Weekly livestock news: December 12, 2022

Rural veterinary shortages create risks for food system, report says

The United States faces an alarming shortage of veterinarians to treat livestock and poultry in rural areas, threatening public health, food safety and economic growth in communities that depend on agriculture, a new report says. Today, only 3-4% of new veterinary school graduates pursue livestock or other food animal practice areas, down from about 40% four decades ago, according to the report commissioned by Farm Journal Foundation and authored by Cornell University economics expert Clinton Neill. Shortages stem from several factors, including high levels of education debt that have outpaced potential earnings, especially in the rural United States. The report includes potential solutions the federal government could implement to mitigate the problem.

Rabobank predicts uncertainty for animal protein production in 2023

Global animal protein production is expected to grow modestly in 2023, but producers continue to face uncertainty, according to a new report from Rabobank. “It has been a year like no other for the animal protein industry. Companies have grappled with rising input prices, supply chain disruption and geopolitical strife, many of which are unresolved as we head into 2023,” said Justin Sherrard, global strategist for animal protein at Rabobank. The group predicts U.S. beef production will drop 3% in 2023, followed by another 2-5% the following three years, shifting the movement of beef throughout the global marketplace. Feedstuffs reports.

Four South Dakota commercial turkey flocks hit with avian flu

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in late November confirmed avian flu in four South Dakota commercial turkey flocks, affecting a total of about 230,000 birds. The cases were in separate counties. With the new cases, South Dakota has now had 54 confirmed instances of highly pathogenic avian flu in commercial poultry flocks in 2022. Only Minnesota has had more affected flocks, at 79, according to WattAgNet. New cases of bird flu were also confirmed in Maryland and Illinois.

October pork exports were the largest in 16 months, while 2022 beef exports have topped $10 billion

October exports of U.S. pork were the largest in more than a year, and beef export volume also increased from a year ago, according to data released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Pork exports reached 238,198 metric tons in October, up 5% from a year ago and the largest since June 2021. Pork export value increased 13% to $697.3 million, the highest since May 2021. For January through October, pork exports were 12% below last year at 2.18 million metric tons, valued at $6.26 billion, down 8%. Beef exports in the first 10 months of the year reached $10.05 billion, up 18% from last year’s record.

USDA outlines plan to get information for new Cattle Contracts Library

The USDA has published a final rule in the Federal Register outlining how the agency plans to secure information needed to populate a “Cattle Contracts Library,” Feedstuffs reports. A federal spending law passed earlier this year directed the agency’s Agricultural Marketing Service to create a pilot program for the library, which aims to increase market transparency for cattle producers. The rule published last week, set to be implemented beginning January 6, 2023, requires packers that slaughtered an average of at least 5% of the number of fed cattle slaughtered nationally during the immediate five preceding calendar years to submit contractual information for the library.