Focus On Staying Viable Ambassador Darci Vetter, Chief Agriculture Negotiator, Office of the United States Trade Representative, provides perspective on the recent trade conversations around the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Ambassador Vetter outlines the issues and challenges of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and why it is important to the USA. With 40% of the global economy represented, this trade agreement represents an opportunity to expanding markets and leveling the playing field for US agriculture. Ambassador Vetter closes with what the next steps are for the TPP. "We won’t accept a deal for the sake of a deal, for us, the substance is what drives the timeline." says Ambassador Vetter.
Preparation Always Forefront Dr. Paul Sundberg, Science & Technology, National Pork Board, shares thoughts on the state of preparedness of pork operations for animal diseases, like porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv). While the mystery of how PEDv came into the USA is still unknown, discovery of PEDV has created the opportunity to implement and improve communication, coordination, and collaboration. Dr. Sundberg outlines the value of the Swine Health Information Center and the Center's next steps.
Aligning With Partners Sherrie Webb, Director Animal Welfare, National Pork Board, addresses the Pork Industry Forum producers about the Common Industry Audit. Ms. Webb provides a history on what issues and needs drove the Common Industry Audit creation. Ms. Webb highlights the program elements and the role of the Industry Audit Task Force in the implementation of the processes. Take aways: Audit tools are available for all to use and training is available. Additionally, audits are part of a comprehensive approach to having a quality industry.
National Disease Response Plan Dr. Liz Wagstrom, Chief Veterinarian, National Pork Producers Council, provides an update on the pork emerging diseases response plan. Dr. Wagstrom shares information on the projects others are also doing and how they tie together. One of the key areas of improvement resulting from the outbreak of PEDv was communication consistency and protocol. Dr. Wagstrom also highlights the risk assessments completed, the swine disease matrix development, and the "strengthening the boarders" project.
Know Your Heat, Know Your Meat Top Barbecuer Elliot Mellow, BBQ ASAP (as in As Smoked As Possible) shares his tips from being a competition barbecuer since 2006. Elliot helps people understand the differences between barbecue and grilling. His tips will help the outcome be great food for you. Key to barbecue and grilling is the kind of meat being used. Elliot also shares information on the types and kinds of equipment and techniques that can be used. Elliot's preferences is to use a technique that is not only a heat source but can add flavor; charcoal with a combination of wood chunks or chips over the top.
Keeping Quality Updated Rob Christine and Dinah Peebles, National Pork Board, provides a background and history of the swine quality assurance programs. The team then details the Common Swine Industry Audit and the task force behind the initiative. One key take away: pork operation staff must engage with customers to gain an understanding of consumer perspectives and meet current marketplace expectations.
Trade and Consumer Trends Dr. Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, says one of the key issues this year is the fundamental shift in the costs side of grains. The industry is past the ethanol and really tight supply situations and that the pork industry will not be going through those two issues in a while. Dr. Meyer suggests the new risks to monitor: trade issues, PEDv impact on pre-weaning mortality falls to near zero, and demand weakening.
Hire The Manure Pros This panel discussion on custom manure applicators aims to help people understand how custom applicators work and what people need to know. The panel covers the permitting, prices, and issues that occur in working with manure application and applicators. Key take away: the permit holder is responsible for many of the regulatory and legal aspects.
Soil Health Determines Future Food Health Doug Peterson, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), helps pork producers understand soil health and how it impacts crop production. Mr. Peterson shares what healthy soil can be and points out some of the issues that are in the crop ecosystem today. Mr. Peterson offers that the health of the soil is an indicator of the health of the food system and recommends resources for crop producers to learn more.
Heat Kills Dr. Tim Safranski, University of Missouri, highlights that the direct effects of thermal stress on pregnant females is just now beginning to be understood and that the true cost of heat stress is underestimated. This information is gaining the attention of researchers and funding agencies and creating action to address the issue.