Thursday, March 31, 2011

Production, profitability now driven by grain costs and exports, says Tyson COO

Jim Lochner, chief operating officer of Tyson Foods Inc., has said a new paradigm exists in the supply and demand fundamentals in U.S. protein production: grain costs and exports are replacing domestic demand as chief drivers of profitability and production.
This shift in input costs began in the mid 2000s, which coincides with the U.S. government's mandate that a portion of the nation's gasoline be mixed with ethanol at a level of 10%. Ethanol in the U.S. is made primarily from corn, which is also a primary ingredient in livestock feed. Today, about 40% of the U.S. corn crop is used in ethanol production.
This new demand has contributed to high corn prices for producers. High input costs, along with increasing global demand for protein, have reduced the amount of meat and poultry available, according to Lochner. "Total production of major proteins appears to be about flat versus last year, but with extremely strong exports, it's likely there will be even less meat and poultry per capita," he said.
According to Lochner, Tyson is dealing with this paradigm shift by focusing on customer service, innovation and insight-driven food solutions; optimizing commodity businesses and driving out inefficiencies; focusing on multinational expansion, particularly in Mexico, China, Brazil and India; and upgrading raw material through initiatives like renewable energy from animal fat and other technologically advanced platforms.

Online Animal Forum is next week. Register now.

The highly-anticipated Online Animal Forum: Feeding the Globe is just days away! Next Wednesday, April 6, hundreds of poultry, pig and feed industry professionals will log on to attend this convenient online event featuring five educational sessions on the important topic of feeding the globe.
Remember, even if your schedule is busy on April 6, 08.00 to 17.00 hrs CDT (-5 GMT)
 you can enter and leave the online forum as your schedule allows. Plus, registrants will be able to log on and view the five educational sessions any time through July 6, 2011.
Over 800 professionals have already registered to attend. Don’t miss your opportunity to learn and network with your peers from the comfort of your home or office!
WATT’s latest Online Animal Forum features one day of live educational webinars, a virtual sponsor centre with exhibits by top industry suppliers, and networking opportunities with colleagues. As always, the Online Animal Forum is free-to-attend and can be accessed from any Internet-based computer in your home or office. Enter and leave the virtual event as your schedule allows.

*Attend all five webinars created specifically to address the challenges of feeding the globe:
Innovations from R&D in animal agriculture by Dr. Leo den Hartog, Director R&D and Quality Affairs, Nutreco, Netherlands
*What animal breeding can contribute by Dr. Pieter Knap, Manager of Genetic Strategy, Genus/PIC International, Germany
*Directions to better feed utilization by Stefaan Van Dyck, Director of Research and Development, Kemin AgriFoods, Worldwide
*World feed ingredients outlook - impacts of China, Energy (Ethanol) and Speculation by Tim Brusnahan, Richard A. Brock & Associates, Inc., USA
*The Role of Eggs in Meeting World Food Needs by Dr. Simon Shane, Editor, Egg Industry, USA
For more information, visit

Cargill to expand production with new feed mill

Cargill has made plans to begin production at a new, high-capacity feed mill on May 1.
The new facility, which has been under construction since September 2010, will replace Cargill's feed mill that was destroyed in a fire on Feb. 12, 2010. "While we lost our mill in the fire, we never lost our commitment to the dairy and livestock producers in this region," said Rob Sheffer, regional general manager for Cargill Animal Nutrition. "That is why every design aspect of our new, world-class facility is aimed to help us deliver the best quality feed possible to our customers."
The new mill features state-of-the-art feed batching software to give Cargill Animal Nutrition experts maximum precision in customizing feed to match customer needs. The mill will have expanded mixing capacity and flexibility, which will allow for improved efficiencies, larger batches and faster delivery. Other upgraded features include a fully automated grinding and receiving system and grain-banking bins available to store customers' grains as needed. It will also feature an advanced short-mixing system, with a computerized bar-coding approach that tracks micro-ingredient levels in feed formulations.
With 20% increased production capacity, the mill will produce 120,000 tons of feed per year. It will primarily serve dairy farmers and livestock producers in Franklin, Cumberland and Adams counties in Pennsylvania and Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties in Maryland.

USDA: Poultry prices up, egg prices down in February

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report on the 2011 food price outlook, U.S. poultry prices rose slightly and egg prices dropped slightly in February when compared to the same time period in 2009.
Poultry prices increased 0.5% in February and are 2% above prices last year at this time, with chicken prices up 1.3% and other poultry prices, including turkey, up 5.1%. Egg prices decreased 1.9% in February, following a 1% drop in January. Due to two months of sharp increases in November and December 2010, egg prices are now just 0.1% above the February 2010 level.
Overall, the Consumer Price Index for all food is projected to increase 3% to 4% in 2011. According to the report, although food price inflation was relatively weak for most of 2009 and 2010, cost pressures on wholesale and retail food prices due to higher energy and food commodity prices, along with strengthening global food demand, have pushed inflation projections for 2011 upward.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Japan resumes imports of N.C. poultry

Japan is allowing imports of North Carolina poultry slaughtered before Feb. 9, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
This restriction comes after both Japan and Russia halted all imports from the state due to avian influenza concerns. Any poultry processed on or after Feb. 9 remains ineligible for export to Japan, according to the FSIS report.

Incubation may influence broiler leg strength

The study examined the impact of differing sets of incubation conditions on early growth rate, bone composition and leg weakness measurements in a pure line broiler breed. / Photo courtesy Poultry CRC
New poultry research in Australia has suggested that the leg strength of broiler chickens can be affected by the conditions of temperature and humidity applied during the incubation of the eggs, reports Australia's Poultry Cooperative Research Centre. The work has the potential to further reduce the incidence of leg weakness in broilers and improve the welfare of birds worldwide.
Poultry CRC funded the study at the University of Sydney, which examined the impact of differing sets of incubation conditions on early growth rate, bone composition and leg weakness measurements in a pure line broiler breed. The idea of carrying out such an examination came after a field report of an unusually high incidence of leg deformity in two separate hatches of pure-line grandparent chicks at a primary broiler breeder facility. Both problem hatches were hatched in the same incubator, which had suffered a sudden drop in temperature for two days and which, despite correction, had run with a lower relative humidity throughout the incubation period.
A preliminary study to compare chicks hatched under test and control incubation conditions failed to reproduce the deformities seen in the field report. However, the results did demonstrate that the test chicks at hatch had lower bone ash (mineral deposits in their bones) and higher levels of calcium and phosphorus in their blood than the control chicks. At 13 days of age, the test chicks had higher bone ash levels and equivalent amounts of calcium and phosphorus in their blood.
Importantly, at 41 days, the test birds had a shorter "latency to lie" (how quickly they choose to sit rather than stand) than did the control birds. This indicated that the test birds, compared with the controls, were not as comfortable standing for as long. Says Poultry CRC, the researchers suspect that the test incubation conditions compromised bone development before hatch, possibly causing leg weakness later in life.

Chicken catchers, Mountaire Farms suit will proceed

A federal judge in Wilmington, Del., rejected Mountaire Farms' request to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the company did not properly pay chicken catchers at its Millsboro, Del., plant. Mountaire Farms claimed the lawsuit should be dismissed because the chicken catchers did not use a factual basis for their claims.
The chicken catchers claim they were paid per thousand chickens caught by a crew, but also were owed overtime when more than 40 hours per week were logged. The lawsuit also alleges the catchers worked four or more hours without a meal break and that their work was reassigned to independent catching crews.
Mountaire Farms denies owing overtime payment to the catchers

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dutch agriculture ministry discovers bird flu on farm

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation announced that avian influenza has been discovered on a poultry farm in Schore, Netherlands. Approximately 127,500 hens are planned to be culled.
It’s potentially the H7 variant, which can mutate into a dangerous, hen-killing variant, and is caused by wild birds’ stools, according to the ministry.
During the evacuation, which started March 25 at 8 a.m., there’s a prohibition of transportation in a zone of 1 kilometer around the farm of poultry, eggs, poultry stools and animal feed.

