Delegates to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) annual meeting passed resolutions last week related to traceability, daily negotiated bids, USDA reporting and well-being audits.

The first approved resolution states: The National Pork Producers Council urges packers to require by Jan. 1, 2015, as a condition of sale, all market breeding swine to be individually identified with USDA’s approved official premises identification number (PIN) tag bearing the standardized Premises Identification Number traceable to the sending premises.

The industry has made significant strides in developing a nationally standardized pre-harvest traceability system specific to swine, and it is included in USDA’s recently published rule on animal traceability. The use of official PIN tags will allow producers a mechanism to distinguish their market breeding swine within a comingled group in market channels, thereby enhancing pre-market traceability. As an Iowa delegate explained, “There’s no better way to “walk the talk” than to pass this resolution.”

Daily negotiated bids
The second approved resolution requested NPPC to work with appropriate parties to assist USDA Market News in development of a process to calculate, then publish, an estimated net price for daily negotiated bids and consider a potential methodology for including hogs bought on a live basis in the negotiated net price for prior day and daily purchased swine reports.

Pork producers watch current-day purchase reports for guidance about the level of hog prices on a particular day. Purchase data include only base prices for hogs, since the animals have yet to be harvested. Carcass measurements, however, determine premiums and discounts, and ultimately, the net prices received by packers. USDA has over 10 years of data on mandatory price reporting, and could easily determine the relationship between net and base prices reported by packers.

USDA reporting
The third resolution passed this morning requests NPPC to assist USDA in avoiding issues surrounding confidentiality by improving volume in the morning reports (western corn belt, eastern corn belt, national and IA/S MN) to include purchases after 1 p.m. from the previous day.

Very few pigs purchased after 1 p.m. on a given day are slaughtered on that day. Thus, those purchases will influence the prices bid by packers on the following day. According to producers, the 10 a.m. USDA hog purchase reports frequently include missing data because the number of packers buying hogs and the number of purchases they make are not sufficient to fulfill USDA’s confidentiality protection requirements. The approved change would help solve confidentiality limitations on data publication.

Animal well-being audits
The final resolution passed today requested NPPC to support packer continuity, consistency and equivalency of audit reporting mechanisms, consistent with Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus), Transport Quality Assurance (TQA)  and PQA Plus site assessments, when developing their own animal well-being audit programs.

The Council encourages all pork producers to achieve PQA Plus certification, TQA certification and complete a PQA Plus site assessment. Packers are developing and implementing individual animal well-being audit programs based on these programs, but it’s important to have consistency to avoid confusion.

National Pork Board delegates are meeting on Friday afternoon, and meetings of both groups will continue on Saturday. More news from the annual meetings will be forthcoming.