Friday, January 30, 2009

Tyson Brazil to grow international poultry sales

Tyson Foods confirmed this week that it was actively pursuing poultry production growers for its Brazilian poultry operations.
“Tyson is preparing its new acquisitions to export chicken products to markets such as the European Union this year,” Joster Macedo, president of Tyson Brazil was quoted by Dow Jones Newswires.
In September of 2008 Tyson acquired three Brazilian poultry companies with plans to expand poultry production in that country to four million birds per week by 2011. Rick Greubel, president of Tyson Foods International was quoted in Arkansas’ The Morning News as saying that Tyson plans on securing grower financing for 670 new poultry growers to build poultry houses as part of the company’s expansion effort. Tyson stated that it remains committed to its Brazilian investment as it is currently in the process of obtaining export licenses for all its Brazilian plants.
Dow Jones News reports that Tyson expects to generate between 60-70% of its Brazilian revenues from exports by the end of 2009. Meanwhile, domestic demand within Brazil remains strong: “Brazil is a country of 195 million people and has experienced seven years of relative economic stability and GDP growth. Per capita poultry consumption there is about 38 kilos (83.6 pounds), which is comparable to U.S. consumption, and there remains room to grow,” said Greubel.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

UK plans new poultry welfare rules

Plans to implement Europe's first comprehensive welfare rules on chickens raised for meat were released for consultation by Farming Minister Jane Kennedy.
The EU rules focus on the overall welfare of birds, as well as the individual factors that contribute to welfare, and include the monitoring of birds at slaughterhouses so that signs of poor welfare can be raised with both producers and agencies responsible for animal welfare and food safety.
The rules also include new limits for ammonia and carbon dioxide and standards for temperature, humidity and maximum stocking density, as well as clear requirements for industry training.
"These new EU rules are a welcome improvement on the limited conditions previously applied to the welfare of chickens raised for meat,” said Kennedy. “From now on, we will be looking at what really matters, which is the overall welfare of the bird, itself. "The fact is that many factors contribute to high welfare standards, and that's what we're focusing on - better standards for all birds across Europe. For most English producers, the new requirements simply build on systems that are already in place and working well," Kennedy said.
The new EU rules, due to come into force in June 2010, cover all chicken meat production holdings with more than 500 birds. They do not apply to holdings with only breeding stocks of meat chickens, hatcheries, extensive indoor, free range or organic chickens.The proposals have been released for consultation, with the closing date for responses April 20, 2009.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Modernizing food safety system on Vilsack's priority list

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday that he would look at revamping the current food safety system and tightening control in the wake of past and recent failures to protect the public from dangerous food-related outbreaks.
"A modernized system would have as a goal prevention, early detection if it can't be prevented, and mitigation of any adverse impacts if something occurs," Reuters quoted Vilsack during a conference call with reporters.
The announcement comes just after an outbreak of salmonella in the U.S. has been linked to peanut butter, which has caused a massive recall of products containing peanut butter from grocery store shelves nationwide. The outbreak has resulted in seven reported deaths and sickening people in 43 states, as of January 23. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has jurisdiction over 80% of the nation’s food supply, but the USDA is in charge of the regulation of poultry, beef, eggs and other meats.
Some critics say one system to regulate all foods would provide better protection. "I think before there can be any conversation about merging of entities or a single agency or anything of that sort, you've got to get the foundation right," Vilsack told reporters.
Vilsack also addressed other issues on Monday, including the environmental challenges faced by farmers; research and development of biofuels; fighting childhood obesity; and restoring the mission of the Forest Service as a protector of clean air, clean water and wildlife habitat.
“We need to do a better job of responding to challenges, apologizing for mistakes when we make them, empowering our employees to make decisions and drive change, and emphasizing a transparent and inclusive style of governing," said Vilsack.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tyson secures alliance with Brazilian poultry breeder Globoaves

