Pet Food Salvage Critical To Hog Farmers?

Hog Farm

Hog farmer Don Agresti feeds leftovers to his 5,000 hogs. His hogs eat mostly “salvage” — which is leftover (free) food from food canneries, bakeries, food processing facilities, and, pet food manufacturers, who have unsalable product or food waste.

Relying on salvage feed is common practice to reduce costs. Agresti says that: “if the government stopped letting us use salvage feed, we would just quit. We wouldn’t be able to afford to raise the animals.” 75% of a hog farmer’s costs go towards feeding hogs.

More details about Agresti’s hogs after the jump.

From BusinessWeek:

Although the pet food scandal put an unwelcome spotlight on his farm, Agresti doesn’t plan to stop using salvage feed, and he’s currently waiting for compensation from the feds, who quarantined his hogs from Apr. 19 to May 15. His take on the Food & Drug Administration, which is trying to put the kibosh on unsafe food for both pigs and people? Agresti says coolly: “The monkey’s on their back now.”

24 Responses to “Pet Food Salvage Critical To Hog Farmers?”

  1. 3FURS says:

    Where are government regulations in all this ? Did anyone realise the impact of the pet food industry has on so many aspects of life. Farmers of all varities depended on them to feed their animals. The farm animals were destined for human consumption. There has been a mass poisoning going on for years, and no inspections anywhere along the way. NO ONE thought to test their product, just blindly used what they were given. When the end product is going to be eaten by human beings, why was’nt any testing done ?? It’s totally unbeliveable.

  2. Dennis says:

    So, the taints will happen again and they will be propagated again throughout our human food supply even if the taints are in pet or animal feed. That is the obvious conclusion when the factors are added together. Those include - Chinese government not quickly halting taints (look at the DEG stories about evidence and companies again disappearing when the FDA tried to track DEG in toothpastes down), the Corporate Greed factor, the alleged need for Uncle Sam’s subsidies to keep some farming afloat, the special interest lobby investing in Congress to prevent food reforms, and Congress’ lack of serious food ingredient safety, inspection, labeling (including country of origin for ingredients), and mandatory recall authority changes to fix this human, pet, animal food problem. This is a national security hole large enough for terrorists to drive a truck through without even coming here. And the main losers in this are our pets, the consumers, and our children.

  3. Tom Paine says:

    Compensation from the federal government due to the fact that his mela-hogs were quarantined? Big agribusiness and its lobbyists have a field day in Washington. They truly are pigs at the public trough, stealing the public’s money coming and going.

    Why should WE compensate this man? Weren’t they pigs ultimately released into the food supply, meaning they were SOLD to unwitting consumers?

    Will HE — not the government — compensate me for eating POISONED hogs? NO. When I read ideologues who trumpet the great benefits of the free market and privatization I wonder how they rationalize the issue of risk to the public health and safety and destruction of the PUBLIC good. When it comes time to actually bear the risk, this big business would like the risk to be borne by the taxpayers, and the profits to be private.

    God forbid you mess with his profits with your pesky dead pets.

  4. straybaby says:

    WTF?! I just *assumed* (yes, I *know*!) that part of the reason they released all the tainted animals was $$$$$$$$. So why the F*** should we have to pay?

    Ok, NEXT issue . . THIRTEEN dead cats and ONE dog?!?!

    I suggest we write to those in charge of BW and let them know that their *reporters* are doing one hell of a crappy job researching their articles and using CORRECT facts. HOW can they be this clueless?! Heads in the sand much?!

    is it too early for super rich homemade chocolate raspberry ice cream?

  5. straybaby says:

    speaking of food issues (literally!) check out this weeks Time Mag cover and interiors:,00.html

    vs EU and Asia:,00.html

    hmmm . . . .