Bangladesh poultry industry loses 1 million jobs due to bird flu outbreaks

Over 1 million people involved in Bangladesh's poultry industry have lost their jobs in recent months due to outbreaks of avian influenza, according to the Bangladesh Poultry Farm Protection National Council.
Last year, the country's poultry farmers supplied 25 million eggs and 1.7 million kilograms of chicken meat to the local market, said Khandoker Mohammad Mohsin, the council's general secretary. "Now, the overall supply has come down to around 22% because of the disease," he said.
In January, the government began providing Tk 200 (US$2.75) per piece of bird-flu affected chicken to minimize financial losses to farmers, but recent government proposals suggest reducing compensation to Tk 120 (US$1.65) per piece. Local poultry farmers now say they fear that production of eggs and meat will decline by 50% by June if the present trend continues, resulting in an additional 1.5 million people who are directly and indirectly involved in the sector losing their jobs.

Russia, Japan halt N.C. poultry imports on avian influenza concerns

Russia and Japan have halted imports of poultry from North Carolina after initial tests on a flock of turkeys came back positive for low-pathogenic avian influenza, said Lyndsay Cole, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Further tests were unable to isolate the virus, signaling that this isn’t a positive case, and there are no signs of disease in the birds, said Cole. “There are no clinical signs of avian influenza in this flock,” she said. “We have no reason to believe that the virus is present.” 

Monday, March 28, 2011

British Pig Executive report shows pig producer confidence down for 2011

A new British Pig Executive survey has revealed that pig producer confidence is at an all-time low, with the confidence index dropping to 30.2 compared with 2010's 45.8. Roughly 53% of producers feel less confident about the market this year than they did last year.
The confidence index for non-producers also dropped, from 97.1 in 2010 to 92.2 in 2011, with 35% of them feeling less confident this year than last year. According to the report, return on investment uncertainty is a significant factor in the current mood; producers are far more likely to invest in buildings, plants or machinery that are seen as necessary for replacement or to increase efficiency and productivity. Expansion is not, for the most part, an important motivating factor for 2011.
Survey respondents were also less optimistic about the industry's financial situation, with only 7% feeling more optimistic about the general financial situation for 2011 (2010 number: 39%).

Poultry production accounts for $3 billion of Delaware agricultural output

According to a University of Delaware report, Delaware's poultry production accounts for $3 billion of the state's $8 billion-a-year agriculture industry.
The Delaware poultry industry itself employs 13,000 people. The report found that there are fewer farmers in Delaware, but existing farms are getting larger and more productive — the average size of a farm in Delaware is 200 acres.
The report updates facts and figures last collected in the 1980s, said state officials.

2011 World Pork Expo to highlight new industry technologies, top breeding stock

The 2011 World Pork Expo, which will highlight the U.S. pork industry’s newest technologies, top breeding stock and educational seminars, will be held June 8 through 10 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.
The event, the world's largest pork-specific tradeshow, is expected to bring in nearly 20,000 producers and industry professionals. Attendees will have the opportunity to check out business seminars on profitability, animal health and current issues; see the newest products, services and technologies offered by more than 450 commercial exhibitors; and watch junior showmen and swine breeders exhibit their top market hogs and breeding animals.
The Expo tradeshow is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8, and Thursday, June 9, as well as from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 10. The breeding stock sales will continue on Saturday, June 11, from 8 a.m. until they’re completed.
Several pre-Expo tours are planned so attendees can experience Midwestern agriculture at its finest: the June 6-7 tour will feature a stop at Cinnamon Ridge Farms in eastern Iowa. The popular MusicFest will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, and Expo attendees can enjoy roasted pork and refreshments while listening to music performed by live bands.
To receive a $10 World Pork Expo early registration discount and free Expo alerts via e-mail, go to and click on the “Register Now” tab. The website also has the latest details about room availability at the official Expo hotels in its “Producer” section. Additional information is available when you connect with World Pork Expo on Facebook and follow World Pork Expo on Twitter.

Quality Technoogy Calsporin supply unaffected by Japan disaster

Quality Technology International Inc., the North American distributor of direct-fed microbial Calsporin has released a statement assuring North American clients that there are no concerns about providing continuous supplies of Calsporin to the poultry and animal markets. 
"We have, at a minimum, a six-month supply of Calsporin in the United States," said Troy Lohrmann, QTI vice president. "Assessments in Japan are still ongoing, but the Calpis plant that produces Calsporin was unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami. In addition, the Calsporin production facility is over 100 miles away from the nuclear power plant that is experiencing problems at this time, and is also to the southwest, out of the prevailing wind patterns.”
While production has been briefly interrupted, the company said they expect no long-term issues. "The Calpis facilities have been impacted by reductions in electricity, but these interruptions are expected to be resolved very soon and production will be back to normal shortly," said Lohnmann. "Remember, we're set for six months, and with only a short term interruption expected, we're sure to be able to bring in new supplies long before we make a dent in our current surplus."

China broiler production to rise 4% in 2011, according to report

China's broiler meat production is expected to grow by 4% in 2011, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service, reaching 13 million metric tons by the end of the year.
In addition, China's broiler meat imports will decline 20% to 230,000 metric tons, following a 28% drop in 2010 due mostly to sharply lower imports from the U.S. resulting from China's measures of anti-dumping duties (beginning February 2010) and countervailing duties (in August 2010) on U.S. broiler products. The country's broiler exports will increase 8% to 410,000 metric tons following strong 2010 sales.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nigeria poultry industry important to country's economic health, say experts

At a two-day workshop organized by the French Embassy in Nigeria and local poultry farmers, experts emphasized the importance of the country's poultry and other agriculture industries to ensure Nigeria's long-term economic health.
Speakers at the event said that there is an urgent need for Nigeria to have a long-term plan of feeding its people and growing the economy, and that developing poultry farming is one way to do that. "We need a realistic approach rather than lip-service," said Dr. Abdulkadir Usman Junaidu, faculty dean at Usmanu Danfodiyo University's school of veterinary medicine. "The government has to lift the ban on the importation of parent and grandparent stock of poultry birds."
Junaidu also said that poultry farming requires adequate funds and technical skills, particularly on feed production, that will guarantee high-quality products, as well as government support. "It requires adequate financial support and insurance coverage to meet the growing demand of the people at controllable risks," he said.

Avian flu costs Bangladesh Tk 2 billion in first quarter 2011

Avian influenza has cost the Bangladesh poultry industry Tk 2 billion (US$27.6 million) in the first three months of the 2011 fiscal year, according to the Bangladesh division of the World's Poultry Science Association.
"The loss will be Tk 55 billion (US$757.9 million) if it is estimated from 2007," said WPSA Bangladesh Secretary General Abdus Salek. The country's poultry sector is currently worth Tk 250 billion (US$3.5 billion).
So far this year, officials have had to cull over 100,000 chickens due to bird flu. The most recent outbreak, at a farm in Gazipur, resulted in 30,000 chickens and 50,000 eggs being destroyed.

