Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Novus International acquires IQF Group

Novus International Inc. announced it has acquired the IQF Group, a global firm offering natural feed and food carotenoid pigments, essential oils, anti-caking agents and mold inhibitors. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal includes IQF divisions Carotenoid Technologies, S.A. and Investigaciones Químicas y Farmacéuticas, S.A. in Tarragona, Spain, and IQF-Enamex, S.A. de C.V. and sister company Operadora Enamex, both in Córdoba, Mexico. The acquisition enables Novus to expand its product and food ingredient offerings for animal agriculture customers in Europe and around the world.
This is the second acquisition Novus has made recently, having purchased the Animal Nutrition Division of Albion Laboratories Inc. in December 2009.

New feed ingredient show joins Victam International

Victam International, a large animal feed processing show, will next year co-locate its Cologne event with a new exhibition and conference on animal feed ingredients, additives and formulation. Fiaap International 2011 will join with Victam in Europe after merging with its Asian events in Thailand.
With this co-location, industry professionals from various sectors will have one event showcasing production of feeds for animals, fish and pets. Attendees will meet international companies who make and supply special ingredients and additives, visit exhibitors displaying the latest formulation programs and designs, and have access to a series of conferences.

New FDA technique could impact ethanol industry

Controversy over potential antibiotic residues in Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS) has led to the development of a technique that could impact the ethanol industry. This multi-residue analytical technique, described in an article published in the Journal of Chromatography by Dr. Hemakanthi DeAlwis and Dr. David Heller of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, Office of Research, is designed to detect up to 13 antibiotics in DDGS.
The FDA is expected to start a surveillance program for DDGS. The ethanol industry is said to have relied extensively on antibiotics to suppress lactobacillus bacteria. But with surveillance, ethanol producers may be more selective in using antibiotics and to adopt cleaning procedures accepted for distilling liquor for human consumption.

Alltech launches project in Haiti

Alltech founder Pearse Lyons announced his company’s philanthropic arm will establish a program in Haiti this summer to help people there following the devastating January earthquake. The agricultural program, a component of the Alltech program of philanthropy, will include a packing and distribution center to provide employment and training.
In addition, a health clinic and school will be built, as well as a sustainable agricultural enterprise with crop and animal production. Initially, a small dairy and goat herds will be developed with suitable housing and facilities, and an egg production unit will be established. Alltech employees will volunteer time and effort and Alltech will assist with logistics and financing.

Senators bash USDA local food campaign

The Kansas City Star reported that three Republican senators have a beef with a US Department of Agriculture campaign aimed at educating the public about locally grown, organic food. The “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program last year used $65 million in federal agricultural funds to advance locally grown food projects, an affront to conventional farmers, the senators complained.
Pat Roberts of Kansas, Arizona’s John McCain, and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack the effort snubs those farmers growing most of our country’s food. Supporters say the campaign underscores the trend toward healthy eating and farm-fresh meals. While calling the debate good, the American Farm Bureau would not comment on the issue.

Ag Secretary, Attorney General hear poultry grower complaints

Broiler growers from across the South on Friday took advantage of a joint USDA-Department of Justice workshop on poultry industry competition and regulation to mostly say they feel the contract production system is unfair and does not adequately address their financial needs.
During a workshop in Normal, Ala., which was attended by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, farmers – many of whom were former growers – participated in panel discussions, made comments from the floor and at times made it difficult for speakers defending the contract system to be heard.
Dissatisfied growers attending the workshop commented on a number of issues, including mandatory upgrades in facilities, the length of contracts and payments. Several growers participating in panels defended the contract broiler production system.
“[The Obama administration] is very aware of concerns that producers have about market concentration,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in opening remarks. “We have already taken steps in forming the USDA and Department of Justice joint task force to explore opportunities to harness each others’ expertise,” he said.
During a press conference at the workshop, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke of a “new attitude” in the Obama administration’s Justice Department, which will be “appropriately aggressive and will look at the facts and make determinations about what action, if any, should be taken.”
“But everybody should understand there is no hesitancy on the part of this Antitrust Division in this Department of Justice to take action where we think it is needed. This Antitrust Division is open for business,” he said.
Secretary Vilsack ticked off a list of USDA actions already taken:
*Increased funding currently for the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) to improve enforcement over unfair and deceptive practices
*Proposed increased funding in the 2011 budget to hire legal specialists and field investigators to help conduct more than 500 inspections
*Publication of a final rule in December of 2009 to improve fairness in contracting in the poultry industry
The December 2009 rule insures that growers are provided a 90-day notice before their contracts can be terminated. It also stipulates that growers building houses must be provided a true, written contract on the date that the poultry company provides the poultry house specifications.
Vilsack also pointed to a proposed rule now in final clearance and expected to be issued in June that addresses issues in contracting in the livestock and poultry marketplace.

Contaminated eggs pulled from German shelves

According to a report from ProMED-Mail, organic eggs have been pulled from German supermarket shelves after they were found to be contaminated with dioxins. The source of the contamination is thought to be from corn imported from the Ukraine.
Ukraine Minister of Agriculture Mykola Prysyazhnuk said, “There are only media reports, nothing else, but we will initiate an investigation in any case.”
Finding dioxins or PCBs in eggs confirms fat in hens consuming contaminated feed contains the toxin and will continue to deposit the fat-soluble compound in the yolk of eggs. Generally, flocks consuming dioxins or PCBs, or related toxic compounds, must be slaughtered and disposed of in a manner that will not contaminate the environment. Housing also must be decontaminated, and extensive testing must be carried out before restocking.
Additional costs are associated with product recall in addition to loss of customer goodwill and brand loyalty. The reported contamination was revealed May 5, but evidence of contamination was apparently known to authorities on March 16. Initial reports suggest levels of up to four times the legal limit had been detected in the contaminated eggs.

Texas A&M offers short course on feed

Texas A&M University will present a one-week practical short course on "Aquaculture, Feed Extrusion Nutrition and Feed Management" September 26 to October 1, 2010 on the university’s campus.
The program will encompass designing feed mills, selecting equipment, processing full-fat soybean mill, recycling fishery by-products and preparing aquaculture diets. For more information contact Dr. Mian N. Riaz at (979)845-2774 or

Monday, May 24, 2010

Budget cuts impact avian lab

The USDA-ARS Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory in East Lansing, Mich., is experiencing difficulty in operations. The laboratory, which among other achievements was instrumental in developing the original HVT vaccine for Marek’s disease, has been subjected to successive USDA budget cuts and threats of closure.
The staff of the lab include highly trained scientists with specific expertise in leukosis and Marek’s, in addition to new molecular biological techniques for diagnosis and prevention of disease. Recently, two projects have been funded by Congress including an in-depth study of the mechanisms of action for Marek’s disease and avian leukosis viruses and a project on genomics and immunology of chickens.
Research conducted at the ADOL could shortly result in the release of a new recombinant vaccine against Marek’s disease. It is generally acknowledged that new vaccine strains lose effectiveness after 10 to 15 years.

