Tuesday, April 30, 2013

AFIA offers Regulatory 101 feed course for new employees

    The American Feed Industry Association is offering its Regulatory Training Short Course on November 20-21, 2013, in Arlington, Va. New in 2013 is a half-day Regulatory 101 Pre-session for individuals new to the regulatory field.
    This program is an opportunity for regulatory professionals in the feed, ingredient and pet food industries to come together to develop the skills necessary to lead their company through the regulatory maze. This program is designed for regulatory directors with several years' industry experience and will cover advanced topics and regulatory strategies.
    The 2011 program had experts from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Association of American Feed Control Officials as well as leading private industry experts.

2013 version of the Egg Bill introduced in Congress

      The 2013 version of the Egg Bill mandates a move out of conventional cages to either enriched cages, pictured here, or cage-free systems over a 15-16 year period.
    The new Egg Bill, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013, was introduced on April 25 in the Senate by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; and in the House by Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore; Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif; Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif; Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Penn; Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif; and Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif. Both the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States heralded the introduction of the legislation into the current Congress.
    “Most egg farms are family-owned, independent businesses, which provide an essential low-cost source of protein to 300 million consumers every day,” said Chad Gregory, president of United Egg Producers, which represents farmers producing 95 percent of the eggs in the United States. “We desperately need a federal statute that establishes one national standard of egg production, because the current myriad state legislation threatens to eliminate interstate egg commerce, destroying our businesses and potentially leading to egg shortages and consumer price spikes in many states,” he added. “This would create a major hardship for millions of low- and middle-income consumers.”
    The proposed legislation outlines a minimum national standard for egg production and hen housing in the U.S. in place of contradictory state laws. The legislation is nearly identical to last year’s bill and will require egg farmers to essentially double the amount of space allotted per hen and make other important animal welfare modifications during a tiered phase-in period during the next 15 to 16 years—except in California, where Proposition 2 will require all hens to be out of conventional cages by January 1, 2015.
    The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 would:
    • Require conventional cages to be replaced during an ample phase-in period with new, enriched colony housing systems that provide each egg-laying hen nearly double the amount of current space
    • Require that, after a phase-in period, all egg-laying hens be provided with environmental enrichments such as perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas that allow hens to express natural behaviors
    • Require labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs: “eggs from caged hens,” “eggs from hens in enriched cages,” “eggs from cage-free hens;” and “eggs from free-range hens”
    • Prohibit feed- or water-withdrawal molting to extend the laying cycle, a practice already banned by the United Egg Producers Certified program
    • Require standards approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association for euthanasia of egg-laying hens
    • Prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses except during short periods of adverse weather conditions
    • Prohibit the transport and sale of eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these requirements

Vion Food Group will sell its Ingredients division

    Vion Food Group has plans to sell its Ingredients division, either partially or completely, in order to strengthen the company's financial position. The decision was made by the Board of Vion and the shareholder SLTO.
    Preently, Vion Food Group, with a turnover of roughly €9.5 billion, is one of Europe's largest meat processors and for now has two main activities: Food and Ingredients. The two divisions will become completely separated operational, organizational and legal entities.
    This decision to separate Food Ingredients relates to the fact that Food and Ingredients both serve different markets and clients with their own company strategies. While Vion Food focuses on the pork and beef market, Vion Ingredients delivers products like gelatin, proteins and fats which can be traced back in a lot of different end markets, such as food ingredients, feed ingredients, pharmaceutical industry, porcelain and even green energy. With the activities of Ecoson, Sonac, Rousselot and CTH, Vion Ingredients is serving a broad and varied spectrum of markets while aiming for sustainable leadership.
    Although the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amiotorization were once again positive, the year 2012 has been rough for the holding. The problems, Vion officials said, started when the company didn't succeed to pass the increased purchase prices of pork and raw materials to the retailers and wholesalers and were further stimulated expanding too rapidly to various countries like Great Britain. With the sale of the Ingredients division, Vion wants to arrive at a reduced debt position. A new co-shareholder will be sought to assist in additional progress and growth for Ingredients that already has a strong, healthy financial and organizational basis. 

International Poultry Council stresses food products are safe

    Even though a new strain of Type A H7N9 influenza that apparently originated in a live bird market in China has infected more than 100 Chinese people, consumers can be confident in eating properly cooked poultry meat, according to the International Poultry Council.
    The International Poultry Council, an organization comprised of poultry industry associations from more than 20 major poultry-producing countries around the world, is closely monitoring developments in China regarding the spread of this new strain of Type A H7N9 influenza. Numerous human cases have occurred and have resulted in at least 10 deaths, most of which occurred in people who were exposed to the virus by handling infected birds.
    Thus far, Chinese authorities have worked diligently and vigorously to contain the spread of the virus, have closed live bird markets in Shanghai and in other affected areas, and have destroyed infected birds. Although Chinese officials have found no Type A H7N9 influenza infections in any commercial poultry farms or in poultry processing plants in China, the situation has caused many consumers in China to refrain from eating poultry products. This anxiety among consumers has cost the Chinese poultry industry millions of dollars in lost sales as a result.
    The World Health Organization and leading influenza experts agree that proper cooking is the best defense against foodborne illnesses, including influenza. In fact, Dr. Michael O'Leary, who heads the World Health Organization's office in Beijing, said he eats chicken every day.
    Cooking to an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius destroys any residual viruses that may in the meat. In other words, there is no risk of contracting influenza from eating properly cooked poultry meat.
    Chinese consumers can be assured that all poultry products they get in the market, regardless of origin, can be eaten safely when they are properly cooked.
    "The global poultry industry has been impressed with the growth in per capita poultry consumption in China, which is eclipsing pork," said International Poultry Council President Jim Sumner. "In fact, since 1990, China's per capita poultry consumption has increased nearly five-fold, to more than 10 kilograms."
    Sumner also said that, while poultry consumption dipped during previous influenza occurrences in China, consumers quickly realized that properly cooked and prepared poultry meat is safe, and consumption rebounded.
    He said that the reaction of consumers to previous incidents prompted the International Poultry Council to adopt the slogan: "Poultry is safe. Just cook it.!"

Moark Farms fire results in chicken coop, chick losses

    A fire at Moark Farms' facility near San Jacinto, Calif., claimed a chicken coop and about 100,000 chicks on the morning of April 24.
    The fire was reported around dawn, and about two dozen firefighters found the chicken coop engulfed in flames when they arrived. Firefighters extinguished the fire within two hours and prevented it from spreading to another nearby chicken coop, according to an Associated Press report.

Irish pig farms facing PRRS outbreak

    Ireland’s largest producer of pig semen is investigating how porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) infected its boars, where the air entering the facility is filtered. As a precaution, pig semen is now being imported from Britain. 
    Hermitage Genetics in Kilkenny, confirmed that three of its boars were found to have PRRSV. The disease was detected in the pigs at its quarantined artificial insemination station in Callan following testing. It is the first time blue ear has been found in the Hermitage’s pigs. Some commercial pig farms are implicated too.