Free webinar: World feed ingredients outlook

Tim Brusnahan offers the first forecast for U.S. Supply & Demand for 2011 relative to the distribution of U.S. crops based on surveyed data of U.S. farmers by USDA relative to farmers’ planting intentions. The primary information presented will allow feed users of all types to develop their own outlook and strategies to how to better manage their business for the next 12-18 months.
Brusnahan will also present a perspective relative to feed grain supply & demand outside the U.S.
In addition, Brusnahan will discuss U.S. ethanol, U.S. farmer’s role in world demand for fertilizer, and the trends for feed to China and will close with a brief summary of U.S. livestock.
WATT’s latest Online Animal Forum: Feeding the Globe April 6, 2011 – 08.00 to 17.00 hrs CDT (-5 GMT) features one day of live educational webinars, a virtual sponsor centre with exhibits by top industry suppliers, and networking opportunities with colleagues. As always, the Online Animal Forum is free-to-attend and can be accessed from any Internet-based computer in your home or office. Enter and leave the virtual event as your schedule allows.
Attend all five webinars created specifically to address the challenges of feeding the globe:
*Innovations from R&D in animal agriculture by Dr. Leo den Hartog, Director R&D and Quality Affairs, Nutreco, Netherlands
*What animal breeding can contribute by Dr. Pieter Knap, Manager of Genetic Strategy, Genus/PIC International, Germany
*Directions to better feed utilization by Stefaan van Dyck, Director of Research and Development, Kemin AgriFoods, Worldwide
*World feed ingredients outlook - impacts of China, Energy (Ethanol) and Speculation by Jason Moss and Tim Brusnahan, Richard A. Brock & Associates, Inc., USA
*The Role of Eggs in Meeting World Food Needs by Dr. Simon Shane, Editor, Egg Industry, USA

US pork exports start strong in 2011

January 2011 exports of U.S. pork were well above January 2010 levels, though they declined from the totals recorded in December 2010, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Pork exports totaled 165,138 metric tons valued at $396.9 million — an increase of 15% in volume and 19% in value over January 2010. “Despite some significant market access issues — some ongoing and some new — our exports performed quite well in January,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “U.S. meat products continue to command excellent prices throughout the world, which is providing a boost for the American producer and the entire meat industry.”
Northern Asia has played a large role in the growing numbers, according to the USMEF report. January exports to Japan totaled 35,765 metric tons valued at $133.5 million, an increase of 28% in volume and 24% in value over a year ago. Exports to China were also strong, reaching 19,258 metric tons valued at $29.1 million. South Korea’s foot-and-mouth disease situation resulted in widespread culling of swine and is creating a need for more imported pork. U.S. exports to Korea were up 128% in volume (13,183 metric tons) and 163% in value ($32.1 million) compared to January 2010. Global Trade Atlas data show that Korea’s pork imports from all sources have increased by about 60% over a year ago.
Exports to the top Central American markets of Honduras and Guatemala showed solid growth, with Honduras up 20% in volume (1,757 metric tons) and nearly 40% in value ($3.9 million), while Guatemala was up 41% in volume (683 metric tons) and 29% in value ($1.5 million). “The Central American markets show a lot of potential,” said Seng. “They don’t have the established retail and food service infrastructure that we see in markets like Japan, Korea and Mexico, so the volumes are much smaller, but they are growing markets where we are working with importers and buyers to educate them about the quality and value of U.S. products.”
Exports to the Australia and New Zealand region were flat in volume (4,330 metric tons) but grew by 46% in value to $13.7 million. New Zealand was especially strong, with exports more than doubling in volume and jumping 154% in value.
Mexico, which fell just short of the $1 billion mark for U.S. pork during 2010, cooled slightly in January but still purchased 50,148 metric tons valued at $86.9 million. This was lower than January 2010 but still higher in value than the 2010 monthly average. With regard to Mexico, we are hopeful January was just a speed bump for a very red-hot market," said Seng. "If the retaliatory tariffs from the NAFTA trucking dispute are eliminated soon, this will help U.S. pork regain its momentum in Mexico.”

Thailand gains in poultry feed in 2010

Poultry was the growth sector of the feed business in Thailand in 2010, with members of the Thai Feed Mills Association manufacturing 4.51 million metric tons of feeds for broilers and 2.13 million metric tons for laying hens, out of a total production for all species of 12.84 million metric tons.
Figures from the association show annual growth rates of 7.3% for broiler feeds and 6.5% for layer diets by comparison with 2009. They also point to rises since 2005 of 38.3% and 15.1% for broiler feeds and layer feeds, respectively. Between 2009 and 2010, the all-feeds production of association members fell by 4.1%, although the 2010 total still meant a 21.4% increase since 2005.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Denmark feed production down 26% in last decade

Denmark’s annual production of farm feeds has fallen by almost 26% in the last 10 years, according to Torben Christensen, chairman of national feed and grain trade association Dakofo.
The country's 2010 output of slightly over 4.5 million metric tons presents a significant drop from the 6.111 million tons produced nationally in 2000. On figures from Danmarks Statistik, feed production in Denmark in 2010 fell by 1.2% compared with 2009. The latest annual total of 4.543 million metric tons included 2.888 million metric tons for pigs, about 905,000 metric tons for cattle and 535,000 metric tons for poultry.
The biggest change from 2009 was an 8.3% drop in cattle feed output. Poultry feed volumes were down by 2.7%, but pig feed production rose by 0.7%.

EIC releases US national flock performance study

Part 11(EEU34) of a U.S. national flock performance study titled "Flock Profiling Software and Replacement Program Evaluation–2010" has been released by the Egg Industry Center and the University of California-Riverside.
The report provides a benchmark for the production of white egg strains with tables depicting livability, hen-day egg production, egg weight and feed consumption. The report also shows grade distribution, feed costs and revenue by grade for the period during which the survey was conducted. The live-bird production parameters are of value to all producers, although it will be necessary to adjust financial data to reflect the recent escalation in feed costs and the prevailing value of eggs. Interpretation of the figures presented should take into account the specific structure, housing systems of a farm or complex when comparing production parameters with those depicted in the study.

American Egg Board promotes new nutrient values

The American Egg Board recently hosted a successful Good Egg Project at the Grand Central Station to promote the release of recent USDA nutrient assay results. The latest data disclosed 25% less cholesterol and higher Vitamin D levels in generic eggs. The event was themed on a “farmers market” with free egg samples, informational literature and demonstrations by Howard Helmer and Jeffrey Saad.
The latest USDA data received national attention as the AEB launched a concerted seven-day program involving a wide range of media. The AEB has placed 1,100 stories generating 126 million impressions including mentions on USA Today, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, Good Morning America, CNN and The Wall Street Journal.
The AEB also arranged a luncheon for 30 food and health editors in New York City to announce the new cholesterol and Vitamin D levels hosted by Dr. Mitch Kanter of the Egg Nutrition Center. Attendees included representatives from Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Shape and

New York state bill to mandate SE vaccination

Bill A5912-2011 was recently introduced into the State of New York Legislature, sponsored by five members. The State Agriculture and Marketing Law would be amended by adding section 96-(c)-30 to mandate compulsory vaccination of flocks supplying eggs intended for sale in the state of New York.
The proposed amendment will empower the commissioner of agriculture to establish and issue rules and regulations relating to vaccination of flocks against SE.
This action is effectively “window dressing” since it is unlikely that that are any commercial flocks either in New York state or are operated to ship eggs from supplying states that have not been vaccinated. Since the commissioner will subsequently have to rule on the types of vaccines, routes of administration and ages of flocks receiving vaccine it is not possible to comment on the proposal.
At best it will make no difference to the incidence rate of SE among consumers in New York state, and at worst it will add additional costs for paperwork, administration and surveillance.

