Tag Archives: Pork

As assigned by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the nation’s food and agriculture sector is one of 16 critical areas for our nation during this national emergency related to COVID-19. As such, the President has asked America’s farmers and those in all parts of the food chain to continue to work as normally as possible to help ensure that our domestic food supply remains uninterrupted.

America’s pig farmers are part of this essential infrastructure of Food and Agriculture, which is why the Pork Checkoff is providing a travel letter template that can be filled out and used for producers, employees and critical workforce. Review your state’s guidance in the full list of statewide orders for additional details.

“The purpose of your investment in Checkoff is to provide resources like this to assist you to be as successful as possible,” said Bryan Humphreys, vice president of producer and state engagement at the National Pork Board. “We hope this tool offers a bit of assistance along with other Pork Checkoff’s other COVID-19 resources to help ensure producers can continue to do a great job of producing high-quality U.S. pork even during stressful times.”

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1, 2020 was 77.6 million head. This was up 4% from March 1, 2019, but down 1 percent from December 1, 2019.

Breeding inventory, at 6.38 million head, was up slightly from last year, but down 1 percent from the previous quarter.

Market hog inventory, at 71.3 million head, was up 4 percent from last year, but down 1 percent from last quarter.

The December 2019-February 2020 pig crop, at 34.7 million head, was up 5 percent from last year. Sows farrowing during this period totaled head, up 2 percent from previous year. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 49 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.00 for the December 2019-February 2020 period, compared to 10.70 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 3.12 million sows farrow during the March-May 2020 quarter, down slightly from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier, but up 2 percent from the same period two years earlier. Intended farrowings for June-August 2020, at 3.13 million sows, are down 4 percent from the same period one year earlier, and down 1 percent from the same period two years earlier.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 49 percent of the total United States hog inventory, up 2 percent from the previous year.

2019 2020

2020 as


of 2019

(1,000 head) (1,000 head) (percent)
All Hogs March 1 74661 77,629 104
Kept for Breeding 6,349 6,375 100
Kept for Marketing 68,313 71,254 104
Under 50 lbs. 22,019 21,327 103
50-119 lbs. 19,606 19,083 103
120-179 lbs. 14,427 13,988 103
180 lbs. and over 13,059 12,147 108
Dec-Feb 3,108 3,100 100
Mar-May * 3,185 3,200 100
Jun-Aug * 3,175 3,174 100
Dec-Feb Pig Crop 34,177 32,942 104
(number) (number) (percent)
Dec-Feb Pigs Per Litter 11.00 10.63 103
Listen here to see what Darrell Holaday, Country Futures, has to say on the quarterly hogs and pigs. Holaday see’s the expansion as more live piglets and not more sows.

U.S. export sales of pork to China fell to their lowest level on record for the week ending March 5. Reuters reported that’s even as accessing Chinese ports improved in the world’s number one pork consumer.

The USDA’s weekly report showed that Chinese buyer cancellations pushed down the total export sales to China to negative 45,222 tons of pork, the lowest since record-keeping began in 2013. It shot past the previous record of negative 17,600 tons for the week ending Jan. 2, of this year. Pork shipments to China totaled 139,719 tons, reflecting previous export sales.

China’s top ports have begun to clear up the logjam of cargo on their docks as workers return to their jobs after coronavirus travel curbs kept them away. Global supply chains that have been jammed up by delays are starting to clear up.

Net sales of soybeans to China, typically the top destination for the oilseed, were negative 90,281 tons, the smallest since the week ending on Aug. 5, 2019, when USDA reported that cancellations pushed soybean sales to China to negative 422,600 tons. Traders have been watching and waiting for exports to China to pick up since Beijing and Washington signed the Phase 1 trade deal.

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The fallout from an ongoing labor shortage facing the U.S. pork industry and other agriculture sectors could significantly worsen due to the impact of COVID-19, the National Pork Producers Council said in a letter to U.S. government officials today. NPPC’s concerns regarding COVID-19 are labor specific. There is no evidence that pigs can contract the virus.

