Friday, June 28, 2013

Immigration reform may offer poultry industry more reliable labor pool

      Immigration reform being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives would help the poultry industry, National Turkey Federation President Joel Brandenberger says.
    The ag guestworker bill that passed out of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee would benefit the poultry industry if it became law, giving the industry reliable access to a labor pool, according to National Turkey Federation President Joel Brandenberger, who spoke at the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association's Financial Management Seminar on June 25.
    The ag guestworker bill, proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who represents a district heavy into poultry production, recently passed through the committee 20-16 along partisan lines, Brandenberger said. Goodlatte serves as the committee's chairman.
    The House bill as written is part of a pathway to citizenship, he said. Workers would be allowed to work for 36 months on an initial visa, but would have to "touch back" to their home country for a period of about six weeks before they would be allowed to return to the job.
    "That three years is very important, because it creates a greater reliability in the labor pool," said Brandenberger.
    While the House is working on a series of individual bills related to immigration reform, the Senate is pinning its hopes on the "Gang of 8" bill that could pass within days. While Brandenberger said the Senate bill is "a step in the right direction," he acknowledged it still falls short of some of the poultry industry's needs.
    The public may have the perception that Washington is totally gridlocked, but Brandenberger said that view is not entirely accurate. In fact, he said the odds of the two houses and the two parties reaching some form of compromise and passing legislation are better in 2013 than they were in years past, or would be in 2014.
    "There's a better chance than there has been in a long time to get something done," he said. "But in the immigration reform world, a great chance would be a 25 to 30 percent chance, as opposed to a zero- to one-percent chance, where it normally is. We're not advising any of our members to start planning on any immigration paradigm right away, but if this happens, I think it will happen this year. I think if you get into next year, it is going to be harder for a lot of election-year reasons, so I think there is a lot of urgency on everyone's part."

Biomethane plant supplies power to 5,000 homes

    After an eight month construction period, one of Germany's largest biomethane refineries has gone live in the Altmark Industrial and Commercial Zone and has been supplying the public grid since May. With four digesters of 4,900 cubed meters, six digestate storage units of 5,000 cubed meters and a liquid reservoir, the Nordmethan plant from Vechta, Lower Saxony, produces 1,650 standard cubed meters of raw biogas an hour. Fifteen percent of this raw material is used for the heat needs of the plant, which was designed by Weltec Biopower.
    By using chemical amine treatment, the gas converts about 700 standard cubed meters of processed biomethane an hour, with a methane content of 99 percent - enough to supply 5,000 homes with power and heat. For this purpose, a solid matter dosing feeder loads maize silage, whole-plant grain, sugar beets, dry chicken dung, chicken manure, liquid manure and water as substrates into the stainless-steel digesters. In total, the substrates delivered by local farmers amount to more than 70,000 tons a year.
    "The biomethane refinery in Arneburg demonstrates that we must provide the right answer to the growing demand for biomethane for the various utilization paths. This sustainability is also highlighted by the fact that Nordmethan has created ten regular jobs and two training jobs, "says Jens Albartus, Director of Weltec Biopower.

Poultry equipment supplier releases 100th steam scalder

    Meyn, a poultry processing equipment supplier, announced that the 100th jet stream scalder has been delivered to German poultry processor, Wiesenhof Holte. Wiesenhof is one of Meyn's long established customers in Europe with 10 poultry processing facilities throughout Germany and Poland. The steam scalder was introduced three years ago.
    Dr. Heinrich Paul Dröge, Director of Wiesenhof: "We already ordered five jet stream scalders in the past for our other facilities and are very satisfied with the results so far. The jet stream scalders provide us with a maximum scalding and plucking result, high quality and good hygiene in combination with a great reduction of energy used compared to conventional scalding systems." Commissioning of this machines took place in June in Holte, Germany.

The Farm Bill would fail to feed struggling families, says ag secretary

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement today on the failure of the House version of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill:
    "The failure by the House leadership, for the second year in a row, to reach consensus on a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is a tremendous disappointment for all Americans. Twice now, the U.S. Senate has done its job and passed balanced, comprehensive legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support. Unfortunately, the House version of this bill would have unfairly denied food assistance for millions of struggling families and their children, while failing to achieve needed reforms or critical investments to continue economic growth in rural America. As a result, the House was unable to achieve bipartisan consensus."