Tyson Foods has secured an alliance with the Brazilian poultry breeder Globoaves, of Paraná state, in which the two companies agreed to produce and slaughter 60,000 chickens a day for a year.
Globoaves will be responsible for all of the process of producing the chickens, which will be sold to Tyson and processed in that company's meatpacking plant at Cascavel (PR).With certification to export to the European Union, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Globoaves has been the focus of a dispute between Tyson and Brazilian food company Sadia for at least three years, according to published reports. Now, Globoaves will partner with Tyson, which entered Brazil in 2008, purchasing three small meatpacking companies that slaughter poultry.Tyson has been in contact with Globaves since 2006.
At the time, its aim was to form a joint venture project (and enter the Brazilian market), which was frustrated with the entry of Sadia S.A. into the competition. Sadia wound up signing a two-year contract with Globoaves, which expired on January 7.
According to Globoaves Director-President Roberto Kaefer, the decision not to renew the contract with Sadia was made by the two Brazilian companies.
“For our part, we wanted to be free to operate in whatever way we wanted. In the contract with Sadia, we sold the day-old chicks, but they supplied the corn and used our plants to mix the rations and slaughter the chickens. We charged for providing the service,” said Kaefer. The contract with Tyson brings more advantages, he added.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Panel to examine use of alternative feed ingredients

Learn from three industry experts about the opportunities and pitfalls involved in the use of alternative feed ingredients in a presentation at the 2009 International Poultry Expo and the International Feed Expo Thursday, January 29, at 8:45 a.m.
In a WATT-sponsored panel, “Impact of alternative ingredients on poultry feed cost and quality,” experts will discuss the choice of alternative ingredients and how they impact costs, feed mill throughput, pellet quality and flock performance. The presentation will be held from 8:45 a.m. until 10 a.m. at the Georgia World Congress Center in Room C109.
The event will open with a survey of alternative poultry feed ingredients presented by the University of Georgia’s Dr. Nick Dale. This will be followed by an examination of the effect of alternative ingredients on feed milling and pellet quality by Dan Rollins, Aviagen’s feed production director, Dr. Tom Frost, Wayne Farms’ nutrition director, will then look at the impact of alternative ingredients on flock performance and profitability, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session.
The WATT seminar is free to IPE/IFE attendees.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tyson buys Miss. poultry rendering company

Tyson Foods announced it has completed the acquisition of Central Industries, a poultry byproducts rendering company in Forest, Miss., which produces raw materials used to produce pet food and other animal feeds, as well as biodiesel.
Tyson previously held a 49% ownership position in Central Industries.
"We believe 100% ownership will enhance the efficiency of the business and generate a greater financial return," said Jeff Webster, group vice president of Tyson's Renewable Products Division. "It will also give our rendered products business greater access to the southeastern U.S. market."
Tyson officials currently expect to make very few changes in total employment at the Central Industries plant, which currently has about 180 people on staff.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Senate confirms Vilsack as ag secretary

The Senate has confirmed former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as the new secretary of agriculture.
"Tom Vilsack's confirmation today signifies new leadership for the USDA but also a new focus on the issues important to all Americans, including nutrition, conservation, energy and promoting the rural economy," Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said in a statement.
In addition to Vilsack, the Senate approved five other members of President Barack Obama's cabinet including Ken Salazar for interior, Steven Chu to be energy secretary, Arne Duncan at education, Janet Napolitano for homeland security and Eric Shinseki to head veterans affairs.The Senate put off for a day the vote on his choice to be secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
Senate leaders agreed to have a roll call vote on Clinton on Wednesday after three hours of debate. Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, predicted that "she will receive overwhelming bipartisan support at that time."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A crash in fertilizer costs may shift soybean acres to corn

The expectation of lower fertilizer prices this spring may result in a shift of U.S. soybean acres to corn acres.
The reason why is that lower fertilizer costs increase the profitability of corn relative to soybeans, Darrel Good, University of Illinois economist, says in a January 14 report.
Since September, wholesale prices of fertilizers have declined dramatically. In September, fertecon reported that wholesale prices of anhydrous ammonia at the Gulf of Mexico were over $800 per ton. By early January, anhydrous ammonia prices had crashed below $200 per ton. Similarly diammonium phosphaste (DAP) at the Gulf was over $1,000 per ton in September and about $350 in early January.
In explaining these price declines, executives of The Mosaic Co., a publicly traded fertilizer company, indicated that a “perfect storm” of factors led to the price declines including: the global financial crisis; large distribution pipeline stocks in some regions of the United States; and a late North American harvest season.
Good says that for corn, fertilizer costs using anticipated spring prices are $67 per acre lower than for fall prices. For soybeans, fertilizer costs using spring prices are $28 lower than fall prices. These fertilizer cost reductions increase the profitability of corn relative to soybeans by $39/acre, “a sizable increase that may cause corn to be more profitable than soybeans,” he says.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Clean Water Awards competition deadline extended