  6. YaYa says:

    I looked all over for a “leave comment” section for this article but alas none, to correct a few #’s in the thing :-(

    I think some of these writers write from facts of a dim memory! Not from the Latest facts and news. {like check Cornell or some place like that for their current counts on dead/sick pets!}

    I really don’t have a problem either with the farmers feeding spillage or the like. BUT if its Tainted then that’s another story. If it’s intentionally “pumped-up”, that’s a problem too. We don’t want Our Pets to get it nor for it to be in what’s, ultimately Our FOOD.

    And misunderstanding that the FDA is trying to put the Kibosh on “unsafe” foods???
    THAT’S news to me!

    When did that start? ;-P

  7. Trudy Jackson says:

    YaYa, down at the bottom it has a home page link. And it has a customer service link. I have written to them about this once before. 3 times, in fact. every link I could find, about the stocks rising, remember? Because of all the vet bills. So there has to be a way. I really let them have it too.

  8. thomas says:

    Is this Another farmer who has his hand in the till of farm subsidies(welfare).?Perhaps it is time to stop farm subsidies . Perhaps they should only be used to help people get a start in organic farming. Perhaps it is time for all states to declare the whole Right to Farm Act unconnstitutional and not just part of it. Earth work Group new facts on farm subsidies have been released what a rip of!!!

  9. Trudy Jackson says:

    Of course, the farmers around here get paid for Not growing food. And they take out all the things they buy on tax deductions. and i mean everything, household goods, swimming pools, You name it. the Gov. can’t prove it, actually the gov can’t do anything lately.

  10. Trudy Jackson says:

    Thomas, Everyone needs to read that web site You posted. It has so much information on it. thanks,

  11. Amy says:

    Thomas - perhaps rather than handing out subsidies to all the ‘poor’ farmers (most of which live in nice, sizable homes with plenty of trucks and cars for everyone along with all the other perks) the government should use that money to improved the food supply overall, help farmers do a better job and produce a safe cash crop appreciated by the end consumers.

    I just don’t understand how they didn’t see this coming… it’s called the food CHAIN for a reason. Duh.

  12. High Note says:

    I am from Kansas and I have not seen many farmers that have swimming pools or great houses. I have seen a lot of them go under because of bad weather and getting bad crops. Our wheat crops this year have not produced because of all the rain we have had. They can’t even cut the wheat because of the rain and high humidity. There will be a lot of losses.
    What worries me the most is where all this wheat that cannot go into our food supply will go.
    Before everyone puts down the farmer too badly, maybe you all should speak to some of them and see what a hard time a lot of them really have.
    A lot of the farmers have been put out of business by big companies coming in and buying up land and producing crops and herds.
    We have to stand by the farmer fore they are our bread and butter and American!
    The smaller farmer will become extinct if we do not stand up for them and the big companies will take over. Tyson already has their own herds and many more bigger companies do to. All it takes for the small farmer to go under is a couple of years of bad crops. I do not like the idea myself of the farmer giving certain left over ingredients to their pigs. Farmers have begun some pretty bad practices in the last few years like recycling the pig excrete and all. I do not go along with any of these practices and feel they should be stopped. I don’t like the hormones being put into our cattle and feel it should be stopped too. Those same hormones go into our bodies. There are just too many things that need to be changed with our food supply. What idiot came up with all of these things to feed our animals anyway? What happened to feeding them what they are suppose to eat?

  13. Boutique Owner says:

    Excuse me. We’re supposed to feel sorry for these farmers? They are buying animals and feeding them anything they can find that is free or incredibly cheap. They have no problem doing this even though they know their animals are destined for the human food chain? Nice scruples.

    I have hens in my backyard and I deliberately feed them only certain scraps. I realize that everything I give them ends up in the eggs that I feed my family. I try to feed them only organic scraps. Their manure ends up in my garden, which feeds the garden that we EAT from. I’m not stupid. I want to provide the best basis for my family. We can’t be perfect all the time, but if we have a good base, our bodies can handle the occasional onslaught from restaurants, etc.

