Friday, October 29, 2010

Butterball facility goes 5 million hours without lost-time injury

A Butterball LLC facility in Huntsville, Ark. has gone 5 million worker hours without a lost-time injury.
These hours represent three years of successful safety performance. "Reaching this milestone demonstrates Butterball's commitment to eliminating unsafe conditions and worker injuries throughout the company," said Brian Rodgers, corporate director of safety and risk management. The Huntsville facility has been recognized in the past for its safety program. OSHA named it a VPP "Star Amongst Stars" facility, certifying that the facility maintains an incident rate of 50% or better than the industry average. Huntsville has also received the Award of Honor from the American Meat Institute and the Award of Distinction from the National Joint Poultry Safety and Health Council.

TFI expresses opposition to US Senate water bill

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is urging the U.S. Senate to oppose the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act (S. 1816).
The bill, according to TFI, would fundamentally change aspects of the Clean Water Act and set water policy precedents that will impact watersheds throughout the United States. "S. 1816 would set a major legislative precedent in federal environmental law, taking the authority and control granted to states and local governments under the Clean Water Act and turning it over to [the Environmental Protection Agency] — a step never before taken in the 38-year history of the law."
TFI has joined with other agriculture organizations to send a joint letter to the members of the Senate detailing their concerns.

Poultry must adjust to stalled foodservice business

What’s the number one thing consumers are doing with poultry today that they weren’t doing 12 months ago? It’s no secret that they are cooking and preparing more meals at home, but this change was already under way before the recession and is likely to continue in the future.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food in 2009 dropped into negative territory for the first time in a decade as consumers searched for new, convenient foods at cheaper prices and found them more often in supermarkets than foodservice outlets.
Amid all of the volatility in the marketplace, however, the big story is that eating patterns have changed in America, with the growth in eating away from home stalling in the past decade and declining, according to Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst and vice president, The NPD Group.

Foodservice usage peaked in 2001 
“Restaurant eating reached a high of 211 meals per person per year in the past decade, and that number has not increased,” Balzer told listeners at the National Chicken Council annual meeting. The real story is U.S. consumers have reached a peak in their use of foodservice.
“It was last year that everybody started talking about the decline in foodservice demand because the one-year decline was so great. Around nine fewer meals per person were consumed in restaurants last year, which is a dramatic one-year change. The truth is this country has reached a peak in its use of foodservice,” Balzer said.
“This is not just a trend of the past three years but a structural change over 10 years,” he said. Meals per person purchased annually at restaurants in the U.S. grew steadily from 168 in 1984 to 211 in 2001. That number has since declined, falling to a low of 195 in 2010.

Number of women in workforce no longer rising 
The reason foodservice usage has declined in the past 10 years, Balzer said, involves women’s participation in the workforce. Since the 1950s, the percentage of women in the workforce climbed steadily, until the 2000s when there was a 1.6% decline. So ended a trend that had helped drive decades of increases in eating meals outside the home.

Sandwiches are foodservice's ‘hot category’ 
Breakfast, however, is a bright spot for the foodservice industry, according to Balzer.
“Breakfast is the one bright spot, even though it is the least likely meal at foodservice,” he said. Of all meals purchased at restaurants, the number of breakfast meals rose from 25 per person in 2000 to 32 in 2010. That compares to 65 meals purchased for lunch and 57 for supper in 2010.
Burgers for breakfast are a growing trend, he said, and traditional breakfast ingredients are also rising in importance on sandwich menus.
“Americans are eating more sandwiches for breakfast. They are taking the eggs, bacon and other ingredients and putting them together,” he said.

Three things most important to consumers 
Balzer presented points which may be helpful in developing marketing plans for chicken products:
  • Consumers continue to prefer foods that are new, convenient and less expensive.
  • Sandwiches prepared and eaten in the home are the number one meal consumed.
  • Frozen food items are a growing category for in-home food preparation.
  • Sandwiches and burgers at breakfast are a growth category in foodservice.
  • Deals are playing an important role in triggering eating out.
“If you want people to eat more chicken, this country will change its eating behavior for these three things: new items, more convenience and cheaper food,” he said.

USPOULTRY offers new industry curriculum, student outreach program

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has released the Poultry & Egg Production Curriculum for use by high school agriculture educators.
The curriculum is part of the Association's student outreach program, which educates young people about the poultry industry. "Educating the next generation of consumers and encouraging bright young students to pursue higher education and careers in the poultry industry continue to be important goals of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association," said Steve Willardsen, chairman of the USPOULTRY board of directors.
The program covers several industry topics, including an introduction to the poultry industry, a history of poultry production, lessons on broilers, turkeys and egg laying hens, biosecurity and egg processing.

Early planting season leads to early corn harvest

Compared to just 16% at the same time last year and a 39% five-year average for this time of year, 68% of the 2010 U.S. corn crop has already been harvested, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.
Many states are well above the national percentage; Illinois has harvested 93% of its corn compared to just 10% in October 2009. Iowa has harvested 66% compared to 9% in 2009 and Minnesota is at 47% instead of the 3% at this time last year. "We were able to complete our harvest sooner due to a much earlier planting season and a rapid maturation of the crop caused by a very warm summer and fall," said Illinois farmer Ron Gray, who is also the corn sector director for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).
In addition to an early yield, the quality appears excellent, according to farmers. "The last two years' quality was down some and that shouldn't be an issue with this year's crop," said Iowa farmer and USGC Secretary Julius Schaaf. Plans are already being made for next season's harvest. "This fall is proving to be ideal to prepare for the 2011 crop year," said Schaaf.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

UK turkey producers encouraged to get online to boost business

In a bid to boost business, United Kingdom turkey producers are being encouraged to post their company's information on
The website is a resource to provide consumers with the location details of their nearest turkey supplier. "Producers are urged to take advantage of this free listing service to help consumers take the hassle out of finding a locally sourced turkey this Christmas," said Mike Bailey, vice chairman of the National Farmers Union (NFU). The site also has recipes, cooking tips, farmer case studies and an interactive children's section.
So far, around 250 turkey suppliers have joined the site.

