News Filed Under Swine
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Low feed costs and steady demand are keeping the playing field level for Mississippi swine producers, but the bottom line at year’s end will be down from 2014 totals.
Mississippi’s value of production for hogs was $153 million last year. No estimates are available for 2015, but hog prices have been much lower than they were in 2014, while hog numbers were higher at the first of the year.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Specialty markets in pork production are cropping up across the U.S. in response to a growing interest in pasture-raised pigs.
Before the 1960s, most U.S. pork was raised in outside lots or on pasture systems. Commercial pork production today generally relies on large warehouse-like buildings or barns that house sows and pigs in stalls or pens.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite low prices for many commodities, the overall projected totals for Mississippi’s crop values should top $7 billion for the third straight year and essentially match the record set in 2013.
John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said his preliminary estimate of 2014’s agricultural production values, excluding government payments, is over $7.7 billion.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cattle and hog prices are soaring to record highs, causing producers to debate whether to sell their valuable animals or expand their herd sizes for the future.
“It’s hard not to sell when prices are this good and the pull of the feedlot is so strong,” said John Michael Riley, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
As producers continue to reduce herd sizes nationally, prices should remain strong, but the result will be fewer animals available to sell in the future.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A partnership with Prestage Farms Inc. is allowing Mississippi State University to improve its swine research facility as university scientists prepare to resume swine-related studies.
John Blanton, head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences at MSU, said there is a need in the Southeast for science-based information on swine production.
“We are addressing that need of our stakeholders through our swine research program,” Blanton said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi swine producers are discovering the only constant in their industry is change.
John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a variety of challenges have kept the state’s swine producers adjusting their strategies to avoid financial losses in recent decades. Just when producers adjust to overcome one hurdle, another one develops to drive prices down and the cost of production up.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Significant production levels and high market prices combined to give Mississippi’s agricultural commodities over $7 billion in total value.
Mississippi State University agricultural economists gathered preliminary data from crop production reports, world agricultural supply and demand estimates, industry resources and U.S. Department of Agriculture outlook reports. They predict a $7.3 billion annual value of the state’s top crops, excluding government payments. Final figures will be available in the spring of 2013.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi veterinarians and livestock officials will address new swine flu concerns with increased educational messages and surveillance during the upcoming State Fair in Jackson.
Mark Crenshaw, swine specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said like humans, pigs occasionally get the influenza virus. Typical pig influenza viruses do not cross over to humans, but a new strain is proving to be an exception. As with all flu strains, frequent hand washing and other good hygiene practices are the best defense.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Today’s economy means people are eating out and purchasing meat products less often, but cattle and hog producers have learned to make the most of tough times.
Livestock producers reduce their cattle herd sizes and hog numbers to reduce the amount of meat on the market and bolster the product prices, which remain at the mercy of the economy.
John Michael Riley, a Mississippi State University Extension Service agricultural economist, said producers work hard to keep their product affordable when money is tight.
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Thousands of people will attend the State Fair in Jackson Oct. 7-18, and the novel H1N1 flu virus, commonly called “swine flu,” may have some attendees unnecessarily on edge.
“Swine are not responsible for spreading this virus,” said Mark Crenshaw, swine specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service. “It is very unfortunate that it was ever given that name. The virus actually has many other components to it and it is being spread by people, not by pigs.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Health officials assure consumers that pork is safe to eat and no victims in the current flu outbreak had contact with hogs, but neither fact has protected market prices or import restrictions on Mexican and U.S. pork products.
Even if health organizations succeed in changing the name, much of the world always will consider the H1N1 virus to be “swine flu.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The so-called swine flu has not been detected in any U.S. hogs, and no Mississippians have been diagnosed in the initial cases, but the outbreak signals the need for continued health precautions even as seasonal flu cases subside.
Dr. Bill Epperson, head of pathobiology and population medicine with Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, said this new strain of the classic H1N1 virus is misnamed when referred to as swine flu.
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fuel, feed and packers have Mississippi pork producers over a barrel.
According to statistics from the National Pork Board, Mississippi's hog production numbers over the last seven years (2000-2006) averaged about 470,000 head, which includes market hogs, feeder pigs and sows. But from 2005 through 2007, the average was about 434,000 head. Production at the end of 2007 totaled 412,000 hogs valued at $63 million.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's hog producers are finding ways to stay in business despite the major blow dealt by the March 30 closing of Bryan Foods' West Point plant.
The Sara Lee Corp. decision to close the meat-processing plant caused the state's swine industry to scramble to find new markets and a new direction. Mark Crenshaw, swine specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the closing has a devastating impact on the swine industry in Mississippi and surrounding states.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Part of the challenge in bringing a steady supply of bacon, sausage and ham to the American dinner table is to produce pigs in an environmentally sound manner.
In normal operations, a small percentage of animals die before reaching market weight, and the mortalities must be disposed of in timely and environmentally safe ways. Producers face a significant issue in determining the best method of disposal.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Record-low hog prices in August added downward pressure on cattle prices as both industries struggle into the last quarter of 2002.
"As long as we see hog prices at historically low levels or even with a slight recovery, cattle prices will not be able to improve much either," said John Anderson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A product needing a niche of its own may have secured a foothold in the hog industry as research is showing kenaf offers a way to reduce swine odors.
Dr. Tim Burcham, associate agricultural engineer with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, is testing a bio-reactor he developed to filter and biologically treat wastewater from hog production facilities.
The main goal of the research is odor reduction and wastewater treatment. Burcham's interest in the versatility of the kenaf plant spurred the development of this research.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- News of government payments for some hog farmers and improved cattle prices will bring some relief to Mississippi livestock producers after years of depressed markets.
The second phase of Small Hog Operation Payment program moneys will soon be available to hog producers who have struggled to break even for the last couple years. The program will pay up to $10 per slaughter-weight hog marketed during the last six months of 1998. With a limit of 500 market hogs, or an equal number of feeder pigs, the maximum payment for any one operation is $5,000.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Federal relief is on the way to small hog producers who managed to survive the 1998 market catastrophe.
Mark Crenshaw, swine specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the assistance comes too late for many of the state's smaller producers who opted out of the business months ago. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimateed there are 100,000 eligible producers, but Crenshaw said Mississippi may have 50 qualified farms.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Not only do consumers want bacon with their eggs, they want the hog farms raising the bacon to be environmentally good neighbors.
Poorly operated hog farms can raise a stink, but odor can be managed. A voluntary, new program offered by a cooperation of leading pork producers' organizations can help producers serious about having environmentally friendly farms. The On-Farm Odor Assistance Program, sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council in association with the National Pork Board and PORK '98 magazine, will kick-off in March.