Ohio Poultry Association honors industry members

    The Ohio Poultry Association honored its 2013 award recipients April 5 at the organization's annual banquet in Columbus, Ohio. These awards recognize businesses, farms and individuals who have made significant contributions to Ohio's egg, chicken and turkey sectors.
    The Ohio Soybean Council was the selection for the Industry Partner Award. The Ohio Soybean Council mission is to maximize the profitability of Ohio's soybean checkoff funds in targeted domestic and international research, promotion and communication initiatives. The Ohio Soybean Council has worked with the Ohio Poultry Association on an array of projects to advance and grow Ohio agriculture for several years.
    The Legacy Award was presented to Cooper Farms of Van Wert, Ohio.  Cooper Farms was founded in 1938 by Virgil Cooper who raised approximately 300 meat turkeys mainly for the holidays. Today, Cooper Farms produces 4.6 million turkeys, 32 million dozen eggs and 105 million pounds of live-market hogs per year.
    The company employs more than 1,550 people at four locations and works with nearly 300 family contract farms who help raise Cooper Farms' turkeys, hogs and chickens.
    The Ohio Poultry Association's Golden Feather award is given annually to an individual who has distinguished himself or herself as a champion of livestock agriculture or poultry issues. The award was presented to Dr. Mo Saif, of Wooster, Ohio. He is recognized internationally as a leading researcher in the field of poultry diseases.
    He began his 50-year relationship and career with The Ohio State University in 1965 as a research assistant. Through the years, he has held various positions within the university as a post-doctorate fellow, an assistant professor, and most recently served as the head of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's Food Animal Health Research Program since 1993. Saif announced his retirement earlier this year.
    The Golden Egg Award is given to an individual who has provided extraordinary service to Ohio's egg, chicken and turkey farmers. Connie Cahill, of Dublin, Ohio, received this year's award. She has been involved in consumer and agricultural initiatives for more than three decades, and, for many of those years, has represented the Ohio Poultry Association as a spokesperson.
    The recipient of the 2013 Good Egg Award is Ralph Stonerock, of Marysville, Ohio.
    Stonerock has worked in the poultry industry for more than 40 years. During this time he has held a variety of positions from managing a broiler complex and operating egg layer farms to marketing eggs and serving as a production superintendent for a feed manufacturing facility.

French pig herd down 1 million head, says 10-year survey

    In the past 10 years, The French pig herd has decreased by 1 million pigs (300,000 sows), according to the French Agricultural Statistics Service (Agreste). In 2010 France had 22,300 pig farms, compared to 59,500 in 2000. The number of pigs reached 13.8 million (1.1 million sows) in 2010.
    Even though the number of pigs has decreased, the size of French pig farms have more than doubled, to an average of 620 pigs, reflecting the disappearance of small family farms. In 2000, France had 42,800 farms with less than 100 pigs and 20 sows (an average of five pigs) that represented 72 percent of the pig farms and less than 2 percent of the pig herd. In 2010 there were 10,700 farms, with an average of nine pigs or 48 percent of the farms representing less than 1 percent of the French pig herd.
    The pig census has declined in all the regions except Poitou-Charentes, Champagne-Ardenne, and Alsace. The reduction in the number of sows is Nationwide, but especially in Midi-Pyrénées and Aquitaine. The west of France is home to 77 percent of pig production, and Brittany has 57 percent of the swine sector.

Global pork sector outlook strong in latter half of 2013

    The global pork sector has experienced a stable first quarter in 2013, with supply and demand more or less in balance, which has resulted in stable prices, according to a recent report from Rabobank.
    “In the second quarter of 2013, the already difficult market will be further hampered by numerous import bans that startled the industry in the first quarter of 2013,” says Albert Vernooij, Rabobank analyst. “Without questioning the legitimacy of these trade distributions, these will further limit possible upside of the market, which can be characterized by the combination of lackluster demand and rising supply. The only positive note is that pig herd expansion will be postponed or herds will even decline, which together with the forecast declining feed costs, will likely result in better margins at both the farmer and industry levels.”
    However, at the farmer level, the lower than expected hog prices limited the earlier upswing of margins where it was hoped for.
    China, the US and Russia saw pork prices drop due to increased availability which more than offset the slow developing demand. In China, production recovered more quickly than earlier forecast, while in the US the expected production decline did not commence as productivity continued its steady growth and exports slowed due to the strengthening of the US dollar. In Russia, new capacity and higher imports resulted in surging supply. Prices stabilized in the EU, pressured by the declining demand and exports, while in Brazil an unexpected increase was experienced in January, followed by a lower than normal seasonal decline.
    With the growing importance of Chinese and Russian pork imports, combined with the growing export dependency in the US and EU, it appears the seasonal trends in the pork market in the Northern Hemisphere are reversing with strong export demand and high prices in the second half of the year and a difficult market in the first half. If this development continues, Rabobank believes the impact will be huge for the pork industry in the Northern Hemisphere. This will be apparent not only in the changing seasonal price development, but also in the carcass valuation, which differs between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere and between spring and autumn.
    In line with this possible structural development, the second half of 2013 offers better prospects, with forecast large production drops in the EU resulting from the implementation of the sow pen regulations in January and the expected seasonal growth in import demand in China.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pigs raised on Freedom Food farms increased 50 percent over last three years

    The amount of pork products – including sausages, bacon and cooked ham, as well as fresh pork – produced to RSPCA welfare standards and carrying the RSPCA’s Freedom Food logo has increased by 200 percent over the last three years (between 2009 and 2012), showing that pig welfare is still firmly front of mind for consumers despite the increase in cost of living.
    McDonald’s has recently announced it will become the first high street restaurant chain to use 100 percent Freedom Food pork across its UK menu, making it the second largest buyer of Freedom Food pork products.
    New research released by McDonald’s reveals that three quarters of people say they prefer to buy food from farms with high standards of animal welfare in place, and animal welfare ranks alongside price and traceability as the top factors behind their food purchasing decisions (March 2013).
    The increase in Freedom Food labelled pork is mirrored by an upsurge in the number of pigs under the scheme. Over the last three years Freedom Food has seen about a 50 percent increase with around 948,000 more pigs being reared in 2012, compared to 2009.
    “This means that nearly a third of all British farmed pigs are now being reared under Freedom Food where they benefit from the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards, which is great progress,” says David Squair, chief executive for Freedom Food. “It is clear that British consumers remain firmly committed to farm animal welfare, despite the difficult economic climate. This news also reinforces the fact that people really do have the power to bring about positive changes to farm animals’ lives through what they buy at the supermarket and choose to eat in restaurants.
    “The more people demand higher welfare, the more farmers will rear to higher welfare standards and the more animals will benefit from better lives," he said.
    There are now 420 different Freedom Food labelled pork products – including sausages, bacon and cooked ham, as well as fresh pork – available in UK supermarkets.
    According to The Co-operative’s latest annual report, Ethical Consumerism (December 2012), ethical food sales continue to grow, with an increase of 4.66 percent in 2011. Freedom Food labelled products are one of the biggest winners – showing growth in 2010 to 2011 of 17.32 percent.

UK pig farmers unable to invest in new buildings

    Many buildings used for UK pig production are at least 20 years old but producers can’t afford to invest in new structures, according to a recent BPEX buildings survey.
    The willingness to invest is there as pig producers know a better environment leads to production efficiencies, however, the climate isn’t right.
    Some key findings include:
    • 90 percent of pig farms sampled stated that their current facilities were not ideal and they wished to invest in new buildings.
    • There is a wide range in time since investment was last made in new facilities, but many producers have made no substantive replacement or extension to their housing in the past 10 years.
    • Many pig producers still see improvement in physical performance, hence reducing the cost of production, as the main reason for contemplating investment in both facilities and new technology. But better use of labor and the desire to improve animal welfare also featured strongly.
    “This is the first comprehensive study of this type for many years and, while some of the findings confirm often-reported views, others provide a more detailed insight into the industry,” says Nigel Penlington, environment program manager at BPEX. “What is clear is that, while the structure of many buildings on pig farms may be old, they have been maintained so that they remain fit for purpose. But they may not be the most efficient in terms of resource and labor use.

Poultry industry looks for new norm amid volatile feed prices, meat demand

    After experiencing six consecutive years of feed grain market turmoil, the poultry industry is wondering if grain stocks will rebound and poultry demand will be strengthened in 2013. The article, "Grain prices and poultry demand: Searching for the new norm," which can be found in the April edition of WATT PoultryUSA and online, takes a look at the industry's economic factors.
    High on the list of economic concerns is the inventory of corn in the United States and the supply's impact on feed prices. Some don't see the levels of U.S. corn stocks being high enough to lower the cost.
    "In order to fulfill the 15 billion gallon (Renewable Fuel Standard) mandate for ethanol, to produce to meet the potential demand for meat and dairy products in this country, and to restore U.S. supply for export markets to about 2.2 billion bushels a year, we need corn crops of 95 million-plus acres at 165 bushels an acre in every year as far as the eye can see. That's not going to happen. There is not the potential in corn agriculture to make it happen," said industry economist, Dr. Thomas Elam.
    But Terry Barr, senior director of industry research at CoBank, has a more optimistic look at feed prices. "Significant amounts of new production of coarse grains are beginning to come into the market, so inventories may be rebuilt faster than thought," Barr said.
    The WATT PoultryUSA article also takes a look at the poultry industry's other financial factors including a potentially higher demand for animal proteins, poultry's price advantage over red meats, and the relationship between disposable income and meat consumption. 