Boehringer Ingelheim offering PRRS research awards

Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH is offering three awards of $25,000 each for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) research.
The awards are open to researchers, veterinarians, academia, students and producer organizations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The submission deadline for research proposals is Jan. 1, 2011. For more information, visit

Delaware poultry farm converts to solar energy

The Isaacs farm in Sussex County, Del., which produces 1 to 1.24 million chickens annually for Perdue Farms, has converted all 13 of its houses to solar energy.
The new system, which has been in place for a month, is already performing better than anticipated, producing more power than the farm is using and providing income in the form of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC), which are being sold to the utilities. "It's like money in the bank," said Robbie Isaacs. Current estimates indicate that, in addition to over $10,500 in electric bill savings, the farm will generate roughly $32,500 annually in SRECs.
Isaacs said the decision to convert made sense. "With all the grant money out there that's going to go away and all the advancements in solar energy, I just couldn't see waiting any longer." He researched alternative energy developments for more than a decade before getting the go-ahead from his father to install solar in January 2010. The systems were installed and running within six months. "I just looked up at that big blue sky and thought all this sun is producing energy and I can use that," said Isaacs. "Why pay someone else for energy when (sunshine) is free?"

2010 WATT Executive Guide to World Poultry Trends is now online

The annual WATT Executive Guide to World Poultry Trends is packed with facts and figures that give a full overview of the world poultry market.
Global poultry market bounces back

Poultry 2010: Where we are now

Market horizons: Where are we going?

Trends in poultry meat production

Trade developments in poultry meat

Outlook for egg production

Egg trade: Strong sales of eggs to Asian markets

Demand: Economic changes shape buying power

Population: Where consumer numbers are growing fastest

More growth in sight for poultry meat uptake

How egg uptake is changing

Tyson Foods to expand poultry processing plant

Tyson Foods Inc. is expanding its chicken processing complex in Wilkesboro, N.C. to improve the efficiency of its fresh poultry operations.
The focus of the $20 million project is twofold: a new chicken deboning system and the replacement of cut-up equipment. The fresh plant will grow by 24,000 square feet as a result of the expansion. Once complete, the improvements are expected to bring an additional 165 production jobs to the complex. "We're excited about these projects and what they mean for the future of our Wilkesboro operations," said Bob Johnson, manager of the complex. "We're also pleased they will result in a net increase in the number of jobs we provide in the community."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Western Milling recalls turkey grower feeds, may be contaminated with monesin

Western Milling LLC has initiated a voluntary recall of certain types of store brand noncommercial turkey feed due to possible contamination with monesin, a medicine found in medicated turkey feed.
The recalled feed was not formulated to contain monesin, which can cause injury or death when consumed by turkeys in excessive volume. Products subject to the recall were distributed in May and June 2010 to 57 retail animal stores in California, eight feed stores in Arizona and one store each in Nevada and Hawaii. The feed was sold in 50-pound paper bags under the brands Universal and Kruse Perfection. The lots affected are:
  • U Turkey/Gamebird Grower Crumble, Lot 175 (PC K52105)
  • K G.B. Turkey Grower Crumble, Lots 126, 127 and 175 (PC K52105)
  • U Turkey/Gamebird Starter Krumble, Lots 126 and 175 (PC U332095)
Consumers with products fitting the above numbers should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers buy green, sustainable products based on perceptions, says study

According to Mintel research, many consumers purchase "green" or "sustainable" products based on their perceptions of superior quality, rather than an understanding of the labels.
Mintel has tracked more than 13,000 new sustainable food and drink products since 2005, and while 84% of consumers say they regularly buy green or sustainable food or drink, some are unaware of what that actually means. "Packaging claims such as 'recyclable' or 'eco- or environmentally friendly' are fairly well known to consumers, but sustainable product claims such as 'solar/wind energy usage' or 'Fair Trade' have yet to enter the mainstream consumer consciousness," said David Browne, a senior analyst at Mintel. "They may have heard of the terms, but they'd be hard-pressed to define them."
According to the research, 45% of those surveyed who purchase sustainable food and drink do so because of a perceived belief in superior quality. Forty-three percent say they buy those products because they're concerned about environmentalism/human welfare and 42% cite a concern for food safety. "These reasons vary in importance across different demographics," said Browne. "Marketers should consider this in their claims closely; noting that health, welfare and safety are important to nearly all consumers." 

