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Recent Items of Interest for Swine Producers and the Swine Industry

Livestock Update, July 2005

Dr. Allen F. Harper, Ph.D. Extension Animal Scientist, Swine Virginia Tech Tidewater Agricultural Research & Extension Center

The Pork Check-off Situation
Based on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the legality of the beef check-off program, the court also over-turned a lower-court decision that the national mandatory pork check-off program was unconstitutional. In effect this decision secures, at least for now, continuance of a national program in which 40 cents from every $100 value of hogs sold is "checked-off" to provide funds for research, education and promotion as directed by the National Pork Board (NPB). In addition to supporting national programs administered by the NPB, a portion of funds are returned according to a formula to state pork producer associations (including Virginia) for operation of state level programs related to research, education and promotion.

Smithfield Foods Virginia Packing Plants Implementing "Process Verified Program"
Virginia producers who routinely sell hogs to Gwaltney of Smithfield and Smithfield Packing recently received notification that those plants are implementing a USDA process verified program, referred to as the "Smithfield Process Verified Program" (SPVP). Associated with implementation of this program will be certain required criteria for suppliers of hogs to the Gwaltney and Smithfield plants. These required criteria include: 1) Pork Quality Assurance level III certification (PQA III), 2) truck drivers moving pigs from farm to plant need to be Trucker Quality Assurance (TQA) certified, 3) producers delivering hogs to the Smithfield and Gwaltney plants must have records that allow traceability of the hogs from point of origin to the plant, and 4) once all these factors are accomplished, an on-farm evaluation by Smithfield personnel will occur to verify use of these certification programs. The first two criteria are trademark certification programs of the check-off supported National Pork Board. Extension education programs are being planned to assist producers and their personnel in meeting these certification requirements.

Symbol III: The New Standard of Excellence for Market Hogs
At the World Pork Expo on June 10 the National Pork Board (NPB) released the characteristics of "Symbol III" as the new standard of excellence for quality market hogs produced in the U.S. Previous versions of Symbol released by NPB include Symbol I released in 1981 and Symbol II released in 1995. Symbol III has published characteristics that relate positively to all segments of the pork production chain including live hog production, pork processing and retail pork consumption. The NPB recognizes that specialty or niche markets may have desirable alternative or additional characteristics to those ascribed to Symbol III. Characteristics of Symbol III are summarized as follows.

Symbol III Production Characteristics:

Symbol III Carcass Characteristics:

Symbol III Meat Quality Characteristics:

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