US Government Accountability Office report declares need for 'single food safety agency'

The U.S Government Accountability Office has released a report, "Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue," focusing on identifying federal programs, agencies, offices and initiatives which have duplicate goals or activities in an attempt to reduce government spending. Among the areas focused on was agriculture, and the GAO determined that the current "fragmented food safety system has caused inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination and inefficient use of resources."
According to the GAO, fifteen federal agencies collectively administer at least 30 food-related laws. Budget obligations for the two primary food safety agencies, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, totaled $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2009.
To address the fragmentation, and the inherent problems of such scattered oversight, the GAO suggested several potential alternative organizational structures:
  • a single food safety agency, either housed within an existing agency or established as an independent entity, that assumes responsibility for all aspects of food safety at the federal level;
  • a single food safety inspection agency that assumes responsibility for food safety inspection activities, but not other activities, under an existing department, such as the USDA or FDA;
  • a data collection and risk analysis center for food safety that consolidates data collected from a variety of sources and analyzes it at the national level to support risk-based decision making; or
  • a coordination mechanism that provides centralized, executive leadership for the existing organizational structure, led by a central chair who would be appointed by the president and have control over resources.
Although reducing fragmentation in federal food safety oversight is not expected to result in significant cost savings, said the GAO report, new costs may be avoided by preventing further fragmentation.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Merck, Sanofi-Aventis merger called off due to regulatory issues

Merck & Co. and Sanofi-Aventis have abandoned their deal to combine their animal-health businesses due to regulatory snags, according to reports.
“The companies are discontinuing their agreement primarily because of the increasing complexity of implementing the proposed transaction, both in terms of the nature and extent of the anticipated divestitures and the length of time necessary for the worldwide regulatory review process,” said Merck and Sanofi in a joint statement. Back in October 2010, the companies had hired Morgan Stanley to arrange the sale of assets valued at $1 billion to resolve antitrust concerns. The merger would have created the world's biggest maker of medicines for livestock and pets, as Merck's Intervet and Sanofi's Merial had combined sales of $5.5 billion in 2010.
The two companies will now keep the Intervet and Merial units separate at no penalty to either side.

FDA applies next-generation sequencing in Salmonella montevideo investigation

The Food and Drug Administration has reported that their scientists have successfully applied a new genome-sequencing assay to determine the source of an outbreak of Salmonella montevideo.
Approximately 300 consumers of processed meat products were affected in 44 states, with the peak of cases in November 2009. Next-generation sequencing on 35 samples of cold cuts identified the common origin of the outbreak to a single food plant and identified the vehicle, a spiced meat rub. The investigation, which was published in the Feb. 23, 2011, edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that the technique was superior to conventional pulse-field gel electrophoresis, which is less specific than NGS technology. The assay was able to eliminate other potential sources of infection which yielded an S. montevideo with an identical PFGE pattern.
The significance of this report is that the FDA is now equipped at a higher level to identify the origin of SE outbreaks with absolute precision. Additional information and the history of the outbreak updated can be assessed on the Centers for Disease Control website.

USA Poultry & Egg Export Council donates $25,000 to Japanese Chicken Association

The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council's International Poultry Development Program has pledged $25,000 to the Japanese Chicken Association to aid and assist its members in rebuilding efforts after the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami.
“The Japanese poultry industry has been hard hit by the disaster, and this is our industry’s way of reaching out to them,” said Eric Joiner, chairman of the UIPDP and a founder of AJC International, an Atlanta trading company and poultry exporter. “The UIPDP board believes this is a worthwhile project that will be truly appreciated by a segment of the Japanese industry that affected.” He said the contribution would also be used to assist employees of the companies affected by the disaster.
USAPEEC President Jim Sumner, who also serves as president of the UIPDP, said that the funds could help the Japanese industry in areas of greatest need. “It’s great that we have an organization like the UIPDP to support the USAPEEC’s goals and initiatives,” he said. “We believe that going directly to the Japanese Chicken Association will ensure that the funds will be put to good use.”
Sumner said that the USAPEEC would also serve as the focal point for collecting direct financial contributions from private companies, especially its member companies, which may be interested in providing support to the Japanese industry.

FIAAP, Victam, GRAPAS Asia to gain new venue in 2012

FIAAP Asia 2012, Victam Asia 2012 and GRAPAS Asia 2012 will return to Bangkok next February, but will take place at a new venue: the Bangkok International Trade Exhibition Centre.
BITEC will offer exhibitors, visitors and conference delegates superior and more modern facilities than the old venue, according to show organizers. The exhibition halls will accommodate all event requirements and there are no supporting pillars within the halls interrupting traffic flow.
This new venue, in between downtown Bangkok and the new international airport, has its own Skytrain station at Bang Na and will be linked to the exhibition halls by an air-conditioned walkway. The air-conditioned trains are frequent and one can travel direct from Sukhumvit in downtown Bangkok to BITEC in less than fifteen minutes and for just a few Baht.
The 2012 event will have a similar format to that of the 2010 show; there will be FIAAP (feed ingredients), Victam (feed processing and biomass technology) and GRAPAS (rice milling and grain processing) exhibitors. There will also be specific technical conferences on aquafeed, feed ingredients, pet food, biomass technology and grain processing, as well as the Thai Feed Conference.

George's plans to buy Tyson Foods Va. poultry complex

George’s Inc. has signed a letter of intent to buy the Tyson Foods Inc. poultry complex in Harrisonburg, Va., officials from both companies have announced.  
The sale price has not been disclosed; however, representatives from both companies said they hope to complete the deal soon, pending execution of a definitive agreement and completion of customary closing conditions. “We believe Tyson’s Harrisonburg complex will be a good fit for our company, complementing our existing poultry operations in Harrisonburg and nearby Edinburg,” said Gary George, Chairman and CEO of George’s. “We don’t plan to make any immediate changes and expect to retain substantially all of the people currently employed by Tyson at Harrisonburg. It’s also our intention to honor the contracts Tyson has with the 121 contract farms that raise chickens for the complex.”
Tyson’s Harrisonburg complex currently employs more than 500 people. Operations include the processing plant in Harrisonburg and a hatchery in Broadway, as well as a feed mill and truck shop in New Market. “Harrisonburg has been an important part of Tyson for many years and has a great workforce; however, we believe it makes economic sense for us to sell the plant and divert more of our resources to some of our other operations,” said Donnie King, senior group vice president of Poultry and Prepared Foods for Tyson. 
The Harrisonburg complex was among the poultry operations Tyson acquired in 1989, when it purchased Holly Farms. The complex currently produces commodity boneless and whole bird chicken as well as chicken leg quarters for sale to retail, foodservice and international customers. The potential sale does not affect Tyson’s other operations in Virginia, which include poultry production complexes at Glen Allen and Temperanceville.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

FDA schedules March hearing on Food Safety Modernization Act implementation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold a meeting on March 29, allowing companies to provide input on how the agency implements the Food Safety Modernization Act's import safety provisions.
FDA's notice said the agency seeks information on importer verification, the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, import certifications for food, and third-party accreditation.
The meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT in Silver Spring, Md., and will be available on that day as a live webcast. FDA also scheduled a public hearing on March 30 and 31 in College Park, Md., to discuss its use of international comparability assessments to enhance the safety of imported foods and animal feed.

Russia poultry imports drop as domestic production increases

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, Russian broiler imports may drop 39% to 375,000 metric tons this year, from 618,000 metric tons in 2010, as domestic poultry production increases.
Total domestic consumption is forecast to drop 1.4% to 2.886 million tons from an estimated 2.926 million in 2010, said the FAS. Broiler-meat production may jump 9% to 2.52 million tons from 2.312 million last year.

Midwest Poultry Federation Convention highlights new trends, focuses on flock health

Over 180 companies and associations exhibited at the 40th annual Midwest Poultry Federation Convention.
The 40th annual Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, held March 15-17, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minn., showed product trends and focused on the health of flocks.
Major vaccine manufacturers presented new or recently introduced vaccines. The introduction of the FDA “Final Rule” on Salmonella enteritidis has resulted in greater awareness of rodent control, vaccination and testing systems. Leading manufacturers and suppliers were eager to demonstrate products to allow producers to comply with regulations and avoid losses attributable to diversion, flock depletion and recalls.
As the largest regional poultry show in the U.S., the annual convention is a must-attend for participants in the U.S. egg and turkey industries. The event combines a down-to-earth educational program noted for practical presentations with a concurrent limited-scale, but focused, trade show. 
Special presentations were arranged for organic and specialty production, turkey breeding, grow-out and processing, pullet rearing and egg production, including emerging issues. Highlights will be included in upcoming editions of Egg Industry and WATT PoultryUSA.
Although the trade show incorporated the booths of more than 180 companies and associations, navigating the aisles was easy. There was a strong complement of farmers and their families, unlike the International Poultry Expo in Atlanta, which is far more commercial and multinational. The obvious trends in product development included innovative enriched and enrichable systems to confine hens as alternatives to conventional cages.
Feed additives and, especially, alternatives to antibiotics were also promoted by both U.S. manufacturers and the subsidiaries of EU and multinational suppliers.