USDA forecasts ample corn, soybeans

The May 11 USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report projects a bountiful corn crop with ideal planting weather. Farmers are expected to plant 88.8 million acres and harvest 81.8 million acres, a projected yield of 163.5 bushels per acre. Projected supply is set at 15,118 100 bushels and the average farm price is anticipated between $3.20 and $3.80 per bushel.
Based on weather and planting conditions, farmers are expected to plant 78.8 million acres of soybeans and harvest 77.1 acres, a projected yield of 42.9 bushels per acre Supply is projected at 3,510,100 bushels and average farm price is anticipated at $9 to $9.50 per bushel.
Another recent USDA report tabulated projections for corn and soybean production and use for the 2009/2010 season. Ethanol production will represent 77% of the “food, seed and industrial” category and 32.7% of projected production.

Einstein Noah phasing in cage-free eggs

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) issued a recent press release saying that Einstein Noah Restaurant Group will phase in the use of cage-free eggs. There is no indication on the company website of this decision. Although HSUS press releases have highlighted decisions by Burger King and other chains to purchase small quantities of eggs from non-confined flocks, the effect on U.S. production is minimal.
A recent press release from the
United Egg Producers (UEP) quotes a survey denoting a 40 to one preference for conventional over “cage-free” eggs. This figure corresponds to the present proportions of caged and non-confined flocks as obtained from industry sources.
It is believed that approximately 92% of all U.S. eggs and almost all shell eggs are produced with conformity to the UEP Welfare Guidelines which are based on scientific principles and evaluation by independent experts.
McDonald's Corp. has rejected the HSUS request to purchase cage-free eggs. This company, in conjunction with other quick-service restaurants, is awaiting the results of a scientific trial to evaluate the welfare and productivity of hens in conventional cages, enriched and colony cages and floor systems.

SGS expands its food, feed testing lab

SGS Agricultural Services has invested $1 million to expand its analytical laboratory in Brookings, S.D. The addition will meet growing demand for independent food safety and feed quality testing, the company said.
Major additions included new equipment for DNA analysis, and more that adds to SGS’s ability to test for the quality and safety of grains, feed, food, ingredients, co-products, and seeds.

The company offers testing including microbial analysis for bacterial contamination such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria; pesticide residue screens; nutritional labeling information; testing for contaminants such as melamine and antibiotics; GMO testing; oil analysis and mycotoxin testing.

Animal Science Products signs distribution deal

Animal Science Products Inc. has an agreement with CoinVet Inc. to bring its products to Central and South American markets. Through the distribution deal, the Columbia company will distribute the full line of Animal Science’s premix blends, feed additives and packaged goods.
CoinVet will distribute products such as Water/Vaccine Stabilizers, pH water treatment product PKA, stabilizers including Vac- Pac and Vac-Pac Plus for drinking water vaccination, Spray-Vac for spray vaccination in the hatchery and poultry house, and Opti-Vac for protection of eye drop vaccines. Animal Science Products Inc. serves the feed and food animal production industry.

Group releases humane society perception survey

According to a recent Center for Consumer Freedom poll conducted by the Opinion Research Cooperation, 71% of 1,008 people questioned think that the Humane Society of the United States is an umbrella group for local humane societies.
A total of 59% believed that HSUS contributes most of its income to local shelters. But the group contributes less than 0.5% of its budget to local pet shelters and is not affiliated with any local humane society, according to the center and its
Humane Watch site.

Survey shows frugality will continue

ConAgra Foods Inc. said a survey it commissioned shows Americans expect to continue frugal habits even as the recession shows signs of easing. The March “Post Recession Reality” telephone survey of 1,018 adults revealed that 71% expect to continue saving habits they adopted during the economic downturn, including cooking and eating at home.
In the past year, 75% of Americans who cooked more at home expect to continue preparing meals, and 61% say they enjoy cooking more.
About half (52%) say they expect to cook more in the coming year, a trend stronger among younger consumers, with 72% of 18 to 34-year-old respondents saying they anticipate cooking more.

Poland witnesses strong growth in broiler breeder placements

Broiler breeder placements in Poland grew from 5 million in 2003 to nearly 7 million last year, an increase of almost 40%, reports Hubbard.
The country has become one of the most important European markets, and the company notes that last year its sales volume grew by 33% in comparison with the year before.
Like most North European countries, Poland mainly places standard-type breeders, however some 4-5% of the market uses dwarf-type breeders, predominantly for cages but also for floor systems, says Hubbard, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in the country this year.

Friday, May 21, 2010

New poultry grandparent facilities started in Poland

Work has started on the construction of state-of-the-art grandparent (GP) facilities, including rearing and laying farms, at Poznan, western Poland, following the signing of an agreement between BroMargo, a private Polish integrator, and Aviagen EPI.
Commenting for BroMargo, Marek Stachowiak said: “Our philosophy is based on the assumption that a company does as well as its flocks, placing a high importance on bird management, biosecurity, monitoring and data collection. We are delighted to have secured this contract and look forward to developing an even closer partnership with Aviagen.”
Aviagen’s Darlusz Kulik continued that the location of the GP facilities met the company’s stringent biosecurity standards and was close to its Hilbersdorf hatchery in eastern Germany.

Study: Broiler competition benefits industry

Competition in the broiler chicken industry benefits chicken farmers, poultry companies and consumers, according to a recent study released by the National Chicken Council.
“On the national scale, it is the overall conclusion of this study that the chicken industry is a competitive and thriving sector,” said Dr. Thomas Elam, an agricultural economist and president of
FarmEcon LLC. “Intense competition among chicken companies leads to product innovation and lower prices for consumers. The vertically integrated structure of the industry has given it an advantage compared to its competitors and allowed it to respond quickly to changing consumer demand.”
Elam’s study was commissioned by the National Chicken Council and released in preparation for an upcoming workshop on competition in agriculture to be held at Alabama A&M University by the U.S. Department of Justice and the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Officials elected at Georgia Poultry Federation meeting

At the annual meeting of the Georgia Poultry Federation in April, members elected chairmen and directors.
The chairmen elected are Barry Cronic, of Columbia Farms, as the 2010-2011 chairman; Mark Ham, of
Cagle’s, as senior vice chairman; and both Richard Jamison, of Perdue Farms, and Ken Long, of Pilgrim’s Pride, were elected as vice chairmen.
Directors elected for new terms of service on the board are Clay Banks, of the Equity Group; Jack Drew, of
AgGeorgia Farm Credit; Mack Guest, of LAD Truck Lines; Jerry Lane, of Claxton Poultry; and Doug Lee, of Sanderson Farms.

John Calipari passes on lessons to Alltech

Wrapping up Alltech’s 26th Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium, University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball head coach, John Calipari taught Alltech delegates how to “bounce back,” referencing his recent book "Bounce Back: Overcoming Setback to Succeed in Business and in Life."
Calipari encouraged participants to “refuse to lose,” saying that this attitude is what keeps people focused on achieving their goals.
“When I read Coach Calipari’s book, I knew this would be particularly relevant to our audience, so I stole the title and made it our theme,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons,
Alltech president and founder. “Through these principles, the agriculture industry can take control of our destiny and continue our noble mission, one of feeding the world.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tyson expects positive 2010, 2011

Donnie Smith, president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods Inc., told investors at the BMO Capital Markets 2010 Agriculture, Protein & Fertilizer Conference that favorable market conditions for protein are expected to continue for the remainder of fiscal 2010 and into fiscal 2011.
"We've posted strong results in the first half of our fiscal year, and we expect the second half to be even better," Smith said. "The operating environment is good now, and we expect it to continue into next year."
Smith based his prediction on the improvements the company has recently made: it reduced its debt position; has improved its operations; and recently raised the normalized operating margin ranges for its beef and pork segments.
Although the chicken segment has underperformed in the past, Tyson expects it to be within its normalized operating margin range of 5-7% for the year.