Texas may be heading for next serious drought

Data from the U.S. Drought Monitor point to a warm, dry winter for Texas, with possible severe drought conditions for farmers throughout the state.
The Texas Panhandle and Big Bend regions are already developing drought conditions, according to the data, and a drought has been present for some time in East Texas along the Louisiana border. "The winter forecast is based primarily upon current and expected conditions in the tropical Pacific," said Professor John Nielsen-Gammon with Texas A&M University. "A La Niña event has been developing since the spring, and it seems that a moderate to strong La Niña is shaping up for this winter."
Indicators of potential drought began in September, said Nielsen-Gammon. "Texas as a whole has been unusually dry since late September, causing drought conditions to expand," he said. "With the prospects of a warm and dry winter on the horizon, it is possible that this month marks the beginning of Texas's next serious drought."

American Meat Institute releases economic impact study on potential GIPSA regulations

John Dunham and Associates, commissioned by the American Meat Institute (AMI), has released an economic impact study related to a U.S. Department of Agriculture regulatory proposal.
If put into play, the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule would, among other things, affect the way livestock is purchased. Implementation, says the report, could result in up to 21,274 jobs lost in the livestock industry out of a total 104,000 potential jobs lost. Inefficiencies created by the proposal would also raise meat prices nationally by 3.33%, causing a 1.68% decrease in consumer demand for meat and poultry products. More information on the report can be found here.

Tyson, Cargill receive McDonald's USA awards

McDonald's USA has named Tyson Foods Inc. 2010 Supplier of the Year and selected Cargill for its 2010 Sustainability Award.
Supplier of the Year is awarded annually to a supplier that makes the most significant impact on McDonald's business results from the previous year. Tyson has been a McDonald's supplier for nearly 30 years. "Tyson Foods is looked upon as a trusted and strategic provider by the McDonald's brand and our franchisee community," said Senior Vice President of McDonald's North American supply chain Dan Gorsky. "They stand as the epitome of all the qualities we look for in our best suppliers, from leadership, partnership and teamwork to quality and innovation."
The Sustainability Award was established three years ago to recognize the importance of sustainability as an area of growing importance to the business. "Cargill has demonstrated a proactive, systematic approach to understanding and seeking solutions to address how our supply chain affects, and is affected by, the world around us," said Susan Forsell, McDonald's vice president of quality systems.
Tyson's award was presented at the recent U.S. supplier summit.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

AFIA offering 'Fundamentals of Feed Manufacturing' distance education program

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) will be offering a new distance learning program, "Fundamentals of Feed Manufacturing," in conjunction with Kansas State University in January 2011.
The five-week course will provide an in-depth look at feed manufacturing and will be offered completely online. It will cost $499 for AFIA members and $685 for non-members, and course size is limited to 50 participants. To register, visit

USDA announces Global Research Alliance Borlaug Fellows to combat climate change

Ten researchers from seven developing countries have been chosen to work with U.S. scientists on climate change mitigation research, according to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The researchers were chosen under the Global Research Alliance Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship (Borlaug Fellows) Program. "With the announcement of these Borlaug Fellows, we are making good on the commitment we made last December, when we joined 20 other countries in founding the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and pledged to support the participation of developing countries in the development of the new tools and agricultural practices needed to meet [climate change] challenges," said Vilsack.
The researchers come from Chile, India, Malaysia, Ghana, Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam. One fellowship begins this fall; the others begin in the spring of 2011.

Farms down, pigs up in Belgium

The number of farms with pigs in Belgium has shrunk by 4.6%, compared with last year, according to a provisional count. The country now has 5,879 farms, of which 5,125 are in Flanders.
The total number of pigs in the country, however, has grown slightly by 1.2% to almost 6.4 million animals. The majority of this number, more than 6 million, can be found in Flanders. The greatest growth was seen in finishing pigs.

Former Urner Barry President, Paul B. Brown dies

Paul Brown
Former Urner Barry President Paul B. Brown Sr. died on Oct. 17, 2010.
Brown joined Urner Barry in 1962, becoming president of the company in 1986 and remaining in the position until his retirement in 1997. All in all, Brown served 42 years in the turkey industry, beginning at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Center where he quoted the poultry market. In the early 1960s he was appointed the head of the USDA's dairy and poultry market news office, which led to his meeting the partners of Urner Barry.
Brown is survived by his wife of 56 years, four children and 12 grandchildren.

Study shows media attention to animal welfare affects US meat demand

A recent study reveals that animal welfare media coverage has a significant and negative effect on U.S. meat demand.
According to the study, U.S. consumers are expressing more and more interest in the practices used in modern food production. Such interest includes that of the welfare of the animals raised for meat, milk and eggs. The pork and poultry industries are especially affected by such scrutiny. Overall, according to results, increasing media attention to animal welfare issues triggers consumers to purchase less meat, rather than reallocate expenditures across competing meats. U.S. livestock producers and industry leaders, therefore, must recognize that these meat demand impacts exist. Further, it might be beneficial for pork, poultry and beef producers to collaborate in recognizing and responding to changing societal pressures regarding animal well-being.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul formalizes non-profit status

I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul orignated as  a grassroots effort by a young people to support American family farmers and ranchers, has now become an official non-profit organization.
 I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul originated out of the frustration by young people who have a passion for agriculture but realized few of their peers really know how their food is grown in America. Additionally, they were angry at the way agriculture is often wrongly portrayed in the mass media and political campaigns.
Using new media technology, the group decided to take matters into their own hands and launched an aggressive social media blitz to share information about family farmers and ranchers. I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul has become one of the fastest growing Facebook groups on the planet about agriculture. Today more than 27,000 people are engaged in daily conversations in the Facebook group. Additionally, the group created a website and apparel line to make supporting family farmers and ranchers fun.