Poultry welfare training course available

    The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization Inc. is bringing its Poultry Welfare Auditor Training Course to Canada on September 17-19. Held in cooperation with the Poultry Industry Council, the event will be located in Woodstock, Ontario. The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization is an organization of five animal industry organizations with expertise on best management practices and current science in animal agriculture.
    While the organization has been training poultry welfare auditors since 2006, this will only be the second time the course has been offered outside the United States. "Over the years we have had significant interest and participation from Canadians in our poultry courses," says organization chairman Karen Christensen of O.K. Farms, Ft. Smith, Ark., and one of the main instructors for the upcoming training. "When we were approached about holding another training in Canada, it seemed a logical next step to continue to broaden our scope and also accommodate the increasing demand from the Canadian poultry industry. Last year's course was so well-received, we were pleased to be asked to return in 2013."
    Although the course has been modified to align with the Canadian poultry industry structure, the training will adhere to poultry welfare audit criteria that are commonly audited and will be equivalent to the U.S.-based sessions. Welfare will be addressed related to broilers, turkeys and egg layers and includes production segments of breeders, hatchery, grower/producer, transportation and processing.
    Classroom instruction will be held the first two days, with the first day providing a background on management and husbandry related to welfare criteria and audits. Day two will focus specifically on the process to audit those welfare criteria. On the third day, trainees will go into the field for audit demonstrations at broiler, layer and turkey facilities. At the conclusion of the site visits, participants will complete a closed-book test.
    In addition to Christensen, other primary auditing instructors will be Don McIntyre, directory of poultry research and technical services for Diamond V Mills; and Matt Jones, director of Audits and Assessments, Validus, LLC. The instructional staff also includes experts in production, health care, bio-security and processing.
    Trainees at the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization's auditor certification classes represent a broad spectrum of animal welfare  from academia to customers to suppliers. Corporate sponsorship for this training spans various segments of the poultry industry as well  New Life Mills, Egg Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph Department of Pathobiology, Turkey Farmers of Ontario, Maple Leaf Foods and Cargill.
    Registration is now open on a first-come, first-served basis at a cost of CAN$1,073.50 per trainee. Class size is limited, so interested persons should contact Poultry Industry Council at +1.519.837.0284 or e-mail:
    "We are delighted to be able to cooperate and bring this training to Canada," says Annette Hartley, Project Manager, Poultry Industry Council. "The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization has long been recognized as the standard of excellence in animal welfare auditing and by holding their poultry welfare auditor course here we will be able to increase the understanding of welfare validation as well as the concentration of Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization-certified auditors in Canada and thus better service our country's growing poultry industry." 

Poultry expert urges industry to be vigilant about avian influenza

    The H7N7 avian influenza cases confirmed during the week of June 18 in Boles, Ark., should have the entire industry thinking about the disease and its impact on poultry exports. Mike Donohue, vice president of Agri Stats, said anyone who has an avian influenza vaccination plan needs to become familiar with it.
    Speaking at the USPOULTRY Financial Management Seminar on June 25, Donohue said that in 2008, a lot of poultry companies implemented some sort of avian influenza program after author John Barry wrote the book, The Great Influenza, telling about the 1918 outbreak in China that killed tens of millions of people and gave insight on a possible upcoming pandemic of avian influenza.
    "Most of our companies have set up some sort of avian influenza program and thought we were going to control it if it came to our shores. It did not come at that time. But the question came up," said Donohue. "If you've got those plans in place, dust them off. Pull them out of the filing cabinet. Bring them back up on a PDF format on your computers."
    While the influenza found in Arkansas was low-pathogenic, the ban of Arkansas poultry exports to certain countries has already surfaced. It was only several weeks ago that Arkansas was authorized again to export to China after a moratorium that lasted roughly seven years, Donohue said. The fate of any possible bans may depend on the United States' relationship with a particular country, he added.
    Donohue also said the U.S. poultry industry should be vigilant about avian influenza because of the outbreaks in Mexico during 2012 and again in 2013, saying Mexico is not that far away and infections could cross the border. 