What does the 'triple bottom line' mean to the food chain?

Experts discussed a number of issues impacted by the current emphasis on the triple bottom line of “people, planet, profit,” during Alltech’s 26th Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium. The 3rd annual event ended Tuesday and covered key topics including public education, addressing global hunger, confronting criticism within the industry, and the movement to buy local products.
Moderated by Alltech’s Vice President, Aidan Connolly, panelists were; Patrick Wall, former chairman of the management board of the European Food & Safety Association (EFSA) in Ireland, Trent Loos, a radio, print and agribusiness commentator in the US, Osler Desouzart, a consultant from Brazil and Gordon Butland, director of G&S Agri Consultants in Thailand. The symposium attracted more than 1,500 delegates representing top global agribusiness firms. See the discussion online at

Nebraska hens laying more eggs

While Nebraska’s commercial laying hen population is down this year, birds are keeping egg production stable, according to the Nebraska Corn Board. In 2008, 10 million hens produced 2.5 million eggs. This year, the number of layers is down to 9.38 million, which produce about the same number of eggs.
The state ranks ninth nationally in total egg production, and leads production of further processed egg products. The egg industry contributes about $95 million to the Nebraska economy annually, part of which accounts for consumption of more than 8 million bushels of corn and the growing usage of distillers grains. In the U.S., 2.76 billion eggs are produced annually.

UK’s organic poultry sector needs help with 2012 rule change

Organic certifiers in the UK are being urged to take the lead in preparing the sector for 2012-regulations requiring pullets to be fully organic.
The call has come from Hi Peak Peak Organic Feeds, whose feed advisor Mike Burrows says: “Organic poultry producers need guidance on the issue of pullet supply for 2012 as a matter of urgency. Under the new measures, pullets will have to have access to outdoor ranging, and many established organic pullet-rearing units will not have the facility to accommodate this.”
Rearers will need to be compliant by the second week of August 2012.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hain Pure Protein sells Kosher Valley

Empire Kosher Poultry Inc. has bought the Kosher Valley brand of kosher, antibiotic-free chicken from Hain Pure Protein, a division of Hain Celestial Group Inc. The sale closed May 5, and included an equity interest in Empire to Hain.
According to Hain, the sale will expand the breadth and reach of Kosher Valley products. During the nine months ended March 31, Kosher Valley losses reduced Hain Celestial's diluted earnings by $0.04 per share.

Free poultry workshop focuses on competition, regulatory issues

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the second joint public workshop on competition and regulatory issues in agriculture May 21 at the Ernest L. Knight Reception Center at Alabama A&M University in Normal, Ala. The workshop, the second of five, will focus on the poultry industry.
These sessions are the first joint Department of Justice/USDA workshops ever to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The goals are to promote dialogue and foster learning about legal and economic analyses of issues, and to listen to and learn from those with experience in agriculture. The
workshop is free and open to the public.

Students get hands-on animal experience

More than 1,000 students have completed a hands-on course at the University of Illinois in Urbana designed to teach the basics of working with farm animals in labs. Nearly 85% of students enrolled in the Working with Farm Animals (or ANSC 103) have little to no experience working with animals in a farm setting.
The course was developed when professors noticed that fewer students understood the basics of working with farm animals. Currently 80% of animal science majors enroll in this experiential learning course during their program. In the fall, this course will become mandatory with a goal for all animal science students to take this class before they begin advanced courses.

Netherlands detects avian flu

The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture said it has detected avian influenza on a poultry farm in Deurne. Although the H7 strain is described as mild and not deemed dangerous to humans, the infected chickens were expected to be culled as a safety precaution.
A three-kilometer zone around the infected farm is also being watched, where there are 20 other poultry farms. These farms will be screened, and other places that may have had contact with the infected farm recently will also be investigated. Bird and animal transport to and from the area is also restricted.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Are consumers naturally suspicious?

The British Pig and Poultry Fair, which took place this month, hosted a debate on encouraging consumers to buy more British produce.
The discussion, which, amongst other things, revealed that some consumers are unaware of the difference between broilers and laying hens, followed a series of organized farm visits, where two groups of shoppers were taken to either a broiler unit or a pig breeding unit.
The high standards of cleanliness and animal husbandry they witnessed came as a considerable surprise to many of them. They are reported to have been "pleasantly" surprised to find chickens not in cages and also by the reality of the farrowing crate. ...Read the full blog on

USDA small farmer initiative questioned

Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) have requested a list of awards made under the KYF2 (Know Your Farmers Know Your Foods) program including the names of organizations receiving funds and amounts distributed.
The letter from the senators questioned the desirability of expending funds on “locavore” projects and “feel-good” measures. In the opinion of the three senators these grants are “completely detached from the realities of production agriculture.”
USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan the original promoter of the National Organic Program under a previous administration, has favored community development programs and intends distributing up to $1 billion for the KYF2 initiative.
USDA Secretary Vilsack, in defending Deputy Secretary Merrigan characterized her policy as “an example of our efforts to enhance awareness of our programs and utilize them more effectively.”
The current administration has demonstrated a distinct bias towards alternative agriculture at the expense of conventional intensive crop and livestock production. This is understandable given the extremely pro-environmental, anti-commercial, background of policy makers and their complete detachment from the realities of modern grain and livestock production. ...Read the full blog on

Making chicken sausage at Poultry 101

In a video from Poultry 101, Auburn University’s Dr. Shelly McKee guides workshop participants through the sausage-making process.
The next
Poultry 101 is scheduled for September 21-23, 2010, at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Japan seeks to control foot-and-mouth outbreak

Japanese agriculture officials have ordered pigs and cattle destroyed to get a handle on the country’s largest outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the past 10 years, according to Business Week. The government said about 0.7 percent of the nation’s pig stock, 73,653 animals, and some 6,600 beef cattle, 0.1 percent of stock, will be affected.
One of the most spreadable animal diseases, foot-and mouth can kill a large number of young animals. Japan imports the largest quantity of feed grain globally.

Yuhe International reports mixed results

Yuhe International Inc., a Chinese supplier of day-old chickens raised for meat production, or broilers, announced that net revenue rose while gross profit declined during the first quarter this year.
Net revenue increased 7.7% to $11.8 million compared to $10.9 million for the same period last year. Results were driven mainly by a 10.8% rise in sales of day-old broilers, offset by a 2.7% decrease in the selling price of this product. Gross profit, meanwhile, went down 4% to $3.9 million from $4.1 million due to price increases for corn. Operating income dipped 7.9% to $3 million compared to $3.2 million, and net income increased 0.4% to $2.93 million compared to $2.91 million a year ago.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Record soybean harvest in South America impacts U.S. market

Two South America countries this year will produce record soybean crops, causing concern that demand will wane for U.S. supplies, as well as a market reaction. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Argentina and Brazil will produce 4.48 billion bushels of soybeans, a 36 percent increase over last year, bumping global inventories to 63.8 million tons.
The U.S. is the largest producer and exporter of soybeans, which is the country’s second biggest crop behind corn. But these record South American crops, which follow a harvest impacted last year by drought, and the expectation that farmers in the U.S. won’t be able to get this crop in the ground quickly, caused soybean futures to drop.