NCC: ethanol industry bid 'a very bad idea at a very bad time'

The National Chicken Council (NCC) released a statement calling the ethanol industry's latest bid for federal support "a very bad idea at a very bad time."
Several ethanol groups are asking Congress and the Obama Administration to back a revised subsidy program that would involve a tax credit directly to ethanol producers (as opposed to fuel blenders) and a monetized subsidy (rather than a credit against federal excise taxes due). "The ethanol industry's program will result in more corn going into ethanol and less into feed," said NCC communications director Richard L. Lobb. "This will result in higher production costs for our companies and, inevitably, will contribute to higher consumer prices for chicken and other protein products."
Fuel blenders currently receive a 45-cent federal tax credit for each gallon of ethanol added to motor fuel. This credit is scheduled to expire at the end of 2010, though ethanol supporters are campaigning to extend the program by one year.

Iowa Beef Center offers forage testing at ISU

A forage testing project sponsored by the Iowa Beef Center (IBC) at Iowa State University (ISU) offers cow-calf producers the chance to test their forage rations.
For less than $7 per sample tested, the project offers producers a 50% cost share per sample for up to three forage samples. "This may be the cheapest insurance you'll ever buy," said ISU Extension beef program specialist Beth Doran. "This project focuses on hays and silages that have been hampered by wet weather this summer."
The project was developed to assist producers in managing rain-affected forages when developing cow rations. "Energy in the cow diet is important because calves born to thin cows are at higher risk of weak calf syndrome," said ISU Extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell.
The testing will provide both protein and energy analyses. "The goal is a live, healthy calf," said Doran.

NCGA: US corn farmers will still meet supply demands

The recently released reduced projections for the 2010 corn harvest will still result in a surplus, said the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's report, which modified the numbers to a harvest of 12.7 billion bushels (down from 13.2 billion), still represents the third-largest crop in history. U.S. corn farmers will be able to meet the country's demands for food, feed, fuel and exports, according to the NCGA. "Our farmers are working hard to bring in a great crop this year, despite the many challenges," said NCGA President Bart Schott. "We have had many reports of lower yields and, at the same time, are hearing stories of higher-than-expected yields in some areas. This may not be a record year, but we're bringing in the corn and meeting all needs, even for our export markets." The surplus is expected to come in at around 1 billion bushels.

GEAPS announces 2011 bin sweep technical conference

The Grain Elevator & Processing Society’s annual technical conference and Exchange exhibition is set to take place Feb. 27-March 1, 2011 in Portland, Ore.
The workshop, “Bin Sweeps and Bin Entry: Tackling an Industry Challenge,” will address important issues relating to Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “zero-bin-entry” grain elevator regulations while unguarded bin sweep equipment is running. It will also include an overview of regulatory issues, a segment on the insurance industry’s perspective and a discussion about compliance of grain companies. Bin sweep manufacturers will be given five to seven minutes to discuss how their equipment helps meet zero-entry challenges.
The deadline for bin sweep manufacturers to apply is Dec.1, and a limited number of vendors who best address how their equipment helps meet the requirements will be chosen to participate. More information and an application is available by contacting Chuck House by e-mail at or by phone at +1.952.928.4640.

Poultry & Egg Institute releases employment eligibility training program

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association's Poultry & Egg Institute has released “Employment Eligibility Verification and I-9 Training,” a training program for complying with U.S. immigration laws.
The program was developed by members of the Joint Industry Human Resources Council for human resource managers responsible for hiring new employees. It reviews the basic provisions of U.S. immigration laws and explains each section of Form I-9. The program is presented as a narrated slide presentation in PowerPoint format and includes a quiz to evaluate comprehension. The program is available on DVD and can be ordered online at no charge for U.S. Poultry & Egg Association members and for a charge of $200 to non-members.

Friday, October 22, 2010

US poultry must rise to Brazilian competition, says panel

NCC panel: Brazil has unique advantages.
Brazil’s poultry industry will continue to challenge U.S. producers in markets at home and abroad, and the U.S. poultry industry needs to rise to the competitive challenge, said a panel of executives at the National Chicken Council (NCC) annual meeting.
Top executives of the three largest U.S. chicken companies said Brazil’s proximity to huge grain supplies will continue to drive that industry’s reach into global markets, including the U.S. market. The U.S. industry, they said, needs to learn how to compete with that challenge and must work politically to fend off a growing regulatory burden that threatens its competitiveness.

Tyson CEO warns about U.S. ‘regulatory overreach’ 
Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith said, “The reason the Brazilians and others are interested in the U.S. market is that this is a great market and still the world’s leading economy. It’s a great place to do business, and we don’t need to lose our competitiveness as an industry.”
Smith expressed concern over U.S. competitiveness in light of “regulatory overreach” which he said is “driving costs into the U.S. industry without providing a requisite value back for consumers.” If allowed to continue, he said, this will lead to the U.S. industry being less competitive globally.

Brazil positioned for continued success, says Perdue president 
U.S. producers have the home-field advantage of producing for the world’s leading poultry market, but the Brazilians enjoy cost advantages that will be difficult for the U.S. to match.
Mike Roberts, president, food products business for Perdue Farms, said, “Brazil is going to be a factor globally. They can produce five crops of grain in two years, while U.S. farmers can at best produce three, most of the time two. Brazil will continue to be a factor, and we will have to learn to how to compete with them.”

