Chore time for me isn't what it used to be when I was growing up on our eastern Iowa farm, but taking care of two horses in the morning before I head in for work gives me a little time to think about the day ahead. Each morning, stop at this spot to get a feeling for the "tone of the day" - and some attitude about agriculture and the markets.
I was thinking…
... I'd share some of the coverage we had on H1N1 flu in last week's Pro Farmer newsletter. We're planning plenty of followup coverage in this week's newsletter, but what we had last week is still good perspective for the marketplace.
Fortunately, some of the hysteria over H1N1 is starting to fade, but the unfortunate and undeserved attachment to the hog market is lingering -- and will continue to linger. Here's the coverage from last week's Pro Farmer. To learn more about Pro Farmer newsletter, drop me a note or call 1-800-772-0023.
"The outbreak of H1N1 influenza with its epicenter in Mexico first carried the unfortunate name of “swine flu.” Global reaction was as should have been expected — uneducated and knee-jerk.
"The National Pork Producers Council and USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack were quick to act to educate the masses... and most in the media (at least those willing to be educated) now thankfully refer to this flu outbreak with a biological classification — H1N1. (Unfortunately, that is also a general influenza classification... which could also add confusion.)
"Egypt gets the trophy for the most uneducated reaction. It ordered extermination of all 300,000+ hogs in the country, despite the fact the herd was free of H1N1 and there are no human cases, either!
"Next on that list are the countries that banned imports of pork from countries with confirmed human cases of H1N1, including pork from the United States. Iindustry reaction, down to individual producers, is outrage; traders’ reaction to the pork import ban was to aggressively sell lean hog futures.
"Treat the symptoms, wait for recovery —
"Not only is that how to handle an H1N1 infection, it’s also all we can do with its impact on the hog market. Treatment has started — even the World Health Organization has officially adopted “H1N1.” The next treatment is for Vilsack and U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk to pursue all avenues to remove restrictions on global pork trade.
"Most importantly, it will simply take time to cure the hog market’s ills associated with H1N1 flu. How long will it take? We’re dealing with human perceptions — which means it’s exceptionally difficult to predict how long the hog market will be dealing with a negative attachment to this disease. But, it won’t likely be a “quick” cure."