Head in the Oven, Rear End in the Freezer and Calling it a Nice Average Temperature

     The externality crowd (the politicizers, activists and interest groups who believe that agricultural producers are pushing a multitude of costs off on the globe and their community without paying for them), should take a look in the mirror.  When a small group of the population, such as those who have a true willingness to pay for things like country of origin labeling, organic food, locally produced food, carbon-neutral food, etc. gain the political clout to force the costs of these attributes on everyone (willing to pay or not), they have used the government to structuralize a huge cost externality.  Which is to say, they have forced others to pay for attributes only they demand. 

Cost of Production 2009: The End of Points and the Beginning of Distributions

     For years, modern swine producers thought about cost of production as a point or single number.  For almost a decade, a cost of production of 38 cents a pound was consider standard, high efficiency cost control.  Those days are gone and I don't mean just that number.  There is no new number which is or will be the normal cost of production for all of us who love to live by rules of thumb.  The cost of production for meat animals is largely determined by the cost of the underlying feed ingredients which have entered a phase of volatilty that is not likely to abate.  The continued mandates for ethanol production which will absorb four billion bushels of US corn production will keep key feed ingredient prices on a perpetual "stocks-to-use" razor and provide another source of price volatility here-to-fore reserved for weather events alone.  The combined impact of weather and reduced stocks-to-use values will force the volatility of the grain sector into the

SwineCast 0401, NIAA - MidAm FCS' Bill Medley Looks At Ag Lending

SwineCast 0401 Show Notes:

SwineCast 0398, Agricultural Impact of Current Economic Morass

SwineCast 0398 Show Notes:

  • Ag Economist Allen Featherstone looks at factors responsible for current economic scenario and discusses the impact he sees on agriculture at large

SwineCast 0397, Futurist Lowell Catlett shares thoughts on future consumer trends

SwineCast 0397 Show Notes:

  • University of New Mexico futurist Lowell Catlett talks with Trent Fredenburg about keeping today's economic events in perspective and future consumer trends that will change the way we do business

The End of Obesity is Just Around the Corner

If you imagine in your mind, the irrigated agriculture of California you probably can see a large valve sticking out of the ground with a wheel on top situated in the middle of a massive field with deep furrows.  As the valve is turned, water gushes out into the furrows, flooding them to provide water for the crops.  Alternatively, you might see large water guns irrigating the fields with booming sprays similar to a lawn sprinkler on steriods.  The way of the future will require a much more efficient approach if water use to produce crops in California is to be sustained.  Intensive approaches to irrigation have been developed for use in very dry climates where evaporation is heavy and represents a large waste of what little available water is there.  In these methods, drip irrigation delivers water right to the root zone in buried or partially buried plastic pipes with small holes to meter out the water.  This almost eliminates evaporation waste and the delivery of water to

Characteristics of Competitiveness are Changing in the Meat Complex

     Just as the landscape is changing on a global economic front as outlined in my previous blog, so then are the characteristics of competitiveness as we look out into the next five year horizon.  Many years ago, responding to the advent of scale in animal production, veterinary science in production agriculture moved from a focus on individual animal treatment to something widely referred to as herd health.  The change signaled a move from diagnosing and treating individual animals to defining the conditions within which the herd would be best served and proscribed culling for individuals that did not conform or adapt to the generalized conditions.  Defining the conditions best for the herd meant creating SOPs for bio-security, ventilation, average temperature at each day of age, average nutrition and a set of standard vaccinations as examples.  Not every individual animal prefers the average or thrives in the average conditions and the response in general was to allo

Swine Industry Update for March 2009

Mark Greenwood
March 2009

Reconfiguring the US Meat Industry: How Politicization is Beginning to Trump Economics

     The U.S. swine industry is about to be reshuffled in some extraordinary ways.  For the first time we are witnessing political ideas at work in the world and in this country which are gaining the upperhand in their attempt to slow down the natural execution of comparative advantage based on efficiency and market economics.  Since 1995 the US industry has enjoyed a steady and sometimes dizzying increase in total demand as net exports rose year after year.  This is a testament to the global effciency of the industry and its ability to deliver a consistent, safe and high quality product.  At the same time, the desire to slow down the expansion of the industry in the US has been building because of a long list of issues which have been slowing gaining political strength. 

SwineCast 0385, Ag Lender's Viewpoint with Kent Bang at Pigski

SwineCast 0385 Show Notes:

  • Special Pigski presentation with Bank of the West's Kent Bang looking at credit issues and offering his views of what's ahead.
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