U.S. can learn from Brazilians, says Jackson 
“The reality is that Brazil is in a unique position relative to the world’s meat supply, both in chicken and beef. There will continue to be Brazilian companies with interest in [producing and selling] chicken outside of Brazil,” said Don Jackson, CEO, Pilgrim’s Pride.
Jackson, whose company was acquired in 2009 by Brazilian meat and poultry producer JBS, S.A., said Brazilian companies bring a focus on costs and efficiency from which U.S. companies can learn.
“The Brazilian approach to this business has been very successful and brings a level of efficiency that in some respects we have ignored in the U.S. industry over the last several years. We’ve been successful, in some respects, in spite of ourselves. I think that the Brazilian approach to the meat business will allow us to reexamine how we approach the business,” he said.

Listen online 
Hear a podcast of the comments by Smith, Roberts and Jackson in a question-and-answer session at the National Chicken Council (NCC) annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The podcast is accessible online.  
Also participating were Jerry Lane, president, Claxton Poultry; and the panel moderator, Bill Lovette, president and COO, Case Foods.
Video interviews with panelists Don Jackson, Mike Roberts and Bill Lovette can also be viewed online.

George Watts to retire after 38 years as NCC president

After 38 years as president of the National Chicken Council (NCC), George Watts will be retiring from the position on March 31, 2011.
"The NCC officers have accepted [Watts'] decision to retire with great regret," said Chairman Bernard Leonard. According to Watts, his decision to step down is due to a temporary medical condition that will limit his ability to travel and fully focus on his duties as president.
"I am grateful to the leadership of the NCC over the years for the support I have received," said Watts. "In addition, I am pleased to have had the opportunity to lead a staff that has been with me on this path for so many years." Watts became NCC president in 1972, after working in staff positions for members of Congress.

UK downgrades animal welfare agency

A re-organization of public agencies advising the British government on farm animal welfare has been announced in the UK as part of the administration’s round of spending cuts to reduce the national debt burden. A decision had already been reached to abolish one panel that has been advising government ministers on matters of animal welfare, but the new announcement says that the separate independent advisory body known as the Farm Animal Welfare Council will be reconstituted in the lesser form of an expert committee.
In existence since 1979, the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s tasks have been to monitor the welfare of animals in the farm-to-food chain and to advise the government of any legislative or other changes that may be necessary.
Harvey Locke, president of the British Veterinary Association, expressed relief that the welfare council  would not be abolished entirely, but warned that its new committee format must maintain its independence and expertise. “We would be very concerned if this move indicated a downgrading of the importance of farm animal welfare, especially in the current economic climate, which will be pushing farmers to drive down costs on farm,” he added. “FAWC has played an essential role in the way the government thinks about farm animal welfare and has succeeded in challenging both the government and the farming industry on matters of huge importance.”

Oklahoma farmers gain $14.5 million judgment

Three hundred farmers who brought a class-action lawsuit against OK Industries saw their complaint upheld in court for $14.5 million.
The farmers had alleged that the company used its status as the only buyer in the area to manipulate in its favor what it paid to the farmers. "We wanted fair treatment," said Charlie Been, a former chicken farmer who was part of the lawsuit. The case went to trial in 2008, resulting in a jury verdict for the farmers of $21.1 million that was later reduced to $14.5 million. Attorney for OK Industries Charles Goodwin said he does not know whether the company will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or ask for a rehearing with the full court of appeals.

Buffalo Tyson plant shut down by USDA

A Buffalo, N.Y., Tyson meat processing plant has been shut down by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after inspectors found violations during follow-up testing.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service was conducting an inspection connected to a recent recall of deli meat produced by the facility. In August, 380,000 pounds of deli meat sold at Wal-Mart were voluntarily recalled after roast beef samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
"We're working diligently to address this matter, since food safety and quality are essential to the continued success of our deli meat business," said Gary Mickelson, a Tyson spokesman. The plant employs 560 workers, roughly 480 of whom are affected by the "temporary suspension of operations," according to Mickelson.

IPC: Increased feed costs mean higher poultry meat prices

Significant increases in the cost of grains used in poultry feed "are having a negative impact on the cost of poultry production around the world, and will inevitably lead to higher prices of poultry meat in the global marketplace," said a statement released by the International Poultry Council (IPC) at its annual meeting.
According to the IPC, higher costs of grains like wheat, corn, soybeans and barley cannot be absorbed by the poultry industry alone and must be passed along to the consumer in the form of higher poultry prices. In the last four months, the cost of corn and wheat has risen by roughly 50%, while the cost of soybean meal has risen by 20%. A drought in Russia, too much rain in the U.S. and a planting delay in Brazil have all been contributing factors to these numbers. 
On the upside, says the IPC, improved weather conditions in 2011 could bring grain prices back down; in the meantime, while poultry prices will rise, they will not be impacted as heavily as other meat prices due to poultry's inherent efficiencies in feed conversion ratios.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Russia may not import poultry meat in 2011

According to Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, “from 2011 onwards Russia can survive without chicken meat imports”. The declaration was made during the Liberal-Democrat Party meeting, when the Russian budgets for 2011 and for 2012-2013 were discussed. As reported by Ria Novosti and Itar Tass news agency, Putin has remarked the Russian chicken meat production is now able to guaranteeing the country’s self-sufficiency, thus making imports unnecessary.
Still according to Ria Novosti, Putin reminded that over the last few years the domestic chicken meat production grew in excess of 70% while pork production grew 39%, “what represents a significant growth under any economy’s stand point and for the entire agribusiness sector, as well”. To make clear the country has reached its self-sufficiency, Putin remarked that “till recently Russia used to import 1.5 million MT of chicken meat from US annually” and complemented saying that “in 2010 the imports will barely reach 300 thousand MT”.

