Pork Checkoff has made
strides in utilizing social media
to reach consumers who want
to know more about how pork is
raised. In 2011, 18 short videos
showcasing producers on their
farms explaining everything from
animal care to the environment
were posted to the Checkoff’s
YouTube Channel, www.youtube.com/porkcheckoff, resulting in a 57 percent increase in
video views over 2010. Also, the
Checkoff’s twitter handle
@PorkCheckoff saw a 146 percent increase in followers over a
The Pork Checkoff’s YouTube Channel
viewership by 57% over 2010.
Easy-to-use software, PC-based tool
Usable for sow farms and wean-to-ﬁnish production
Data saved and recalled by users only
Helps identify on-farm areas for
alternative inputs/improved efﬁciency
t Helps quantify pork industry’s already small
carbon footprint at individual farm level
pork.org | 800.456.7675
The National Pork Board completed a major research project
that quantiﬁed the pork industry’s
carbon footprint. From that research, which showed that pork
production is a very minor contributor to the country’s carbon
footprint, the Checkoff created
the Carbon Footprint Calculator,
an easy-to-use computer tool. The
calculator allows any producer to
calculate the carbon footprint of
his or her operation. It also helps
producers identify ways to lower
energy costs and to reduce their
carbon footprint in the process.
The pork industry, led by the National Pork Board,
provided personal and ﬁnancial leadership that
resulted in the formation of the U.S. Farmers and
Ranchers Alliance, a coordinated effort by more
than 60 agricultural organizations to build trust
with key audiences and key consumers. National
Pork Board member Dale Norton, a Michigan producer, serves as the alliance’s treasurer and on its
The National Pork Board, working with
more than 200 pork producers and others in
the pork industry, completed a vulnerabilities assessment that it is using to minimize
the industry’s vulnerability in 10 speciﬁc
areas, including the possibility of foot and
mouth disease in this country.
As Farmers and Ranchers,
We’ve Raised Prey Much Everything.
Except Our Voices.
Join us in leading a conversation about the importance of today’s agriculture and our
commitment to answering American’s questions about how we raise our food.
Begin by sharing your voice atwww.USFRAonline.org.
The National Pork Board will refresh and reposition pork’s image to
increase domestic and international consumer demand.
Pork® Be inspired,® the new brand
campaign, debuted in April 2011.
It targets more than 82 million
Americans who already cook, eat and
love pork and is showing many signs
of early success. Although there was
less meat available domestically,
according to retail scanner data, total
pork sales increased 2.2 percent in
2011. Despite record retail prices,
consumers are buying more pork.
The average daily unique visits per month
for PorkBeInspired.com were at over
In May, the U.S. Food Safety and
Inspection service, using research
funded through the Pork Checkoff,
lowered the recommended cooking
temperature for pork muscle cuts
from 160 degrees to 145 degrees, followed by a three-minute rest. This announcement generated unprecedented media coverage at less than $1 per
1,000 consumers reached.
Pork also had a great year in foodservice. McDonald’s
McRib® sandwich was promoted nationally for the second
time, and Quiznos, Subway and other restaurants reported
great success with pulled pork. According to Technomic, a
foodservice research ﬁrm, pork menu items increased
7 percent over the past year.
In 2011 the Checkoff saw tremendous
growth within its consumer social media
channels and on PorkBeInspired.com.
Pork® Be inspired ® on Facebook has
grown from 1,675 in 2010 to over 45,000
fans. The year ended with over 3,900
followers on the @AllAboutPork Twitter
handle, doubling the number of followers
from a year ago. Also the average unique
visits per month for PorkBeInspired.com
were at over 100,000.
Pork menu items
October was a record-breaking month for pork and the
nation’s third-ranked retailer, Costco. The Checkofffunded multi-faceted promotion grew Costco’s pork sales
by 18 percent in October.
