Pork Commentary

Jim Long President – CEO Genesus Inc. info@genesus.com

National Pork Industry Conference

July 20, 2015

Last week we attended the National Pork Industry Conference (NIPC) held at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Our Report
  • Conference as usual was well attended with over 700 attendees.
  • The organization of the event by Century 21 group was excellent as usual. To utilize an old cliché “Trains ran on time.”
  • Like all events, speakers varied. Depended on your perspective on how interesting you found one or another.
  • This year the conference suffered in our opinion from the lack of a powerful keynote speaker. A giant of the industry. In other years, CEO’s of Smithfield and Tyson spoke. Real leaders and decision makers.
  • Genesus held a reception on Sunday night, which was well-attended 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. – lots of industry talk and fun had by all including many of our competitors.
  • On the Monday afternoon Genesus had a session where Dr. Bob Kemp, Vice President – R & D and Genetic Programs, spoke on the economic value of genetic gain while yours truly repeated what you read weekly in this commentary. Good attendance and many questions.
  • Generally, we would characterize the mood of the conference as positive with a degree of apprehension. Most producers just came off their most profitable year ever. They feel pretty good. The parking lot at the Kalahari had a large presence of new Cadillac Escalades, Suburbans, and option full pickups. It was a prosperous looking group justly rewarded for taking risk and capturing success.
  • On the prosperity front, Joe Kerns was speaking at NPIC on grain markets. If we got it right, he said Iowa’s farmland is worth $250 billion at today’s land prices. He said 78% of Iowa’s land is debt free. Give or take $200 billion to the plus side for Iowa’s farmland owners. Talk about a group that’s bulletproof! Multiple generations of farmland, ownership has created an Ag – equity group of wealth. That’s only Iowa; imagine the wealth of the total Corn Belt! It will be over a trillion dollars. It also backstops many a hog operation when hog prices get below breakeven.
  • Every year NPIC seems to have the topic of the month. This year it was antibiotics, other years included animal welfare issues. Not sure, what it all means but there appears to be a push to crate pork products antibiotic free. There is a market but how big?
  • Earlier we observed apprehension at NPIC about the future. All know market hogs are $100 less than a year ago. Feed prices have gained over the last three weeks. There is concern about sow herd expansion and the ability of packers to handle all of the hogs. Bob Ruth spoke at NPIC on behalf of Clemens Food Group about the new plant in Michigan. 2017 target opening some with new Triumph Plant at Sioux City Iowa. We need a win. Now China desiring more pork in the coming months could be it.   We have historically high beef prices and pork cut – outs 1/3 of beef. Something is not working well for pork.
  • The sale of Fast Genetics to Sexing Technologies a week ago was a topic of conversation for personnel of genetic companies attending NPIC. The consensus seems to be good idea of HyLife’s Japanese major owners Itochu to sell Fast. It was a small piece of a big portfolio. They were not committing financial and/or technical development to the program to stay competitive. They were losing market share.
  • Why Sexing Technologies bought Fast seems to be up for debate. In the dairy business, sexed semen can fetch over $100 more per dose. No way, there is such a windfall in the swine industry. This is a cost conscious producer group. 50₵ a pig is a lot. The new CEO of Fast is the former President of PIC – USA should know the business. PIC is by far the largest swine genetic company, becoming CEO of Fast after being president of PIC is like going from Captain of the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner to Captain of the SS Minnow with Gilligan as first mate compared by the other castaways.
Summary NPIC was well attended, and well organized. The last 18 months were the best ever for production but apprehensive about the future.

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This post was written by Genesus