Register today for pre-World Pork Expo tours

    Two tours for a first-hand look at Midwest agriculture will be offered by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) before World Pork Expo gets underway on June 5–7. The deadline for a discounted registration rate is fast approaching — sign up by May 1!
    “While there’s no shortage of things to see at World Pork Expo, these tours offer an opportunity to gain a more up-close look at Iowa and U.S. agriculture, which is particularly valuable for guests from other countries,” says Greg Thornton, NPPC director of producer services. “Tour attendees will be able to visit with farmers and agribusiness experts face to face, and gain real-world perspectives to take back home.”
    Tour highlights
    Underwritten by the Illinois Soybean Association, the two-day Midwest Agriculture Tour on June 3–4 will display the diversity of U.S. agriculture, from crops to livestock and shipping to agribusiness. This year’s tour features Kinze Manufacturing, Cinnamon Ridge Farms, John Deere Harvester Works and tours of a grain handling facility and the Mississippi river.
    The one-day Agribusiness Tour, on June 4, will feature the rich agricultural areas in and around Des Moines. Highlights include DuPont Pioneer, Swine Genetics International, John Deere Manufacturing and a farm tour.
    Both tours will conclude with a dinner hosted by the National Pork Board to learn about the group’s promotional, research and international programs. The tours include transportation, three meals on tour days, and free admission to World Pork Expo where visitors can enjoy the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, seminars, swine shows and sales, and more.
    Discounts for early registration
    Register early to receive a discounted tour rate. For the one-day tour, the cost is $125 per person if registered by May 1, and $150 after that date. The registration fee for the two-day tour, including hotel accommodations on Monday evening, is $300 per person by May 1, and $350 thereafter.
    Both tours will begin and end at the Holiday Inn Des Moines-Airport. As an added bonus, tour attendees will have access to free transportation from the Holiday Inn Des Moines-Airport to World Pork Expo and back, June 5-7.
    Additional information
    The full schedule for these tours can be found on World Pork Expo’s industry tour web page. To register for these tours, go to www.worldpork.org and click on the red registration button. For additional tour or registration information, contact Greg Thornton at thorntonong@nppc.org or 1-515-278-8012.
    This year, World Pork Expo celebrates its 25th Anniversary, June 5-7, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Visit www.worldpork.org for the latest details about room availability at the official Expo hotels, information for exhibitors and visitors, a schedule of activities, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Energy efficiency workshop planned for Hmong poultry farmers in Missouri

    Hmong poultry producers in southwestern Missouri have an opportunity to learn about improving their farms' energy efficiency at a workshop in Fairview, Mo, on April 25. In partnership with the USDA and Missouri Department of Agriculture, EnSave, Inc. is hosting an energy efficiency workshop at the Fairview Hall.
    The workshop is focused on assisting the Hmong poultry farming community in southwestern Missouri and will kick off at 1  p.m. Topics for the energy efficiency workshop include understanding farm energy use, increasing energy efficiency in poultry operations and accessing financial assistance for energy efficiency improvements. Mitchell Graves, EnSave's training coordinator, will be leading the energy efficiency portion of the workshop. "The Hmong have a strong tradition of poultry farming and they have worked hard to buy their own farms and settle in Missouri," Graves said. "There are a lot of projects to be done on the farm to save fuel costs, and this event will be a great resource for producers interested in those opportunities."
    During the workshop, producers will have the opportunity to discuss funding opportunities with representatives from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Rural Development and the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.  "USDA is making a concerted effort to engage historically underserved groups, such as Hmong, "said Rebecca MacLeod, national energy efficiency liaison for USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service.  "This event will provide some good information for this community to improve their operations and learn more about the resources available through the federal government."
    Attendees will also be able to receive personalized guidance during one-on-one conversations with experts during the four hour event.
    This workshop is made possible by the Missouri Agricultural Energy Savings Team - a Revolutionary Opportunity program, an energy efficiency program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and administered by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the University of Missouri and EnSave, Inc.
    The Missouri Agricultural Energy Savings Team - a Revolutionary Opportunity program was created to strengthen the financial viability of Missouri's livestock producers through energy efficiency.  Since its launch in January 2011, the program has helped hundreds of Missouri livestock producers receive energy audits and implement energy efficiency improvements on their farms and in their farm homes.  The workshop helps to sustain the mission of the program by empowering the Hmong community to make their farms as energy efficient as possible.

Sanderson Farms gets tax abatement for future complex in Texas

    The city council of Palestine, Texas, took further steps in bringing Sanderson Farms to its vicinity, approving a tax abatement contract with the company and an interlocal agreement with Anderson County. The motions were approved at its May 22 council meeting.
    The agreement, presented to the council by Palestine Economic Development Corp. Director Wendy Ellis, allows for an 8-year tax abatement for the value of improvements to be placed on the property inside the city limits for the operation of a hatchery facility, the Palestine Herald-Press reported.
    "The proposed value of the facility to be built will not be less than $16 million and approximately 90 jobs are proposed," Ellis said. "They have requested a tax abatement on a portion of the value of the property to help them establish the new complex."
    In the proposed agreement, in exchange for their investment and jobs created, Sanderson Farms Inc. would receive a 90 percent abatement on the value of the improvements over the next six years (after construction completed, expected in 2015); 85 percent in year seven; and 80 percent in year eight.
    Also during the meeting, the council approved an Interlocal Agreement between the City and Anderson County to extend roads and utilities to the Sanderson Farms processing facility. County commissioners approved the agreement the same day, Ellis reported.
    Sanderson Farms has not yet released any official dates concerning when construction of the new complex will begin. 

BioNitrogen approved for bonds to acquire Louisiana plants

    BioNitrogen Louisiana Holdings LLC, a cleantech company that utilizes proprietary technology to build environmentally friendly plants that convert biomass into urea fertilizer, has announced that the Louisiana State Bond Commission approved $1.25 billion in tax-exempt bonds for the acquisition, development and construction of five plants in Pointe Coupee Parish, La. The Louisiana Community Development Authority (“LCDA”) granted preliminary approval earlier in 2013.
    BioNitrogen intends to continue working with its team of key contractors, including KBR and PRM Energy, to engineer and construct the plants in Pointe Coupee Parish, which will be built in parallel with the Hardee County facilities. The proposed five plants are projected to produce 1,800 tons of urea daily or 621,000 tons of urea annually. In February, BioNitrogen received approval from the Florida Governor to issue up to $175 million of tax-exempt bonds for the construction of the Hardee County plant.
    “The approval of this issuance is another important step toward providing green domestic urea fertilizer to North American farmers,” said Bryan Kornegay, Jr., president and CFO of BioNitrogen. “We look forward to planning, zoning and permitting for the site to move the project forward as quickly as possible.”

Germany animal feed industry to stabilize in 2013

    Germany's animal feed industry is expected to stabilize in 2013, and a large summer European harvest will lower grain prices, according to the industry.
    The German Farm Cooperatives Association has forecast Germany's 2013 grain crop of all types at 44.39 million metric tons against 45.17 million metric tons harvested in 2012 and 45.22 million metric tons forecast in March. German feed producers are also expecting overall stable demand from livestock farmers. Sales of feed for poultry and beef production are expected to rise in 2013 and compensate for expected lower sales of pig feed.
    Germany's feed industry is mostly only buying feed grain supplies for nearby delivery dates on belief prices will fall as big harvests in 2013 are likely, said Heinz Daske, head of the north-east German section of German feed industry association DVT. "The industry is expecting a good harvest in Europe this summer and so falling prices. This means the industry is not buying forward supply cover. I think the harvest prospects are still good despite the long winter." Germany and much of west Europe suffered a long winter with frosts and cold weather well into the normal spring period, which hindered crop growth.