Avian influenza contained in Arkansas

    The infection of a flock of chickens in Arkansas with H7N7 avian influenza was quickly contained, according to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.
    The small outbreak came to light when a grower from Boles, Ark., who raises chickens for Tyson Foods, had some birds showing symptoms of the disease. Tyson, the integrator, ran some tests and on June 18 informed the commission of the findings, said Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Director Preston Scroggin. The commission subsequently sent staff members to the site, where they walked through the building and took samples from birds at the farm. About 40 percent of the chickens analyzed tested positive for the low-pathogenic H7N7 virus.
    The flock of about 9,000 birds was euthanized. Those birds were all in the same barn, and no others on the farm were infected, said Scroggin.
    Scientists and veterinarians from the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission have been on the scene ever since to monitor the situation. The barn has been locked and the process of disinfecting the building has begun.
    The chickens at the infected farm were believed to have caught the disease from wild fowl that had been in the area during a recent flood. When the initial discovery was reported, birds from within a 6.2-mile radius were quarantined. None of the commercial chickens from the surrounding area have tested positive.
    "We have not found anything at this time positive from anywhere else," said Scroggin. "We'll be there for about a month to keep on top of the situation."
    While all of the commercial flocks in the region have been tested for avian influenza, the Arkansas commission is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find any personal or backyard flocks that might be in the area and be at risk. The farm is in a remote area that is sparsely populated.

Storing higher levels of corn can pay off in long run

    The drought-free period from 1988 to 2012 was good for the poultry industry because there were healthy harvests of feed corn. But it also had its consequences, Poultry Perspective economist Paul Aho said June 24 at the USPOULTRY Financial Management Seminar.
    That period of high corn production also lulled poultry producers into feeling of complacency, which was dangerous to the industry.
    "Yields were rising. No droughts were happening, so what could possibly go wrong," he said, noting that producers did not see any reason to have extra corn "hanging around not earning anything."
    "We thought we didn't need it, until we did need it," said Aho.
    Over the course of the last three years, record-high corn prices have emerged and the poultry industry has suffered.
    And even though Aho said corn supplies appear to be rebounding in 2013 and the drought is over, he advised that the U.S. poultry industry learn from its mistakes.
    "I think there's a lesson to learn here about storing grain and having access to grain," Aho said. "The Chinese are famous for storing grain. We sometimes criticize them for storing too much grain, but they have 5,000 years of history and they remember certain things about history. Storing grain is probably a good idea. It's mentioned in the Bible and a lot of thoughtful people have mentioned it over the years."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

World Egg Day 2013 drawing closer

    World Egg Day will be celebrated October 11, 2013. Support materials and ideas to make the most of the day are available from a variety of sources, and as always, the International Egg Commission is offering a variety of suggestions on how to celebrate the event via
    Past international egg days have followed a variety of approaches to celebrating eggs and raising awareness of the benefits that their consumption can bring. These have featured everything from large-scale, open-air events to cooking classes.
    For example, this year in the UK, a full week of initiatives is planned, running from September 30 to October 6. Details, along with useful facts about eggs can be found at:

Poultry companies’ finance departments must 'report the war'

      Paul Fox, CEO of O.K. Foods, speaks about the role of accounting departments at the USPOULTRY Financial Management Seminar.
    Poultry companies should take a few lessons from history and realize the importance of "reporting the war" to the people fighting on their side, Paul Fox, CEO of O.K. Foods said June 24 at the USPOULTRY Financial Management Seminar. He related this principal of accountability for poultry producers by saying the Trojan War and Civil War were both lost after the Trojans and the Confederates accepted a rosy picture of the situation and were caught with their guards down.
    "There are those who fight the war, and those who report the war. The finance and accounting teams report the war, while everyone else is fighting it. The fighters are executing battle plans that were created within the organization, based on that organization's understanding of the year they are operating in," Fox said.
    A finance team's role of reporting the war is critical, as the team creates the very basics of understanding that ultimately correct the battlefield for a poultry company. Good planning and effective execution are both dependent on a strong finance and accounting team, Fox said.
    Fox cited an example of when O.K. Foods knew they needed to improve the deboning process at one facility. The company was able to make the needed adjustments because it had a thorough and detailed accounting of the processing performance.
    He also related a story of another longtime processor who accepted an upbeat picture of the company's financial situation, when in fact it was severely struggling. He did not name that company, but he said it was no longer in existence as a result of poor war reporting.
    While the truth about a bleak financial situation may be difficult for companies to accept, Fox paraphrased C.S. Lewis, saying, "If you seek truth, you may find comfort in the end."
    Fox added that finance and accounting personnel not only need to tell their side to those in the battlefield, but also seek to learn from those on the front lines.
    "Make sure you get out of the office from time to time," he said. "It's not enough to have math skills in order to be able to do your job. You have to have a first-hand sense for what the numbers actually represent."