JSR Genetics Ltd enters China deal

UK-based pig breeding company JSR Genetics will build and stock a 900 sow nucleus in Hubei province of China in a new joint venture with Hubei Liangyou Livestock and Poultry Company Limited. The Hubei Liangyou JSR Breeding Limited project is expected to be completed by December 2010, and includes shipment of dam lines and sire lines.
The venture expects to produce its first breeding stock by the end of 2011, and anticipates increasing pig production. Hubei employees will train for three months in the UK, and JSR will supply a farm manger and genetic database software to the project. JSR Genetics Ltd is part of the JSR Farming Group.

Pfizer calls for 2010 trainee award applicants

Trainees in the pig and poultry industries have the opportunity to compete for more than £5,000 worth of prizes in the 2010 Pfizer Animal Health Trainee of the Year Awards.
Each winner is awarded a £2,000 training grant and receives a £500 cash prize and trophy.
The awards are open to anyone developing their skills through on-the-job NVQ training. The deadline for entries is July 16 for the poultry award and July 30 for the pig award.
Entry forms can be downloaded online (
poultry / pig).
“The success of the UK pig and poultry industries owes a great deal to the skill and dedication of those caring for livestock,” says Emmeline Randall, Pfizer product manager. “Training plays a key role, and it is encouraging this is being increasingly recognized right through the food chain.”
Jim Fitzpatrick, minister for farming and the environment, presented the 2009 awards to Georgina Cherrill who works on an Ermine Farms pig breeder unit near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and to Andrew Hall who began his career in the hatchery with P D Hook in Lincolnshire and then moved to one of the firm’s breeder farms providing the hatching eggs.

UK pig producers forecast double digit cut in carbon emissions

The UK pig industry expects to cut its carbon emissions by 17% over the next 20 years. The prediction was made by Mick Sloyan, director of BPEX, which works to enhance the competitiveness of English pig meat producers, at this year’s Pig and Poultry Fair.
Since 2001, there has been an 8.2% reduction in carbon emissions through better performance on farm and, based on current trends, BPEX predicts that the industry’s environmental impact, taking into account all environmental burdens, will fall by as much as 30% between 2001 and 2010.
Mr Sloyan notes that the top 10% of producers will reduce their environmental impact further still.
Towards the end of last year, BPEX launched a Lifecycle Assessment, to estimate the environmental impacts of pork production and to identify opportunities for improvement. Measures to enhance the environmental sustainability of pig and pork production have also come under the spotlight.
At the time of the launch, BPEX head of marketing Chris Lamb commented: “The pig industry is determined to participate fully in the environmental debate and play its part in reducing greenhouse gases.”

Feed trade group holds import, export seminar

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) will hold its first Import & Export Seminar Arlington, Va., Sept. 27-28, 2010. The event is aimed at helping feed, ingredient and pet food professionals responsible for the imports or exports of agricultural products navigate the process of importing and exporting these goods.
AFIA has developed this program to provide details about resources available and what to do in specific scenarios. Regional trade updates and a question-and-answer session are included. Speakers will be from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (Executive Office of the President), the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Foreign Agricultural Service and the Food and Drug Administration.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Record corn production projected

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects a record 13.4 billion bushels of corn will be produced this year. This uptrend will ease tension between corporate livestock interests and American farmers and ethanol producers, according to the ethanol industry trade group, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
Key points of the report noted by the RFA: Corn supplies are expected to grow to a record 15.1 billion bushels; farmers expect to plant 88.8 million acres of corn; yield expectations are up 163.4 bushels per acre; year-end surpluses are anticipated at 1.8 billion bushels, up from last year. In 2010/11, about 4.6 billion bushels of corn are anticipated to be used in ethanol.

British pig breeder ups testing investment

British pig breeding company ACMC has invested more than 100,000 pounds to add 10 Feed Intake Recording Equipment (FIRE) stations, the firm said at this year’s British Pig & Poultry Fair. The increase from 40 to 50 stations enables individual performance testing of breeding animals at nucleus level. The new equipment will allow testing of around 4,000 boars and 1,800 gilts per year.
ACMC technical director Ed Sutcliffe said pig producers can continue to expect large improvements in efficiency from advances in genetics. Progress will be maintained by breeders in improving the key traits including numbers born alive, growth rate and feed conversion efficiency.

Dioxin contamination hits organic egg farms in Germany, Netherlands

Nineteen organic egg farms in Germany and eight in the Netherlands have had the sale of their eggs embargoed due to dioxin contamination. Sales from the farms have been suspended for at least a week.
The contamination is thought to be the result of contaminated corn from the Ukraine used in feed. The grain is reported to have been processed in organic poultry feed by a number of companies.
Dioxin contamination of eggs hit the German headlines back in 2005, with calls for greater controls on free-range production, which may result in eggs with higher dioxin levels than those from caged birds.
Neither details of the level of dioxin contamination on the farms, or how the feed may have become contaminated are known. Investigations are ongoing.

Tyson Foods, JBS Pilgrim's Pride primed for competition

During the past week Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride reported results for their most recent quarters. Since these titans of the protein industry collectively dominate U.S. broiler production, their performance and relative success provides a valuable insight into the current state of production and future profitability.
Integrators in the U.S. are benefiting from a recovering economy and stable costs for feed, fuel and labor. Judicious cutbacks in late 2008 and 2009, both intended and forced, have restored the equilibrium of domestic supply to demand. Concurrently, exports representing 15% of production volume have been adversely impacted by trade barriers imposed by the two largest importing nations.
For the second quarter of FY 2010, ended April 3, Tyson Foods reported net income of $159 million ($119 million loss in Q2 FY 2009) on sales of $6.916 billion ($6.307). The Chicken Segment (broilers) representing 36% of company sales, generated an operating margin (contribution) of $114 million ($46 million loss) on $2.491 billion turnover ($2.360 billion). For Q2 the operating margin for Tyson broiler operations attained 4.5% of sales. Tyson attributed the improvement in operating results to enhanced unit revenue from changes to their market mix and replacing some exports and low-value products with higher-margin items. Operating results were improved by appropriate commodity risk management in comparison to the corresponding quarter in FY 2009 which incurred a loss of $63 million on injudicious forward ingredient purchases. The results for Q2 included an escalation in feed costs amounting to $19 million compared to Q2 of FY 2009.
The consolidated balance sheet for the period ending April 3 shows total current assets of $4.229 billion ($4.375 billion) and current liabilities of $1.917 billion ($1.9913 billion). Long-term debt was reduced 11.3% from $3.258 billion as of October 3, 2009 to $2.889 billion for the current period. Capital expenditure amounted to $264 million during the first two quarters of FY 2010 compared to $160 million in the first half of FY 2009.
Pilgrim’s Pride which is now undergoing extensive restructuring since acquisition by
JBS of Brazil reported on their first quarter for FY 2010 ended March 28. This company is essentially a pure broiler operation and results can be compared with the Tyson Food’s Chicken Segment or soon to be announced results from Sanderson Farms. Pilgrim’s Pride posted a net loss of $45.5 million ($58 million loss in Q1 of FY 2009) on sales of $1.643 billion ($1.698 billion). Non-recurring restructuring charges for Q1 amounted to $35.8 million.
Even after excluding these expenditures the company generated a 0.2% operating margin against sales compared to the Tyson Foods value of 4.5%. The Pilgrim’s Pride balance sheet shows current assets of $1.195 billion ($1.367 billion, September 2009) and current liabilities of $657.1 million ($508.2 million).
Commenting on their Q1 release, Don Jackson, president and CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride stated “while I am encouraged by the progress we have made in several areas of our business, our overall performance in the first quarter of 2010 was below our expectations.” The reasons provided in the narrative accompanying the figures implicate an adverse $11 million grain hedge, lower unit revenue for dark meat, low unit revenue for commodity chicken associated with delays in ramping up further processing and suboptimal efficiency.
Pilgrim’s Pride has announced that they intend to restart the Douglas, Ga., plant in January 2011 followed by two other mothballed operations in mid-2011 and early 2012. The
Sanderson Farms New Kinston, N.C., operation will come on-line in late 2010 and this company has announced a second complex in western North Carolina.
Intentions to expand have prompted Tyson Foods to express concern over current trends despite the relatively short supply situation arising from recent cutbacks. Don Smith, CEO of Tyson Foods, stated in a recent conference call that “as we grow, we’ll look at forward demand, then determine inventory levels necessary to fill that demand and then we will adjust our supply plans to optimize margins by either buying the parts we need, or by adding to our production base.”
Tyson is no longer competing with a faltering giant in Pilgrim’s Pride. They are now facing the subsidiary of a multinational protein power of equal stature. Parent company JBS has assets of over $8 billion, with sales of $15 billion and a profit of $500 million in FY 2008. With little long term debt ($1.5 billion) and considerable managerial acumen JBS will restructure and revitalize Pilgrim’s Pride to represent a formidable competitor to established U.S. integrators.

