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Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook (monthly) provides analysis of current developments in the livestock and poultry industry, providing data on animal numbers, meat and egg production, prices, trade, and net returns. Pork is a featured commodity in January, April, July, and October.

Changes in Manure Management in the Hog Sector: 1998-2004 (March 2009) uses data from two national surveys of hog farmers to examine how hog manure management practices vary with the scale of production and how these practices evolved between 1998 and 2004. The findings suggest that larger hog operations are altering their manure management decisions in response to binding nutrient application constraints, and that environmental policy is contributing to the adoption of conservation-compatible manure management practices.

The Changing Economics of U.S. Hog Production (December 2007) documents the growing size and specialization of U.S. hog operations during the last 15 years. Large operations that specialize in a single production phase and produce under contract have replaced traditional farrow-to-finish operations. These structural changes have coincided with substantial gains in efficiency and lower production costs, most of which are attributed to increases in scale of production and technological innovation. For an Amber Waves article on this topic, see Technology, Larger Farm Size Increased Productivity on U.S. Hog Farms (April 2008).

Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Hog Farms, 2004 (December 2007) describes an industry characterized by wide variation in the type, size, and economic performance of operations during 2004. Operations specializing in a single production phase generated more than three times the product value, on average, of those using the farrow-to-finish approach. Small and medium hog operations far outnumbered large and very large operations, but the latter accounted for most of the hog production.

Animal Products Markets in 2005 and Forecasts for 2006 (September 2006) looks at how uncertainty continues to shape the forecasts for animal products markets and trade in 2006. Potential and actual animal disease outbreaks, consumer sensitivities, volatile exchange rates, and growing competition from producers in other countries cloud U.S. trade prospects for major meats.

Economic Effects of Animal Diseases Linked to Trade Dependency (April 2006) highlights the importance of livestock and poultry trade to producers and consumers around the world. Though global meat trade has not fallen in response to animal disease outbreaks, a few countries have seen significant changes to their exports and imports. For more information, see Disease-Related Trade Restrictions Shaped Animal Product Markets in 2004 and Stamp Imprints on 2005 Forecasts (August 2005) and Brazil Emerges as Major Force in Global Meat Markets (April 2006).

Did the Mandatory Requirement Aid the Market? Impact of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act (September 2005) compares the mandatory price reporting system developed by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service in 2001 with the previous voluntary reporting system. The trend toward formula purchases has slowed since mandatory price reporting was implemented, and market forces have likely contributed to an increase in the volume of cattle moving under negotiated purchases.

Market Integration of the North American Animal Products Complex (May 2005) examines the economic integration of the beef, pork, and poultry industries of Mexico, Canada, and the United States over the past two decades. Sanitary barriers--designed to protect people and animals from diseases--are some of the most significant obstacles to fuller integration of meat and animal markets. For more information on integration, see North America Moves Toward One Market (June 2005).

Factors Affecting U.S. Pork Consumption (May 2005) analyzes pork consumption across different U.S. market channels, geographic regions, and population groups. Pork ranks third in annual U.S. meat consumption, behind beef and chicken, averaging 51 pounds per person. Most pork is consumed at home, and rural individuals eat more than their urban/suburban counterparts. Pork consumption also varies by race, ethnicity, and income level.

Market Integration in the North American Hog Industries (November 2004) reports that about 8 percent of the hogs slaughtered in the United States in 2004 will originate in Canada, many more than 10 years ago. Canadian hogs have flowed into the United States in response to significant structural changes in the U.S. pork industry, policy changes in Canada, and a strong U.S./Canadian dollar exchange rate. For an Amber Waves article on this topic, see U.S.-Canadian Hog Trade: Market Integration at Work (February 2005).

Pork Quality and the Role of Market Organization (November 2004) addresses changes in the organization of the U.S. pork industry, most notably marketing contracts between packers and producers, by exploring their function in addressing pork-quality concerns. Organizational arrangements can facilitate industry efforts to address pork quality needs by reducing measuring costs, controlling quality attributes that are difficult to measure, facilitating adaptations to changing quality standards, and reducing transaction costs associated with relationship-specific investments in branding programs.

Contracts, Markets, and Prices: Organizing the Production and Use of Agricultural Commodities (November 2004) reports that contracts are now the primary method of handling sales of many livestock commodities, including milk, hogs, and broilers, and of major crops such as sugar beets, fruit, and processing tomatoes. Production and marketing contracts governed 36 percent of the value of U.S. agricultural production in 2001, up from 12 percent in 1969.

Beef and Pork Values and Prices Spreads Explained (May 2004) examines how marketing costs affect livestock and meat prices in the short and long run. Slow price adjustment explains most of the month-to-month changes in beef and pork price spreads.

Country-of-Origin Labeling: Theory and Observation (January 2004) examines the economic rationale behind the various claims about the effect of country-of-origin labeling and indicates that mandatory country-of-origin labeling would likely generate more costs than benefits. Voluntary country-of-origin labeling is an option, but food suppliers have generally discounted the U.S. label as a quality attribute that can attract sufficient consumer interest.

Many factors determine the Structure of the Global Markets for Meat (September 2003), including the relative availability of resources for raising and processing animals for meat. Preferences for various cuts of meat among countries provide opportunities for international trade.

Interstate Livestock Movements (June 2003) analyzes livestock marketing patterns. As part of the overall meat production system, livestock movements affect profits for livestock owners, prices at the supermarket and restaurant, and potential for spread of animal diseases.

Manure Management for Water Quality (June 2003) evaluates the costs of spreading manure on cropland at the farm, regional, and national levels. EPA regulations enacted in February 2003 require concentrated animal feeding operations (generally, the largest producers of hogs, chicken, dairy, and beef cattle), when spreading their manure on cropland, to meet nutrient application standards that preserve water resources from nitrogen and phosphorus runoff. USDA encourages all animal feeding operations to comply with the new standards. If all operations meet the new standards, higher production costs could result throughout the food and agricultural system.

Pork Policies in Japan (March 2003) provides a detailed description and analysis of policies used by Japan to support its hog producers and to regulate pork markets. Regional deficiency payment programs compensate for price declines, with support from the national government. At the border, a low ad valorem tariff and the gate price system apply to pork imports.

Last updated: Friday, June 27, 2014

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