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Study: U.S. Pork Needs More Access To Foreign-Born Workforce
Despite competitive wages and an expanding workforce, the U.S. pork industry continues to struggle with a labor shortage that will require access to more foreign-born workers to remain sustainable, according to a study by Iowa State University economists that was recently updated to reflect the current state of the labor market. The study underscores the urgent need for agriculture labor reform, a top priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
The economists describe the current state of the agriculture labor market as follows:
“Conditions in the agricultural labor market have been challenging for decades. The agricultural industry in the U.S. has progressed from a fairly large labor-intensive sector where family members supplied...
Pork Quarterly Q3 2021: Looking for Growth Amid Uncertainties
Great volatility in Chinese hog and pork prices is rippling through the global market. China’s slaughter rates were unexpectedly high in Q2, pushing pork production up 35.9% YOY in 1H, according to official data. The sudden supply increase resulted in a sharp price decline and negative results in both farming and trading in 1H, pointing to low pork imports into China in Q3. While we expect hog and pork prices to rebound in Q3, the estimated high frozen pork inventory will impose a lot of downward pressure on prices. We expect the slowdown of imports in the coming months will reduce full year imports from 2020’s record levels by 10% to 20%. This will lead to a redistribution of pork trade in the global market and could place downward pressure on pork prices in exporting regions.
NPPC Urges Congress To Address Comprehensive Labor Reform
The U.S. pork industry is suffering from a labor shortage that could increase production costs and consumer food prices if not addressed through visa reform to provide better access to the foreign-born workers on which it depends, according to National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Jen Sorenson, who testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
U.S. pork production is a year-round effort, requiring a hardworking and dedicated workforce on farms and in processing plants. Pork producers offer jobs with good pay and benefits...
NPPC Launches Campaign for Labor Reform
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) introduced a campaign, “Year-Round Pork Needs Year-Round Workers,” highlighting the vital role of foreign-born workers across the U.S. pork industry and the critical need for comprehensive labor reform to address a labor shortage.
“The U.S. pork industry is highly dependent on foreign-born workers who make tremendous contributions in their jobs and communities,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “Unfortunately, current visa programs don’t provide access to...
NPPC Urges Administration to Appeal Damaging Court Ruling Before August Deadline
A federal district court ruling striking down faster harvest facility inspection speeds allowed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) goes into effect June 30, 2021. The Biden administration has until the end of August to file an appeal. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) urges the administration to appeal this damaging ruling – which will quickly lead to increased pork industry concentration and packer market power – and seeks waivers for the impacted plants until a longer-term solution, acceptable to all industry stakeholders, is realized.
The ruling eliminates 2.5 percent of pork packing plant capacity nationwide and will result in $80 million in reduced income for small U.S. hog farmers this year alone, according to...
Maple Leaf Foods to Purchase Four Saskatchewan Pig Farms
Maple Leaf Foods announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase four pig farms in central Saskatchewan from a group of companies known as Polar Pork. The acquisition will enhance Maple Leaf Foods' overall pig supply and substantially increase its pig production capacity in the province.
The purchase, which is expected to close in June 2022 subject to satisfaction of closing conditions, includes two sow barns and two nursery barns with the potential to supply approximately 140,000 pigs to Maple Leaf Foods. The security of supply that this strategic acquisition provides to Maple Leaf Foods is directly tied to its plans to continue to grow production at its flagship pork processing plant in Brandon, Manitoba in order to increase...
Lawmakers Ask Biden Administration to Help Hog Farmers
Seventy lawmakers joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Reps. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) in letters asking the administration to stop a recent court order from harming U.S. hog farmers. The letters call on Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Acting Solicitor General Prelogar to appeal a recent federal district court striking down pork harvest facility line speeds allowed under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS). The court order, set to go into effect on June 29, will lead to pork industry concentration and increased market power for plant operators at the expense of small hog farmers. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is calling for a longer stay of the court order and/or waivers that would allow the six impacted plants to continue...