Biosecurity, food safety top issues for live production

WATT PoultryUSA asked 79 industry people responsible for live production management about their top challenges, production techniques and business outlook in 2010. Their responses reveal an industry that is focused on biosecurity and food safety with a significant number of firms ready to increase production in 2010.
Following are a few key findings:
*The business outlook is generally favorable, with 30% of respondents saying sales and profits are good now and 46% expecting to see slowly improving sales and profits in the next 12 months.
*Plans for production volume are mixed, with an equal percentage (44%) expecting to increase production volume and keep it the same in 2010.
*The highest priority for investment in live production facilities in 2010 is in ventilation equipment.
*Biosecurity and food safety are the top challenges faced by live production managers, according to the managers surveyed.
*The most commonly used salmonella reduction measure is rodent control, with 70% of respondents indicating usage.
*Just over 57% of respondents said their companies are now engaged in producing antibiotic-free poultry.

Survey participants
Survey responses came from a cross-section of live production managers at broiler and turkey companies, including live-operations vice presidents, live production managers, broiler and turkey managers, breeder production managers, hatchery managers and corporate veterinarians. Responses came from across the globe, with the majority from North America.

Business outlook for 2010
The business outlook is generally optimistic among poultry live production managers. Forty-six percent of respondents believe there will be slowly improving sales and profits in the next months; 30% say that sales and profits are good now; and 18% expect business conditions will improve significantly in the second half of 2010. Only 6% of respondents said they expect to see negative or poor profitability over the next 12 months.

Some production expansion
Survey responses indicate a mixed picture for changes in production volume in 2010. An equal number of respondents (44%) said their companies will expand production in 2010 or keep it the same as in 2009. Twelve percent said production volume will decrease in 2010.

Major challenges in live production
“Biosecurity/disease” and “food safety of finished products and regulations” were rated as the two most important live production concerns.
Over 80% of respondents ranked “biosecurity/disease” as being among their top three concerns, with 52% saying it was their single-highest priority.
“Food safety” was ranked somewhat lower with over 70% of respondents ranking it as among their top three concerns.
Live production managers are also focused on the basics. “Management of programs to achieve live performance in flocks” was the third-highest ranked concern among respondents.
“Animal welfare” was ranked fourth in overall importance by respondents.

Challenges of lesser importance
With a late harvest of grains in the U.S. and much wet weather, the problem of “mycotoxins in feed” was highly ranked as a concern by a significant number of respondents, but an almost equal number ranked it as a concern of lesser importance. This would seem to indicate the problem is regional in importance.
Also ranking near the bottom of the list of challenges was “capital for expansion/replacement of production facilities.” While the business outlook is improving and a significant number of firms are expanding or replacing production facilities, availability of capital seems to be of lesser importance among the majority of respondents. Responses indicated this is a significant concern for some respondents but not a serious concern for others.
The “availability, cost and quality of research to support decision making” ranked lowest overall among the 10 challenges on the list. While as significant number ranked research among their top 5 challenges, this challenge also received the greatest number of rankings in the bottom half.

Salmonella reduction measures
With food safety ranked as a major challenge, respondents were asked about the salmonella reduction measures being used in their production facilities and flocks (see “Salmonella reduction measures”).
The most commonly used salmonella reduction measure is rodent control, with 70% of respondents indicating usage. Litter management (58%) and requirements for salmonella-free breeders (48%) are also widely used. Treatment of drinking water at feed withdrawal is the fourth most prevalent practice, according to the survey.

Controlling gut microflora
Live production managers were asked about technologies used to control gut microflora in their flocks (see “Gut microflora technologies”). The leading control practice in use are chlorinated water (70%), followed by acidified drinking water (58%), Enzymes in feed (58%), growth-promoting antibiotics (48%) and coccidiosis vaccines (38%) and several others.

Antibiotic-free production
Live production managers were asked, “How does your company view antibiotic-free poultry production?” The responses show that antibiotic-free production is prevalent and will remain so.
Just over 57% indicated their companies are now producing antibiotic-free poultry. Another 17% said they “might consider antibiotic-free production in the future, and 3% said it is “currently under test and looks promising.”
Of the firms already producing antibiotic-free poultry, 31% indicated that it “will remain at low levels for now” and 26% said it “will likely be significant in the future.”
Around 23% of respondents said that antibiotic free production either had been tested and rejected or would not be considered.

Upgrading and expansion of facilities
The managers were asked about their priorities for investment in live production facilities in 2010. Overall, the highest priority is for investment in ventilation equipment. Other leading priorities (in order of importance indicated by respondents) included investment for upgrading structural elements (walls, roofing, insulation, etc.), electronic controls and housing management systems and heating and brooding equipment.
Click here for the Nutrition and Feeding Survey results.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Data shows consumers buy more regular eggs

American consumers buy regular eggs more than cage-free eggs by 40-to-1, according to checkout scanner data gathered from 34,000 stores by Information Resources Inc. Results were presented recently by the United Egg Producers, a national farmer cooperative and trade association for America’s egg farmers.
Eggs produced in traditional cage housing systems were the most popular eggs among supermarket shoppers, accounting for 92% of the 21 billion eggs bought at stores last year, according data. Cage-free eggs only account for 2% of all retail eggs bought, and organic/free-range eggs accounted for only 1%. Sales of all three types of eggs were relatively flat compared to the previous year.