Friday, April 26, 2013

US Midwest flooding delays corn planting

    Heavy rainstorms the week of April 14 in the U.S. Midwest caused flooding as far south as Tennessee and have delayed the planting of corn crops, according to reports.
    Storms on April 17–18 in the northern Midwest dropped 5.4 inches of rain on Chicago and as much as 6 inches on parts of eastern Iowa, said AccuWeather. Corn planting in the largest U.S. producing states was 2 percent complete as of April 14, behind 2012’s pace of 16 percent, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. “The cold, rainy weather is of course reducing the sum of corn acreage that shall be planted each day of delay, while almost certainly increasing the sum of acreage to be planted to soybeans,” said economist Dennis Gartman.
    Corn futures for delivery in July fell 1.2 percent to $6.255 per bushel on April 22 on the Chicago Board of Trade, while soybeans for the same delivery month declined 0.7 percent to $13.7325 per bushel.

Good animal welfare practices don’t always look that way

    Public perceptions about animal welfare remains one of the major challenges of the poultry industry. Yvonne Thaxton of the University of Arkansas Center for Food Animal Well Being did her part to clear up misconceptions, sharing a message with reporters about how what people think of poor animal care is often quite the opposite.
    "A lot of times, procedures that look bad are good. Other procedures that look bad, are in reality, good," Thaxton said April 19 at the Chicken Media Summit.
    She cited one example of how people with no knowledge of the industry sometimes complain about the crowded conditions chickens live in based off of what they saw in a picture. What they don't realize, Thaxton said, is that chickens huddle together because they are flock animals, and in most cases, there is still a lot of open space in the barns that the chickens are choosing not to use.
    In contrast, pictures of rangeland poultry create an image that the birds look happy, healthy and comfortable. But in reality, she said, they are not protected from predators and pathogens.
    Thaxton took a question from the media group that reiterated her point. When asked about why chickens are raised in areas with so little light, she said that just because the light might be dim and not suitable for humans, it is for chickens.
    "It has been determined that they actually get plenty of light," said Thaxton. "It's dim for you, but it keeps them calmer to be in a somewhat low light situation. And that is better for their behavior and their welfare in general." 
    The Chicken Media Summit was sponsored by the National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.  

US layer inventory reaches highest point of year in March

    The average number of layer hens on hand reached 347 million in March, showing a trend of continued growth. The inventory had previously reached its highest point over the past year in February, with nearly 345 million layers on hand.
    The layer numbers during March 2012 were recorded at 340.5 million, according to the USDA's Chicken and Eggs report, released on April 22.
    March egg production also increased two percent from the same month in 2012, according to the report.  Production included 6.99 billion table eggs, and 1.08 billion hatching eggs, of which 1 billion were broiler-type and 79 million were egg-type. 

Ethanol plant in Minnesota closes again

    A recently reopened ethanol plant in Buffalo Lake, Minn., has closed again, and its top executives have been fired amid a bankruptcy fight.
    Only 10 of Purified Renewable Energy's 23 employees remain on the job, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported, and the plant has only enough borrowed money for a few weeks.
    The former Minnesota Energy plant was built in 1997. It was closed for 2.5 years but resumed production of corn ethanol in 2012 after a farmers' cooperative sold it to new investors. The reopened plant never hit its 25 million-gallon-a-year capacity and was disrupted by two fires in the fall of 2012, as well as financial struggles brought on by high corn prices.  

Delmarva Poultry Industry honors growers, industry advocates

    The Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. honored 12 chicken growers and three individuals for their work on behalf of the chicken industry at the 2,000-member trade association's annual membership dinner and booster banquet, held April 17.
    The J. Frank Gordy Sr. Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award, the organization's highest honor, was presented to William G. Massey. Massey started working in the chicken industry in 1979 as a flock supervisor. He joined Mountaire Farms Inc. in 1988 as a flock supervisor and now is vice president of live operations. Massey has been involved in various organizations to serve the industry, including the Delmarva Poultry Industry, the Maryland Agricultural Commission and the Maryland Poultry Political Action Committee.
    Demarva Poultry Industry's Medal of Achievement award for an elected person was presented to Maryland State Sen. Mac Middleton. Middleton, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is one of the few farmers in the General Assembly. He has been a strong supporter of the chicken industry and agriculture in general since joining the Senate in 1995. He was recognized, in part, because of his outreach to the chicken industry on General Assembly issues, the Star-Democrat reported.
    Delaware Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee was presented with the Edward H. Ralph DPI Medal of Achievement for a non-elected person. For more than 30 years, he worked for the University of Delaware; retiring in 2008 to become director of agriculture for Hanover Foods Corporation. In 2009, Gov. Jack Markell enlisted him to become secretary of agriculture. Kee credited with working to help the chicken industry remain strong and grow, as well as working on behalf of the chicken industry by seeking money to maintain and improve chicken diagnostic services at the University of Delaware.
    DPI also recognized 12 outstanding poultry producers. Selected by their companies from Delmarva's nearly 1,600 poultry growers, this year's recipients are:
    •Mark and Theresa Baker, Greenwood, Del. Allen Harim Farms LLC
    • Sam and Patti Cooper, Marydel Amick Farms LLC
    •Rick and Kim Hall, East New Market Mountaire Farms Inc.
    • Kiwon and Sunmee Kang, Laurel, Del. Perdue Farms Inc.
    •Raymond and Dianne Marvel, Houston, Del. Perdue Farms Inc.
    •Ronnie and Barbara Matthews, Greenbush, Va. Tyson Foods Inc.
    •Chad and Tami Mitchell, Frankford, Del. Mountaire Farms Inc.
     •Honeysuckle Farm, Pocomoke City Mountaire Farms Inc.
     •Mindy and Tom Phillips, Gumboro, Del. Perdue Farms Inc.
    •Jason Powell, Delmar Mountaire Farms Inc.
    •Lee and Dana Richardson, Willards Perdue Farms Inc.
    •Ronald and Audrey Tyndall, Seaford, Del.

New Egg Bill to be introduced soon, sources say

      The Egg Bill establishes a roughly 18-year transition period where conventional cages will be phased out and hens will be housed in either enriched cages, pictured here, or in cage-free systems.
    A new, slightly revised, Egg Bill is likely to be introduced to both houses of Congress in the next few weeks, according to congressional aides cited in published reports. Chad Gregory, president and CEO, United Egg Producers, would not provide a date for the expected introduction of the legislation. He said that the United Egg Producers are committed to having the legislation reintroduced in Congress and getting it passed before the end of September.
    The Egg Bill (H.R. 3798 and S. 3239) was introduced into the last Congress as an amendment to the Egg Products Inspection Act. Proponents of the Egg Bill attempted to have the Egg Products Inspection Act amendment added to the Farm Bill. Work on a new Farm Bill was postponed 12 months as part of the running battle over federal fiscal matters. Congress now has until the end of September 2013 to pass a new Farm Bill.
    The United Egg Producers' agreement with the Humane Society of the United States was extended until the end of September of 2013. When asked about any changes in the 2013 version of the Egg Bill versus the prior bill’s language, Gregory said, “The 2013 Egg Bill and the prior Egg Bill differ slightly. We are calling them technical corrections. All [changes] are helpful for egg farmers.”
    The United Egg Producers will hold its annual Legislative Meetings May 20-22 in Washington, D.C., and members are sure to spend much of their time on Capitol Hill lobbying their representatives to support passage of the Egg Bill.