In a letter to the president and other administration officials, members of Congress, and state governors, NPPC called for expedited solutions addressing the need for more workers on hog farms and in pork plants. It also called on federal, state and local governments to work together to develop a response to COVID-19 that protects public health and, whenever possible, supports animal care and minimizes disruptions to the U.S. pork production supply chain and consumers. NPPC also called on the administration to develop support plans for hog farmers if labor-related bottlenecks in the supply chain prevent hogs from being marketed.


“School closures preventing parents from going to work and caring for their animals are already a concern in farm and plant communities,” said NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “The specter of market-ready hogs with nowhere to go is a nightmare for every pork producer in the nation. It would result in severe economic fallout in rural communities and a major animal welfare challenge.”


The U.S. pork industry relies on foreign labor and needs a stable workforce. Even without the additional challenge presented by COVID-19, the labor shortage threatens to increase production costs and food prices for consumers. Existing visa programs are designed for seasonal agriculture, and reform is needed to address the animal care and other requirements of year-round livestock agriculture.

KANSAS CITY – March 4, 2020 – To kick off its national forum meeting, the pork industry announced today that nearly 40,000 servings of pork will be donated to Harvesters – The Community Food Network. The donation, made by Prairie Fresh® Pork on behalf of attendees at the industry’s annual meeting, will help fight food insecurity in the Kansas City area. It highlights farmer commitment to the We CareSM ethical principles, which include a focus on caring for their communities.

“Helping to fight food insecurity in our local communities and across the United States is important to all pig farmers,” said David Newman, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer representing Arkansas. “The donation allows us to live out our We Care commitment during Pork Forum while providing safe and nutritious pork to those in need right here in Kansas City.”

Harvesters serves a 26-county area, including Kansas City, where one in eight individuals is food insecure. Children are often the most in need of food, with one in six children in Harvesters’ service area being food insecure. Only 57% of food-insecure children qualify for federal nutrition programs, meaning that 43% of food-insecure children and their parents are ineligible for federal assistance.

“Our producers at Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods believe it’s important to support our communities,” said David Eaheart, senior director of communications and Prairie Fresh brand marketing at Seaboard Foods. “We are happy to make this donation on behalf of attendees of the National Pork Industry Forum, especially in Kansas City, where Prairie Fresh® Pork is headquartered.”

DES MOINES, Iowa — Registration is now open for the 2020 World Pork Expo presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Attendees, media and exhibitors can complete their registration by visiting the World Pork Expo website. This year’s trade show will be hosted from June 3 to 5 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“We are thrilled to continue the tradition of the World Pork Expo this year,” said David Herring, NPPC president, and pork producer from Lillington, N.C. “There’s truly something for everyone at the Expo — from the trade show to networking. Anyone in the pork industry is encouraged to attend!”

With 360,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than 500 exhibitors are planned for the 2020 World Pork Expo.

Continually Maximizing Indoor and Outdoor Trade Show Space

Organizers plan to take advantage of all the space available in order to give attendees and exhibitors the best experience possible. Of the 500 plus companies attending the show, they will be displaying products and services from animal health, nutrition, build and equipment, financial marketing, genetics and more.

The Expo will be held in the Varied Industries Building and the Jacobson Exhibition Center, outdoors on Grand Avenue and the areas between the two main buildings. Attendees are encouraged to explore the fairground space to experience all the Expo’s offerings.

“We’re currently making adjustments around the show to maximize the flow of the entire trade show. This will help with show continuity for years to come,” said Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing for NPCC.

Company-sponsored hospitality tents will continue to be around throughout the fairgrounds. Organizers are expecting 60 plus tents this year, giving industry representatives an opportunity to network with producers and employees in a more relaxed setting.

The trade show will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 3-4, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 5.

Start Planning Your Expo Experience

The Expo is packed with three days of learning and networking opportunities, events and activities. More than 15 educational and informational seminars are free to attend. These seminars address innovative production and management strategies, and current issues and topics related to the pork industry.

Other activities you won’t want to miss include:

  • MusicFest — Join us on Thursday evening to relax and enjoy free live music and refreshments. Stay tuned to find out who this year will feature!
  • Big Grill — Stop by and enjoy a free pork lunch during all three days of the Expo. More than 10,000 lunches are served! Lunches are available between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • NPPC Hospitality Tent — Visit one-on-one with NPPC board members and staff to learn about current legislation, regulation, and public policy issues that impact pork production.

