When pigs fly, pork producers benefit

This article is reprinted from the Pork Leader newsletter, available at: Latest Pork Leader Newsletter www.Pork.org
South Korea's efforts to cull nearly a third of its swine herd in the wake of a recent foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak have propelled U.S. Pork exports and have created a new opportunity for a Midwestern shipping business that’s sending live hogs to help the Asian nation repopulate.

“Pork is South Korea’s number-one protein, and when a situation of this magnitude occurs, it’s devastating,” says Tony Clayton, president of Clayton Agri-Marketing Inc., in Jefferson City, Mo, whose company been tasked with getting hundreds of U.S. hogs to South Korea safely.

Starting on May 31 and continuing into June, three separate shipments of hogs will be transported on 747s from Chicago to South Korea. The animals have been selected for specific swine genetics, including Yorkshire, Landrace, Duroc and Berkshire, that the South Korean buyers desire, says Clayton, who notes that the first shipment will include 235 hogs.

The hogs are housed in specially-designed pens in the cargo planes to ensure the animals arrive in the best possible condition. The hogs have access to plenty of water with electrolytes, although they will likely sleep during most of the 16-hour flight, Clayton says.
“The hogs travel very well, and we work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure the animals’ well-being,” says Clayton, who notes that the hogs must spend a number of days in quarantine in both the United States and South Korea to ensure that they are healthy and free of disease.

This is just the start of a herd rebuilding process may require South Korea to import approximately 50,000 hogs during the next few years. “The South Koreans like to buy from the United States, because they value good meat quality and other genetic traits,” Clayton says.

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