Asia will drive growth for poultry industry

    “In the last 40 years, developed countries were the drivers of growth,” said Osler Desouzart, consultant, OD Consulting. “The world is changing, and it is changing towards Asia." He stated that, in the past, the hope of Brazilians was to export to the EU and Japan; now it will be Asia. Desouzart, who spoke at the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council’s annual meeting in Williamsburg, Va., said that poultry imports in Asia and the Pacific Rim will grow, and imports in the EU will decrease.
    Income fuels consumption
    Rising standards of living result in the consumption of more animal products, according to Desouzart. “More money in pockets means more meat in the diet,” he said.
    Developing countries will be the drivers of growth because of increasing populations and incomes. Desouzart expects that 77 percent of the increase in world poultry production will come in developing countries. He said that poultry production in Asia will grow but not fast enough to keep up with consumption.
    Importance of water
    Desouzart said that it takes four times more water to produce an animal-based diet than for a vegetable-based diet. Countries will export water-embedded animal products to countries that don’t have enough water to produce them. To an extent, this happens already when grain is exported to arid countries where it is used to feed animals for human consumption. Chicken is the most efficient of the major farm animals at producing meat, so Desouzart said that poultry producers are well positioned to help feed a world where water availability will play an increasing role in where food is produced.

Indian poultry market an elusive prize for poultry exporters

    By the year 2030, India will be the world’s largest consumer of food, according to Eric Joiner, vice chairman, AJC International, and chairman of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council’s International Poultry Development Program. Joiner, speaking at the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council’s annual meeting in Williamsburg, Va., said that India currently has 1.27 billion people living in an area one-third the size of the United States. There are 650 million people in India under the age of 30, equivalent to the combined populations of the U.S. and the EU.
    There is a growing middle class in India, with per capita income growing at 4.9 percent annually. One million engineers graduated from universities in India last year. Joiner said that 60 percent of the population is non-vegetarian. Broiler production and consumption are growing at a 12 percent annual rate, currently at 2.8 kilograms per capita, but approximately 5 kilograms for the meat eaters.
    Explosive growth
    Total poultry consumption in India is expected to triple to 9.1 million metric tons by 2030. There is currently a very small processing industry in India; 95 percent of poultry is sold live through wet markets. Live chickens are purchased in the market, and they can be killed and processed for the consumer right there, or the live bird can be brought home. Joiner said that branded processed and refrigerated poultry sales are expected to grow 20 fold by 2030 to $8.3 billion. Quick serve restaurant chains in India, such as McDonald’s and KFC, are predicting explosive growth, but supply is a limiting factor, Joiner reported.
    Joiner characterized India as a dynamic growth market. “There is extreme demand and dynamic growth in a lot of different areas,” Joiner said. “Clearly there are major challenges in food safety, biosecurity, governmental oversight, and very little regulatory oversight.”
    Joiner said that quick serve restaurant and retail growth potential are limited in India by processing and cold chain capacity.
    “Imports will come, but it will take a long time,” Joiner said.
    Developing markets
    Joiner said that the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council’s philosophy is that healthy and safe poultry products help everyone, not just U.S. producers. “A rising tide floats all boats,” he said. Because of this philosophy, he said that the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council tries to engage poultry industry groups in countries like India to help them develop and modernize. The Indo-Dutch Centre for Excellence is already working with Indian poultry producers.
    Osler Desouzart, consultant, OD Consulting, said that the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and Brazilian poultry producers should work together to open export markets for poultry. “We have to talk and cooperate,” he said.
    The U.S. and Brazil are the two largest poultry exporting countries, and opening markets is good for the consumers in importing countries and for Brazilian and U.S. producers.
    Desouzart, who reports that he visits with clients in India a few times a year, said, “We should be visiting India.” But he isn’t optimistic that the Indian government will open the country to poultry imports: “They shall not open their markets; [the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council should] join forces with the Brazilians and prepare for a fight.” 