Additional Registration Information

Registration is now available online until May 28. Tickets include entry to the Expo for all three days. Discounted rates are available during pre-registration including $10 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $1 for children (6 to 11 years old). Registration on-site will be $20 per adult. There is an on-site Friday-only option for $10.

Save the date for June 3-5 to visit Des Moines. Three days of education, fun, networking and delicious pork await you.

U.S. pork producers don’t seem optimistic about a potential trade deal with the European Union coming together anytime soon. Nick Giordano is the Vice President of Global Government Affairs for the National Pork Producers Council.

Giordano tells Politico that he’s “very skeptical” that the two sides will even reach a mini agreement in the weeks ahead. He feels the real goal should be a comprehensive trade pact covering all sectors of agriculture. “It’s outrageous that a market of that size, with that level of income, is so closed to us,” Giordano says. “They’re stealing jobs from us because of their protectionism and that’s unacceptable.”

The VP says there will be widespread support in the U.S. agriculture community for the Trump Administration to take tough action against the EU if there are no concessions regarding a more open EU market. Meantime, U.S. cattlemen might annually sell $4 billion worth of beef to China within the next five years.

Kent Baucus, Senior Director of International Affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says the Phase One trade deal and the meat shortage in China cause by African Swine Fever should drive U.S. beef exports higher. “We haven’t even scratched the surface on the Chinese market,” he says. “There is a tremendous amount of unmet protein demand in China.

Hormel Foods is getting rid of ractopamine, a growth drug banned by China, from its hog supply. Hormel is joining rival companies like Tyson Foods and JBS in looking to make more meat sales to China, which is in the middle of wrestling with a large shortage of pork.

Hormel isn’t going to accept hogs that have been fed or otherwise exposed to ractopamine after April first. Tyson Foods and JBS USA took that step last year. The companies’ moves ramped up the competition for the increased pork demand from China, where the outbreak of African Swine Fever has decimated their herds.

In a statement announcing the move, Hormel says, “We have been actively monitoring the changing global market dynamics for several years and believe this decision will further position us to meet growing international demand.” Ractopamine is used in some countries to raise leaner pigs, but China doesn’t allow its use or tolerate residues in its imported meats. The European Union also bans ractopamine.

John Csukker of Columbus, Nebraska was elected as President of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) at their Annual Meeting held on February 12, 2020 at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln, Nebraska. Joining Csukker on NPPA’s leadership team are President-Elect, Shana Beattie of Sumner, Vice President, Jared Lierman of Beemer and newly elected Directors Chad Johnson of Norfolk, Mark Wright of Fremont, Kyle Baade of Plymouth and Ryan Preister of Humphrey, Nebraska. Karen Grant of Meadow Grove will serve as 1 st Alternate Director and Jennifer Ruby of Howells will serve 2 nd Alternate Director.

Retiring Directors are Duane Miller of Davenport, Ron Browning of Fremont, Kevin Peterson of Osceola and Tim Chancellor of Broken Bow, Nebraska.

Csukker is the Environmental Senior Services Manager for the Great Plains Region for The Maschhoffs. John is responsible for the environmental permitting and compliance for The Maschhoffs company-owned farms as well as independent pork production partners in Nebraska, Missouri, and Wyoming. John traveled to Mexico while participating in the Pork Leadership Institute (PLI), a comprehensive training program conducted jointly by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Pork Board (NPB) designed to develop future leaders for the U.S. pork industry. He has represented Nebraska’s pork producers in Washington, D.C., served as an NPB and NPPC Forum Delegate. He is a member of NPPC’s Environmental Policy Committee and was part of the Governors trade mission to Shanghai and Hong Kong China.

First elected to the NPPA Board of Directors in 2015, John said in accepting the NPPA Presidency, “I want to continue the success of this organization and the hard-working individuals we represent. Let me hear your ideas, get your feedback and together we will find out more ways our Association can serve the pork producers of Nebraska better”.