NPPC: Court Ruling Undermines U.S. Pork Industry Competition
A federal district court ruling striking down pork harvest facility line speeds allowed under the USDA’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) will lead to increased U.S. pork industry market concentration. The ruling, set to go into effect on June 29, will undermine what is currently a healthy level of industry competition as described in a paper recently prepared by two industry economists. To preserve industry competition, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is calling for a longer stay of the court order or waivers that allow the six impacted plants to continue operating at NSIS line speeds until a long-term solution acceptable to all industry stakeholders can be established.
Competition, which has fostered innovation, job growth and industry expansion, has made...
NPPC: Federal Judge Ruling Disastrous for Small U.S. Hog Farmers
Left unchallenged, a recent federal district court ruling will result in a 2.5 percent loss in pork packing plant capacity nationwide, and more than $80 million in reduced income for small U.S. hog farmers, according to an analysis by Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist with Iowa State University. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to intervene before the ruling takes effect at the end of next month. The ruling will dramatically reduce hog farmer market power—particularly smaller producers located near impacted plants—and undermine pork industry competition.
The federal court’s decision struck down a provision of USDA’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) allowing for faster harvest facility line speeds. NSIS, initiated during the Clinton administration and evaluated at five pilot plants over 20 years, was...
USDA Study: Piglets Pay the Price of Mom’s Heat Stress
Piglets born to heat-stressed sows may carry the burden of their mom’s discomfort later in life in the form of health complications and diminished performance. Now, this so-called "in utero heat stress" may also hypersensitize the piglet’s immune system, potentially doing more harm than good to the young animals, a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists has learned.
Pigs are more susceptible to heat stress due to an inability to sweat. This places them at greater risk of health and production problems that can add up to millions of dollars annually in revenue losses to swine producers.
Research has shown that pigs experiencing heat stress during pregnancy can predispose their offspring to...
Pork Quarterly Q2 2021: Production Setbacks Slow Growth, Boosting Prices and Returns
Global hog prices are sharply higher in most markets, as processors scramble to find adequate supplies. Higher disease losses in key growing regions, along with the lagged impact of industry liquidation during the pandemic, have limited available hog supplies. Rabobank expects a gradual recovery in the herd, yet higher raising costs and demand uncertainty are expected to moderate the pace of growth. Lower production expectations have left the market short of pork, just as demand is beginning to strengthen. The imbalance is driving pork prices sharply higher in many markets, which is slowly being passed through to consumers, contributing to overall inflationary trends.
China: Herd losses due to new ASF outbreaks and health challenges are slowing the recovery. While below earlier expectations, the sow herd is flat vs. 2020 and will expand through year-end as...
NPPC Applauds the Philippines' Decision to Import More Pork
To combat rising pork prices and stabilize supplies, the Philippine government announced it will provide more market access for pork imports. Securing better access to the Philippines market has been a top, long-term trade priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
“Since 2019, the Philippines has been battling African swine fever (ASF), and as a result, domestic production has declined, supplies have tightened, and pork prices have spiked,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “While we are saddened by the spread of...
ANALYSIS: February Pork Cold Storage – Highlights and Concerns
Pork in cold storage has been in the spotlight since last Spring when COVID-19 outbreaks resulted in a swath of pork plant closures, and the lack of...
NPPC: Bill Addressing Agriculture Labor 'Step In the Right Direction'
Legislation introduced on Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, would reform the H-2A visa program to address the agricultural labor shortage. Among other provisions, it would amend the H-2A program to allow a capped number of visas for farmworkers to work year-round. The following statement is attributable to National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa.
“The U.S. pork industry is suffering from a serious labor shortage, negatively impacting farms and processing plants. Unfortunately, the current H-2A visa program is designed for seasonal agriculture, ignoring the needs of...
ANALYSIS: Pork Cold Storage Lingers at Low Levels
Total pork cold storage continues to linger around decade lows, creating a tight supply condition and a base layer of price support for a number of...
ANALYSIS: 2021 – A Strong Start for Pork Trim
Most pork trimmings have noted a fully adequate to modestly firmer tone throughout the start of 2021 due to strong demand and...
