New Pig Flu Emerging as County Fairs Hit High Season

The CDC says a new pig flu is spreading from animals to people, just as state and county fairs hit high season. The CDC's Tom Skinner says there have been 29 cases confirmed in the last year, 12 in recent weeks. Skinner says most of the recent cases were linked to county fairs, like one recently in southwestern Ohio.

“Most of the individuals who have acquired this infection either work with pigs or they have attended agricultural fairs where pigs are exhibited.”

First Class for Sorghum Leadership Program Announced

The Sorghum Checkoff has announced the first class of its new program that seeks to develop the next generation of leaders for the sorghum industry. Fifteen sorghum farmers from eight different states have been selected for Leadership Sorghum. Sorghum Checkoff Chairman Bill Kubecka says the first class of the program is made up of a diverse group of farmers representing a wide variety of sorghum producing environments. North Carolina’s Johnnie Tyndall, of Deep Run, in Lenoir County was chosen for this first class.

ASA Talks Sustainability with Chinese

Sustainability was part of the high-level discussions U.S. soybean leaders had with Chinese government officials this past week in Beijing. American Soybean Association North Asia Regional Director Paul Burke says they’re trying to get out ahead of China requiring proof of sustainability from U.S. soybean growers – especially since consumers use the words organic and sustainable interchangeably…

“Right now the Chinese government is very concerned about having this sustainable source of food, but our downstream customers are not being pressured by their customers to show sustainability. Here in China, the consumers and the food processors aren’t asking their suppliers to prove that their supply chain is sustainable yet. But we want to be out in front of that.”

ASA Chair Alan Kemper says they’re using an aggregate approach – which blankets all U.S. soybean producers based on their participation in the farm program and the audits that already take place to participate

Chinese Pork Production Changing

A major shift is taking place in Chinese pork production as the country moves from backyard production to more integration. Just five years ago around 85-percent of the hogs were raised in backyard settings – now only around 50-percent. Kyle Wang with a new Chinese hog breeding company, C-Pig, headquartered in Shanghai, says the shift is taking place as per capita consumption for pork is rising…

“These kinds of backyard farms cannot be competitive with the scaled productions. Development is happening for more integration. This way efficiency can be much higher.”

Wang says the government is actually providing incentives for pork producers to expand their operations and many have grown to between 200 and 500 sows.

One Restaurant Chain Committed to Buying Local

Chipotle Mexican Grill said it plans to serve more than 10 million pounds of locally grown produce for the second year in a row, up from 5 million pounds just two years ago. Chipotle has steadily increased its locally sourced produce supply since beginning the program in 2008, with the commitment to serve great tasting vegetables that are grown on farms within 350 miles of the restaurants where they will be served. According to a recent online survey of 2,000 adults by market research firm Mintel, more than half (52%) of U.S. consumers say it’s more important to buy local produce than organic options. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.