Mexico poultry consumption to rise in 2011

Mexico's 2011 poultry consumption is expected to rise, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture Global Agricultural Information Network report, even as higher feed prices and grain price volatility continue to limit growth.
Purchasing power continues to recover, and the demand by lower-income consumers is expected to continue increasing, according to the report. However, the growing Mexican population and a shift in the preferences of middle-income consumers from chicken to beef are limiting per-capita consumption growth.
The import forecast is revised upward 5% from initial projections, to 580,000 metric tons, maintaining previous growth expectations following a stronger-than-expected 2010 import figure. Consumer demand remains strong, particularly due to lower international prices.
The export forecast has also been revised slightly higher by 4,000 metric tons, reflecting increased shipments to Asian markets.

Scottish union in bid to help pig sector

NFU Scotland has proposed a package of measures to ease the severe pressure on the nation’s pig sector caused by imports of cheaper pigmeat from continental Europe and the persistent high cost of grain. This includes proposals to ask the UK government to set out a timetable for a supermarket adjudicator and pushing for a move to less frequent risk-based Pollution Prevention and Control scheme inspections, in line with new European legislation.
The union said it was also seeking prioritisation of the pigs sector for a future round of rural development funding.
NFU Scotland vice-president, John Picken, said: “The pig sector requires industry, government and levy boards to work collectively. This is not a call for an aid package, but is about developing measures to ensure the markets work fairly and in a way that ensures business can move forward.”

Monday, March 21, 2011

Canada's Ontario Pork publishes nutrition brochure

Ontario Pork, in cooperation with the Canadian Pork Council and Pork Marketing Canada, has developed a new nutrition brochure that provides tips for healthy eating based on Canada’s Food Guide. The key message is that pork tenderloin is as lean as boneless, skinless chicken breast; with many pork cuts being leaner than chicken thigh.
The brochure also features the Canadian Diabetes Association logo. Healthy eating for diabetes does not mean giving up traditional foods. By following healthy eating guidelines and being physically active, people with diabetes can still enjoy their favourite foods like pork, achieve target blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of complications.

National Corn Growers Association releases statement on amendment to repeal VEETC

National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott has released a statement expressing disappointment in response to Senator Tom Coburn’s amendment to immediately repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit in the small-business program reauthorization bill.
“We are disappointed that Senator Coburn is singling out the ethanol industry in his amendment to immediately repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit while tax credits to the oil and gas industries remained untouched," said Schott. "The American ethanol industry provides and supports 400,000 jobs here in the United States during a time of economic uncertainty. In addition, in the past year alone, ethanol added more than $50 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product and displaced the need for more than 360 million barrels of imported oil, valued at $16 billion.
Schott said that if the amendment passes, the ethanol industry may have to reduce its production by 38%. “That is approximately 4 billion of the 10.75 billion gallons produced in 2009," he said. "This loss in ethanol production would result in the shedding of approximately 112,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy. Can we afford that?"

Pas Reform launches iPad technology for hatchery managers

Pas Reform introduced iPad technology that links hatchery managers to the company's SmartCenter hatchery information systems, allowing iPad users to manage hatchery operations on-the-go.
The company's two types of information systems, SmartSetPro setter and SmartHatchPro hatcher, are both compatible with the technology. Through the technology, the user is provided mobile access to the Smartcenter's three main program tiers of hatchery operations, hatchery management and hatchery analysis.
The SmartCenter hatchery technology links to an iPad through the device's integrated WIFI connectivity, without the need for application downloads, according to the company. Pas Reform says the iPad's screen will display color-coded incubator icons and real-time hatchery information.

EPA data scrutinized in Chesapeake Bay rule US House hearing

Representatives from the Agricultural Nutrient Policy Council and the poultry industry were among those testifying at the recent U.S. Congressional hearing involving the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load rule.
ANPC senior advisor Tom Herbert focused on certain discrepancies between EPA data and U.S. Department of Agriculture data, including baseline sediment loads (EPA numbers are three times USDA numbers), nitrogen estimates (EPA numbers are 25% lower than the USDA's) and phosphorus loads (EPA numbers are 25% higher than the USDA's). “In terms of sediment and phosphorus, this comparison could be interpreted to mean that agriculture has already met its TMDL obligations, and in the case of nitrogen it would indicate that in absolute terms agriculture can meet the EPA’s TMDL load allocation,” said Hebert. “But the real bottom line is that these differences are so substantial that the need for further work on the TMDL is apparent.”
Hobey Bauhan, president of Virginia Poultry Federation and representative for the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, said the EPA should recognize the poultry industry’s tools and programs that are improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and across the nation. Family poultry farms in Virginia have, for more than a decade, expanded their conservation practices to enhance water quality, according to Bauhan. “The results of these actions are reflected in the EPA’s estimates that between 1985 and 2005 nutrient loads from agriculture decreased to the Chesapeake Bay, while nutrient loadings from developed lands increased by 16 percent,” he said.
Poultry industry representatives believe that heavy-handed federal mandates are unnecessary because states have already adopted effective regulations to improve water quality. “Imposing burdensome mandates based on questionable data only imposes more costs, paperwork and burdens on family farmers, while achieving few real benefits for water quality,” said Bauhan.

USDA announces new standards for reducing salmonella and campylobacter in chickens, turkeys

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced revised and new performance standards, going into effect in July, aimed at reducing the prevalence of salmonella and campylobacter in young chickens and turkeys.
In the most recently published USDA reports, for the third quarter of 2010, an average of 7.4% of chicken carcasses at processing plants nationwide tested positive for detectable levels of salmonella. The new USDA performance standard is 7.5%. The FSIS notice also adopts a campylobacter standard for the first time: no more than 10.4% of raw chickens sampled should have Campylobacter jejuni, C. lari and/or C. coli on them. 
“These improved standards are a stronger buffer between foodborne illnesses and our consumers, especially our most vulnerable consumers — children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “There is no more important mission at the USDA than ensuring the safety of our food, and we are working every day to lower the danger of foodborne illness. The new standards announced today mark an important step in our efforts to protect consumers by further reducing the incidence of salmonella and opening a new front in the fight against campylobacter.”
The National Chicken Council has said that the industry will continue its "tremendous efforts" to meet the challenge of food safety. “The industry has already done an outstanding job of improving the microbiological profile of raw products and will strive to do even better,” said Dr. Scott M. Russell, a microbiologist and professor of poultry processing at the University of Georgia and science advisor to the NCC. “I personally have witnessed and been part of the tremendous efforts the industry has made to meet the challenge of ensuring food safety, and I know these efforts will continue.”

Friday, March 18, 2011

'Alliance to Feed the Future' launches to build understanding, promote benefits of modern food production

The Alliance to Feed the Future, a multi-sector group that includes members of professional societies, commodity groups, food industries and academia, has formed to build understanding and promote the benefits of modern food production, processing and technology.
The alliance, which is currently comprised of representatives for 52 different groups, wants to multiply the effects of members' individual and joint efforts to tell "the true story of modern food production."
“The more consumers understand how their food is produced, the more they can appreciate the role modern agriculture plays in providing safe, affordable and nutritious food,” said Dave Schmidt, president and CEO at the International Food Information Council, who coordinates the alliance. “The alliance will be a clearinghouse of resources to increase consumer understanding of this role.”
The newly launched Alliance to Feed the Future website is home to an assortment of resources and information regarding modern food production from farm to fork.  

