Over 150 people representing all aspects of the North Carolina feed industry gathered for three days in Wilmington for the 51st CFIA Annual Convention. They learned more about their industry and where it is going. Attendees came from the production side of the poultry and swine industries and feed mills as well as crop growers and industry suppliers.

A great group of speakers provided insight on the current state of and the future of the industry as well as good information on poultry, swine and crop production.

On Aug. 24, Dr. Coltin Caraway, nutritionist with Mountaire Farms and CFIA board member, introduced the slate of speakers for the morning session. First up was Dr. Ben Fallen, research agronomist with USDA. He discussed the work that is underway with crossbreeding for improved characteristics of soybeans. Much of the work is in conjunction with North Carolina State University at their various test plots. This is a slow process and is geared to what the market wants, Fallen noted. There is an inverse relationship between increased yield and increased protein percentage. Farmers want the increased yield and feed mills want increased protein/oil percentages. Recent work has been with wild soybeans that have an increased drought tolerance but low yield.

Chuck McDaniel, vice president of Agristats, discussed reproductive issues and trends in poultry and swine. There were a lot of facts about the hatchability of eggs and mortality in broiler production and swine production operations. While mortality is improving, there is more work to be done to continue to improve.

Dr. Mark Wilson of Feedworks USA had a presentation on production management and nutritional impacts on swine reproduction. He gave attendees his professional insight into the ideal weight for swine to start their breeding as well as what to look for in weight loss after farrowing.

Following that, a presentation on feeding for optimum reproduction in broiler breeders was led by Dr. Jeanna Wilson from the University of Georgia. She stressed moving as close to a uniform flock size as possible – and several things for producers to look at to attain this goal. Feeding times were discussed as well as types of feed, percentage of fiber to introduce and reducing as much stress as possible.

The keynote address was delivered by North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who said he understands the issues facing the farmers of the Tar Heel State and the forces allied against them. He praised them for their ability to feed not only their state but consumers worldwide.

Carolina Feed Industry Association’s Summer Convention returns

Presenters Dr. Mark Wilson of Feedworks USA (L) and Dr. Ron Prestage of Prestage Farms. Photos by Bruce Button

After lunch, Dr. Ron Prestage of Prestage Farms had a humorous discussion of his trials and pitfalls over the past year. His presentation was titled “My Vision of the Future.” He admitted his crystal ball must be broken because last year he predicted his ultra-modern, highly automated turkey processing plant would be running efficiently with two separate shifts of workers laboring in four-day weeks. So far that has happened only three times. His plant is running, however, with the help of equipment manufacturer Marel. It is the only turkey processing facility in the Western hemisphere using patented air-chill technology – a much more sanitary cooling process. His facility is contracted with 120 farms in the Carolinas to process their turkeys.

Two presenters that offered a peek at the ongoing work on the lobbying/education front were Dr. Ashley Peterson of the National Chicken Council and Dr. Christina Phillips of Smithfield Foods. Both said their time is spent educating those inside the Beltway on the ramifications to farmers and consumers when some of the legislation being pushed by anti-meat agriculture groups moves forward.

To learn more about the CFIA and its events, visit carolinafeed.com/index.php.

NC Poultry Production Facts

Poultry represents 43% of total farm cash receipts.

North Carolina ranks first in the U.S. for pounds of chicken and turkey produced (8 billion lbs.)

Over 5,700 North Carolina farm families produce poultry and eggs.

Poultry is the #1 ag industry in North Carolina, with over $40 billion in economic impact.

NC Pork Production Facts

A total of 89% of permitted pig farms are family owned.

North Carolina ranks second in the U.S. for pork production.

Pork accounts for 20% of total farm cash receipts.

The North Carolina pork industry supports 44,000 full-time jobs.

by Bruce Button