The Pork Checkoff was a key participant in the
development of standard operating guidelines to prevent,
respond and recover from a foreign animal disease (FAD)
event and to support the continuity of operations and
recovery. An economic model was developed to predict
the economic losses across agricultural commodities
due to a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak and a Classical
swine fever outbreak. Information from this model is
being used to modify existing response strategies and
plans for the pork industry. In addition, work began on
the secure pork-supply plan, which will address and
promote interstate commerce and business continuity for
pork producers in an FAD event.
Exports of U.S. Pork set a
record at $6.108 billion in
value, with the U.S. exporting
4.97 billion pounds. Export
value averaged more than
$55 per head, with more
than 27.5 percent of pork and
pork variety meat production
Competitive Global Advantage
The National Pork Board will pursue strategies to enable U.S. pork
producers to remain highly competitive, long-term, on a global basis.
The Checkoff’s Science and Technology
Department supports international trade, with
input from the U.S. Meat Export Federation and
the American Pork Export Trading Company, to
conﬁrm or disprove international standards and
to open up and reinforce existing export markets.
In 2011, a research project focused on antibiotic
residue testing and the relationship to practical
treatment and withdrawal times for penicillin in
sows. The research results will be used to identify
guidelines for usage and delivery, appropriate
withdrawal times and incidences of false positives.
As the pork industry continues to have challenges
with emerging zoonotic and antibiotic resistant
diseases, such as inﬂuenza and MRSA, the
Checkoff has worked to identify research priorities
from technical working groups and to manage
issues and claims from those who oppose livestock
agriculture. In 2011, the Checkoff contracted with
an occupational health and safety subject-matter
expert to manage and assist with occupational
health and safety-related projects and issues.
Additionally a MRSA subject matter expert has
been retained to write a white paper on the current
status of MRSA in the pork industry.
Pork safety issues throughout the pork chain
were identiﬁed in 2011 based on the Pork Safety,
Quality and Human Nutrition Committee’s
priorities to provide science-based industry
solutions. Committee research priorities included
epidemiology of Salmonella throughout the pork
chain, potential emerging food safety pathogens,
development of diagnostic tests and other food
During 2011, pork producers invested $0.40 for
each $100 value in hogs sold from January through
December. The National Pork Board ended 2011
with gross revenues of $83.6 million, total spending
of $80.7 million and a surplus of $2.9 million.
The National Pork Board allocates Pork Checkoff
funds according to producer priorities determined
through various methods. In 2011, 65 percent of
the Checkoff funds were allocated for national promotion programs, 29 percent for national research
and education programs and 6 percent for national
consumer information programs.
The Pork Act mandates that a percentage of
Checkoff funds collected annually be returned to
state pork producer associations for use in their
own promotion, research and consumer information programs. The Pork Act Delegate Body
determines the percentage of Pork Checkoff
funds returned to each state. In 2011, state Pork
Checkoff funding collectively represented about 20
percent of all market deductions.
2012 Program Dollars
Cash & Short-Term Investments
Accounts Receivable/Other Assets
CURRENT ASSETS 42,903
TOTAL ASSETS $78,657
Research Grants Payable
TOTAL LIABILITIES 40,083
TOTAL FUND BALANCE 38,574
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND FUND BALANCE $78,657
Statement of Revenues and Expenses
Other: Program Income, Interest, etc.
TOTAL REVENUE 71,462
Science and Technology
Policy and Management
TOTAL EXPENSES 55,478
TOTAL (DEFICIT) SURPLUS FOR PERIOD $15,984
OForeign Market Development
OScience and Technology
O Producer Services
OThe Other White Meat®
SCI & TECH
Domestic Marketing Programming
Foreign Market Development
Pork Information Bureau
Marketing Resource Center
Producer & State Relations
The Other White Meat®
2012 National Pork Checkoff Budget Expense Summary*
TOTAL: $69.2 Million
Myth: Hog farms use a disproportionate share of valuable
resources while contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
Fact: Pork producers are leaders in manure management systems and water and soil conservation practices. As the original recyclers, they want to leave the
land in good shape for generations to come. Animal
agriculture as a whole contributes a small part of U.S.