Pork producer launches consumer website

    Swift Premium Fresh Pork, a pork producer, announced the launch of www.swiftfreshpork.com . The website features a product guide, recipes, cooking instructions, food handling tips for all of the Swift Premium brands.
    The site features a layout that makes it easy for consumers to find any information they may need, such as an FAQ page that offers tips on storing fresh pork products, cutting a full pork loin, proper thawing and more. The site is allows users to "like" their favorite recipes or "pin" them to their Pinterest board. For smart phone users, QR codes have been added to packaging on some Swift Premium Fresh Pork products, allowing shoppers to pull up recipes at the meat case before deciding what to buy.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

House of Raeford transition from turkey production going well

    House of Raeford Farms' plan to phase out of the commodity turkey business to focus on its broiler sector and ready-to-cook chicken and turkey products is going smoothly, according to the company's managment.
    On March 14 the company announced it would phase out House of Raeford Farms' commodity turkey growing and slaughter operations in eastern North Carolina,  which includes closing its Rose Hill hatchery and Raeford slaughter plant. It also means farmers raising turkeys for the operation would no longer have a secure place to sell their birds.
    Turkey products will remain part of business
    While House of Raeford will no longer be in the turkey growing business, it will continue to process turkey products. Ready-to-cook poultry products are growing in popularity with consumers, whether they are chicken or turkey meat.
    "The recent changes we made were not only based on an increased emphasis on chicken production, but also on the expansion of our fully-cooked turkey and chicken product lines," said Robert C. Johnson, House of Raeford's chief executive officer.
    Products that House of Raeford plans to expand processing of include ready-to-cook chicken, tray pack ground turkey and chicken, battered and breaded nuggets and patties, and fully-cooked turkey and chicken products.
    The company envisions maintaining a successful and fully-operational turkey cook plant to process turkeys, but the birds will be grown and provided outside of the company. At the present time, House of Raeford does not have any plans to re-enter the turkey growing and slaughtering business, even if it becomes more financially viable.
    Growth of chicken sector
    The move to place more emphasis on chicken products was a direct reflection on the promising financial state of the broiler industry, versus the economic struggles of the turkey industry, according to Johnson.
    "We have seen steady growth in our chicken operations over the past decade, and we have confidence that the broiler markets will continue to be profitable," he said.
    At the time the changes were announced, the chicken business represented more than 90 percent of the company's sales. Within the past 10 years, growth in chicken operations helped House of Raeford transform into one of the nation's top-10 chicken producers and processors.
    Meanwhile, the effect of high corn prices has had a harsh effect on the turkey industry. With multiple years of flat-to-declining per-capita turkey consumption, and falling turkey commodity prices, the company opted to no longer grow its own turkeys.
     "The increased emphasis on fully cooked, ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products as well as expanded broiler production will certainly affect our future marketing plans and the positioning of the company going forward," said Robert C. Johnson, House of Raeford's chief executive officer. "However, we will continue to preserve the benefits of a family-owned and operated company with a focus on producing safe, wholesome and great-tasting products. These are the qualities that have allowed us to be successful for more than 50 years."
    Facilities undergoing changes
    Johnson said the company is still in the early stages of the transition, but "everything seems to be on the original 4 to 6 month phase-out timing."
    The Rose Hill hatchery will be closing in early May, while the processing plant in Raeford continues to work in all departments until the slaughtering process ends. That is projected to be sometime in May.
    There are no current plans for establishing a new facility for the expanded processing of ready-to-cook chicken products, said Johnson. Nor will the company need to repurpose the closing turkey slaughter plant. The capacity in the existing plants over the next two to three years, Johnson said, will be sufficient.
    The company will, however, continue to operate its Raeford cook plant, and will expand its production on value-added chicken and turkey products.
    Working with growers, employees
    House of Raeford's management would like to continue to work with many of the growers it has been associated with while in the commodity turkey business, if they are willing to transition their turkey operations into broiler operations.
    "These discussions are in the early stages with each of our turkey growers, so only a few firm decisions have been made at this point. However, we expect many growers will make the decision to convert to broiler production as we expand our chicken production operations," Johnson said.
    As for employees at the affected House of Raeford facilities, the company is doing what it can to see that as many as possible can maintain employment.
    "We expect many employees from the hatchery operation in Rose Hill will transfer to one of our two chicken processing plants in the same county. Since the Raeford, turkey processing plant will not close for three or four months, we have not actually begun these specific discussions with our employees at that location," Johnson said.
    The company has also contacted other meat processors in the area who are willing to employ Raeford processing plant employees for positions in their companies.

US poultry healthy because of biosecurity measures

    The U.S. poultry flock is as healthy today as it has ever been, Dr. John Glisson said, and biosecurity measures are a big contributing factor to the health of domestic birds. Glisson, director of research programs for the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, delivered that message to a group of reporters at the Chicken Media Summit on April 19.
    Glisson told the group, who during the previous day toured Sanderson Farms facilities, that they may have noticed they did not tour a breeder farm. That was not because the staff at Sanderson Farms didn't want the media to see the facilities, but because they had to protect the birds from any disease that may enter.
    "The biosecurity is so strict on those breeder farms, that you can't take a group of people in there," said Glisson. "There's too much disease risk. When you're talking about biosecurity, the No. 1 thing we're trying to control is people. Most of the diseases that come onto a chicken farm walk onto that farm on two feet. People are the source of contamination for most things."
    Glisson added that other major sources of contamination are rodents, insects and other birds. That is why so many poultry birds are in contained environments.
    "We used to grow a lot of turkeys outdoors in this country," said Glisson. "Every year, there would be multiple flocks that would get infected with avian influenza."
    It was common in those types of farms for a flock of migrating birds to fly over and be attracted to the wide open feeders and drinkers.
    "They'd land in the middle of it and start living with turkeys. A few days later, they have influenza. What you saw with the style of housing … they are contained because of all the things we're trying to keep out."
    Glisson also explained to the members of the media present that unlike the human medical profession, which focuses largely on treating illnesses after they have already occurred, the veterinary profession is totally focused on disease prevention.
    The Chicken Media Summit was sponsored by the National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.  

USPOULTRY accepting nominations for Charles Beard Research Excellence Award

    The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the USPOULTRY Foundation are accepting nominations from colleges and universities for the Charles Beard Research Excellence Award through July 1. The goal of this award is to recognize outstanding completed research projects, funded by USPOULTRY or the USPOULTRY Foundation, which have made a significant positive impact on the poultry industry. The nominee may be recognized for multiple completed USPOULTRY research projects, all focused on the same subject area.
    Nominations can be solicited from the universities and research institutions that conduct poultry research, as well as from anyone in the research community or any USPOULTRY member, staff, and sponsored committee. Self-nominations are also allowed. Nominations should focus on research projects completed within the past five years, but may include projects completed at an earlier time if a project's impact has only recently become recognized. A nomination form can be found on the USPOULTRY website.
    The recipient of the Charles Beard Research Excellence Award will be the primary researcher who conducted the recognized research project(s) and will receive round-trip transportation to and two nights lodging at the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta. A cash prize of $1,500 will also be awarded.
    The award will be presented at the IPPE at either the International Poultry Scientific Forum or the Meat and Poultry Research Conference. The award will be presented by Dr. Beard and the Chairman of the Foundation Research Advisory Committee.
    USPOULTRY and its Foundation operate a comprehensive research program incorporating all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. Since the inception of the research program, USPOULTRY has reinvested more than $24 million dollars into the industry in the form of research grants, with the International Poultry Expo, part of IPPE, as the primary source for the funding. More than 50 universities and federal and state facilities have received grants over the years.

