ICYMI: Farm Bill, Wild Pig Captures, Nuisance Trial, Tariffs

From the farm bill to wild pigs to nuisance trials, December was full of headlines to capture your attention. Here are some of our top stories from PorkBusiness.com in December in case you missed it.

1. FMD Bank in Farm Bill is Big Win for Livestock Industry

Livestock farmers have achieved an unprecedented victory in the 2018 farm bill conference report passed through the Senate and the House, says Dustin Baker, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) director of economics and domestic production issues.
“The United States has been ill-prepared to deal with a foreign animal disease outbreak for quite some time,” Baker says. “The farm bill’s multifaceted approach to surveillance, diagnostics and vaccines is critical to safeguard the health and well-being of our animals, rural economies and the safety of the food supply.” Read more.

2. Deadly Terrorist Threatens the Lone Star State’s Domestic Pig Herd

One of the deadliest enemies in Texas – the wild pig – is sparking fear as threats of ASF hitting U.S. soil dance across the headlines. 

“Wild pigs are agricultural and environmental terrorists number one,” says John Tomecek, assistant professor and wildlife specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “They destroy the environment and carry diseases that can spread to humans and domestic pig herds.”

There’s no doubt that an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in Texas would be devastating, he says. Read more.

3. China Loads Up on U.S. Pork Despite Trade Tariffs

As ASF continues to ravage the Chinese hog supply, China is buying more U.S. pork despite the import tariffs imposed due to the trade war.

The world’s top pork consumer placed its largest order for U.S. pork since trade tensions began escalating between China and the U.S. In the week to Nov. 22, China bought 3,348 tons of pork to be shipped this year, USDA said. Weekly U.S. pork sales overall totaled 34,000 tons for the 2018 and 2019 marketing years. Read more.

4. Thousands of Wild Pigs in Australia Killed in Aerial Cull

Nearly 5,000 wild pigs have been eradicated in a targeted aerial shoot in western Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia, to control escalating numbers of this troublesome predator. Not only are wild pigs a pest for farmers in Australia, but they are also damaging the environment and spreading disease.

The cull was facilitated by Local Land Services (LLS). According to ABC News, over the past three years, aerial surveys of the area indicated there were as many as 170 wild pigs per square kilometre. Local farmers who are plagued with the pigs eating and damaging their crops have been calling for action for years to reduce the pig numbers. Read more.

5. Fourth Smithfield Nuisance Trial Brings Less Punitive Damages

A federal judge brought the fourth hog farm nuisance trial to an abrupt halt by ruling the plaintiffs presented insufficient evidence to impose punitive damages. While it’s the fourth loss for the hog industry, it’s a major turn considering the low monetary damages.

The jury in the hog nuisance trial of eight Sampson County neighbors against the world’s largest pork producer rendered a verdict awarding between $100 and $75,000 to each in compensation. Read more.