University News for June 29, 2012
A survey conducted by the University of Missouri suggests U.S. retailers may find themselves hard-pressed to deliver on promises that they'll only accept pork from farms that house sows in open pen gestation.
In response to demands for the elimination of gestation stalls, the University of Missouri on behalf of the U.S. based National Pork Producers Council surveyed pork production firms with over 1000 sows to determine the percentage of sows housed in open pen gestation today and the expectations two years from now.
University of Missouri extension economist Dr. Ron Plain says respondents reported roughly 17 percent of their sows are housed in open pen gestation now and they expect that to increase to 23 percent in two years.
Clip-Dr. Ron Plain-University of Missouri:
A number of retailers have been talking about requiring that their pork comes from operations that use open pen gestation and there's a real concern as to whether the industry would be able to actually deliver on this.
It's not good for the retailers or the producers if we end up confusing customers or promising things that we find out we can't deliver on on a timely basis.
This was basically to gather information for the industry as where we are and which direction we're headed in and how fast we're changing.
Dr. Plain notes, while many pork production firms are implementing some open pen gestation, there's no verification system in place to make sure that consumers are getting what some retailers are saying they'll deliver.
He suggests anytime you push a change, in this case in housing that costs more per square foot and is more labor intensive, you add costs and that will mean higher consumer prices for pork.
For UniversityNews.Org, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
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