Kiotech International invests £2 million in new plant, facilities

Feed additives concern Kiotech has invested £2 million (US$3.18 million) into new production facilities and office space at its Manton Wood, UK, facility.
The investment includes the purchase of the property, building new production capacity, refurbishing the warehouse and doubling the office space available.
Kiotech International chief executive Richard Edwards commented: “The investment in production has been made to ensure we maximise the efficiency of the plant. We are moving towards 7day, 24 hour working and the new production line will give us capacity for growth.”
Manton Wood is the UK headquarters of Optivite, one of the largest independent animal nutrition and feed additive businesses in the United Kingdom, which was acquired by Kiotech International in September 2009.
The combined company recently announced half year results with sales up three times at £11.08m and profits up 157per cent at £0.77 million. 

Chicken executives offer differing foodservice outlooks for 2011

Don Jackson, CEO, Pilgrim's Pride, foresees robust growth in foodservice demand for chicken.
The CEOs of America’s two largest chicken companies offer differing outlooks for foodservice demand for chicken in 2011. One forecast focuses on competing meats and an increase in chicken feature activity and the other focuses on unemployment numbers.
Speaking at the National Chicken Council annual meeting, top executives for Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride were both positive in their outlooks for foodservice demand for chicken. Don Jackson, CEO, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, however, provided the more robust forecast for 2011. He predicted a 3% year-over-year rise in foodservice demand for chicken.
“I think we will see year-over-year growth in foodservice demand for chicken in 2011 ranging at the bottom from 1% and for the better companies on the order of 5% and perhaps averaging about 3%,” he said.
Jackson foresees high beef prices and increased featuring of chicken by foodservice outlets as driving the increase in demand for chicken.

Donnie Smith’s foodservice outlook 
Donnie Smith, CEO of Tyson Foods, forecasted only a 1% increase in same-store, traffic-driven, year-over-year sales of chicken at foodservice. He predicated his outlook on an expectation that the U.S. unemployment rate will continue in the 9.5% to 9.8% range in the immediate future.
Speaking of his forecast for 1% foodservice growth, Smith said, “From where the industry has been over the last two years that is a huge win.”

Listen online 
Hear a podcast of the comments by Jackson and Smith and those of other poultry industry executives in a question-and-answer session which occurred at the National Chicken Council (NCC) annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The podcast is accessible online at
Also participating were Mike Roberts, president, food products business, Perdue Farms; Jerry Lane, president, Claxton Poultry; and the panel moderator, Bill Lovette, president and COO, Case Foods.
Video interviews with panelists Don Jackson, Mike Roberts and Bill Lovette can also be viewed online at

EIC documents escalation in feed costs July to Sept.

The Egg Industry Center has issued Report No. 8, detailing layer feed cost for September 2010. The following table documents the increase in the cost of layer feed, corn and soybean meal for the third quarter of 2010. The escalation in cost is basically attributed to the rise in corn as noted in the table. More information can be obtained from Program Manager Maro Ibarburu.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Former USDA Under Secretary supports federal inspection in meat and egg plants

Dr. Richard Raymond, previously Under Secretary for Food Safety at the USDA, addressed the InnoVet program in Quebec, Canada, on advances in prevention of disease from intensive livestock production.
Dr. Richard A. Raymond, previously the Chief Medical Officer for Nebraska and subsequently Under Secretary for Food Safety at the USDA from 2005 to 2008, commented on advances in disease suppression at the InnoVet 2010 Biotechnology Conference in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada.
The theme of his presentation was “healthier animals contribute to safer food, resulting in healthier humans.” Recent outbreaks of disease including avian influenza demonstrate the link between livestock and human health.
Dr. Raymond is an opponent of the frequently expressed sentiment that “bigger is not necessarily better”. He believes that intensive agricultural practices are necessary to feed the world’s burgeoning population. Because the risks and consequences of infection increase with large production units, appropriate controls and good production practices including biosecurity and vaccination are necessary to ensure a safe food supply.
During his career with USDA he participated in a number of international organizations including the World Health Organization. This body has stated “governments could save billions of dollars by stepping up the prevention and control of high impact animal diseases some of which pose a direct threat to human health”.
Raymond commented that life expectancy in the U.S. in 1900 was only 49 years but increased to 78 years by the end of the 20th century. Causes of death have changed markedly with the transition from infections to metabolic and life style conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
The adoption of confined livestock and concentrated production systems has impacted animal and poultry health requiring more intensive vaccination, environmental remediation and a safe food and water supply. The application of appropriate preventive measures has virtually eliminated the impact of trichinosis, BSE, tuberculosis, anthrax, and brucellosis in livestock now raised in North America.
Although poultry have not historically been associated with human disease, the recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Asia and more recently egg-borne salmonellosis in Europe and the U.S. illustrate some of the problems which must be anticipated and prevented.
Raymond expressed the need to maintain federal inspection in meat and egg plants. The application of advances in biotechnology will contribute to the development of vaccines and hopefully should eliminate the need for antibiotics. Biotechnology should also contribute to more effective diagnostic procedures.
Consumer education is considered to be an important component of promoting public health. Improved monitoring of feed quality to ensure wholesomeness, enhancing trace back and strengthening surveillance for critical diseases are all required as food production is intensified.
As a physician and administrator, Raymond recognizes the need for one health initiative. This requires close collaboration between government and private sectors and cooperation among a wide range of professional disciplines to benefit all stakeholders.

