Behind the Lines - October 2010

Last spring, just as the pall of a long downturn was lifting from the North American pork industry, field editor writer Mary Baxter visited North Carolina, the second largest American pork producing state, to see how it was faring.

The beginnings of the whirlwind of changes that have swept the North American pork industry in the last 20 years can arguably be taken back to the state of North Carolina. It is home to the world’s largest pork processing plant, owned by Smithfield Foods, the world’s biggest producer integrator and the instigator of three-site pork production. Ultimately, as Baxter points out in the story, beginning on page 6, the environmental ills that took place in North Carolina’s concentrated pork industry became the concerns of the industry across North America.

Our herd health expert, veterinarian Ernest Sanford, writes that an old disease has become a new disease – one that isn’t familiar to the current generation of pork producers. Its recurrence is being blamed on the use of distillers dried grains in sow rations. It’s something to think about as producers continue to strive to reduce costs in uncertain markets.

In our Second Look column, Oxford farrrow-to-finish producer John de Bruyn weighs in on the challenges producers face as Ontario Pork and its marketing arm become separate entities. John and wife Debbie are in partnership with his brother Dave who runs a large cropping operation. They are members of Progressive Pork Producers Co-operative. BP


Better Pork - October 2010