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Pork producers face challenges after three years of profit

by 5m Editor
31 January 2007, at 8:20am

DES MOINES, IOWA - Iowa pork producers have had three profitable years, but outgoing Iowa Pork Producers Association President Gene Ver Steeg admits that high corn prices will challenge profitability in the coming year.

"There's not a great deal IPPA can do to address increased costs, but we have been and will continue to aggressively work with building demand," Ver Steeg said in a speech to delegates at last week's annual meeting in Des Moines. "We support many promotions and programs locally, nationally and internationally to address demand."

Ver Steeg said livestock production will play a role as the state builds its bioeconomy. He urged pork producers to get involved in policy discussions.

Ver Steeg, an Inwood farmer, said producers are concerned about environmental and animal rights activists who threaten their livelihood.

In the past year, IPPA invested $75,000 of Strategic Investment Program funds to unsuccessfully fight the Arizona ballot initiative banning gestation stalls.

Ver Steeg, who worked 14 years as a veterinarian before quitting to raise pigs, said the National Pork Board's Pork Quality Assurance Plus is one way producers can demonstrate their commitment to animal welfare. The checkoff-funded program, which will start in June, will include producer education and third-party audits.

"It's important that we have high participation in this voluntary program so that we're not forced into a mandatory program down the line," Ver Steeg said.

Source: Agri News

5m Editor