Feed additive producer announces increased profits

    Anpario, the international producer of natural feed additives for animal health, hygiene and nutrition has announced increased profits and earnings per share for the year ended December 19, 2012.
    Total underlying profits before tax and exceptional items increased by 39 percent to £3.1 million on sales up 23 per cent at £23.5m.  Underlying earnings per share  increased by 49 percent to 13.32 pence per share there was also advance in gross profit, which was ahead by 33 percent to £7.7 million, reflecting the contribution from Meriden's portfolio, production efficiencies and a richer product mix in the UK.
    The balance sheet remains strong and debt free with a year-end cash balance of £3.7 million after a net cash outlay of £2.6 million to acquire Meriden and associated costs and a final dividend of 3 pence per share is proposed, an increase of 25 percent over the previous year's payment of 2.4p.
    Anpario chief executive David Bullen commented: "The Group's performance has been excellent and shows that the investments made to our production plant and our focus on value-added feed additives is delivering the expected benefits. The acquisition of Meriden has enhanced our product range and global market share.
    "The Group has made a strong start to the current year and is very well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities in all its markets. The balance sheet remains strong with no debt and the cash generative nature of the business allows us to make those selective investments and earnings enhancing acquisitions which will drive progress and continue to enhance shareholder value."
    Operations - International Agriculture
    Significant growth was achieved during the year by our operations in the key markets of Latin America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. These territories, including China, will continue to be regions of priority as the combination of their size, population growth, increasing economic affluence and demand for meat protein, offer great potential for our agricultural sector.
    China is the Group's No. 1 priority country, where poultry production is greater than Europe's output and pig production is double that of Europe. Our subsidiary in China delivered sales growth of 122 percent, compared with the level of the previous year. The Kiotechagil brand is now firmly established in the five key Chinese provinces that we have focused on since launch. In 2013, the business will continue to concentrate on increasing market penetration, as well as selective expansion into other provinces.
    The Optivite brand will be introduced to China in order to target a different market segment using a separate distribution channel. Solid foundations have now been built and the company looks forward to further success in this market.
    The Middle East remains an important market and the company is heartened by a number of sound performances in that region which have been achieved despite the political uncertainty in some countries. European markets continue to be challenging as economic growth remains generally low with little early prospect of improvement.
    A feature of Anpario's international expansion has been our strategy of building local presence in key territories. Working with partners and a distribution network, Anpario  is establishing local operations where appropriate. This approach is enabling the Group to be much closer to its customers and end markets, allowing Anpario to better understand the local market and through short lines of communication, respond rapidly to opportunities and changing circumstances.
    The Group also has an additional presence in China through Meriden's distributor based in Guangzhou. Meriden China has strong representation with the top twenty feed mills and has continued to grow its business. Our central technical team has been working with Meriden to develop some new products to help broaden its range. The initial testing ground has been with the Meriden Australia joint venture, where some new products have recently been launched. Meriden is performing well and has opened up new markets on the African continent.
    Anpario aquaculture interests, formerly a separate division developing and marketing the Aquatice brand, have now been combined with those of Meriden. This logical development will be more financially efficient and allow greater sales focus as Aquatice is marketed alongside Meriden's Orego-Stim, Aquatract and Phyconomix. Customer trials are continuing with all three brands in South East Asia and although significant sales growth is some way off, Anpario  believes farmers will gradually adopt these innovative products into their fish farm feeding regimes.
    Operations - UK Agriculture
    This Division has made excellent progress throughout the year with growth in sales reflecting the re-positioning of the business to focus on value-added products. Towards the end of the year, the Division took steps to target the home-mix market more aggressively by recruiting specific resource to provide a focused service and support for home-mix customers.
    Economic pressures within the UK organic animal feed market have persisted. However, Vitrition, Anpario's organic division, has defied the trend and through strong control of its cost base has capitalised on operational improvements and specific targeting to successfully broaden and diversify its customer base. The division delivered an exceptional set of results and is a leading player in this market committed to supplying the organic meat production industry and consolidating its market share.
    Central operations
    Further modest investment is currently being made in the UK with the introduction of a process control and inventory management system, which will streamline our production process further and automate certain functions.
    Product development for all the brands is on-going and a feature of the Anpario growth strategy; it is expected to underpin the momentum of our trading businesses as the pipeline of new products is selectively and carefully launched into the market. This process has already begun and is showing promise as some of these new products start to increase their contribution to Group sales. In addition, there has been restructuring of the technical team to make it better able to support the sales teams and end users.
    The Group has a made a strong start to the current year with sales growth across all divisions. Anpario's focus continues to drive organic growth by aggressively pursuing market share in key target regions and capitalising on the operational gearing that Anpario's scalable production plants offer. While geopolitical and financial concerns remain, the resilience of the business, with its geographic spread, is expected to help to offset these regional factors. The Group is very well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities in all its markets. The balance sheet remains strong with no debt and the cash generative nature of the business allows us to make those selective investments and earnings enhancing acquisitions which will drive progress and continue to enhance shareholder value.

Veterinarians stress education on preventative antibiotic use

    A panel of veterinarians stressed that efforts must be made to educate the public that antibiotics are not just placed into feed to help prevent an outbreak of any random disease. Instead, a specific risk must be identified.
    William Flynn, deputy director for science policy at the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, was one of four veterinarians who took part in a panel discussion "The role of the Veterinary Feed Directive - The Future of antibiotics in poultry production," hosted by WattAgNet.com and sponsored by Zoetis. Their discussion can be viewed on an online video.
    According to Flynn: "There may be some misperceptions that when we talk about disease prevention that it's in a generic sense, that antibiotics are being put into feed, for example, to sort of prevent whatever disease comes along. That's not at all what we're talking about here, and we wouldn't consider this to be a judicious use of that drug.
    "You are specifically identifying a disease that you believe a specific group of animals is at risk of being exposed to and having an outbreak of a disease, and based on that risk, made the decision that its warranted to administer the drug or antibiotic in a preventative modality," Flynn said.
    Flynn was joined in the discussion by G. Donald Ritter, Mountaire Farms director of health services; Randy Singer, associate professor, University of Minnesota Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences; and Stephen Sutherland, Zoetis senior director of regulatory affairs.  

Registration for Alltech symposium available

    Can the agriculture industry feed the world while sustaining its land, air and water? Terms such as "carbon footprint," unheard of 10 years ago, now pepper the pages of newspapers and magazines and are gradually making their way into legislation. Seven years from now, in 2020, what will the impact of this be? Take a glimpse at the future at the 29th Annual Alltech International Symposium in Lexington, Ky., from May 19-22.
    "Sustainability is key for the future of the agriculture industry. Put simply, if it's not sustainable, it's not going to last. Carbon footprint is only the tip of the iceberg: global warming, droughts, flooding, pollution and water shortages are all becoming major global issues," said Kevin Tuck, managing director of Alltech's European Bioscience Centre and chairperson of the environment track at the symposium. "It's time for agriculture to step up and lead. Improving efficiency within any process reduces expenses, resources used and waste."
    New in 2013, Alltech International Symposium delegates will have the opportunity to select breakout session tracks. These tracks, as opposed to traditional species or subject breakouts, will offer attendees a more holistic experience in which they take part in discussions ranging from algae and agriculture's carbon footprint to nutrition and marketing.
    Environment-focused breakout session tracks include:
    Here Comes The Bill. Get ready. Your carbon footprint tax bill is in the mail. Do you know what your environmental footprint is going to cost you? What will you do when the carbon taxman comes calling?
    Water: It covers two-thirds of the earth, yet there is not enough to drink. Designing businesses around the most essential ingredient of all.
    Global Warming: Is It Real? In 2020, just seven years from now, will we trade carbon credits or products
    The 4-Point Plan: Know your carbon footprint and lower your taxes. (1) Audit your current carbon footprint. (2) Analyze what is causing that carbon footprint. (3) Recommend. (4) Re-audit three months from now.
    Embrace The Carbon Footprint: How the Irish have embraced the carbon footprint to improve their green image. Lessons learned from the Irish and others around the world who are working in this area.
    Agriculture, Will It Be Less Toxic? Worldwide, agriculture emits the greatest amount of carbon of any industry. What does this mean for environmental control and legislation of carbon dioxide?
    Registration after April 15 is $850. Two paid registrations from a single company or organization will receive a third registration free of charge.
    Attendees are encouraged to register early as space is limited. Of the nearly 3,000 international delegates who attended the 2012 Alltech International Symposium, 97 percent indicated that they plan to attend again.

