MARSHALL - Sander Ludeman of SanMarBo Farms in Tracy visited the Marshall Sunrise Rotary Club Thursday to present a pork industry progress report and discuss the industry's recent changes.
He briefly reviewed the industry's history, stating that the 1985 Farm Bill brought change to suffering the industry saw in the 1970's. After that, pork became commonly known as "The Other White Meat."
Ludeman said that since then, "new science, new technology and new management" have helped improve the pork industry.
Photo by Katy Palmer
Sander Ludeman of SanMarBo Farms in Tracy spoke at the Sunrise Rotary Club meeting July 1 about improvements the pork industry has seen in the past five years. “Pork is now the meat of choice worldwide.”
Recent U.S. studies have found that, overall, pork meat is 16 percent leaner and has 27 percent less saturated fat.
The industry has also produced precooked meats and specialty items to sell. "We're trying to do as much as we can to keep the pigs healthy and happy. When the pigs are happy they provide the best products for us," Ludeman said.
Lyon County produces about 400,000 pigs per year, making about $140 million. This amount, however, does not account for costs such as feeding and fertilizing, Ludeman said.
Ludeman also addressed changes the industry has seen the past five years. An emphasis has been placed on the pigs' nutrition. "To me," Ludeman said, "preventing disease is a high priority."
The We Care campaign was developed to produce safe food and safe working environments.
Pork producers are working harder to recycle what they can and be more aware of their surroundings.
Ludeman said they use organic manure, which saves about $50 per acre when compared to commercial manure. SanMarBo also follows the "Good Neighbor Policy" when working with manure - it notifies surrounding farms of its work to make sure there is no interference with the farmers.
Unfortunately, the H1N1 virus outbreak significantly brought down the industry, until recently. Ludeman said, "This spring we have climbed out of the doldrums."
Advancements in genetics have positively influenced pork production. Ludeman said pork producers are able to control the size and quality of the pigs they raise, resulting in a more efficient production process.
Production of pork, "the other white meat," is constantly improving, making the meat grow in popularity. "Pork is now the meat of choice worldwide," Ludeman said. He also mentioned that Japan accounts for 31 percent of all U.S. pork exports.
Ludeman, along with other speakers from SanMarBo Farms, has spoken to various service clubs such as Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs in surrounding towns, including Slayton, Redwood Falls and Granite Falls.
He said that most responses to the presentations find that perceptions of the pork industry are becoming more favorable - people now understand why the industry does what it does.