Manitoba Pork Council releases new industry sustainable-development plan

In response to three years of swine industry challenges that include low hog prices, high feed costs, a high-valued Canadian dollar, the H1N1 virus, the global recession and new product-labeling regulations, the Manitoba Pork Council has released a 54-page document, Embracing a Sustainable Future, which spells out 82 commitments designed to revitalize the industry.
The document focuses on nine key areas of concern identified by the council and industry producers: green farming practices, barn location, animal care, food safety, farm safety, research, trade, social responsibility and education and public awareness. "We are just beginning to emerge from several very challenging years when producers have struggled just to keep their farms afloat," said MPC Chairman Karl Kynoch. "We feel the need, now more than ever, to set a course that will ensure a bright future for pork production."
Among other things, the MPC hopes to encourage producers to phase out gestation stalls by 2025, invest in new technologies that minimize the release of methane gases from pig production facilities and commit to leading the effort to develop a practical system of traceability for pigs and pig farms within the next three years to help reduce losses in the event of a disease outbreak.

Regulation that required broiler farms to apply for discharge permit repealed

The National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association have released a statement approving of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to repeal a regulation imposed on poultry farms by the Environmental Protection Agency that requires poultry farmers to apply for a discharge permit.
“America’s poultry farmers are good stewards of the land,” The NCC and USPOULTRY said, calling the decision a victory for common sense. “The EPA’s requirement that farms had to apply for a discharge permit, even though no discharge occurs, was an onerous and unnecessary bureaucratic invention." According to the organizations, broiler chicken farms keep animals indoors on dry litter systems and do not discharge waste, and they argued that the EPA had no authority to impose a duty to get a permit unless there is an actual discharge.

California egg farmers want clarification on Proposition 2, join lawsuit

The Association of California Egg Farmers has filed an Application to Intervene in the Superior Court of California, seeking to become a party in the lawsuit brought by JS West Milling Company against the state of California and the Humane Society of the United States. The lawsuit seeks clarity on what Proposition 2 requires for egg-laying hen housing systems.
Last December, JS West filed the lawsuit seeking a clear understanding on whether its newly constructed housing system meets the requirements of Proposition 2. The lawsuit seeks a determination of the specific types of housing systems because the law does not provide the exact size or dimension for an enclosure. The law also fails to state the number of hens that can occupy the enclosure, the density or otherwise specify the furnishings within the enclosure. According to JS West, more specific information on housing standards is needed as soon as possible so California's egg farmers have sufficient time to fund and make the necessary changes to their facilities prior to the law going into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
"The JS West lawsuit is of great importance to the state's egg farmers who need clear guidance on how much space and what types of housing systems will be legal, and ACEF needs to be a party in that lawsuit," said Debbie Murdock, executive director of ACEF. "Compliance requires the egg farmers to spend a significant amount of money on construction costs long before the law takes effect in 2015. Egg farmers will soon invest hundreds of millions of dollars on their facilities, and in doing so, they should not be forced to guess whether their new facilities will comply with Proposition 2." 

India domestic poultry business strong, country working to expand exports

India's domestic poultry market currently sits at $7.7 billion, but the country is looking to significantly increase its annual $110 million in exports.
According to Jagbir Singh Dhull, president of the Poultry Federation of India, outbreaks of bird flu in India since 2006 have caused trouble for exports. "Import bans due to bird flu do not allow us to derive cost advantage benefits from ample supplies of feedstocks," said Dhull. "Allowing foreign funds in retail will help poultry exports through development of modern processing units and cold chains."
Right now, India's domestic poultry industry is growing at a rate of 10% to 12% annually, while eggs are growing at 5% to 6%. India's Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, said that the country is planning to liberalize investment rules to seek foreign funds to develop key sectors such as retail and infrastructure.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

EU wheat futures reach six-month low due to Japan concerns

European wheat futures have hit a six-month low, dropping 6% on the Euronext exchange in Paris, amid a sell-off prompted by concerns over the impact of the nuclear and earthquake disasters in Japan.
Milling wheat futures dropped to €13.75 to €203 per metric ton. Rapeseed also dropped, to €412.50 per metric ton, down 5%. "We don't believe prices can drop as low as in 2008 and 2009," said Michel Portier, founder of French consultancy Agritel. "We think the economy is much more solid than in 2008." According to traders, the drops apply to the futures market only — the cash market, they said, is far more stable.

Irish pig producers losing millions

Irish pig producers are losing up to €13 (US$18.05) a pig or almost €900,000 million a week, according to reports on the Irish TV news website RTÉ.
RTÉ reported that the average pig costs around €126 to produce, but only sells for around €116.
The chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association pigs committee, Tim Cullinan, has warned that jobs are on the line unless prices improve, while the Irish food promotional body, Bord Bia, has launched a campaign to promote sales of home-produced bacon and ham under the slogan "Bring Home the Bacon". 

Selective breeding for social chickens may reduce mortality rates

According to the results of a project headed by Piter Bijma with the Breeding and Genetics Group from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, selective breeding of chickens with an eye towards social conduct may reduce flock mortality by as much as two-thirds, resulting in rates comparable to those when using the beak-trimming method.
Together with researcher Esther Ellen, Bijma studied 1,000 beak-trimmed layers in cages. Total mortality among the chickens was 30% due to aggressive picking, but the per-cage mortality numbers differed. The two researchers took the chickens from the cages with the lowest mortality rates and bred them. After the third selection round, each time taking the most "social" chickens and breeding them, mortality rates had dropped to roughly 12%. "These figures come close to the figures of beak-trimmed layers, where the normal mortality rate is around 10%," said Bijma.
The next research step, according to Bijma and Ellen, is to breed another two generations of layers to see if the mortality rate will continue to fall and possibly reach the 10% number.

DLA Group, Raisio sign feed ingredient procurement agreement

An agreement to work together on feed ingredient procurement has been signed by two of the largest grain product organizations in Scandinavia, Denmark's DLA Group and Finland's Raisio.
DLA coordinates wholesale trading activities for 31 cooperative and privately owned raw materials companies in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Baltic States, while Raisio is Finland's largest industrial grain processor, operating also in the UK, Sweden, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Baltic countries. The two companies have agreed to cooperate mainly in the procurement of feed raw materials and other production inputs. They will also explore opportunities for cooperation in Eastern Europe and plan to set up a working group to explore these possibilities. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Free webinar: The role of eggs in meeting world food needs

Egg production is compatible with a wide variety of production systems ranging from village subsistence husbandry in underdeveloped nations to intensive commercial installations with full integration of components in industrialized countries. Compared to other livestock, eggs offer a competitive feed conversion ratio as determined using edible product, or amino acid availability as the denominator. Egg production can be implemented at a relatively low capital cost and can offer a return on investment or on capital employed compared to other monogastric livestock enterprises. Given market requirements, egg production can offer flexibility in presentation from graded shell form to further processed products including liquids, egg powder and convenience foods.

WATT’s latest Online Animal Forum: Feeding the Globe April 6, 2011 – 08.00 to 17.00 hrs CDT (-5 GMT) features one day of live educational webinars, a virtual sponsor centre with exhibits by top industry suppliers, and networking opportunities with colleagues. As always, the Online Animal Forum is free-to-attend and can be accessed from any Internet-based computer in your home or office. Enter and leave the virtual event as your schedule allows.

Attend all five webinars created specifically to address the challenges of feeding the globe:

Innovations from R&D in animal agriculture
by Dr. Leo den Hartog, Director R&D and Quality Affairs, Nutreco, Netherlands

What animal breeding can contribute
by Dr. Pieter Knap, Manager of Genetic Strategy, Genus/PIC International, Germany

Directions to better feed utilization
by Stefaan van Dyck, Director of Research and Development, Kemin AgriFoods, Worldwide

World feed ingredients outlook - impacts of China, Energy (Ethanol) and Speculation
by Jason Moss and Tim Brusnahan, Richard A. Brock & Associates, Inc., USA

The Role of Eggs in Meeting World Food Needs
by Dr. Simon Shane, Editor, Egg Industry, USA

Soil-dwelling nematodes unaffected by GM maize, according to research

According to a study conducted by Sebastian Höss of the Institute for Biodiversity in Regensburg, Germany, soil-dwelling nematodes are unaffected by a certain genetically modified Bacillus thuringiensis maize cultivar containing three different Bt proteins.
The nematodes, which are essential to the soil nutrient cycle, showed a negative reaction only to levels of Bt proteins far higher than would be found in the soil of a typical Bt maize field, said the study. Practical trials were conducted over three years to determine whether the nematode communities found in the fields of Bt maize were any different from those found in conventional maize fields, with the results that the Bt maize being tested had no impact on the nematode communities.