Mountaire Farms building new poultry hatchery

    Mountaire Farms has started an $8.5 million project to build a new hatchery near Millsboro, Del., with help from a state grant.
    Mountaire officials recently received a $255,000 grant from the Delaware Strategic Fund to build the hatchery, expected to increase chick production from 750,000 to 1.8 million each week, the Cape Gazette reported.
    A company spokesman said the project is driven by customer demand.
    Mountaire, which has another hatchery in Princess Anne, Md., started planning the hatchery expansion last year, when officials decided to add on to an existing building in Millsboro. The 22,000-square-foot expansion will result in 85,000 square feet of hatchery space. Eggs to supply the new hatchery will come from Mountaire's breeder operation in North Carolina. Nearly 200,000 eggs will arrive at the Mountaire plant by tractor trailer.
    This is also an opportunity for chicken growers in the region, because along with the new hatchery comes the need for more growers. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cargill unveils Harvest Provisions Turkey brand foodservice website for schools

    The Harvest Provisions Turkey brand of Cargill has launched a new website designed to help K-12 school foodservice operators enhance the appeal of their menus and grow their meal programs, while also complying with federal nutrition guidelines.
    The website features in-depth details on the brand's more than 30 protein-rich, lower-fat, turkey products, which were created specifically for the unique needs of K-12 foodservice operations. The site also offers dozens of creative menu concepts featuring Harvest Provisions items, matching the diverse serving venues and times of today's schools - from breakfast to classroom and cafeteria lunches to after-school-snacking and beyond.
    In addition, school foodservice operators will find insightful trend information related to childhood nutrition, as well as helpful training and product preparation tips. The site also offers guidance on ordering products through Cargill's convenient commodity processing program, which allows operators to use their USDA 100124 Turkey Chilled bulk turkey entitlements for value-added Harvest Provisions products.
    "Many school foodservice operators struggle to find the right balance between providing smart nutrition and serving foods that students will get excited about eating," said Deborah Schulte, Cargill foodservice marketing manager. "Our turkey products, and our new website, make it easier for them to do both. The site is a unique resource containing value-added information that can help our customers boost program participation and run a better operation."  

The Poultry Federation opens Don & Randal Tyson Conference Center

    The Poultry Federation officially announced the opening of the Don & Randal Tyson Conference Center as part of its new building on April 18. The announcement was made by Marvin Childers, president of The Poultry Federation, and John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods Inc.
    The company donated $1 million for the construction of the new building, a gift that stemmed from a commitment made by John's late father, Don Tyson, in 2010.
    "The poultry industry is a huge economic engine in Arkansas' economy," said Childers. "Poultry cash receipts of $3.6 billion, represents 47 percent of the total cash receipts from all agricultural commodities in Arkansas. Our industry accounts for one in four agricultural jobs in Arkansas, and we are the only state to rank in the top 10 in chicken, turkey and egg production."
    The new building, located at 321 South Victory St. in Little Rock, will serve as the headquarters for The Poultry Federation, which serves the poultry and egg industry in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The Don & Randal Tyson Conference Center will be used for industry-related meetings and will also be available to legislators and other policy makers. The Center is named in honor of the late Don Tyson, the former chairman of Tyson Foods, and the late Randal Tyson, Don's half-brother who was a Tyson Foods vice president and served a term as president of the Poultry Federation.
    "The Poultry Federation's new building represents the future of the poultry business, which is so important to Arkansas and nearby states," said John Tyson. "The Federation is a leader in addressing poultry industry and agricultural issues and we're proud to be part of it."
    The announcement was made during a special luncheon at The Poultry Federation headquarters that was attended by representatives of Tyson Foods, Poultry Federation members and various state officials.  Due to inclement weather in northwest Arkansas, John Tyson was unable to attend in person and participated via video conference.
    The new Federation building is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified building located in the Capitol Zoning District.  The total cost of the building, including furniture and equipment was about two million dollars.
    The Poultry Federation is a tri-state trade association representing the poultry and egg industry in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.  The Arkansas Poultry Federation was established in 1954 in Little Rock.  In 1998, the office consolidated with Missouri and Oklahoma to become The Poultry Federation. The purposes are to promote and protect all poultry interests relating to production, distribution, merchandising and consumption of poultry and poultry products; to disseminate information relating to the various phases of the poultry industry in order to improve and expand markets; to increase efficiency in production and marketing; to encourage and support research in production and marketing of poultry; and to encourage and support youth programs in poultry work.

Avian influenza scare further hinders KFC’s sales in China

    The outbreak of avian influenza in China is hurting KFC sales there, parent company Yum! Brands stated. The company is already suffering from an image problem in China, from an earlier controversy over its chicken suppliers.
    The Kentucky-based company said in a regulatory filing on April 17 that the new avian influenza cases have had a "significant, negative impact" on KFC. The news comes at an already sensitive time for the company, which has been working to rebuild trust with customers following a television report that its suppliers were giving chickens unapproved levels of antibiotics.
    That report already hurt sales for Yum!, which has about 5,300 locations in China. For March, Yum! said sales at restaurants in China open at least a year fell 13 percent, including a 16 percent drop at KFC. The decline follows a 20 percent drop for January and February.
    The impact from the bird flu cases would be reflected in April's sales results, which will be reported May 10. Yum! Brands also operates Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. 

Chicken Media Summit attendees learn poultry meat benefits

    Bill Weldon, vice president of global outreach and development and Western Europe commercial business for Elanco Animal Health, and Susan Finn, president and CEO of the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition, delivered a keynote address to attendees of the 2013 Chicken Media Summit on April 17. Together, they shared how animal source foods are the key to enriching people's lives and feeding the world for the next 50 years.
    The three key elements of this new research focuses on broadening the understanding, empowering collaboration and advancing innovation. Statistics show that by 2050 we are expected to have about 9 billion mouths to feed. That means 70 percent more food will be needed and 70 percent of this will need to come from efficiency-improving technology.
    "Food security has far-reaching ramifications for health productivity and quality of life at the individual, community and global levels," attendees were told. "Historically, as societies emerge from poverty, they begin to consume animal source foods. Meat, milk and eggs provide a nutrient-rich diet, which is critical for brain and muscle development, and disease prevention, along with weight management. All of these combine to improve health and productivity, ultimately enriching people's lives."
    The summit, held in New Bern, N.C., runs April 17–19. The event is being hosted by the National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association

Sanderson Farms broiler production complex more than chicken feed

    What's the economic value of the Sanderson Farms chicken production and processing facilities in Kinston, N.C.? Mark Pope, executive director of Lenoir County Economic Development, ticked off the numbers for the news media attending the Chicken Media Summit in nearby New Bern.
    "All together the economic impact [of the Sanderson Farms chicken complex] amounts to about $62.8 million annually," said Pope. "That revenue and disposable income rolls over five to seven times in the local communities and the state."
    Sanderson Farms' investment in the complex in eastern North Carolina and Kinston amounted to $123.4 million, while contract broiler farmers invested another $100 million in grow-out facilities.
    News media take a tour of a Sanderson Farms broiler grower operation.
    • The 1,562 hourly and 125 salaried jobs created generate an annual payroll of $38.5 million.
    • The 84 grow-out contracts yield an estimated $24 million annually to area farmers.
    Citing Sanderson Farms' role as a corporate partner in eastern North Carolina, including the company's involvement in workforce training, Pope said, "We are most appreciative to Sanderson Farms for what they have brought to our community."
    Media members toured the broiler complexes' hatchery, feed mill, processing plant and wastewater treatment facility on April 18 as part of the Chicken Media Summit, which is sponsored by the National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. 