Study released on microbiological quality of eggs from cages, alternative systems

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit, Russell Research Center, in cooperation with the University of Georgia’s Department of Poultry Science, have completed a study to compare the microbiological quality of eggs derived from either cages or two floor systems. Project #641 was funded by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.
Non-washed eggs produced by hens housed on shavings had slightly higher aerobic bacterial levels compared to eggs produced on slats. Both floor treatments had significantly higher bacterial levels than eggs produced in cages. Washing of eggs significantly reduced aerobic bacteria and coliforms. Moving hens from floor systems to cages reduced contamination. Following re-transfer back to floor systems, aerobic contamination of shells returned to previously higher levels.
The study also evaluated the potential for horizontal transmission of Salmonella spp. by determining the prevalence rate in hens in the three systems. Hens on shavings yielded a value of 40%, 18% on slats and 15% in cages. The prevalence of Campylobacter spp. attained 43% on shavings compared to 36% on slats and 28% in cages. It is noted that campylobacteriosis is not an egg-borne disease since the organism is extremely sensitive to desiccation during storage and to decontamination by washing. There is no evidence that vertical transmission of Campylobacter spp. occurs among hens held for egg production, irrespective of housing system.

Cornucopia Institute reviews organic egg production

The Cornucopia Institute, based in Wisconsin, has issued a report Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production From Authentic Organic Culture. The major issue raised in the report relates to outside access by flocks. Many existing producers of organic eggs restrict their flocks to the interior of houses, since they do not have sufficient pasture space or, in some cases, have no provision for outside access.
Economic and practical considerations have led to the concentration of organic egg production among a relatively small number of efficient producers using aviaries and “sun porches,” as in the European Union. Some of these complexes can house up to 500,000 hens. These volumes are required to satisfy the current demand of supermarket chains that require consistency of supply, large volumes, stable prices and SQF certification.
When the original National Organic Program (NOP) requirements for egg production were developed, it was not envisaged that large producers would commoditize organic eggs. The current move to increasing outside access is effectively “moving the goal posts.” There is no scientific evidence that access to pasture in any way improves the nutritional value of eggs.
It is also accepted that outside access may increase the risk of exposure to diseases, such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease which may be carried by migratory and free living birds. Flocks allowed outside access have higher susceptibility to parasites and bacterial infections including salmonellosis, pasteurellosis and erysipalis.
If the NOP adopts the 1.5- to 2.5-square-foot standard for outside access the production of eggs under the organic program will be seriously curtailed, resulting in extreme increases in retail prices to levels estimated to exceed $6 per dozen. This will effectively limit purchases to a small segment of consumers.
The demand for organic eggs will be filled by a new category of product which is fed according to the current Organic Rule, following guidelines for stocking density and other management requirements. This product would not be eligible to carry the U.S. Department of Agriculture-NOP Organic Seal but would retail at the current $4 per dozen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First International Phytase Summit covered efficiency, future trends

Research workers in the field of phytase met at the first International Phytase Summit in Washington D.C. during late September. The event was hosted jointly by Massey University, New Zealand; the University of Sidney, Australia; and the University of Maryland. AB Vista was the commercial co-sponsor.
Topics considered included nutrient digestibility, analysis of phytate, evaluation of phytase efficiency and future trends in the application of phytase in animal nutrition.
“The first IPS has pulled together a group of leading scientist and other experts from around the world to discuss issues related to the application of phytase as an aid to improving efficiency in the use of phosphorus in animal nutrition,” said professor Colin Whitehead, vice president of the World Poultry Science Association.
“The introduction of phytase to the animal nutrition industry is one the success stories of the last two decades,” added Richard Cooper, managing director at AB Vista.
With an estimated market value in excess of $350 million, phytase enzymes are used in 60% of all monogastric feeds generating a benefit to the animal feed industry worth $2 billion globally.
Further information can be obtained from Laura Nye.

Bunge opens production-scale edible oil plant

Bunge North America has inaugurated the Bunge Ingredient Innovation Center for Edible Oils and Carbohydrates in Bradley, Ill.
According to Soren Schroder, the facility incorporates a production-scale edible oil plant to evaluate shortenings and other food products and an extrusion installation for snack foods and cereals.
The center will be staffed by a team of 25 scientists and technical support personnel experienced in food science, evaluation of quality and taste.

US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance incorporated

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) has been incorporated, with more than 60 representatives from more than 20 national food and agriculture organizations joining together.
The Alliance will work to enhance consumer trust in modern food production. "Today represents a start toward a unified voice for U.S. agriculture," said Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association and chair of the USFRA Steering Committee. The initial organizational meeting was the culmination of six months of planning.
Organizations have until Nov. 1 to respond regarding affiliation. The full membership of the USFRA will be announced in mid-November.

Ukrainian Ministry of Economy withdraws dumping petition against US chicken industry

The Ukrainian Ministry of Economy has withdrawn its dumping petition against the U.S. chicken industry, according to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.
The petition was filed in early 2009, alleging that the Ukrainian poultry industry suffered economic injury from imports of U.S. and Brazilian chicken, and an anti-dumping investigation was initiated. Mironovskiy Hilboproduct, the main petitioner of the dumping allegation, recently requested that the petition be rescinded, and the Ministry accepted the request.