NPFDA announces lifetime achievement award recipient, member of the year

The National Poultry & Food Distributors Association has announced Tom Rueger of Eastern Poultry Distributors as its latest Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
The award, which is given each year to a poultry industry leader who has played a major role in the growth of the poultry industry, was presented to Rueger for his accomplishments in expanding Eastern Poultry and the family business in the industry. Rueger joined his father at Eastern Poultry in 1970, then opened Brandywine Foods in 1981 to expand Eastern Poultry's presence in the further-processing business. He sold that business to Tyson Foods in 1992 and has focused on growing Eastern Poultry since then.
The NPFDA has also chosen Al Acunto of Preferred Freezer Services as its 2010 member of the year. Acunto is the NPFDA vice president.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

FAO focuses on Jakarta poultry market restructuring

With the assistance of CREATE, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has assisted Jakarta's administration officials in assessing the preparedness and increasing the competency of the poultry relocation centers set up by the government to control outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
The centers, which exist in limited numbers and were instituted in 2007 after a ban was set on the movement of live birds within Jakarta's city limits, have been seen by small poultry producers as a way for the government to constrain their business prospects. This belief led to discord between the small businesses and the government, eventually culminating in the decision to restructure the market around the desire for fair business and the need to contain H5N1 HPAI, which is more prevalent in Jakarta that any other area in the world.
The FAO stepped in to analyze organizational and training needs, proposing solutions through the development of training modules and standard operating procedures, and assisting in the implementation of the training and organization of individuals involved in poultry market restructuring. As a result of this, the management staff of the poultry relocation centers in Jakarta has a better understanding of the needs of the collectors and slaughterers. They are now better prepared to handle the hundreds, if not thousands, of small collectors and slaughterers who will eventually make use of these facilities. Additionally, they will facilitate training and assist the collectors and slaughterers to operate the facilities and equipment in proper and efficient ways. The management will also ensure that the collectors and slaughterers abide by the biosecurity and food safety regulations. Standard operating procedures are now adapted to local requirements, resulting in optimization of facilities usage so that Jakarta consumers do not face supply disruptions or food safety problems.

US Poultry Handling and Transportation Quality Assurance Program to launch in spring

The Poultry Handling and Transportation Quality Assurance Program, a new program at The Pennsylvania State University, will be the first in the U.S. to provide third-party training, proficiency testing and certification on the correct techniques for handling and transporting poultry, according to The Poultry Science Association.
Scheduled to launch in late spring, the PHTQA will offer multiple one-day training sessions to transportation and catch crews on biosecurity, disease recognition, emergency planning and the safe and humane handling of birds. With the exception of ducks, the PHTQA will cover every segment of the poultry industry, including day-old poultry, pullets, spent fowl, broilers, leghorn and broiler breeders and turkeys.
PHTQA training will initially focus on companies in the Northeast, though depending on interest it may eventually serve as the foundation for a national program, said Dr. Eva Wallner-Pendleton, PHTQA’s senior editor and project coordinator and an avian pathologist and field investigator at Penn State’s Animal Diagnostic Laboratory. “While we have yet to conduct our first training session, we have already received a tremendous response – including international inquiries – from the program website," said Wallner-Pendleton. "There’s increasing pressure from the general public and others, both here and abroad, to ensure that animals are being handled humanely. While many companies have excellent in-house training on animal welfare and poultry quality assurance, this pressure has generated the need – and the desire among many poultry companies – for third-party certification. This program is designed to meet that demand."
Training sessions will be conducted by members of the PHTQA development team and will take place at the individual companies where bird handlers and transporters are located. At a later point, plans are to hold “train the trainer” sessions so that more individuals are qualified to conduct training.

Alltech and KFC’s John Brown Jr. look at building business success

You have to have confidence. You have to keep asking why. These were two messages from former Kentucky governor and founder of the KFC franchise John Y Brown Jr. and Alltech president Dr Pearse Lyons at an Alltech seminar held alongside VIV Asia 2011.
Brown recounted how he purchased KFC and brought about its rapid expansion. He noted that if you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to build on an opportunity. He explained that he and all his franchisees worked together to build KFC, which went public in 1967.
He noted that an optimist looks for opportunities in every difficulty, and that you have to be better than your competition to succeed. He noted that at the time when he started to grow the business, mothers were wanting to cook less and spend less time in the kitchen, they wanted convenience. KFC was able to respond to this desire.
Integrity and opportunity
Brown told attendees that there are more opportunities now than ever before, and advised that for a business to be successful it must allow its employees to spread their wings. But you must remain ahead of the curve and always act with integrity.
Lyons noted that amongst those factors important for success were a “can do attitude”, patience, understanding and working on yourself, and knowing when to grab an opportunity. He continued that you must play to your strengths and be a game changer. And while all the above are important, it is also important to remember philanthropic causes.
“If you think it, ink”, said Lyons, urging attendees to write down what it is they desire and to work out how to achieve it. And never be afraid of failure, he said, it is just one more step on the road to success.

Monday, March 14, 2011

FDA warns Ohio Fresh egg producer

According to public records, the Cincinnati District Office of the Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning letter to the management of Ohio Fresh Eggs LLC dated February 25, 2011. The action was taken as a result of failure by the producer to divert eggs to pasteurization following consecutive SE positive egg assays.
The eggs in question were recalled with minimal publicity and with no evidence of adverse effects among consumers. In addition, this producer was cited for failure to initiate egg assays following a positive environmental sample.
It is noted that Ohio Fresh Eggs LLC is ultimately controlled by Jack Austin DeCoster who was involved in the August 2010 SE egg recall from his farms in Iowa, which resulted in extensive losses estimated to be in excess of $100 million to the U.S. shell-egg industry.
The documented deviations from required action in the event of an environmental positive must be regarded in a serious light by both the regulatory authorities and the industry. Any negligence or unscrupulous practice which may compromise safety has the potential to degrade the image of our product. The actions of a minority could easily invalidate progress made by the American Egg Board in promoting consumption. It must be remembered that the American Egg Board is funded through a check-off program to which all producers contribute. The collective responsibility of all stakeholders in egg production is self-evident.

UK publishes beak trimming regulations

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has published a document on poultry beak trimming subsequent to the adoption of welfare regulations, effective Jan. 1. 
For general purposes, chicks can be trimmed before ten days of age using infrared equipment providing that not more than one-third of the beak is removed. Under exceptional conditions, such as when outbreaks of pecking and cannibalism occur, flocks can be beak-trimmed “as a last resort.”
The details of the regulatinos can be accessed here.