Salmonella on raw chicken declining

A suggestion that people get sick from salmonella linked to raw chicken “is not very well supported by data,” according to the National Chicken Council.
In commenting on new performance standards for chicken processing plants by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety & Inspection Service, the group noted that while human disease from salmonella has been going up in recent years, the presence of salmonella on raw chickens has been going down.
The new rules governing standards for salmonella and campylobacter on raw chicken are generally consistent with industry performance in recent years, the group said, adding that the industry will continue to work to improve the microbiological profile of raw chicken.

Chile earthquake impacts fish meal production

The recent earthquake in Chile caused extensive damage to fish meal plants, doubling fish meal prices from mid 2008 to a current $2,000 per metric ton in the European Union. With the decline of the El Nino, fish catches would have increased, easing prices. Because processing capacity is limited, catches will be reduced in proportionally to available working plants.
The current oil contamination in the Gulf of Mexico may also exacerbate the situation with the greatest effect on aquaculture, where fish meal is used extensively in diets for mariculture and for farmed species.

Consumers becoming more nutrition conscious

According to the 2010 Consumer Food Safety Survey prepared by Deloitte LLP there has been a significant increase in the number of consumers reading country-of-origin labels, list of ingredients and nutritional facts. Consumers are apparently becoming more involved in making value judgment decisions on foods and are accessing websites to gather information on the products they purchase.
In contrast there is a decline in concern over food safety compared to the 2008 survey although the majority of respondents considered that food-related recalls have increased in frequency.
Consumers believe that manufacturers and food companies are responsible for communicating information on recalls with a lower grade for the U.S. FDA and retailers.

Formulation trends in further processed poultry

Consumer demand is growing for low salt, low fat poultry products, which don’t sacrifice quality and flavor.
In a
video at Poultry 101 workshop, Peter M. Brown, technical director, A.C. Legg, Inc., is interviewed by Dr. Casey Owens, University of Arkansas, about formulation trends in further processed poultry.
The next
Poultry 101 is scheduled for September 21-23, 2010, at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

CAST offers free seminar on sustainability

A free symposium has been arranged for June 8 to 10 in Washington, D.C. to review aspects of bioethics, economics and social issues in relation to animal production. The program, Sustaining Animal Agriculture: Balancing Bioethical, Economic and Social Issues, is organized by the Council for Agriculture Science and Technology (CAST) and the USDA.
Speakers include a cross-section of specialists representing academia, consultants, FMI members and agribusiness multinationals. The meeting takes place in the Jefferson Auditorium of the South Agriculture Building of the USDA.

UK farming union raises alarm over EU, Mercosur trade talks

British poultry and cattle farmers could face huge financial losses if free trade talks conclude between the EU and South American countries that do not recognize the high production and welfare standards that UK farmers adhere to, warns the UK’s National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
The NFU has expressed its “grave concerns” after the EU Commission agreed to restart negotiations with the Mercosur trading bloc. It believes that increasing levels of imported beef and poultry could negatively impact on EU producers and dent consumer confidence.
NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns commented: “Trade liberalization might sound tantalizing to EU trade commissioners, but to poultry farmers floods of cheap South American poultry meat is the last ting the sector needs at this point in time.”

WATT Dashboard delivers more than 200 livestock, commodity price, consumption statistics

WATT Agribusiness Dashboard, a one-stop source for worldwide poultry, pig, and animal feed production, consumption and price information, is now available at a reduced rate. The service is available with a seven-day free trial that requires no credit card, and full registration is now only $49 per month.
The dashboard features more than 200 customizable and downloadable livestock and commodity charts, and includes up-to-the-minute news updates from thousands of news sources around the world. You can learn more at

International buyer program highlighted at poultry, feed expo

The International Poultry Expo and International Feed Expo will again feature the International Buyer Program in 2011. Coordinated through the U.S. Department of Commerce, the program brings international buyers to the events to meet with U.S. companies exhibiting at the shows. Exhibitors can explore export opportunities with agency commercial specialists.
Sponsored by U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and the American Feed Industry Association, the global poultry and feed event is scheduled January 24-26, in Atlanta, Ga.

PAACO certifies American Humane Standards checklist

The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) announced certification of the welfare audit sections of the checklist to be used by the American Humane Association for its program.
The program will be used to obtain certification for non-confined hens. The chairman of PAACO, David R. Hermes, stated, “because of increasing consumer interest in how their food is produced, certification programs will provide validation of production and welfare practices at the farm level.”
"There is also an increase in need for trained, knowledgeable auditors who can fairly and accurately assess welfare practices,” he added.
Tim Amlaw of the American Humane Association commented, “Voluntary participation in the Animal Humane Certified Program is a benefit to cage-free layer producers who meet the rigorous science-based standards because it verifies their commitment to humane and ethical treatment of their flocks.”
PAACO is an organization comprising five animal industry organizations concentrated on best management practices and application of science to livestock production. For further information access the PAACO

Monday, May 10, 2010

UEP calls for legislation support

The UEP has urged producers to encourage their representatives in Congress to support H.R. 4638. This item of legislation, The Healthy Start Act, will amend the major reauthorization of the Federal Child Nutrition Program currently under consideration. Expanding school breakfast programs to provide the equivalent of a nickel of commodities with every school breakfast is the intent of the sponsors, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD) and Joann Emerson (R-MO).
Producers are encouraged to contact their representatives by email with the following message: “Please co-sponsor H.R. 4638 The Healthy Start Act. This bi-partisan legislation provides USDA with funding to include commodities in breakfast programs for the nation’s schools. This will allow millions more children to obtain a good start to their day and derive benefit from the nutritional qualities of eggs and other foods.”
For further information e-mail or call the UEP Washington liaison
Howard Magwire at (202) 842-2345.

Lallemand Animal Nutrition launches fiber digestibility site

Lallemand Animal Nutrition has launched a new mini website that focuses on fiber digestibility to help dairy farmers, nutritionists, veterinarians and distributors understand ways of improving feed and forage utilization.
This new tool summarizes the latest scientific results obtained with the rumen specific live yeast Levucell SC (Saccharomyces cerevisiae I-1077) and in particular its effect on improving fiber digestibility.
To promote the launch of this new website, Lallemand is holding a competition online called "Stimulate with Levucell SC" in which two people can win a new iPad.
Visit the site for moreinformation.

French avian research days set for 2011

Researchers and professionals will meet for the ninth international opening of the Avian French Research Days (Journées de la Recherche Avicole), March 29-30, 2011, in Tours, France.
The event will cover a variety of aviculture themes providing a review of poultry industry issues. Topics will include a look at major changes in the European Union chicken and turkey trade over the past decade. Simultaneous French to English translation will be available for participants in the raw materials, feed and nutrition sessions and workshops.

Chicken industry seeks to ease corn ethanol rules

The federal ethanol program should include a provision for relief from the mandate for corn-derived ethanol in the event of a crop shortage, the National Chicken Council told a National Research Council committee investigating the impact of the regulation. Such a shortage could leave poultry and meat producers lacking in animal feed, according to the council.
Under the
Renewable Fuels Standard, the motor fuel industry is required to add specified amounts of biofuels to gasoline every year – including 12 billion gallons of corn-derived ethanol this year. Some 36% of the nation’s corn crop will go into ethanol production by 2015, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts.