Ukraine expected to become major player in broiler exports

      Peter Pawlenko of AJC International talks about the Ukraine's emergence as a major competitor for broiler exports.
    Most people in the U.S. broiler industry likely do not consider the Ukraine as a major competitor for exports, said Peter Pawlenko, director of global poultry, fruits and vegetables at AJC International. But, he told those attending the USPOULTRY Financial Management Seminar on June 24 that they should. With a rapidly growing pace of production, the broiler supply in Ukraine has also grown.
    The product that they have is very appealing to the developing countries in Europe, Asia and Africa that are looking to import more poultry. The whole birds produced there range from 3.75 to 5 pounds, but the price per pound is much more appealing at 65 cents per pound, said Pawlenko.
    "This product is fresh-frozen from recent production. There's nothing wrong with it. It hasn't been in a freezer for a year," he said. "Oh, and by the way, it's already across the ocean, sitting in a port in the Ukraine."
    Adding to the appeal of Ukrainian poultry is that it meets the halal designation, which gives it a competitive advantage over most U.S. poultry for Islamic consumers. Pawlenko said as the world's Islamic population is expected to grow by 25 percent by 2020, it will be even more of an advantage in the future.
    U.S. processors have also been stubborn in the past when it comes to packaging sizes, but the Ukrainian broiler product comes in a smaller, 14 kilogram boxes, making it "the perfect size for international markets," Pawlenko said.
    Pawlenko cautioned U.S. processors not to get complacent or overconfident because other developing countries, like the Ukraine, can emerge and be competitive in export markets.
    "This is really to me a big surprise where the competing product is going to come from. It's a real wake-up call to the industry and a wake-up call for the buyers around the world. A lot of these countries are advancing very rapidly," he said. 

US egg production up 3 percent in May, latest USDA report shows

    Egg production in the United States totaled 8.02 billion during May, up 3 percent from May 2012, according to the US Department of Agriculture's latest Chickens and Eggs report, released June 21. Production included 6.92 billion table eggs and 1.10 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.02 billion were broiler-type and 79 million were egg-type.
    The total number of layers during May averaged 345 million, up 1 percent from May 2012. May egg production per 100 layers was 2,327 eggs, up 1 percent from May 2012.
    All layers in the U.S. on June 1 totaled 346 million, up 2 percent from June 2012. The 346 million layers consisted of 289 million layers producing table or market-type eggs, 53.5 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs and 3.15 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on June 1 averaged 75.2 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from June 1, 2012.
    Egg-type chicks hatched
    Egg-type chicks hatched during May totaled 48.3 million, up 8 percent from May 2012. Eggs in incubators totaled 42.4 million on June 1, up 10 percent from June 1, 2012.
    Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery-supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 215,000 during May, down 29 percent from May 2012.
    Broiler-type chicks hatched
    Broiler-type chicks hatched during May totaled 775 million, down slightly from May 2012. Eggs in incubators totaled 634 million on June 1, up 1 percent from June 1, 2012.
    Leading breeders placed 7.49 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during May, up slightly from May 2012.

More avian influenza cases not expected in Arkansas

    While a group of chickens in Arkansas have tested positive for H7N7 avian influenza, the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission is optimistic there will be no additional cases.
    The small outbreak came to light when a grower from Boles, Ark., who raises chickens for Tyson Foods, had some birds showing symptoms that were concerning. Tyson and the integrator ran some tests and on June 18 informed the commission of the findings, said Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission director, Preston Scroggin. The commission subsequently sent staff members to the site, where they walked through the building and took samples from birds at the farm. About 40 percent of the chickens analyzed tested positive for the low-pathogenic H7N7 avian influenza.
    From there, the samples were sent to a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Iowa, where the results were confirmed.
    The flock of about 9,000 birds was euthanized. Those birds were all in the same barn, and no others on the farm were infected, said Scroggin.
    Scientists and veterinarians from the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission have been on the scene ever since to monitor the situation. The barn has been locked and the process of disinfecting the building has begun.
    The chickens at the infected farm were believed to have caught the disease from wild fowl that had been in the area during a recent flood. When the initial discovery was reported, birds from within a 6.2 mile radius were quarantined. None of the commercial chickens from the surrounding area have tested positive.
    "We have not found anything at this time positive from anywhere else. We'll be there for about a month to keep on top of the situation. We'll be there 24-7," said Scroggin. "At this time, we feel like it's just this one particular operation. You never can tell, but at this time we feel pretty good about it."
    While all of the commercial flocks in the region have been tested for avian influenza, the Arkansas commission is working with USDA to find any personal or backyard flocks that might be in the area and be at risk. However, since the farm was in a remote area that is sparsely populated, Scroggin added, "we might be lucky."
    Scroggin complimented the grower, Tyson Foods, and the USDA for their help as the testing has taken place.
    "Tyson has been nothing but stellar to work with both before this and during this. They're constantly testing, and I think they were on top of it pretty quick," he said. "We've really been blessed working with the field staff, USDA, and the integrators. They've all been Johnny on the Spot."

