The following blogs and commentaries were featured as PorkNetwork magazine's "Best of the Blogs" feature in the January/February 2014 issue.

Trade deals portend good future for producers

Written by Roger Stevens

U.S. pork producers and farmers in general received an early Christmas gift of sorts when the World Trade Organization (WTO) on December 9 sealed the first global trade deal since the trade body was created almost two decades ago. Known as the Bali agreement, it includes trade facilitation, agricultural subsidies and the development of least-developed countries (LDCs).

Basically this means less red tape at customs to speed up the passage of goods, but developing nations will be able to continue subsidizing their crops for food security.

Read more here.


Is Secretary Vilsack playing Russian roulette with pork profits?

Written by Paul Meers

The latest in the mandatory country-of-origin labeling (MCOOL) saga has Secretary Vilsack making yet another negative change to the labeling rule, particularly in regard to the pork industry, and expects the WTO to deem it in compliance!

MCOOL, if ruled out of compliance again by WTO, will open up the almost assured retaliation of free trade by our partners Canada and Mexico. Retaliation will come via tariffs to a large number of products exported by the United States. U.S. pork products will have to be devalued to remain competitive in Canada and Mexico, thus putting negative price pressure back through the pork chain.

Read more here.


Be real. It works (even at the Food Dialogues)

Written by Katie Olthoff

In my social media endeavors, I have always tried to show all aspects of my life: the good, the bad and the ugly. I show what happens on the farm and what happens in the rest of my life, too. In doing so, I’ve built relationships with my followers. They feel as though they can trust me and trust what I say about food and farming.

I was lucky enough to be a panelist for the recent Food Dialogues in Ames, Iowa. That night, I took my social media philosophy to the stage. I tried my hardest to be real and relatable, so that I could build trust with my audience, just as I do on my blog and facebook page.

And I think it worked. The audience burst into applause when I explained that my CAFO, my “factory farm” is actually a family farm, and that my husband would be taking care of turkeys while everyone else was eating them.

Read more here.


The misunderstood truth about modern production

Written by Allison Zabel

I work for Pipestone System, and it is devastating to know that a farm down the road in the same company was videotaped unknowingly. An employee lost a job because of it.

Mercy for Animals released the video targeting Walmart and the way they produce meat…Of course they edited the video to make it look horrible and graphic. Somber music played to heighten the video’s effect.

James Cromwell says, “As compassionate people we cannot allow this to continue.”

I take that statement as a slap in the face. It’s stating that since I work in a hog confinement, I am not compassionate.

Read more here.