UK university scholarship addresses poultry sector skills gap

A new student scholarship scheme will be launched mid-May by the UK’s Harper Adams University College in conjunction with the country’s poultry industry.
The scheme brings together a number of employers who will support students by paying up to two years of fees for their higher education course at Harper Adams and provide them with a paid position for their compulsory work placement year.
Harper Adams principal Dr David Llewellyn commented: “We are committed to encouraging young people to consider a career in the poultry sector, where there are good prospects and a stimulating business environment that will require a good supply of capable managers and future leaders.”
The initiative is expected to improve the flow of graduates into the sector, where there is currently a skills gap.

Agriculture transportation study highlights systems approach

The National Grain and Feed Association praised a new study by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Transportation for recommending federal policymakers take a more systems-based approach to setting transportation policies.
The two-year study recognizes issues that affect all types of transportation including rail, barge, truck and ocean vessel transport for agricultural shippers. The study recognized the interrelationship between all of these transport modes, and noted the benefit of a supply chain approach to transportation policy, according to the trade group.

Merger forms new Brazilian poultry association

Separate assemblies in Sao Paulo approved the merger between the Brazilian Poultry Union (UBA) and the Brazilian Poultry Producers and Exporters Association (ABEF). The new entity that emerged from the merger will be known as UBABEF (Brazilian Poultry Union).
Each one of these associations approved the merger proposal, in special separate assemblies, with an 87% quorum.
Francisco Turra was named the president of the new entity. He had been the president of ABEF. Two councils were formed: one deliberative and one consultative, as well as 12 separate committees. These committees will deal with issues such as: internal and external markets, poultry health, genetics and sustainability, among others.
According to Turra, the objective of the merger is to strengthen the sector. This merger has been discussed for almost two years, even before last year’s major consolidation of the Brazilian broiler sector.
Before the merger, ABEF had 34 member companies and UBA 65. After the merger that number is 85, seeing that some companies belonged to both associations.

Butterball earns environmental, safety awards

U.S. poultry processor Butterball has garnered Environmental Recognition Awards from the American Meat Institute (AMI) for seven of its plants and feed mills. The company’s Alix, Ark., facility received a tier 1 award, while plants in Huntsville, Ark., and Jonesboro, Ark., received tier 2 awards, and those in Carthage, Mo., Ozark, Ark., Longmont, Colo., and Mt. Olive, N.C., earned tier 3 recognition.
AMI also awarded Butterball five safety awards, including the top Award of Honor which went to processing plants in Huntsville and Mt. Olive. Plants in Carthage and Ozark earned the Award of Merit, while the Longmont plant earned the Award of Commendation.

Gulf oil slick could impact grain markets

The giant oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is causing some jitters in the grain market, as shippers assess the potential of the country’s largest grain port to face possible slowing from the disaster.
The port connecting the Gulf with the Mississippi river – known as the Southwest Pass – is the central point of export of soybeans, corn and wheat with between 55% and 65% of these grains moving from the port. If shipping slows, costs could rise as exporters need to find alternative ports or sources.
So far, ships moving in and out of the port have not been affected. The U.S. Coast Guard and shipping companies continue to monitor the situation.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Processing sector bounces back

The International Poultry Expo (IPE) provided a glimpse of equipment improvements and renewed investment in technology for the poultry processing sector. Read the full article in Poultry USA.

The use of proteases in corn-soya diets

Prior to deciding on a protease, a number of factors need to be carefully examined. Read the full article in Feed International.

Flaxseed-fed chickens shed light on ovarian cancer

There’s something new to cluck about in the quest to find answers about ovarian cancer. University of Illinois researchers recently discovered that a diet enriched with flaxseed decreases severity of ovarian cancer and increases survival in hens.
Flaxseed, the richest plant source of alpha-linolenic acid, one type of omega-3 fatty acid, has been proven to inhibit formation of colon, breast, skin and lung tumors. It was logical to study how omega-3 fatty acids affect ovarian cancer because there remains no effective treatment, said Janice Bahr, a professor emerita and poultry researcher in the university’s Department of Animal Sciences. This research was
published in Gynecologic Oncology.

Bumper crops…baking…milk

These seemingly unrelated subjects in the title are just that, completely unrelated. However, all three of these items caught my attention yesterday, and while all are worthy of a separate blog, there’s just no time. So, I’ll just cover each topic quite briefly.
Bumper crops. The Wall Street Journal on May 3 reported that Brazil’s bumper crops of corn and soy have strained the nation’s grain storage capacity. The record crops have depressed grain prices, which the WSJ interprets as a bad thing. But for Brazil’s poultry and pig producers, this is a very good thing, which will reduce production prices, as I see it. Brazil will also have more grain to export, which is good for the poultry industries of other nations. The grain storage issue still needs to resolved, however.
Baking. There was another story in the May 3 Wall Street Journal, about the popularity of sourdough bread in the U.S. It was noted that: “The recession and high unemployment have left people with less money for restaurant food, but more time for ambitious baking recipes.” The article noted that one particular baking supply company had an 11% increase in flour sales last fiscal year. It also mentioned a particular baking website that currently attracts 1.25 million page views a month, more than double from two years ago. It seems to me that there’s a lesson there for the food production industry. Food for thought – pun intended. ...Read the full blog on

New standards sustain fish meal sourcing

Sustainable fish meal can support the needs of expanding aquaculture, according to Dr. Andrew Jackson, technical director of the International Fish Meal and Fish Organization.
The organization introduced its Global Standard for Responsible Supply in October 2009, which imposed standards on sourcing fish for meal and oil production with participation from the Global Aquaculture Alliance, the Marine Conservation Society and the World Wildlife Federation of Scotland. Fish meal producers are now audited by a third-party.
The objective is to control catches that will sustain and prolong using these products for human food and aquaculture. Currently, definitions are being prepared to describe byproducts since trimmings now constitute 25% of the raw materials for fish meal production.

People's Pharmacy promotes egg consumption

Joe and Terry Graedon, hosts and authors of the nationally syndicated radio show and newspaper column The People's Pharmacy said recently that research has shown eating eggs in moderation is not bad for your health or serum cholesterol.
Citing recent studies they said, “when investigators looked at the data they found that eating up to one egg daily had little effect on stoke or heart disease risk.” They added, “there is an experiment showing that egg consumption is linked to higher levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and markers or improved regular health.”
Publications and presentations by Dr. Don McNamara of the Egg Nutrition Center over the past decade have defused opposition to egg consumption and have confirmed the nutritional benefits of eggs.

Over 30% of Brazil's poultry meat exports go to Middle East

Gulf alone imports close to 1 million metric tonnes of Halal poultry meat annually. To this promising market Brazil sends more than 30 per cent of its poultry meat exports. The South American countrys leading markets for the commodity are the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. ...Read the full blog on

Lutein supplement aids vision patients

Adding a with 12-milligram daily lutein supplement along with vitamin A decreased the rate vision deteriorates in patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa, according to a recent article in Archives of Ophthalmology.
Decline in mid-peripheral vision was inversely related to serum lutein level, and there were no toxic effects observed of high-level lutein supplements. U.S. enriched eggs contain approximately 250 micrograms lutein, about 1/50 of the dose administered to the patients in the trial. Eggs with lutein have been shown to be help seniors maintain the integrity of the retina’s macula.

