Farm Progress

Commodity Corner: Checking in with commodity groups across the state

August 30, 2017

4 Min Read
SPUD DAY: Nov. 8 is Potato Day at the Capitol. Michigan’s potato industry generates more than $1.24 billion in total economic contribution.

The Michigan potato complex will celebrate the impact on Michigan’s economy as a part of the fourth annual Potato Day at the Capitol on Nov. 8.

Some of the numbers that lead to the celebration, thanks to potatoes, are over $1.24 billion in total economic contribution, over 47,000 acres of production, more than 3,200 full-time jobs, and 6% of the state’s agricultural and food processing economy.

Grower, processors and others that contribute to these economic successes will be converging at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with samples of potato dishes and displays on potato varieties and production practices.

While the event is targeted at educating elected officials and those who are engaged in the operations of state government, the event is open to the public. Additional information is at

Pork Checkoff builds momentum for secure pork supply plan

The National Pork Board, with major support from USDA, is creating a Secure Pork Supply plan to help America’s pig farmers respond quickly and successfully to a major threat, such as a foreign animal disease (FAD).

“The plan will enhance communication and coordination of all pork chain segments to help producers keep their farms operating and all related business activities functioning,” says Bob Dykhuis, Holland,  pork producer and president of Michigan Pork Producers Association.

“We’re thankful that our country has not experienced a disease such as foot-and-mouth (FMD) since 1929,” adds Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board president from Friend, Neb. “However, if we get the news that FMD, African swine fever or another foreign animal disease has arrived, the Secure Pork Supply plan will pay big dividends by getting pork production back to normal much faster.”

An Iowa State University study estimates potential revenue losses to U.S. pork and beef industries from an FMD outbreak would run $12.8 billion per year, or $128 billion over a 10-year period. Related losses to corn and soybean markets over a decade would be $44 billion and $24.9 billion, respectively.

The Secure Pork Supply plan will provide procedures that pork producers, processors, and federal and state agencies agree are feasible should an FAD strike, according to veterinarian Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff. This would include the safe movement of animals from farms in an FAD control area to harvest channels or to other production sites as long as the pigs have no evidence of disease.

“The Secure Pork Supply plan will provide business continuity to producers who enroll prior to an outbreak, which will allow them to be back in business faster than those who do not participate,” Webb says.

Basics of the plan that will help producer achieve this include implementing sound biosecurity, using premises identification tags, keeping detailed production records, and maintaining all necessary health papers and certificates.

“As a pork producer, I want to be ready when it’s time to sign up as a participant in the Secure Pork Supply program,” O’Neel says. “In the meantime, let’s all prepare by ramping up our farms biosecurity measures and other steps so we’ll be ready to go.”

Michigan’s Wilson and Williams lead Soy in Human Health Initiative

Michigan soybean growers Jim Wilson and David Williams are leading the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Program. American Soybean Association President Ron Moore confirmed Wilson and Williams along with 17 fellow soybean growers from across the nation to lead the ASA’s WISHH Committee in 2017-18.

Wilson serves on the committee representing Michigan. Williams, a United Soybean Board director, serves as an ex-officio member. The importance of their work in long-term market development was underscored on Aug.10 when USDA announced U.S. farmers are expected to produce a record-high soybean crop this year at 4.38 billion bushels.

WISHH strives for long-term market development and is always looking over the hill to the next market for U.S. soy, said Moore in announcing the WISHH committee. “WISHH’s Program Committee’s leadership is important to U.S. soybean growers as well as the many companies and customers in developing countries that seek to use U.S. soy in livestock feeds and human foods,” Moore says. “Cooperative efforts between WISHH and these emerging economies increases opportunities for trade.”

WISHH Chairman Daryl Cates, an Illinois soybean grower, added, “WISHH leverages U.S. soybean farmer checkoff dollars 6 to 1! And that’s just the beginning. WISHH further multiplies Qualified State Soybean Board dollars through international private-sector partner investments. The right formula for trade grows markets for U.S. soy farmers, and at the same time, improves lives for people abroad. WISHH works with international companies and organizations that purchase U.S. soy. These buyers invest thousands of their own dollars to research and promote soy-based foods and feeds made with U.S. soy in emerging markets.”



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