Universities and research group partner to feed world

    Two universities and a major research provider are joining forces to position Scotland at the forefront of the global challenge to sustainably feed a growing world population. The ideas is to build an alliance which brings together researchers from different disciplines to tackle the challenges of sustainable food production, the depletion of natural resources including productive land, water and nutrients and the impacts of climate change on society.
    The Scottish Food Security Alliance-Crops draws together three research organizations  the University of Aberdeen, the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute  to create a center of internationally-recognized excellence in crop science, soil science, environmental modeling and human nutrition.
    The alliance was formally launched June 20 at the Royal Highland Show in Ingliston by the chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, James Withers. Withers said, "Food and drink is a national success story just now. The industry has serious growth ambitions, looking to boost sales within the United Kingdom and double our exports over a ten-year period.
    "However, there are challenges in a fast-changing world. How do we grow sustainably in a world of increasingly finite resource? As Scotland looks to produce more with less resources it has never been more important for our leading universities and research institutes to collaborate. The Food Security Alliance is timely and exciting. The food and drink industry needs armed with emerging science and understanding. With that, we'll play our part in rising to the food security challenge and, in so doing, secure economic success for Scotland too."
    Members of the alliance will collaborate on research projects to enhance crop yield and optimize resources by integrating crop and soil science, improve nutritional quality and safety in the food chain, assess the impacts of farming on the environment and harness the productive potential of diverse kinds of landscape.
    The aim will be to provide practical solutions for the agricultural industry, and the knowledge which will inform decisions by policy-makers and funding bodies. The research will be initially around three broad areas of joint activity, in which the partners have international strength and funded collaborations already in place. These are:
    • Plant crop science: translating basic research on crops into products and production systems
    • Plant-soil interface: looking at the activity of soil microbes with the aim of improving the efficiency of fertilizers
    • Food systems: environmental and social factors necessary for a sustainable and secure supply of safe, nutritious, affordable and high-quality food.
    The alliance hopes to deliver this by providing a vibrant hub attracting excellent collaborations that focus on relevant and practical outcomes, providing access to collective facilities, funding joint research studentships and resourcing to enable the exploration of new opportunities and the shaping of funding and policy agendas.
     "The world's population is growing and as the wealth of people in development increases, the demands for food will place unprecedented pressure on the plant's resources. Given the relationship between lack of access to affordable food and political instability, food security is being given a high priority on global and national political agendas. This exciting new alliance will enable us to build on and strengthen existing collaborations to develop new areas of research as we work together to tackle one of the biggest challenges of our time. Sustainable intensification of agriculture and producing more food from the same resources is key to achieving this and will provide the focus for much of our work," said Professor Iain Gordon, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, said.
    Professor Jon Connell, Vice Principal for Research at the University of Dundee welcomed the development of this new collaboration. He said, "Food security is a vital issue for society internationally, and is an area where Scotland can provide important leadership. The partnership within the Alliance builds on the strengths of the institutions concerned, and will lead to increased collaboration among us, and with external agencies. The alliance offers substantial opportunities to make a real difference in understanding the risks to food supply worldwide and how the academic sector can develop novel solutions. The University of Dundee is wholly committed to this venture and will work with its partners to ensure that the collaboration is successful."
     "One of today's global challenges is the need to increase world food production to feed the burgeoning world population. Increasing crop production and yield is at the centre of meeting this need but it also requires a robust understanding of soil fertility and chemistry as well as the feed through to human nutrition. Addressing this challenge in a sustainable way against a background of climate change, and big changes in society, behaviors and expectations requires new thinking, scientific rigor and, above all, collaborative working. This new alliance brings together three organizations to enhance critical mass and research strength in the key areas needed to address the Food Security challenge. This is a real alliance of excellence to be built on for the benefit not only of Scotland but for our global population today and tomorrow," said Professor Peter Morgan, Vice-Principal and Director of the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen.