USPOULTRY 2011 Clean Water Award winners announced

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association presented its 2011 Clean Water Awards to Keystone Foods LLC and Perdue Farms for "outstanding water treatment plant performance in the poultry industry."
Keystone Foods, Gadsden, Ala., won the award for pretreatment of wastewater with integrated aerobic and anoxic zones and a secondary DAF for clarification. Perdue Farms, Perry, Ga., won the award for full treatment of wastewater with community service and electromagnetic treatment of DAF flow that reduces chemicals.
The winners were selected by a committee made up of university personnel, industry engineers and managers and state regulatory officials.
See the videos here:
Keystone Foods treats wastewater with small environmental footprint
Perdue Farms reduces wastewater chemicals with electromagnetic treatment

Friday, March 11, 2011

FDA seeks increase in funding

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has requested a 33% increase in their FY 2011 budget allowance over the previous allocation of $4.3 billion.
In supporting the request, Margaret A. Hamberg MD, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Agency stated, “The breadth of this mandate means that FDA responsibilities continue to grow.” She was referring to the recently enacted but as yet unfunded Food Safety Modernization Act. The critical initiatives that will require an increase in budget include:
  • Transforming the Food Safety and Nutrition Initiative: The $324 million requested will be devoted to the Food Safety Modernization Act and to activities which will encourage citizens to make healthier food choices. Prevention of food-borne diseases will be carried out in cooperation with state and local partners.
  • Advancing the Medical Counter Measure Initiative: The $70 million will be required to develop medical countermeasures to respond to national security threats. The legal, regulatory and policy framework of the program will be updated.
  • Expanding the Protecting Patients Initiative: Funded at $124 million this program will establish approval for “biosimilars” (analogous to generics) similar in clinical action to existing FDA-approved biological products.
  • Intensifying the Regulatory Science Facility Initiative: The $49 million requested would be applied to strengthen the regulatory scientific capacity required to support FDA missions.
Given the current opposition by the House to budget increases, the FDA will be hard pressed to justify increased funding and it is possible that many of the provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act will not be realized in the foreseeable future.

VIV Asia meeting highlights alternative feed ingredients

With grain prices soaring, the potential for using alternative ingredients to manage feed costs was discussed at an important meeting during the VIV Asia show in Bangkok, Thailand.
A theme of future trends in animal feeds had been chosen for the Feedtech-Croptech Asia 2011 Conference held 9 March, by VNU in association with WATT.
Within that theme, the presentations by guest speakers Dr. Budi Tangendjaja (U.S. Grains Council) and Dr. Chinnadurai Sugumar (Kemin Industries) focused firmly on whether agricultural co-products or other crop products might be used instead of conventional energy and protein sources in Asian feeds for poultry and pig.
Download Dr. Budi Tangendjaja's presentation
Download Dr. Chinnadurai Sugumar's presentation
Alternative ingredients offer more options and therefore more control over the future when supplies of the main grains or proteins may be limited, these presenters pointed out.
Co- not waste-products
Often the candidates for consideration are available locally at relatively low prices, although they tend to be rather bulky and therefore transportation costs might be higher. Moreover, their quality is inconsistent at times and certain anti-nutritional factors may be present. Palatability and digestibility must be taken into account, as well as the potential risk of contamination.
However, positive aspects include not only a lower cost, but also the fact that these co-products do not generally find a use in human food.
To assist poultry and pig feed formulation there is a growing amount of knowledge on where and how such alternative feed ingredients can be employed without depressing the performance of the animals or birds, together with the arrival of technology to overcome their disadvantages and so allow higher inclusion rates.

Processors to learn about detection, control of salmonella at Petfood Forum

Dr. Melinda Hayman of Food Safety Net Services aims to help processors understand the science behind salmonella and how to best manage this food-borne pathogen during her presentation, "Detection and control of salmonella," at Petfood Forum 2011, April 11 through 13, in Schaumburg, Ill.
Hayman will review sampling plan design and implementation, discuss testing technologies and explain the role of process validation studies to ensure the effectiveness of processing steps in the reduction and control of salmonella.
Members of the poultry and feed industries involved in pet food manufacturing are invited to attend this annual event. Details of additional scheduled sessions on pet food processing and safety for this year’s event can be viewed here.

Probiotics innocuous to salmonella vaccines

Commercial derivatives of specific strains of Saccharomyces cervisiae have the ability to agglutinate salmonella bearing Type-1 fimbriae in the intestinal tract of chickens. Laboratory evaluation of the four available licensed Salmonella Typhimurium mutant vaccines for poultry was performed to determine the effect of yeast cell-wall derivatives.
Applying the analytical method described by Mirelman developed in 1980, none of the four vaccines were affected by either Bio-Mos or Actigen. The test demonstrated that the two prebiotic products which have beneficial properties are compatible with administration and subsequent viability of the four U.S. licensed Salmonella Typhimurium mutant vaccines administered to protect the intestinal tract against colonization with Salmonella enteriditis and other serotypes.

House of Raeford Farms cuts broiler production by 10%

House of Raeford Farms Inc. has announced a decrease in broiler production by 10%, along with a reduction in the number of egg sets and other adjustments to improve profits and cash flow. 
The cost of corn and indicators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that corn supplies are at their tightest levels in 15 years have contributed significantly to this decision, according to the company. In addition, high unemployment continues to negatively influence foodservice sales, resulting in an oversupply of chicken that has caused the market price to decrease dramatically. “We decided that acting now was a responsible action for our company in light of continuing unstable economic conditions,” said Bob Johnson, CEO. “Hopefully the chicken prices will begin to increase later this year."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Presentations from Feedtech-Croptech Asia 2011 available for download

The Feedtech-Croptech Asia 2011 Conference, held March 9 by VNU in association with WATT, during VIV Asia in Bangkok, focused on future trends in animal feeds. Presentations by guest speakers Dr. Budi Tangendjaja, U.S. Grains Council, and Dr. Chinnadurai Sugumar, Kemin Industries, centered on whether agricultural co-products or other crop products might be used instead of conventional energy and protein sources in Asian feeds for poultry and pig, and are available for download. registrants can download these presentations by clicking the links below:
Innovation and technology to utilize agricultural co-products for animal feed
Dr. Budi Tangendjaja, U.S. Grains Council
Opportunities for Ingredient Substitutions in Asian Feeds, New Trends in Formulation of Poultry Diets
Dr. Chinnadurai Sugumar, Kemin Industries

European farm leaders oppose Mercosur pact

A severe warning to the European Union about agreeing to a new trade pact with the Mercosur group of Latin American countries has been issued by Copa-Cogeca, the pan-European federation representing farm cooperatives.
EU and Mercosur representatives are due to meet in mid-March to discuss an agreement to liberalize trade in various products between the two communities. Latin American countries are known to want greater access to the market in Europe for their food products, while the Europeans are keen to export more technology and services to Latin America. But Copa President Padraig Walshe and Cogeca President Paolo Bruni have sent a letter to the EU’s administrative commission, saying a new study had concluded that a pact on trade would cause a huge rise in pork, poultry and maize imports into Europe from the Mercosur countries as well as adding to price volatility and potentially leading to a total collapse of the EU beef sector. At the same time, imports from these countries failed to meet EU standards.
According to the Copa-Cogeca leaders, a further liberalization of trade with Mercosur would make the EU more dependent on imports for supplies of grain and meat and Europe’s food security would be affected increasingly by climatic conditions or by political decisions on agriculture in these countries. Moreover, an agreement would double the level of carbon dioxide emissions and there were also still concerns about safety aspects of meat production in these countries, such as traceability and the use of hormones.

Australian sow numbers to rise through 2016

According to the latest projections by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences at its annual outlook conference, the 12 months to March 2012 will see an increase in sow numbers to 307,000, so that slaughters rise to 4.71 million pigs per year and production grows to 338,000 metric tons. The expectations for 2015-2016 are an inventory of 329,000 sows supporting a slaughter total of 4.99 million pigs and 355,000 metric tons of pork produced nationally.
The numbers represent a gradual recovery after decreases over the past 10 years. The number of breeding sows in Australia fell from 356,000 in 2002 to 269,000 in 2010 and pig slaughters fell accordingly, from 5.6 million animals per year to under 4.6 million. The volume of pork produced annually dropped from 407,000 metric tons to 330,000 metric tons.
The driving force for expansion will be relatively high retail prices for the competing meats of beef and lamb, although producers locally also will gain from a projected lowering of feed grain prices that combines with improved productivity to lower their production costs. Imports currently account for about 70% of the processed pig meat market in Australia. ABARES analysts expect around 138,000 metric tons to be imported in 2011-2012 and a further rise to 155,000 metric tons by 2015-2016 as a relatively high exchange rate for the Australian dollar maintains the competitiveness of imports.