Food safety online course registration available

    Food and feed quality and safety are increasingly hot button issues requiring the feed and pet food industries to prepare and respond to the upcoming Food Safety Modernization Act. In response, the American Feed Industry Association and Kansas State University are offering AFIA 520 - Advanced Feed Safety and Quality Assurance Protocols completely online.
    The course was developed by Kansas State's Department of Grain Science and Industry and North Carolina State University's Department of Poultry Science along with leading industry experts to provide training and understanding of the industry's increasingly complex requirements for quality and safety.
    "Not only is safe food and safe feed customer driven, it is also driven by a need to comply with the upcoming Food Safety Modernization Act," says Keith Epperson, American Feed Industry Association vice president of manufacturing and training. "Our industry has a clear focus to understand the requirements and be actively involved in compliance."
    The course starts on May 20, 2013, and will last for five weeks with participants working at their own pace and engaging in online discussion. The cost is $499 for American Feed Industry Association members and $685 for non-members. Size is limited to 50 participants so early registration is recommended. Visit the association's website to register.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Study finds food prices rising

    Continuing a decade-long increase, global food prices rose 2.7 percent in 2012, reaching levels not seen since the 1960s and 1970s but still well below the price spike of 1974. The price increases reverse a previous trend when real prices of food commodities declined at an average annual rate of 0.6 percent from 1960 to 1999, approaching historic lows, according to Worldwatch Institute's Vital Signs Online service.
    Along with higher price levels, volatility has also increased dramatically in recent years. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the standard deviation -- or measurement of variation from the average -- for food prices between 1990 and 1999 was 7.7 index points, but it increased to 22.4 index points in the 2000-12 period.
    Although food price volatility has increased in the last decade, it is not a new phenomenon. According to World Bank data, the standard deviation for food prices in 1960-99 was 11.9 index points higher than in 2000-12. Some price volatility is inherent in agricultural commodities markets, as they are strongly influenced by weather shocks. But the recent upward trend in food prices and volatility can be traced to additional factors including climate change, an increase in biofuels production, higher-than-normal imports, trade policies, low levels of stocks, rising energy and fertilizer prices, and increased trade within futures markets for food commodities.
    International food price trends (measured in terms of consumer prices, not those paid to producers) varied by commodity in 2012. Due to the ubiquity of corn, wheat, and rice in global diets, changes in the price of cereal grains generally affect consumers more than fluctuations in other foods. Since food prices began increasing in the early 2000s, cereal prices have jumped more than 80 percent and exhibited significant volatility, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Continuing this trend, global cereal prices increased 12.3 percent in 2012. Unfavorable weather conditions -- including severe drought in the United States and Eastern Europe -- drove cereal prices up 18.2 percent between June and September, when they approached the all-time high observed in 2008. 
    Various forces affecting global food supply and demand have influenced the level and volatility of food prices in the last decade. Population growth and increasing affluence -- predominantly in Asia -- have led to rising food demand since 2000, which in turn has triggered higher global food prices. Between 2000 and 2010, Asia's population grew 12 percent, from 3.7 billion to 4.2 billion, and in 2010 Asians accounted for 60 percent of the world's population. In South-Central and Southern Asia alone, the population increased by 16.5 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, wages nearly doubled in Asia from 2000 to 2011, whereas they increased only 18 percent in Africa and 15 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Other factors that affected global food prices in the last decade include an increase in biofuels production, higher-than-normal imports, trade policies, low levels of stocks, rising energy and fertilizer prices, and increased trade within futures markets for food commodities.
    "There is reason to believe that food commodity prices will be both higher and more volatile in the decades to come," said Sophie Wenzlau, the study's author. "As climate change increases the incidence of extreme weather events, production shocks will become more frequent. Food prices will also likely be driven up by population growth, increasing global affluence, stronger linkages between agriculture and energy markets, and natural resource constraints." 
    Further highlights from the report:
    • Between 2000 and 2012, the World Bank global food price index increased 104.5 percent, at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent.
    • Despite an end-of-year decline in 2012, international wheat prices were 17 percent higher in January 2013 than they were a year earlier, and maize prices were 11 percent higher. The international price of rice moved up only marginally, by 0.4 percent.
    • The World Bank estimates that the 2011 food price spike -- driven by a 57.9 percent increase in global cereal prices between June 2010 and April 2011 -- drove 44 million people into extreme poverty (under US$1.25 a day).
    • Between 2000 and 2011, global biofuels production increased more than 500 percent, due in part to higher oil prices and the adoption of biofuel mandates in the United States and European Union. 

Meat producer MHP reports poultry production, sales, exports increases

    Ukrainian meat producer MHP reported export sales of chicken meat nearly tripled during the first quarter of 2013, when compared to the same quarter the previous year. Exports for the quarter ending March 31 reached 23,000 metric tons.
    The company saw the biggest increases of export sales to Middle Eastern, Asian and African nations.
    MHP also saw a 15 percent increase in poultry production during the quarter. Volumes for the quarter amounted to 103,420 metric tons, compared to 90,260 metric tons produced during the same quarter a year ago.
    The company attributes much of that growth to the completion of the poultry processing complex in Vinnytsia, which is fully operational and gradually increasing its capacity outcome.
    MHP's sales of chicken meat also increased by 8 percent, reaching 91,720 metric tons. 

Sanderson Farms seeking poultry houses to supply future operation in Texas

    Sanderson Farms is seeking about 574 poultry houses to supply their future Palestine, Texas site. Sanderson Farms will be building three poultry facilities - a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill -- in the Palestine area.
    Sanderson Farms plans to build three facilities in the area, two of which will be located in Anderson County and one in Freestone County. The company will invest about $92 million on the construction of a hatchery and processing plant that will be located in Anderson County and an additional $32 million on the feed mill in Freestone County. Once the hatchery and processing plant is open, the company expects to employ as many as 1,000 people.
    For landowners who are interested learning more about Sanderson Farms and their production contracts, an information meeting will be held on May 2 at the Palestine Civic Center, the Freestone County Times reported.
    A starting date for construction has not yet been announced. 

Chicken industry opens doors to media at Sanderson Farms in Kinston, NC

    The poultry industry is putting its best foot forward April 18 as members of the news media tour the Sanderson Farms chicken complex in Kinston, N.C.
    Media representatives from 30 different news outlets will get a look at one of the nation's broiler production and processing operations, as they visit a broiler farm and the hatchery and processing plant at Sanderson's Kinston complex.
    The tour is part of the Chicken Media Summit, which got under way Wednesday with a reception and dinner attended by representatives of the chicken industry and the media.
    National Chicken Council Chairman Bill Lovette of Pilgrim's Inc. addressed media members, saying, "We are opening up these facilities to you (in the tour) so that you and your readers and listeners can see and understand what we are doing as an industry and how we are doing it.
    "I know that your readers and your listeners and your viewers are very interested in where their food comes from. They want to know how animals are raised, and they have a lot of questions about modern agriculture. We want to be part of trying to garner the understanding and help answer some of those questions. So that is why we are taking the approach that we are."
    USPOULTRY board member Bill Morris of Morris and Associates reminded the group of the poultry industry's economic importance, saying the industry generates more than 1 million jobs annually with an overall economic impact of $205 billion.
    The Chicken Media Summit is sponsored by the National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. 

Broiler exports see 8 percent year-over-year drop

    U.S. broiler shipments in February 2013 were down 8 percent from the same month in 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture reported on April 17. Broiler exports for the month totaled 588.4 million pounds.
    According to the agency's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report, the primary reason for the drop was lower shipents to Angola, Taiwan and Hong Kong, compared with a year ago, dropping 35, 49 and 60 percent, respectively.
    Exports to several countries increased, most significantly China, where shipments rose by 94 percent. Exports to Cuba were up 34 percent and shipments to Iraq were up 42 percent from a year ago. However, those increases were not enough to offset the drop in exports to the other countries. 

Antibiotic alternatives not as reliable, Mountaire veterinarian says

    Mountaire Farms director of health services G. Donald Ritter is "very concerned" about the availability of antibiotics to treat poultry in the future, adding that alternative remedies just haven't measured up. Ritter, also a veterinarian, made those comments during a panel discussion that can be seen on an online video.
    Ritter noted that some antibiotics - such as sarafloxacin and enroflaxacin - had been approved but were later withdrawn from the market. Any similar disappearances of antibiotics for poultry would be tough for the industry, he said.
    "When we use an FDA approved antibiotic, we know what it's going to do. It's going to do it every time at the dose prescribed. It's going to work the same way, because they've vetted it out. It's been through the rigors. It's been through the millions of dollars of approval process," said Ritter. "When we use something that's not FDA regulated, it's the Wild, Wild West. There are no standards, there's no quality control, there's no hurdles."
    Ritter was joined on the panel discussion by William Flynn, deputy director  for science policy at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine; Randy Singer, associate professor with the University of Minnesota's Department of Veterinary and Biomedial Sciences; and Stephen Sutherland, senior director of regulatory affairs at Zoetis. The discussion was hosted by WATTAgNet.com and sponsored by Zoetis.