The Ottumwa Courier


April 30, 2014

Hog sickness spreading

OTTUMWA — A hog disease making news around the nation is not dangerous to humans, nor is it going to produce toxic food. That's the good news. There's plenty of bad.

The USDA reports "Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (called PED or PEDv) causes significant sickness in swine, affecting their growth and health and causes high mortality in piglets."

"We're watching it very closely," said Randy Zorn, plant manager for the Cargill Meat Solutions Plant in Ottumwa.

Not because it will hurt humans but because it hurts piglets.

"PEDv only affects pigs and does not pose any risk to people or pets. And it is not a food safety concern," he said.

The USDA confirms that summary. But the National Pork Board says its members are very concerned. A Pork Board consultant reported on its website that producers lost 1.3 million piglets in January alone.

Their experts say the death rate is 50 to 100 percent among infected piglets. Adult swine can become infected but generally, the board reports, do not "have mortality" from PEDv.

"It's not good for the industry, and it's not good for the consumer," said Zorn. "It will have some impact later this summer, when we'll see lower production levels."

With demand at its current level but less supply, it seems obvious to the plant manager and the experts at the Pork Board that prices are bound to go up. Zorn doesn't see major reductions in the plant workforce.

"We may be looking at reduced operating hours in [some departments]," he said.

But producers remain hopeful, the National Pork Board reports.

"The challenging events of the past year also may have served to unite the industry in a focused direction. According to [recent] survey results, three of every four producers surveyed reported that the pork industry is on the 'right track.' Not only is that result the highest in survey history but is up 16 points from the 2012 result of 59 percent," the National Pork Producers posted on its website.

— To follow Mark Newman on Twitter, check out @CourierMark

Text Only
  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0625 OTT Riverfront Renaissance color photo -L -M Riverfront Renaissance begins mapping out ideas

    OTTUMWA — It was serious work to play with stickers and maps Tuesday evening. Concentration was on more than 70 faces as colored dots found their way up and down several maps of the river flowing through downtown Ottumwa. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0624 OTT Marine photos Marine mourned by family

    OTTUMWA --- Adam Wolff's extended family was able to enjoy a bit of time with him before he deployed. "He came back in March, after his [Marine Corps advanced] schooling in North Carolina," said his sister, Angela Malone. "We had a dinner for him, a

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

AP National