2007 Pork Month Story Ideas and News Sources

October 4th, 2007

Iowa Pork Industry Center
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Thank you for your interest in Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa's pork industry. We hope the following information and links listing will be helpful to you as you prepare articles for October, Pork Month. We also want to make sure you're aware that the story ideas are appropriate for use at any time of year. The list is not an inclusive list of projects, research, and programs coordinated or led by Iowa State University and ISU Extension specialists, but rather a brief look at the wide range of activities in which our specialists are involved. Please contact any of the listed specialists using the numbers and addresses provided, or contact me for more information. I'm happy to help you provide your audiences with the latest pork-related information.

Iowa State University Web sites for news and story ideas:

Iowa Pork Industry Center
IPIC news releases
Midwest Plan Service
ISU Extension, Ag and Natural Resource
ISU Extension news releases
ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences news releases
ISU Ag and Biosystems Engineering
ISU Food Science and Human Nutrition news releases
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture (ISU)
Value Chain Partnerships for Sustainable Agriculture (ISU)

Minimum price insurance programs for hog producers. Two insurance programs offer minimum price guarantees on futures contracts. Pork producers face high financial risks from volatile markets. Those who want to manage their risks more efficiently might want to learn about two programs that can help establish a floor under hog prices. Both currently are available through private insurance agents. Livestock Gross Margin (LGM) insurance and Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance both offer several levels of minimum price guarantees based on lean hog, corn and soybean meal futures contracts. Unlike futures contracts, though, these policies allow producers to insure any number of hogs for any marketing month. More information on both insurance programs is available in this online fact sheet on the ISU Ag Decision Maker web site. An electronic decision tool that compares the risk protection available from Livestock Revenue Protection to results from futures contracts, options contracts, and the cash market is also available on at Ag Decision Maker. Since 2005, more than 3,500 U.S. swine producers have purchased either LGM or LRP policies to insure a selling price for over 2 million head of market hogs.

For more information, contact William Edwards, Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; (515) 294-6161, wedwards@iastate.edu

Hog market outlook for 2008 and beyond. Iowa pork producer returns have been profitable in 41 of the last 43 months, but are expected to be in negative territory this fall. Pork production has increased modestly since last year and processing capacity has declined, setting up the risk of sharply lower prices if hog supplies tax the available packer capacity. Profitability next year will depend on volatile grain prices, pork export markets, and the pace of expansion from farmers. Additional wild cards in the industry include exports to China, growing poultry supplies, and imports from Canada.

For more information, contact John Lawrence, Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; (515) 294-6290, jdlaw@iastate.edu

Pork production — past and present. Continuing research by ISU ag economist John Lawrence and Glen Grimes, professor emeritus of agriculture economics from the University of Missouri, provides an historical look at pork production in the U.S. Two decades ago the pork industry was made up of hundreds of thousands of hog enterprises that often were part of diversified farming operations. Today, it's been estimated that fewer than 200 operations marketing at least 50,000 hogs a year sold 64 percent of U.S. hogs in 2006. Another 1,450 firms with annual sales of 10,000-50,000 head marketed 21 percent and the remaining 15 percent of hogs were sold by firms marketing less than 10,000 hogs a year.

For more information, contact John Lawrence, Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; (515) 294-6290, jdlaw@iastate.edu
more 2007 Pork Month Story Ideas and News Sources

Contacts: 

Ed Adcock, Communications Service, (515) 294-2314, edadcock@iastate.edu