Feral hogs carry diseases, contaminate water bodies, destroy pastureland

The state doesn’t have a unified goal of reducing feral hog numbers, but it should, said John Tomecek, Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist.
The animals can carry diseases that can spread to livestock and people.
They also can contaminate water and destroy pastureland.
“In 2016, the states around us now have pigs,” he said.
“We had people coming to Texas, buying feral hogs and taking them over state lines and releasing them for hunting reasons.” In 2011, about 25,000 feral hogs were trapped, and this year, more than 35,000 hogs have been trapped, Tomecek said.
One sow has the capacity to produce 50 offspring in less than two years, and the animals don’t have many predators.
“I no longer have hay available to feed my stock; areas are damaged by pigs,” Tomecek said.
Kathryn Cargo reports on business and agriculture for the Victoria Advocate.
She may be reached at kcargo@vicad.com or 361-580-6328.
Follow her on twitter @kathryncargo.

Of pigs, pythons and population growth – setting the record straight

Of pigs, pythons and population growth – setting the record straight.
I am constantly startled by references to “population growth” as a cause of a number of development challenges.
I can almost see Thomas Malthus grinning at me from the shadows.
It gets worse.
The highest fertility is in sub-Saharan Africa, with Southern Africa having fairly low levels by comparison.
Family planning, child survival, and female education will have huge impacts on the highest fertility countries, but the trajectory of most other countries is a declining one already.
Of the top ten highest fertility countries, nine are in Africa, and eight of those are listed as being fragile.
So, fertility is highly correlated with crisis, uncertainty, and poor access to services.
Yes, of course numbers matter: Food and water scarcity, pressures on urban transport or on roads are correlated with how many people there are.
But why do infrastructure based services affect some people more than others?

Pig dung leads to profit in Longyou

Pig dung leads to profit in Longyou.
Pig dung used to be a serious issue in Longyou county, Zhejiang province.
The waste produced by 2.8 million hogs raised in the county had fouled rivers here.
But Zhu Youbiao, a local farmer, has turned the county’s mountains of dung into serious dough, with the establishment of Kaiqi Energy Technology Co Ltd in 2009.
"I had 25,000 pigs and dozens of tons of dung and urine needed to be dealt with every day," said Zhu.
After consulting experts from China’s Ministry of Agriculture and waste treatment companies in Europe, his research team designed a system that would decontaminate pigs’ excretions and convert this potential source of pollution into profit.
At first, Zhu only used the process to treat his own farm waste.
The central government invested 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) to help Kaiqi promote its facility in 2014, and the company now collects waste from every pig farm in Longyou.
The company produces an average of 15,000 tons of solid biofertilizer and 16 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
By 2016, there were no "black and smelly" or "garbage" rivers left in the county, according to the county’s water resources bureau.

Canada beats US in pork sales to China

Canada has overtaken the United States as the top North American supplier of pork to China, as farmers and meat packers in both nations battle for lucrative shares of the biggest global market. Canada’s pork sales to China, after a sharp rise last year, exceeded those of the United States in the first quarter of 2017. That’s only happened a handful of times in two decades, according to US and Canadian government data. Rising affluence is driving China’s voracious appetite for pork, including parts of the pig – feet, elbows, innards – which command little value in most countries. At the same time, tightened environmental standards in China have forced farm closures and boosted demand for cheaper imports. That’s a bonanza for Canadian farmers, who have almost completely removed the growth drug ractopamine from their pigs’ diet – largely because it is banned in China, which consumes half the world’s pork. US exports to China are limited because only about half of the nation’s herd has been weaned off the drug, according to US hog producers, meat packers and animal feed dealers. But major US-based firms are now moving to produce more ractopamine-free hogs – including the three biggest pork producers. The ascension of Canada’s pork exports underscores the power of the gargantuan Chinese market to influence agricultural practices and profits in supplier countries worldwide. As recently as 2013,…

As Factory Farms Spread, So Do Toxic Tort Cases

Known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, the facilities confine and raise large populations of livestock.
And lawyers on both sides of the cases agree the legal landscape is expected to change even further as a result of a new federal appeals court decision that rejected the Environmental Protection Agency’s air emission reporting exemption for CAFOs.
“EPA recently estimated that there are about 19,000 CAFOs in the country and that of those, about three-quarters probably discharge into waterways and should be regulated under the Clean Water Act,” Tarah Heinzen, staff attorney for Food & Water Watch in Washington, told Bloomberg BNA.
They also say the regulatory vacuum hampers citizen suits filed under such federal statutes as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
“This rule had been in place since 2008, and essentially the court held that Congress made it very clear that all facilities that report over a certain threshold of regulated pollutants have to report.” The ruling, unless it is overturned on appeal, could extend beyond federal cases.
State right-to-farm laws typically apply a who-was-there-first rule, and protect a farm from nuisance liability if it lawfully operated for more than a year and wasn’t considered a nuisance when it began.
“If you suddenly have a court ruling that says that many farms are not complying with the law because they’re not doing air emission reporting, that could potentially impact right-to-farm act defenses,” Janzen said.
Nuisance Suits Surge Regardless of environmentalists’ recent victories under the right-to-know law and RCRA, state-law nuisance claims, not federal environmental actions, are the bread-and-butter of most CAFO cases, some of the lawyers said.
But many cases are still pending, including dozens on a mass tort docket in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, where wholly-owned subsidiaries of Smithfield Foods are among the defendants.
848, would amend the federal statute to make clear it doesn’t govern animal or crop waste from farms.

Canadian pork sector benefits from going ractopamine free

Canada is winning market share in China because U.S. packers and feed mills won’t remove ractopamine from feed, says American economist Canadian pork will keep going through the front door to China while U.S. pork sneaks through back doors left open by Canada and the European Union, says a leading American hog market analyst.
“They’ll be a long-time buyer.” As well, he urged Canadian hog farmers to examine why they aren’t receiving a premium over the average North American price because Canada is becoming the hub for offshore pork sales.
However, Canada has gone almost entirely racto-free, so its sales to China have been booming.
In 2016 China vaulted to become the second biggest buyer of Canadian pork by volume at 313,915 tonnes.
That leaves the U.S. to backfill the customers that Canada and the EU are now ignoring in order to meet Chinese demand, Hayes said.
The booming Chinese demand for pork imports will continue for at least a year and probably 18 months, he said.
Whether it will continue beyond that depends on the choices Chinese hog farmers make about relocating to Manchuria in northern China.
If they don’t move and production doesn’t boom in Manchuria to make up for slumping production in the central and southern regions, then China will probably remain a major pork buyer.
China has been importing about 250,000 tonnes per month.
“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Hayes.