McDonald’s rejects cage-free demand

McDonald’s Inc. Board of Directors wants its shareholders to vote against a proposal by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that would require the company buy 5% of its eggs from non-confined hens. The company cited insufficient scientific evidence to support the request.
McDonald’s Inc.
joined the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply which is conducting a commercial-scale study on egg production. Researchers at Michigan State University and the University of California, Davis will evaluate conventional cages, enriched cages aviaries and other floor systems.
Some fast food restaurant chains including Burger King, Subway and Wendy’s have sourced a small amount of eggs from non-confined hens.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

HSUS under fire

If I were Wayne Pacelle (which I am glad I am not), I would be concerned about the adage that “those who live by the media are destroyed by the media.” The latest blow to the organization is the downgrade (aptly characterized since HSUS is more business than a non-profit) by Charity Navigator based on evidence that the organization is not adequately fulfilling its stated purpose.
In addition the American Institute of Philanthropy assigned an overall “C-minus” grade to HSUS. Given the revelations concerning the finances of HSUS this represents blatant grade inflation since the organization has overtones of a massive fraud by holding itself out to be the champion of care and concern for animals when the facts denote otherwise.
The intensive animal industry is indebted to the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) for a campaign of information in the media lifting the veil over HSUS activities, their finances and their ultimate purpose of imposing a vegan lifestyle on our nation. ...Read the full blog on

USDA Unveils Plans To Help Fund Non-Corn Biofuel Production

USDA has unveiled plans to help propel non-corn-based, "advanced" biofuel from small, or pilot, production levels to commercial-scale output through loans and subsidies.
The new programs, required in the 2008 farm bill, are also "part of the strategy to help meet President Obama's goal to accelerate the commercial production of advanced biofuels and create a viable alternative fuels industry," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Most of the biofuel currently produced on a commercial scale in the United States is ethanol made from corn starch, but producers are exempt from the subsidies and loans.
Instead, the government help is aimed at those who want to produce biofuels from cellulosic material such as switchgrass or corn stover — husks and other leftover material from corn crops — according to Jeffrey Steiner, the senior advisor for biofuels at USDA.
Under the Biorefinery Assistance Program, USDA would provide loans of up to $250 million "to develop and construct commercial-scale biorefineries." Through the Repowering Assistance Payments program, USDA would pay up to $5 million for refineries to "install new systems that encourage renewable biomass energy use and replace fossil fuels." A third program, The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, would set up payments for advanced biofuel refineries.
About 10.6 billion gallons of subsidized corn-based ethanol was produced in the United States last year. The government paid out roughly $4.8 billion last year in tax credits to companies that blend ethanol into gasoline.

Peterson Prepares to Draft 2012 Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) last week began discussing elements of a new farm bill, a process that is expected to play out over the next 18 months. Many long-time Washington observers believe the next farm legislation could be significantly different from that of the recent past for a wide range of reasons.
The week of April 26, Peterson said his panel would hear from experts and academics on "the broad picture" of where they perceive the current bill is working or not working, and trends they see for the future." The first week of May will feature field hearings in Des Moines, Boise, Fresno and Cheyenne, Wyo. The week of May 14 Peterson will hold hearings Georgia, Alabama, Texas and South Dakota.
The chairman says that at this point, everything is on the table, and that he is not advocating that policy go in any specific direction. Rather, he said, what he wants now if for a discussion about whether the current set of programs "make sense for the future." Peterson says his overall interest "is providing a safety net for the average-sized commercial production farmer."
One program likely is a candidate for change" the U.S. cotton program, given the recent agreement between the United States and Brazil that averted sanctions being imposed on a host of U.S. products. Peterson has said in the past that commodity programs that were structured to closely resemble each other may not work in the future. "Is it right to do it [the next farm bill] on a commodity-by-commodity basis? Or should we look at a whole-farm approach?" Peterson asked. "I've gotten some push back on that, but we at least should think about it."
Peterson acknowledged the budget will be a factor but said he is "not going to get too excited about it until we get to the point of marking up a bill." And, he expects the amount of money that will be available for farm programs –– based on Congressional Budget Office projections of baseline spending –– will be considerably different than it is at present.
Peterson would not say whether direct payments to farmers need to be reduced, saying instead that the various components of the economic safety net for farmers needs to be looked at as a whole to see how they work together.
Some have suggested that the current commodity loan programs could be ended or changed significantly and the dollars allocated for use elsewhere. Peterson said the problem with the current loan program is that loan rates are set at such low levels that the program does not function properly, "And the money isn't there to raise those rates significantly."

DG Foods expanding operations in Gallman, Miss.

Officials from DG Foods, a chicken processing company, have announced the company is expanding operations at its facility in the Copiah County Industrial Park in Gallman, Miss. The company was recently awarded a contract with BAR-S, a food processor and distributor, and is adding two new labor intensive processes and expanding its existing business operations.
DG Foods is creating 200 new jobs at the Gallman facility and is investing approximately $2.78 million in capital improvements to prepare for the increase in production. The expansion will support a process to debone the dark meat, thighs and legs of chicken, and portion tenders.
The company currently employs 350 workers.
Mississippi Development Authority worked with company and local officials to help facilitate the expansion. The agency provided assistance through the Rural Impact Fund Program and the Development Infrastructure Program to help with infrastructure improvements at the site. Copiah County also provided assistance for infrastructure improvements.

Novus International hosts Missouri colleges fund scholars

Novus International Inc. hosted Missouri college students and their mentors during the 2nd Annual Science: A Foundation for Dynamic Careers Day on April 23, 2010. The participating students were the 2009 academic year Novus and Monsanto recipients of the Missouri Colleges Fund (MCF) scholarship for science or mathematics.
Novus International, a global leader in animal health and nutrition, has provided sixteen $1,000 scholarships for the past three years to the MCF.
The students were given tours of the global research center at the Novus International global headquarters in St. Charles, Missouri. After the tours were completed, students listened to presentations and participated in discussions about careers in science presented by Sarah Purdue, Research Engineer; Vanessa Stewart, Sales Specialist, all of Novus International, and Dannette Ward, Senior Scientist at Monsanto.
Following the career discussions guests took a bus ride to Green Acres, Novus International’s global research farm, where they toured the facility and learned more about the opportunities available in the science industry. While on the bus, students listened as several Novus employees working in research or marketing spoke about how science has affected their careers.
“Novus is dedicated to educating students, not simply providing scholarship funds,” stated Dr. Joyce Cacho, Chief Sustainability Officer, at Novus International. “We don’t want to just give money, we want to educate and open their eyes to opportunities they may have never thought of."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Eating chicken causes men to become gay...and bald

So said Bolivian President Evo Morales at the inauguration of an international climate change conference earlier this week.
The statement is so ridiculous that it hardly merits an answer, and I have ignored this story since I first heard it. (Many friends from around the region have sent me this news item)
I can't ignore it anymore, and neither has the poultry industry, since this dumb statement has made it into the news media around the world.
Representatives of the poultry industry from Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and even Spain have made statements to the press, once again clarifying that the poultry industry does not feed hormones to chickens or hens. They don't do it and never will. In fact, its against the law in the US and Europe.
As to the claims that eating chicken turns men gay and bald, why even bother to answer that idiocy?(Unfortunately, in my travels I have heard more than once that some people actually believe that). ...Read the full blog on