    Look, I’m an entrepreneur too. I realize that our businesses need to be “for-profit”. But I also realize that we all have a responsiblity to do something that furthers society and doesn’t harm others. Pardon me if I don’t feel sorry for the fact that the trash is unavailable for farmers. Maybe they’ll have to go out and get a real job instead. We’ll all just have to eat more fruits and veggies in place of our pork. How unfortunate.

  14. Itchmo: News, humor and product reviews for cats, dogs and pet owners. » Recall Update: Monday-Tuesday says:

    […] Also from Monday: How important is salvage pet food to hog farmers? […]

  15. Richard Hoyle says:

    The rescued pigs here at The Pig Preserve subsist on grazing our own fields of grass and on what they can forage in the forests of The Preserve. We supplement their diets as needed with some locally milled feed made simply from some whole and cracked grains (corn, wheat, oats, soybeans, corn gluten) mixed with a little blackstrap molasses. They are active, healthy animals. But then they are not headed to slaughter either…so raising them “cheaply” is not our over riding concern. Giving them a good, healthy quality of life is important to us. And it is easy to do…if you care about the animals and not about their profit margin as commodities.

    Many small farmers…such as Walter Jeffries at Sugar Mountain Farms…and others of his persuasion…raise “natural” meats. They allow their animals, including their pigs, to live in a natural surrounding and eat only natural foods. The small, free range farmers account for about 15% of the meat market in the US today. Their products are excellent, healthy and natural…but more expensive than the “confinement raised” factory farm animals. The agribusiness conglomerates want them gone and are using USDA programs, such as the impending National Animal Identification System (NAIS) to do the job for them. Programs like the NAIS will drive most small, natural farmers, ranchers and homesteaders out of business…allowing the huge factory farms a virtual monopoly on the meat supply in the US. This program is being rammed down the throats of anyone in the US with even a single chicken, pig, cow, horse, llama, etc….by the USDA at the insistence of the agribusiness conglomerates and their all-powerful lobby in DC.

    Add to this the fact that millions of tons of pork and other products arrive in the US from Mexico and other third world countries each year for consumption within the US. Much of it comes from countries with few agricultural standards and from areas where many animal diseases are endemic. Less than 1% of this meat is ever inspected by the USDA.

    Much of the “good meat” raised in the US goes offshore where it commands premium prices while US citizens eat imported and uninspected “third world meat”.

    The agribusiness lobby is fighting hard to keep the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) legislation from being passed in Congress. And they are fighting hard to get the NAIS implemented as it will open up huge markets around the world for exported US meat. Both of these programs are in the 2007 Farm Bill currently being readied for it’s trip to the Congress for a vote.

    In short…those who run the cattle feed lots and the huge, hellish factory farms do not want you to know what you are eating,r what goes into the meat that you are eating or where that meat came from. The USDA is very much owned by the agribusiness conglomerates and bends easily to their will.

    For more information go to where you can find out all sorts of interesting and scary facts about agribusiness, the USDA and the meat you eat every day. In short…the USDA is not interested in food safety or food security…unless it happens to dovetail with the interests of the huge agribusiness conglomerates and their chance to make a buck selling meat.

  16. Amy says:

    High Note - I live in Nebraska and personally know plenty of ‘poor’ farmers living large off subsidies. I also have uncles who are farmers who don’t take the handouts or if they do get subsidies they don’t abuse them. I see your point but there is definite abuse… sorry, it’s just like any other gov’t welfare-type program, there are some people who need it and use it for what it’s for but there are plenty of others who abuse it and that’s unfortunate.

  17. thomas says:

    I live in New york State and see abuses of the land constantly by farmers .Our lakes are becoming so polluted from nitrates, nitrites and pesticides that they are unsafe for use in some area. Wells are polluted from unsafe farming. I have never seen a garbage truck at a farm they dig a hole and bury everything or burn it. So our area is further polluted from these many mini land fills. Who will pay for any clean up of the land , air or water? WE the tax payers .

    I went out yesterday to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. My first question Did you grow it? Second question is it GMO? I felt the farmer was being honest so I bought. He also told me some of the farmers selling at the produce auction and roadside stands are growing GMO sweet corn. I guess I will not buy sweet corn in the store this year.