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2007 only
2.8 percent of U.S. GHG emissions came from animal
agriculture, with pork production contributing only
about one-third of one percent (0.35 percent) of total
U.S. GHG emissions1.
Unlike some livestock, a pig’s single stomach doesn’t
produce much expellable gas during digestion, which
the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate
Change ranks as the second main source of non-CO2
GHG emissions. The others, in order, are soils, manure
management and rice cultivation. In terms of GHG
emissions, humans generate 2.65 percent of total GHG
emissions just from municipal sewage treatment plants
and solid-waste landﬁlls. Meanwhile, more environmentally friendly pigs only create 0.35 percent in total.
Producers have access to the Checkoff’s Live Swine
Carbon Footprint Calculator, a producer-friendly software
tool. It calculates GHG emissions for sow and grow-ﬁnish
production and identiﬁes areas producers can ﬁne-tune
production practices to be even more environmentally
friendly. For more info, go to pork.org.
Safeguard natural resources
in all of our practices.
GOT YOUR HANDS FULL OF PROBLEMS WITH DDGS?
Give us a call to ﬁnd out how we have helped producers with CRUSTING, FLIES, and LOST STORAGE CAPACITY.
What’s New Online…
Videos Showcase Modern Pork Production
Check out the Pork Checkoff’s 18 new short videos that
showcase modern pork production at www.youtube.com/
porkcheckoff. Consumers can see how producers Brad and
Peggy Greenway, Mitchell, S.D., care for their animals on
their farm. Also, producer Todd Wiley, Walker, Iowa, and his
employees castrate and tail dock piglets. The educational
videos show how farm families care for their animals, protect the environment and support their local communities.
PRRS Research Results Available
Extensive Checkoff-funded research is helping gain ground
in the battle against Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory
Syndrome (PRRS). The PRRS Initiative Research 2004-2011
report offers a comprehensive reference on the evolution of
PRRS research and can help producers develop herd health
management strategies. To view the research, visit pork.org
and click on the Research tab.
Tools for Your Farm from the Pork Checkoff
Pork Management Conference Set
Anyone in the pork industry, whether involved in production or ﬁnance, is invited to
attend the Checkoff’s Pork Management Conference, Your Pork Industry Investment,
June 19-22 in Savannah, Ga. Topics will include economic trends, risk management,
production trends and ﬁnancial management. For registration and detailed agenda
information, go to pork.org after April 1. Or call (800) 456-7675.
Record-Keeping Forms Redesigned
The record-keeping forms found in the appendix of the Pork Quality Assurance® Plus
(PQA Plus®) manual have been redesigned as a Microsoft®
Excel® spreadsheet. Producers can save information directly
to their computers and print copies. To download the forms,
go to pork.org, click on the “Certiﬁcation” tab, and then
“PQA Plus program materials.”
Carbon Footprint Calculator Software Tool Available
The Checkoff’s new Live Swine Carbon Footprint Calculator allows producers to input
on-farm data from the sow or grow-ﬁnish side of production to compute the carbon
footprint of a barn of breeding or ﬁnish pigs. For a free copy, go to www.pork.org/
sustainability or call (800) 456-7675
Mobile Version of pork.org Available
If you have visited pork.org on your mobile device lately, you will
notice a slimmed down version of the website. The goal is to make the
most frequently viewed information on pork.org easily accessible from
mobile devices. For access on your mobile device, go to m.pork.org.
Success at the speed of BAYTRIL® 100
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For use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. Extra-label use in food-producing
animals is prohibited. A 5-day slaughter withdrawal is required in swine.
© 2011 Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division, Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66201 Bayer, the Bayer Cross, Baytril and Right the ﬁrst time are registered trademarks of Bayer.