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has extended the deadline for submitting applications for the 2009 Clean Water Awards until February 11, 2009.
The award recognizes outstanding water treatment plant performance in the poultry production industry. The winners will be announced at USPOULTRY’s Environmental Management Seminar in Nashville, Tenn., March 3 and 4, 2009.
There are two categories for the award: one for full treatment facilities (those that fully reclaim their wastewater prior to discharge into a receiving water or final land application system) and one for pretreatment facilities (those that discharge pretreated effluent to publicly-owned full treatment facilities).
Any USPOULTRY member company is eligible to submit one nominee in each category. Facilities which have previously won the award may not be re-nominated for five years. An evaluation committee, which is comprised of university personnel, industry engineers and managers, and state regulatory officials, will review the applications package and select two semifinalist facilities in each category.
The review committee will then visit the semifinalist facilities to select the award recipients.Award recipients will receive a trophy, be profiled on the USPOULTRY web site, and receive assistance from the association in publicizing the award on a local, regional, and national level.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Townsends increases capacity of N.C. facility with new oven line

Townsends Inc. has completed a major expansion of its Mocksville, N.C. further poultry production processing operation with the installation of a new oven cooking line.
The expansion, completed in mid-December, added approximately 16,000 square feet to the 65,000-square-foot facility. The expansion “significantly increases capacity of the facility for production of boneless and bone-in cooked product lines,” said the company in a press release.“This new line is a platform for Townsends to continue growing a key strategic product category and allows us to better meet the needs of existing and future customers,” Townsends President Chuck Dix said.The company’s headquarters is in Georgetown, Del.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ethanol gets unfair share of subsidies, says environmental group

As Congress and the incoming Obama Administration plan the nation’s next major investments in green energy, they need to take a hard, clear-eyed look at Department of Energy data documenting corn-based ethanol’s stranglehold on federal renewable energy tax credits and subsidies, says a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit environmental group.
An Environmental Working Group (EWG) report released January 8 uses data from a little-noticed analysis buried in an April 2008 report from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The information unearthed by EWG shows that solar, wind and other renewable energy sources have struggled to gain significant market share with modest federal support.
Meanwhile, corn-based ethanol has accounted for fully three-quarters of the tax benefits and two-thirds of all federal subsidies allotted for renewable energy sources in 2007.The corn-based ethanol industry received $3 billion in tax credits in 2007, more than four times the $690 million in credits available to companies trying to expand all other forms of renewable energy, including solar, wind and geothermal power.
“With America facing an exploding federal deficit and the crisis of climate change,” report author and EWG Midwest Vice President Craig Cox said, “it defies common sense to continue to lavish billions of tax dollars on corn-based ethanol, a fuel that has failed to fulfill its promises at every turn.“Corn-based ethanol production, spurred by federal subsidies and mandates, is polluting our nation’s water, eroding our soil and plowing up precious wildlife habitat—and worst of all is likely contributing to global warming,” Cox said.
“As the polluting ethanol industry gets fat at taxpayer expense, proven clean technologies such as solar, wind and geothermal are fighting for support. America needs a truly renewable energy portfolio, and the evidence is mounting that corn-based ethanol will not get us where we need to go.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

USDA lowers corn price estimate

The U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its 2008-09 average corn price estimate to $3.55 to $4.25/bushel in a January 12 report, 10 cents below the previous month’s report.
The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) place this year’s soybean prices at $8.50 to $9.50 per bushel compared with $8.25 to $9.75/bushel last month. Soybean meal prices are projected at $250 to $310 per short ton, up $10 on both ends of the range.
On wheat, the projected season-average farm price is narrowed 10 cents on both ends of the range to $6.50 to $6.90/bushel.
On coarse grains, USDA reduced feed and residual use by 50 million bushels, reflecting lower animal numbers and September-November disappearance as indicated by December 1 stocks.
In addition, the department lowered ethanol use by 100 million bushels as sustained negative ethanol production margins have reduced incentives for ethanol output. Looking at other crops, the sorghum season average farm price is lowered 10 cents to $2.90 to $3.50/bushel; barley narrowed 10 cents to $4.95 to $5.35/bushel; and oats raised 10 cents to $2.90 to $3.10.
The WASDE report reflects a lower meat production estimate from the previous month, with reduced 2009 broiler and pork production.
Beef production forecasts for 2009 are unchanged.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Merial is exclusive distributor for AviTech's in ovo injection systems

