Doug Wolf,
2011 NPPC president

National Pork Producers Council President Sam Carney, Adair, Iowa, passed the gavel on to Doug Wolf for the year ahead.

Wolf is a pork producer from Lancaster, Wisc. Joining him as NPPC’s president-elect is R.C. Hunt, Wilson, N.C., and the council’s new vice president is Randy Spronk of Edgerton, Minn.

Looking to the year ahead, Wolf cited the U.S. grain supply as NPPC’s and producers’ biggest concern. “Our top priority will be to ensure that we have enough feed available,” he added.

In 2010, the average profit nationally, was $10.95 per pig. “As an industry, we recovered about half of the debt lost during the last economic downturn,” Wolf said. “With high feed prices and tight availability, the per-pig profit estimate for this year is $5.91. It won’t take much to erode that.”

With more than 20 percent of U.S. pork production sold to overseas markets, trade issues such as getting final approval on the South Korea Free-trade Agreement and resolving the Mexican trucking issue are critical. “It looks like by summer the first trucks will be ready to travel,” Wolf noted.

USDA’s proposed GIPSA rule has been a centerpiece of producers’ attention since it was introduced last June. “GIPA is in remission for now,” he added, “but we want USDA to conduct a thorough and accurate economic analysis.” And by this he means showing the far-reaching economic impact the rule would have, versus a general cost/benefit analysis.

As for ethanol and its pressures on the feed supply, Wolf reported that NPPC leadership will be making a trip to Washington, D. C. on Tuesday, March 8, to ask USDA to release non-sensitive Conservation Reserve Program acres for production, penalty free. That would amount to 4 to 8 million acres. There are about 30 million total acres in CRP.

“That would not be for this planting season,” said Neil Dierks, NPPC chief executive officer, “as that would not yet be productive ground. There’s very little hope for this year, it would be for the 2012 crop.”