Reports of PRRS and PEDv Pose Latest Challenges to U.S. Hog Producers
Despite being deeply overbought technically, lean hog futures continue to climb. Hog futures hit fresh contract highs across the board in early trading action today. Along with expectations of solid domestic and export demand as China continues to rebuild its hog herd, hog futures appear to be pricing in the possibility of short market-ready supplies heading into the spring and summer.
Market managers and livestock dealers note that producers in western and eastern hog states are currently contending with an outbreak of PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome), as well as...
JBS USA Delivers Covid-19 Vaccinations to Team Members At Illinois Production Facility
Leading global food company JBS USA announced that nearly 700 team members at its Beardstown, Ill., pork production facility have received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The company’s team members were enthusiastic to be vaccinated and as a result, the full allotment of vaccines provided by the local health department were utilized. In partnership with the Cass County Health Department, team members were vaccinated on site at the plant, making it the largest vaccination effort to date at a red meat facility and one of the largest efforts for essential food production workers thus far.
“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to vaccinate many of our team members in Beardstown and appreciate the Cass County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health for their...
Olymel Announces Investment to Increase Production Capacity at Ange-Gardien Pork Processing Plant
Olymel management today announced an investment of $9 million to set up a second shift at its Ange-Gardien (formerly F.Ménard) hog slaughtering, cutting and deboning plant in Montérégie-Est, Quebec. This investment and the new evening shift will create more than 250 new jobs and should be in operation by next September. The plant, which already employs a total of 680 people, will see that number grow to more than 900, making it one of the largest employers in the region.
“This announcement is in line with Olymel’s development strategy and growth objectives. Olymel is capitalizing on synergies from the January 2020 acquisition of F.Ménard, one of the leaders of the Quebec pork industry. With this investment...
NPPC Campaign Showcases Pork Producer Environmental Stewardship
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) introduced a multimedia campaign, “Farming Today for Tomorrow,” to showcase U.S. pork producers’ long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship and further reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“For more than five decades, U.S. pork producers have embraced advancements that have allowed them to do more with less,” said NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “Hog farmers have an excellent story to tell and...
REPORTER: Q3 Pork: Hot Prices and Frigid Freezer Inventories
With COVID-19 concerns continuing throughout the third quarter and into the fourth quarter of 2020, areas such as boning-line labor, foodservice and recreational activities, cold storage, and production were all affected. The Pork Carcass Cutout noted an uncharacteristic price rally between July and October 2020, increasing by around 31.6%. Looking at the past, the 5-year and 10-year averages saw declines around 12% during this timeframe, while in 2019 the cutout saw a moderate increase of 3.8% for the respective time period...
Tyson Fresh Meats Temporarily Idles Pork Plant Following Operations Malfunction
Tyson Fresh Meats is temporarily idling production at its Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork plant due to a mechanical malfunction in the refrigeration system Tuesday evening. No one was hurt; however, company officials currently believe plant operations could be down for a few days as the team evaluates and mobilizes repairs. It remains too early to provide a definitive timeline for resuming production.
“We’re grateful to the plant management for quickly and efficiently evacuating team members from the building and keeping them...
National Pork Board Study Outlines Opportunities to Diversify Pork Exports
As U.S. pork exports continue to break records in 2020, new reports from the National Pork Board demonstrate opportunities that may diversify U.S. pork exports in Vietnam and the Philippines. The reports also show how African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks in Asia have impacted both countries’ pork industries and related supply chains.
The two new pork market assessments were prepared by Gira, a global research firm, with funding from the Pork Checkoff and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Emerging Markets Program. They share critical insights on...
Peter Brown Joins Seaboard Foods as President and Chief Executive Officer
Seaboard Corporation announces that it has hired Peter Brown as its President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of its Pork Division, Seaboard Foods LLC, to succeed Seaboard Foods' current President, Darwin "Duke" Sand, who has announced that he will be retiring, effective January 1, 2021. Brown brings to Seaboard Foods more than 30 years of executive leadership experience from many different levels of procurement, manufacturing, commercial distribution, and customer support, within varying protein types in both the retail and foodservice marketplaces.
As CEO, Brown will work collaboratively to drive results and have direct responsibility for all of the company's operations. His focus will include aligning Seaboard Foods' strategy and...
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