Merial Limited has become the the exclusive distributor and technical service provider of the in ovo injection systems of AviTech, LLC.
As a result, Merial offers poultry customers worldwide its portfolio of avian vaccines together with in ovo technology. Merial produces vaccines for the treatment of Marek’s Disease and Infectious Bursal Disease, that are especially suitable for in ovo administration. The company supports its vaccine operations through the development and service of administration devices, and these activities are now complemented by its exclusive distribution of AviTech’s IntelliJect and ManualJect in ovo injection systems, Merial said in a press release.
“Merial has long recognized the value of working with the industry to make our products available conveniently and efficiently. The in ovo route is becoming ever more important, and we are delighted to partner with AviTech,” said Merial’s Global Head of Avian, Alain Wille.
AviTech is a poultry equipment manufacturer that provides engineered solutions for the poultry industry. The company’s leading equipment line consists of the IntelliJect and ManualJect systems.Merial is one of the largest global avian vaccines companies, providing a comprehensive range of products.
Merial operates in more than 150 countries worldwide.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Perdue, EPA agreement supports clean water

Perdue Farms Inc. and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regions 3 and 4 signed a memorandum of agreement to help poultry producers growing for Perdue protect surrounding surface water and groundwater quality from negative impact due to poultry farms.
Announced by the EPA on January 6, the agreement helps implement the Perdue Clean Waters Environmental Initiative, an effort to provide training, assessments and other assistance to reduce the environmental impact of poultry producers.
"By signing this Clean Waters agreement, EPA is agreeing to work with Perdue to restore and protect surface and groundwater,” said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Region 4 regional administrator. “These waterways provide valuable ecosystems for plant and animal life, and are a source of recreation for visitors and residents throughout the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions."
"Perdue Farms is committed to environmental stewardship and shares that commitment with the independent farm families who raise our birds,” said Perdue chairman Jim Perdue. “We are pleased to work cooperatively with EPA Regions 3 and 4 to enhance the implementation of environmental best management practices on poultry farms, and feel that working together and providing producers with knowledge and resources to enable them to be good environmental stewards is the most productive route to our shared goals of protecting our natural resources and preserving the family farm."
Joint program began in 2007The formal memorandum of agreement, called the Clean Waters Environmental Initiative, grew out of a pilot program initiated by EPA Region 3 and Perdue on the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Beginning in 2007, EPA and Perdue provided training and assistance to the largest independent contract poultry farms growing for Perdue throughout the Peninsula.
Trained flock supervisors visited each farm and used a checklist to examine how well the farmers complied with nutrient management regulations and best management practices in their poultry production areas and noted any improvements needed.
Under the Clean Waters Environmental Initiative, Perdue will use results of the pilot effort to launch a four-year, company-wide environmental management program for all contract poultry farms growing for Perdue. While new federal regulations only apply to concentrated animal feeding operations that discharge, this program will extend to all Perdue producers in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.Training is key to effortUnder the program, Perdue, EPA and other partners will provide training and assistance to poultry farmers so that they can learn how to achieve or exceed compliance with guidelines on controlling runoff and managing litter disposal.
The initiative will also include an awards program to recognize poultry farms that demonstrate environmental and compliance excellence in protecting and restoring waterways. Also as part of the initiative, Perdue poultry processing facilities will each implement an Environmental Management System, a set of processes and practices designed to reduce environmental impacts and increase operating efficiency.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pilgrim's cuts jobs at Georgia plant

Approximately 100 workers at the Pilgrim's Pride poultry plant in Athens, Ga., will lose their jobs Feb. 9, when the company eliminates its nighttime chicken processing shift.
According to published reports, the the cutback will affect 227 employees at the plant, but the company will move more than 50 of those people into the daytime processing shift and 70 to 90 others into the company's supply division, said company spokesman Ray Atkinson.
The company is eliminating the night shift at the Athens plant as a cost-cutting measure, Atkinson said. "Part of our plan is to improve the company's competitive position and return to profitability," he added."We're pretty confident we can call those people back over the next several weeks and months as positions become open," Atkinson said.
The company plans to work with the state Department of Labor to help laid-off workers with job placement and retraining.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Global food price increase takes No. 1 spot in annual

