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Senior Contributor

Can I put the first post on the hog talk page?

What does the average person consider a decent price these days?  for a long time it seemed like anything over a hundred dollars a pig was enough to feed a family.  I know everyone raises more hogs but everything costs more. 

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Can I put the first post on the hog talk page?

And for a long time $2 corn fed a hog.  I am still a serf.  My sons bought 2000 head recently.  If it works they will fill my barns likely.  A decent price is the result at the bottom of a well formulated spreadsheet that takes in every parameter of marketing (shrink, culls, premium, sort loss, trucking) and every parameter of their feed, variables such as mortality etc.   Every mid morning the chore is to re-analyze their home made sheets.  Granted they are bidding pigs on a margin.  We do analyze breed to finish spreadsheets and every segment in between so we understand the whole picture.  Right now at nearly 170 per live hog, I am convinced there is $30 profit in there.  There are so many empty barns chasing so few pigs, that right now $25 of that is going to the sow guy!

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Senior Contributor

Re: Can I put the first post on the hog talk page?

I personally like getting at least $180/mkt hog!   Unfortunately,  I don't have enough finishing hogs right now.   My farrowing crates are full and the gilts seem to be doing fairly well.  Most of the problems we have fought the past year with conception seem to be finally fixed.    It is almost fun to deliver hogs now.   I say almost fun  because I don't enjoy all the rules with TQA and being watched whenever you are unloading hogs.   Anytime a hog squeals I look around to see if the guy in the Green hat is getting ready to write me up. 

Senior Contributor

Re: Can I put the first post on the hog talk page?

The guy in the green hat watching you has been a direct result of USDA inspectors going crazy on the whole humane handling.  Actually, its the 10% of the inspectors that are physo but that is a whole nother story.  I'm all for respecting and taking care of the animal but at some point there are some of these inspectors that don't know how to handle pigs.  I know this may come across as racist but its not....the ones that really bug me are the muslim veterarians telling me how to handle my pigs.  I can't step pigs down onto concrete from my hydraulic trailer in our processing plant because the pig "might hurt its foot or pull a tendon".

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Can I put the first post on the hog talk page?

I disagree greatly.  NPPC has put TQA PQA  PQA+and every other animal welfare hurdle in our life.  Contracts actually read "adhere to the latest NPPC auditing programs for housing, handling and transporting"  Prior to the PLANTS no shock rule, they use to stand there and count zaps.  I have never heard of a USDA inspector worrying about handling.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Can I put the first post on the hog talk page?

USDA inspectors are all over humane handling.  USDA plants get shut down each and every day over inhumane regulations.  A lot of the suspensions are over power trips and politics in plants.  USDA can close plants down over inhumane treatment and inspector intimidation with no due process and they know it. 

Here is the latest quarterly report which lists at least 30+ plants that got closed (normally for one to three days) for inhumane treatment or slaughter.  The report lists the number of days.  http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/QER_Q2_FY10_Tables1-19.pdf

Here is USDA's latest notice explaining what they shut plants down for regarding animal treatment (without hearing, right to appeal, no warning, etc.)  http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISNotices/19-10.pdf 

So, I strongly disagree with you that USDA isn't looking at animal treatment.  They close plants down over people unloading animals "improperly".   I'm not saying I couldn't agree that NPPC might have brought some of this on but USDA is running with it.  Its just about impossible to run a USDA slaughter plant without getting shut down for inhumane treament.  We've been very fortunate so far to never have been shut down for any reason but I don't hold my breath.  USDA uses humane handling and intimidation of inspectors over very small plants head.  If any inspector makes any claims of inhumane handling or anyone has threatened an inspector you get shut down immediately with no warning. 

And you have to remember that I raise my pigs under the Animal Welfare Institute standards so I'm not at all opposed to treating animals with ever bit of respect and dignity possible through every portion of their lives.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Can I put the first post on the hog talk page?

It seems like every other month there is a new rule.  We have to sign a paper EVERY time agreeing to the humane treatment.  First it was no wiffle bats with BB's in them,  then no stock prods,  now we have to have a hurdle to unload.  It takes longer to get the hurdle untied and down than it takes me to unload my 29 head.

 

About 2 years ago my truck was turned in by a motorist following me at a stop light.   It was an extremely cold and icy day so I had stayed on the highway the whole trip, avoiding the blacktops.   This meant I had to stop at 3 stoplights.   From the back this motorist decided that my truck was overloaded,  called the IL Dept. of Ag,  Dept of Ag called the USDA inspectors at the plant,  inspectors called the hog buyers with the truck description,  Hog buyers called us.   They never really felt I was overloaded,  I never was in any trouble.  The next time I delivered hogs one of the USDA inspectors came out and looked at and in my truck.  Problem over.   I do try and count correctly and not put over 29 on the truck.   I'm looking for a 2nd grader to come out and count for me.  Last week I had 30 and 28.  Well at least they avgeraged out to 29. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Can I put the first post on the hog talk page?

What has always bothered me about peopel who do not raise animals for a living is that they have no concept of the fact that you cannot abuse animals and expect them to support your family, too.  You know from commonsense that if you overcrowd animals on your truck, you  will eventually lose one to stress, and cost yourself.  I hauled for years, and never had a downer or a dead when I got to Smithfield. 

We actually have people ask us if we name all the pigs we raise...yeah, right, 80,000 plus names per year every year for sixteen years.  They confuse livestock with companion animals. 

When I was at the vet hospital at NC State with LIttle Girl (my birddog) last fall, one of the other women, who had a cat in the ICU, asked me how I "reconciled taking such good care of her with raising hogs for a living.'  I finally got part of the point of animal ag across by pointing out that her cat eats canned meat products...so someone has to do her dirty work for her. 

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