Minnesota Pork Producers

Meet Dale Miller: Membership and Outreach Coordinator

Dale Miller, former longtime editor of the National Hog Farmer, Magazine has joined the Minnesota Pork Producers Association as the Membership and Outreach Coordinator. Miller retired from the National Hog Farmer this summer and we are glad to have him as a part of our team. He has a wealth of knowledge about pork production and the people that make it happen every day. He also has the skills to listen to pork producers concerns. Miller's duties include:

  • Developing and implementing a communication and outreach program
  • Communicate Checkoff funded programs to producers
  • Listen to the concerns and communicate the work that MPPA/NPPC is doing on pork producers behalf
  • Communicate the benefits of membership and participation in the Strategic Investment Program to pork producers

Commentary: Playing chicken with pork
By Rick Berman | Updated: 02/28/2013

Rick Berman is the Executive Director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies and consumers to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

There’s a lot of concern among pork producers about what’s going on with retailers and restaurants. A handful, including brands like McDonald’s, have made demands that their suppliers have a supply chain free of gestation stalls in the next decade.

Demand generally drives supply, but here’s a situation in which the vast majority of supply producers don’t have an interest in responding. Supply, in other words, is at odds with demand.

Essentially, producers and retailers are playing chicken. So who will flinch?

If the pork industry stands together, it will prevail. There are several reasons. MORE

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A 50-Year Comparison of the Carbon Footprint
and Resource Use of the U.S. Pig Herd

Download full report

Pig Farmers: Calculate Your Farm's Carbon Footprint

How Hog Farmers Reduced Their Carbon Footprint:

  • Availability of better genetics
  • Adoption of new technologies
  • Climate-controlled barns that are specifically designed for pig care and protection
  • Fewer sows giving birth outside
  • Advances in understanding the nutritional needs of pigs
  • Improved on-farm practices to conserve and manage resources
  • Precision manure application and advancements in manure storage have enhanced the benefits of the nutrient cycle

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Sow Housing

There are many different types of acceptable housing types in use by U.S. hog farmers for housing gestating sows. These housing types usually fit in one of two categories:

  • Individual housing
  • Group housing

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) have reviewed existing scientific literature on sow housing and have published position statements that concluded that both types of housing types have advantages and disadvantages.

There are many factors that contribute to the success of a particular type of housing system. Studies have concluded the success of housing systems may be dependent in great measure to the caretaker's husbandry skills.

The individual housing category includes the individual stall system. In this system, sows are housed in a structure large enough for one sow. There are variations in stall designs.

Some of the advantages of individual housing include:

  • minimize aggression and injury among sows
  • reduce competition for resources
  • allow individual feeding
  • assist in the control of body condition sow sows to not become too thin or too fat
  • provide for the safety of the worker

Some of the disadvantages of individual housing include:

  • restriction of movement and exercise
  • restricts ability to perform foraging behaviors
  • sows have limited social interaction

In the other housing category, sows are housed in groups. Group sizes may range from five sows per pen up to more than 100 sows per pen. Free access stalls, trickle feeding, electronic sow feeding stations and deep bedded systems are just a few of the many different variations in group housing systems in use.

Some of the advantages of group housing include:

  • freedom of movement and exercise
  • social interaction

Some of the potential disadvantages of group housing include:

  • aggression and injury
  • uneven body conditions
  • inability to forage if no manipulate materials are present

The AVMA and AASV have concluded that regardless of the type of housing system in use, the system should:

  • minimize aggression and competition among sows;
  • protect sows from detrimental effects associated with environmental extremes, particularly temperature extremes;
  • reduce exposure to hazards that result in injuries, pain, or disease;
  • provide every animal with daily access to appropriate food and water;
  • facilitate observation of individual sow appetite, respiratory rate, urination and defecation, and reproductive status by caregivers

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151 Saint Andrews Court, Suite 810 | Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-345-8814 | Fax: 507-345-8681
Minnesota Pork Producers Association