    I agree with the statements about the agribusinesses taking advantage of a flawed Usda, FDA, EPA and they lobby strongly to keep it flawed.
    It would seem in this country we should beable to grow safe ungenetically altered food to feed our people and animals. Corporate Greed is destroying our government , our freedom and our food saftey!!!

  18. Trudy Jackson says:

    dON’T GET mE WRONG. i LOVE gOOD FARMERS. i HATE TO SEE THE gOV TAKE OVERS. i AM TALKING ABOUT THE ONES AROUND mE. iN NORTHEASTERN N.C. tHEY ALSO USE Monsato and the agent orange sprays to kill the bugs? And it kills us too. Darn caps. But like the guts down the road- they raise chickens for Perdo and hogs. They spray their feilds with Nasty water, sewage and what’s left in the hog holes. That’s also what they use to spray where the beef is. I would buy from them if it wasn’t for that. Gross.

  19. Trudy Jackson says:

    Can someone send Me to the link where it talks about the Beneful dog food? I almost lost of My dogs on it, and i want to see the site again. Thanks.
    PS- Three of My kitties pictures are on the Itchmo site today. Please comment

  20. e wem says:

    5000 hogs tells me he isnt a small farmer. I used to visit a web site that had a number of farm wives participating. They say that hog farming is terrible because a lot of meat processors won’t take small lots of hogs. If you cannot supply at least 500 hogs at a time they will not take your meat. So who do you sell to? If you live by a town that has a small meat processor and a local butcher who buys you may have a market but probably not for enough hogs to pay the taxes. You can raise a couple for private customers and pocket money.

    I am just guestimating but if property tax is 2000 dollars, and you need another 10,000 after taxes for cash to buy medicines, toilet paper, clothes, soap for your own living you would need to profit $120 per hog if you raise 100 hogs. Add on also vet, heat and fuel costs for hogs and self, to pump water and haul waste, since more than a few hogs you need a tractor. Feed cost can break the small guy

    My cousin paid a local farmer to raise a hog. He offered a price per pound based on estimated pounds finished (he butchered his own hog). He shocked the farmers by offering half the price of supermarket pork. He was told they never get that much. These farmers told him they barely brake even. Now they cannot sell to the big guys and do not have the land or means (or lack of conscience) to raise 5000 hogs

    Farmland is set back from main population areas. You need someone to take your crop if you raise more then a couple for the locals. The middlemen call the shots.

    It is the big guys who are killing us and killing the family farm. 5000 hogs living a hellish short life eating poison dog food is no family farm

  21. Trudy Jackson says:

    Yes, it’s the big guys killing us and the little guys get caught in the middle, as usual.

  22. High Note says:

    e wem thanks for your post and I agree with all you have said. It is the big guy that is killing us. The small farmer does not really have much of a chance any more that is the reason I posted what I said above. I am for for the small farmer not big business!
    AS for for the lady that said she would live on fruit and vegetable, well they are farmers too. and big business and foreign trade are taking them over too. So.. when there is no small honest farmer and big business takes over I hope you will not be eating your fruit and vegetables from tainted China waters.

  23. High Note says:

    I hope some of these small farmers will go into organic or natural ways of producing their crops and feeding their animals. They may stay in business this way!

  24. pam says:

    i live in the new york metro area…almost every week since it came out about chicken, hogs and beef eating the recalled pet food there have been fantastic sales at the supermarkets! 40% off tyson chicken plus coupons. 40% off perdue plus coupons. pork sale prices below last spring! the same for beef! and people buy it…they load their carts. not me. i’m buying chicken from readington farms, beef from australia ( which, by the way, tastes like the range fed beef i had a child ) and lamb from new zealand. oh, and i use rice and bean recipes because the two combined make a complete protein…and i’ve discovered the goya aisle for the most interesting spices and rices thanks to my neighbor.

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