Michael Foods subsidiary to acquire Primera Foods

    M.G. Waldbaum Company, a subsidiary of Michael Foods Inc., the seventh largest egg producer in the US, announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Primera Foods Corporation. Included in the transaction will be Primera's manufacturing assets located in Britt, Iowa, and Altura, Minn., where Primera produces value-added egg products.
    "The purchase of the Primera business is an important decision for our company," said Jim Dwyer, chairman and CEO of Michael Foods. "The two businesses are complementary, and the acquisition will allow the Michael Foods family of companies to extend its capacity and manufacturing capabilities."
    "By increasing our production capacity for egg products, we will be better positioned to address the needs of our customers going forward," said Dwyer. He said the addition of the Primera business will broaden Michael Foods' reach across North America, Europe and Asia. Dwyer said the initial focus of the acquisition will be ensuring a seamless transition for Primera customers.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Butterball to expand Illinois processing facility

    Butterball is set to add expand its facility in Montgomery, Ill., which the company purchased from Gusto Packing.
    The plant, which was purchased by Butterball in December, currently employs about 500 people at the facility, but the expansion will enable the company to add about 75 jobs over the next two years. The company will be eligible for state tax credits based on the jobs that are created, according to the Montgomery Patch.
    The expansion project was struck in cooperation with the State of Illinois, Village of Montgomery, the Montgomery Economic Development Corporation and Kane County. 

Live poultry markets reopen in Shanghai

    Shanghai's live poultry markets began to reopen June 20, though the local government will sharply limit the trade in the wake of the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak earlier in 2013. The government plans to only allow the trade to grow to about half of its size before the outbreak because of health concerns.
    Two wholesale markets and six retail markets have been given approval to reopen, according to news reports. The markets are allowed to sell live chickens, pigeons and quail, but not ducks or geese.
    The government will allow more live poultry markets to open if they meet the stricter standards established in the Shanghai Live Poultry Transaction Regulation. However, authorities will limit the total number of markets to 200, the report said.
    There were three live poultry wholesale markets and 461 retail markets in the city before the government shut down the trade on April 6 to prevent avian influenza from spreading.
    Under the new regulation, live chicken dealers must keep records on where they buy their poultry and how many birds they sell. They also must obtain an inspection certificate for their products.
    The live poultry markets will have to shut down every year from January to April, the time of year that a bird flu outbreak is most likely to occur. The market must also close one day a week so its managers can clean and disinfect the chicken pens and the vehicles that transport the birds.
    The regulation also requires the area where the chickens are sold to be separated from the rest of the market and to have its own entrance and exit. All birds must be slaughtered on the premises.
    The government ultimately aims to phase out the live poultry trade and is now encouraging consumers to buy frozen chicken instead.

UK Royal Society of Medicine: eggs shift from health risk to recommendation

    Evidence presented at a meeting of the UK's Royal Society of Medicine's Feed and Health Forum says that UK eggs have moved to being a dietary recommendation.
    The Royal Society of Medicine is an independent educational organization for doctors, dentists, scientists and others involved in medicine and health care, whose experts now advised that, as UK eggs are no longer linked to Salmonella or heart disease, and with changes to hen feeding practices producing healthier eggs, vulnerable groups that previously were told to avoid eggs should now be encouraged to eat them due to their nutritional profile.
    Twenty-five years after former Health Minister Edwina Currie claimed, "Most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now infected with Salmonella," she says that "you can have your soft-boiled egg today in Britain, provided it's got a little Lion on it, it's safe."
    The British Lion scheme, introduced 10 years after the Salmonella crisis, made hen vaccination against Salmonella compulsory. 

Discuss the latest poultry, pig and feed trends in AnimalAgNet’s LinkedIn group

    Stay up-to-date on the latest poultry, pig and animal nutrition research and trends by joining WATT's AnimalAgNet group on LinkedIn.
    This group is an extension of the website and is designed to be a forum for research, discussion and exchanging ideas on the global animal agribusiness market. Currently members are discussing the future of animal production and the HSUS, global poultry market trends and the global pork industry.
    Have a production issue or nutrition question? WATTAgNet's agriculture editors and experts are here to help you enhance your bottom line and raise healthy, ethically treated livestock. Multiple points of view are welcome and we encourage active participation on the trends and news shaping the animal agribusiness markets.
    To keep the conversations going and to stay abreast of the latest news and research, we also invite you to join us on:
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New pig software designed to improve sow management

