Looking Back at 2012- Pork Producers Fight High Grain Prices as Well as HSUSThu, 27 Dec 2012 07:56:10 CST
Looking back at 2012- Farm Director Ron Hays sat down and discussed the past twelve months and how the the US and Oklahoma pork industry has fared with Roy Lee Lindsey, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Pork Council. Top of mind for pork producers has been the struggle much of the year with high feed grain costs. Lindsey says that most hogs were making money as 2012 began, but when drought showed up in the US corn belt this past spring and summer- grain prices skyrocketed- and that ended any hope of being profitable for the balance of the year.
Lindsey says that feed grain prices have basically jumped forty to fifty percent in a six month period- and that pushed hiog closeouts into the red. The worse month of 2012 proved to be September, with losses per hog as bad as was seen in 1998-1999 when producers were getting nine dollars a hundredweight for their market hogs. Hog prices were relatvely high this year- but costs of production were even higher and that has caused hog operations to lose a lot of equity.
2013 shows an opportunity to be better from a profit perspective, if it rains in the US corn belt and grain prices ease from 2012 levels. Long term- Lindsey believes that prospects are good for US pork production with strong pork exports continuing to lead the way. He points out that exports are especially important for Oklahoma with the Seaboard Plant in Guymon the leading export processing plant in the US to destinations like Japan and Korea. A market that Lindsey says that will be more and more important for US and Oklahoma producers is the Chinese market. Caputring one percent of the Chinese market could mean a billion dollars to the US pork industry.
We also talked about a variety of other issues with Roy Lee- including a discussion with him about the battle between animal agriculture and the HSUS. Lindsey points out that the HSUS has come hard at the beef and pork industries in retaliation for the stand industry groups have made against the HSUS-UEP deal. Lindsey says it is not the deal that has bothered the pork industry, but rather the push by HSUS to get Congress to codify that agreement and make it federal law. He contends that the federal government should not be telling livestock agriculture which animal production practices are teh right ones to use- and the only ones that are legal. As a result, HSUS has pushed hard on the beef and pork industries, going after the checkoffs of both industries and more.
In the case of the pork industry, that "more" has been the war on gestation crates that HSUS has waged. Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the HSUS, boasted in a blog post dated December 20th review of 2012 regarding victories for animals that the battle is going their way as "50 major companies have announced plans to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains."
The National Pork Producers Council disputes that group housing is best for the well being of the sows and the humans that care for the sows. They have a fact sheet on a website called porkcares.org that is entitled "Answers About Gestation Crates-" Click here to see this fact sheet on the value of gestation crates for sows.
Lindsey says that the cost to the industry to change over to group housing will be enormous- and will take time- and he is concerned where exactly that money will come from- since none of the major companies have expressed any interest in paying for the changes they are demanding to satisfy the demands of the HSUS.
You can hear our full conversation with Roy Lee Lindsey by clicking on the Listen Bar below. AND- we will invite you to see a video segment we have recorded with him in our In the Field report Saturday morning, December 29 at approximately 6:40 AM on KWTV News9 in Oklahoma City.
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