GIPSA finds evidence of JBS USA Packers and Stockyards Act violations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) has filed a complaint against JBS USA LLC for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
The complaint alleges that JBS used an electronic probe known as the Fat-O-Meat'er to calculate the lean percent of processed hogs to adjust carcass merit payment to hog sellers. On occasion, this meter would fail, resulting in missing data that was never accounted for. This led to reduced payments for hogs delivered to various JBS plants by an estimated $350,000 between Jan. 1, 2007 and Nov. 30, 2007.
If the allegations are proven, JBS will be ordered to cease and desist the actions resulting in the violations and will be assessed a civil penalty.

Researchers identify genetic markers for swine disease tolerance

Newsham Choice Genetics studied more than 1,100 pigs to complete the first phase in a comprehensive study to discover and map genes associated with health traits in the animals.
Each pig was genotyped for more than 64,000 markers throughout the genome. "Consistent with what we've observed in our genomics discoveries related to production and reproduction traits, each of the disease tolerance traits we've studied is genetically complex and affected by many genes," said Archie Clutter, Ph.D., vice president of research and development for Newsham Choice. "While we expect some of these genes to be specific to a [Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)] response, we expect many to be more generally important for disease and animal health."
Phase 2 of the study will include the validation of Phase 1 results. The project's timeline includes first practical use of the results in the first half of 2011.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Brazilian researcher receives award for excellence in veterinary public health

Dr. Luisa Zanolli Moreno has received the Pedro N. Acha Award for Excellence in Veterinary Public Health for her undergraduate thesis, "Molecular epidemiology of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from different sources in Brazil."
The results of the 23-year-old graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science at the University of São Paulo's thesis has great significance to the pork industry. L. monocytogenes is a worldwide foodborne pathogen that can be lethal to both humans and animals; it grows at very low temperatures and adapts to disinfectants, which makes it extremely difficult for the food industry to fight.  
"Dr. Zanolli Moreno's findings are an important step toward improving food safety at a time when there was a Listeria monocytogene outbreak in the United States this past August," said Edward L. Kadunc, president of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation. "This is very much a real threat to consumers in the Americas and worldwide."
The award was created in 1993 to recognize the importance of veterinary public health to the peoples of the Americas and the economies of the countries. Zanolli Moreno is the second Brazilian ever to receive the honor.

USPOULTRY to present grain forecast conference

The 2010 Grain Forecast and Economic Outlook Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association (USPOULTRY), will be held November 10 at the Airport Hilton Hotel in Atlanta, Ga.
Feed manufacturing is a costly and vital function in today’s poultry and egg operations and the increasing cost of corn is a serious concern,” said program chairman, Lamar Nance of Keystone Foods.
The program will include a poultry industry situation report and an outlook on prediction of global weather patterns.
To register for the Grain Forecast and Economic Outlook Conference, click here.

AFIA contracts with Eurofins Scientific for facility audits

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has contracted with Eurofins Scientific Inc. to provide audits to AFIA's International Safe Feed/Safe Food (I-SF/SF) Certification Program. 
The audits will meet the European Union (EU)'s Feed Additives and Premixtures Quality System (FAMI-QS) standards for the importing of feed ingredients. FAMI-QS is a third-party certification program, and is only one of three such systems officially adopted by EU authorities. The agreement is a result of increased scrutiny in the U.S. of the use of accredited certification processes to increase oversight.
"AFIA is pleased to contract with Eurofins Scientific to offer this valuable service to the U.S. feed and ingredient industry," said AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman. "Now U.S. facilities can be certified for AFIA's International and Domestic Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program as well as the FAMI-QS program through one comprehensive audit."

Go mobile with Poultry International, access all digital editions on any portable device

Readers can now use the digital editions of the magazine from anywhere on their mobile devices.
Poultry International’s new iPhone and iPad App gives a new definition to "digital magazine." The App, which can be downloaded free from Apple’s App Store, gives readers full access to the magazine, interactive features and news and product feeds from Poultry International.

The App is more than a simple page viewer. The reader can chose between seeing thumbnails of a page, a full page or enlarged text versions of stories. It also allows viewers to link directly to more features, advertising information and videos, as well as access to RSS feeds from The App also gives readers the ability to easily bookmark stories, share stories with colleagues and search current and past issues.

The App can be downloaded
here or by searching for “Poultry” in the Apple App Store.

Works on most Smartphones 

We’ve also launched an enhanced  Mobile Web Reader that gives readers many of these same features on other mobile devices, such as the Droid or Blackberry, by simply pointing the device’s browser to

With the App and Mobile Web Reader, readers now have access to all digital editions on any portable device they choose. Readers can now use the digital editions of the magazine from anywhere on their mobile devices.

US egg recall should act as warning to others

The recall of over 500 million eggs in the U.S. due to salmonella outbreaks should act as a warning to producers worldwide not to drop their guard, said Klaus Torborg of Lohmann Animal Health.
He continued that there were countries that had successfully tackled salmonella, noting that the UK had the lowest levels of salmonella in laying hens of any major egg-producing country.
In 2004/05, when an EU baseline study was conducted, the prevalence of Salmonella enteriditis and Salmonella tphimurium in UK laying hens was 7.9%. By 2008, the most recent year for which figures are available, this had dropped to 1%.
Torborg added that it was not surprising that the EU had used the UK model for its control program.