Hog farmers are headed for a money-losing year and a major factor will be the drying up of $1 billion a year in exports to China, says Purdue economist Chris Hurt. But Chinese consumers will feel little pain from the 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork because the EU and Canada are alternative suppliers. China acted sooner than expected with its weekend announcement of $3 billion of counter-measures on U.S. goods in response to President Trump's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
A case heard by the Iowa Supreme Court on Monday could have a dramatic effect on whether communities can sue factory farms that move into their neighborhoods. The case was brought by a group of community members against a pair of hog confinement operations run by Valley View Swine and JBS.
Nearly two dozen senators co-sponsored a bill that would exempt an estimated 100,000 large livestock farms from reporting emissions from manure and other animal waste. Sponsors include the leaders of the Senate committee that would handle the bill.
As trade relationships with China, Mexico, and Canada remain precarious, U.S. hog farmers are increasingly worried about the health of their export markets. Pork exports reached a peak of nearly $6 billion in 2017.
Hog farmers are sending more hogs to market this year, which ordinarily would pull down pork prices in the supermarket. That's not the case this year, according to USDA economists, because consumer demand for bacon is bolstering pork prices overall.
Americans are going to eat a lot of meat in 2018 — 222.2 pounds per person, according to USDA projections that are based on the expectation of a comparatively strong economy that will give people more disposable income.
The market for plant-based foods grew an average of 8.1 percent last year, compared to a decline of 0.2 percent for all other foods, according to data compiled by the retail sales research group, Nielsen. According to the report, which was funded by the The Good Food Institute and Plant Based Foods Association, the market for plant-based meats specifically rose 6 percent from a year ago, while plant-based dairy alternatives saw 20 percent growth. Nielsen found a 5-percent decrease in cow-milk sales, but a 3.1-percent increase in sales of plant-based milk.
Consumers want more humanely raised meat and food companies want to provide it. Now pig producers are promising more humane measures in the way they raise pigs. But just what those measures will be remains a question in an industry still dominated by the sow gestation crate, says the San Francisco Chronicle.
After almost completely removing the growth-promoting drug ractopamine from its pigs, Canada is outpacing the U.S. in pork sales to China, where the drug is banned. Canada has only beat out the U.S. in pork sales a handful of times in the last 20 years, says Reuters.