The nation’s food editors listed the spike in food prices across the world as the top food-related story for 2008, followed by the tainted milk scandal in China—a crisis that spanned five continents.
Hunter Public Relations, a public relations agency serving the food and beverage industry, conducted its annual year-end survey of more than 900 food editors and bloggers across the country and asked them to rate the top 10 food-related stories of 2008.
The biggest food story of the year was decidedly the rise in food prices around the world. Countries across the globe faced food crises due to high oil prices, growing demand, lower food reserves and unexpected weather patterns.
Close behind in the No. 2 spot was China's tainted milk scandal, which began in August 2008 after tests indicated that China’s leading dairy companies produced milk containing the industrial chemical melamine. Tainted baby formula was responsible for killing six infants and causing harm to tens of thousands of individuals.
The salmonella outbreak in raw tomatoes took the No. 3 spot. The salmonella infected 145 people and caused at least 23 hospitalizations in 16 states.
The remaining top 10 food stories of 2008 are:
No. 4: Supermarket Chains Offer More Locally Grown Food: Supermarkets are now offering a wider variety of locally-grown produce and meat. Wal-Mart plans to spend $400 million on locally-grown foods in 2009, making it the largest player in the locally-grown market.
No. 5: New Labeling Laws: The USDA implemented new labeling laws requiring retailers to include country-of-origin labeling for produce, meat and chicken products.
No. 6: Big Food Companies Adopt Nutrient Standards: As part of the “Smart Choices Program,” many of the country’s largest food and beverage companies have agreed to use the same logo on their packaging to denote products meeting certain nutritional guidelines.
No. 7: Jalapeño Peppers Test Positive for Salmonella: More than 1,200 people across 44 states contracted salmonella poisoning from jalapeño peppers, prompting the FDA to issue a nationwide warning.*
No. 8: Paul Newman Dies: Legendary actor and philanthropist Paul Newman passed away. He was one of the founders of Newman's Own, a company that produces a wide variety of foods.
No. 9: NYC Restaurant Regulations: New York City issued a trans-fat ban across all restaurants. Additionally, a judge ruled that all NYC restaurants with at least 15 outlets nationwide must post calorie count information.
No. 10: New Levels of Alarm Associated With High Salt Intake: The FDA is considering the removal of salt from its list of Generally Recognized as Safe Foods.
Survey participants were also asked what they thought food companies should make their No. 1 priority for the coming year. In line with the economic crisis of 2008, editors overwhelmingly believed that food companies’ top priority should be offering budget-friendly meal options.

Monday, January 5, 2009

USTR, USDA finalize agreement with Russia on U.S. poultry quotas

The U.S. Trade Representatives Office (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have concluded consultations that amended the five-year bilateral meat and poultry agreement with the Russian government. The jointly-signed statement by the two governments today marks a critically important step in the continuation of poultry and meat trade with Russia.
The protocol agreement between the Russian and U.S. governments reduces the 2009 poultry quota to 750,000 tons. The new agreement will allow the U.S. 78.8% of the total Russian poultry import quota. The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said it expects this percentage level to be maintained in future years as Russia balances its import requirements with domestic production.The protocol officially rescinded chlorine restrictions on U.S. poultry imports until at least January 2010 and set a new quota level for poultry and pork.
There are no assurances beyond 2009 on chlorine restrictions, but the U.S. poultry industry and U.S. government will be working to find a permanent solution to this issue.U.S. government officials received assurances from Russia’s chief sanitary officer with the Ministry of Health that moisture and frozen packaging requirements will also not affect U.S. trade in 2009.
The U.S. and Russian governments have also agreed to address a number of plant inspection issues. Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Services (VPSS) has indicated it will conduct meat and poultry plant audits as early as February, but the U.S. government said that this should not be done without further agreement on inspection protocol, noting that the previous protocol still remains in effect.
The Russian Federation is the number one export market for U.S. poultry meat and the fourth largest market for U.S. pork. U.S. exports of poultry and pork to the Russian Federation reached $720 million and $191 million, respectively, in 2007.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cal-Maine reports drop in second-quarter income

Cal-Maine Foods Inc. reported net income of $27.2 million, or $1.15 per basic share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 compared with net income of $40.2 million, or $1.70 per basic share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2008.
The company’s net sales rose 7% to $238.3 million from $223.7 million last year.
"Our financial results reflect good demand for eggs at the retail level but a declining demand for eggs from the institutional and food service sector," said CEO Fred Adams, Jr. "Sales to the egg products industry were weaker, reflecting the slowing economy and credit challenges for the importers of dried and frozen eggs around the world."
However, feed costs were lower than the previous quarter, particularly with corn and soybean meal prices, he said. In the prior quarter, feed costs helped weigh down profit. But, those prices are likely to remain relatively high and volatile over the year ahead, Adams added.