Pork producers in northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota are encouraged to attend the Two-State Swine Production Seminar set for February 28 in Okoboji, Iowa. Iowa State University Extension and University of Minnesota Extension, along with Hubbard Feeds, are sponsoring this meeting. It will be held at Arrowwood Resort Conference Center, 1405 Hwy 71 in Okoboji.
ISU Extension swine program specialist Dave Stender says the seminar topics and speakers will provide attendees with timely and important information. "Presenters will share their knowledge and expertise in a variety of areas including sow health and productivity, optimizing market weight, and employee management," Stender notes. "Each presentation session is about an hour long, and lunch is included."
Registration is at 9:30 a.m. with the first session starting at 10 a.m. The agenda has two sessions in the morning: sow health and productivity tips and trends, and learning how to maintain a good work team. After lunch, attendees will hear about capitalizing on the Midwest advantage, optimizing market weight and return, and what to expect in today's industry. Speakers include Paul Ruen of Fairmont Veterinary Clinic, Tom Koch and Ernie Hansen of Hubbard Feeds, Jeff Wiepen of Farm Credit Services, and Mike Brumm of Brumm Swine Consultancy, Inc. ISU's Stender also is on the program.
For more information about the seminar, contact Stender by phone at 712-225-6196 or by e-mail at [email protected]. People are asked to preregister by Tuesday, Feb. 21 by contacting Lori Stevermer by email at [email protected] or by phone at 507-388-9471.
More hog producers looking into opportunities provided by niche pork markets
Hog production is profitable today, notes Stender, but with high feed costs producers really need to work to maintain a profitable price. He was part of a panel discussion on niche pork production at the recent 2012 Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines. "Opportunities are available for producers who are willing to search for new markets or make changes in their operations to take advantage of niche markets," he says.
There are a number of consumers, a certain percentage of the population, who are willing to pay more for certain attributes when it comes to food. For example, naturally-raised meat and animal products. "These consumers are looking for a certain eating quality, perhaps an organic or natural product, as well as pigs raised in a certain environment," notes Stender. "Internet sales of this specialized pork is an option. We see some people willing to pay $300 for a half a hog, up to $20 a pound. If you figure 130 pounds of meat per pig at $20 per pound, that's more than $2,500 per animal."
He estimates it will take an average of up to 25% higher feed costs for producing those pigs, but the added profit at those high pork prices will more than make up for the extra feed expense. "Producers who are into niche pork production are cashing in on an advantage over other producers," notes Stender. "You have to look hard and then capture that extra premium in price."