    Software updates from WEDA provide new tools designed for pig farmers to help increase the efficiency of their operation by comparing data between the animal house segments of mating station, waiting section and farrowing section.
    Based on the new software architecture, the sows can now also be identified as individual animals in the group at the feed valve. Animals standing at the feed trough will not be anonymous any more. Also data from an external computer, as for instance the demand feeding station "4PX SowComp" can be read in from the liquid feeding computer via interface. This way, important data is stored in the main computer, for example, the number of the sow, the number of the responder, or the day of the cycle. The sow only has to be allocated to the respective feed valve.
    Additional applications complete the WEDA program. The exchange of data by means of Mobile Data Recording (MDE: offline solutions for sows with eartag reader. The Search Function with the help of the MDE is practical in sow managements as the mobile device is cross-linked with the work schedule of the computer.
    If the sows have considerably fallen short of their target feed, the pig farmer is able to identify the animals in question by scanning their eartags. In case of the animal in question, the device acknowledges the scan of the eartag with an acoustic signal. A look at the display tells the pig farmer immediately the reason for the alarm by presenting him the respective data.
    Furthermore, sows are able to receive a reduction or a supplement of their feed rations depending on the number of piglets. Finally, the system allows the adding of an animal-individual amount of water at the valve by integrating the water curve for each sow into the feed graph.
    As an online solution it is also possible to control the processes with the W-Mobile. This way, all important feeding data can be looked at or altered by Smartphone, Tablet or other mobile terminal equipment - worldwide or inside the house.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

National Pork Board approves $450,000 in PEDV research funds

    In less than three weeks since the positive identification of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) in the United States, the National Pork Board approved $450,000 to help speed research into finding answers to this new disease threat facing the domestic pork industry. This amount, coupled with funds just approved by the Iowa Pork Producers Association's research committee, brings the current total devoted to PEDV research to $527,000 from the two producer-based organizations.
    "The National Pork Board took this action to help get answers to U.S. producers as quickly as possible to help protect their herds from this devastating disease," said Conley Nelson, National Pork Board president and producer from Algona, Iowa. "Because of the investment producers make as part of Checkoff, we're able to respond quickly to sudden disease threats such as this."
    According to Dr. Paul Sundberg, the Pork Checkoff's vice president of science and technology, PEDV is not a new virus outside of the United States nor a regulatory/reportable disease, but rather a production-related disease that hits young pigs under three weeks of age particularly hard. In the handful of states that have seen the disease, mortality rates have been high in pigs of this age, while older pigs that may get the virus typically recover.
    "Since PEDV is widespread in many countries, it is not a trade-restricting disease," Sundberg said. "While PEDV may appear clinically to be the same as transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus with acute diarrhea, producers who suspect their herd may be infected should work with their herd veterinarian immediately if any TGE-like symptoms appear. And, as always, they should maintain strict biosecurity protocols."
    The objectives of the Pork Board's swine health committee, which will oversee the PEDV research, will be to get real answers about the spread and transmission of the disease, along with measures to detect, diagnose, prevent and control it. To help facilitate this, Sundberg said that the committee and Pork Checkoff's science and technology team will work closely with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the National Pork Producers Council and state pork associations.
    "As with all of our research, we want it to be transparent and objective," Conley said. "And in this case, it must be very specific with quick turnaround times so that we can get answers quickly."

African swine fever cases increasing in Russia

    Eight new outbreaks of African swine fever have been reported in Russian pig herds in Voronezhskaya Oblast (6 outbreaks) and Rostovskaya Oblast (2 outbreaks), according to the OIE.
    A total of 1,301 animals are susceptible and 148 pigs have been diagnosed with African swine fever.
    Improved production practices had led to an increase of pigs in Russia. The increase in pig stocks is attributed to reduced backyard production (nearly 10 percent by volume) as a result of outbreaks of African swine fever and reduced competitiveness of informal producers compared with modernized agricultural establishments.

Increasing nutrition absorption will meet rising food demands

    Raising the efficiency of nutrition absorption in farm animals will be the next step in increasing farm productivity. This was the conclusion from the high-level biennial science gathering, InnoVision, organized by Nutreco research and development on June 18. Current research reveals that the potential exists to double the efficiency of metabolizing nutrients after absorption through the gut wall in farm animals. Achieving that potential would help meet the increasing demand for animal protein, and do so without increasing the use of limited feed raw material resources.
    On average, the productivity of farm animals is 30-40 percent below their genetic potential. Innovations in animal nutrition are targeted towards optimizing performance on farm to narrow that gap. The InnoVision scientists concluded that, "Innovations in 'post-absorptive efficiency' can help close the gap between genetic potential of animals and their performance on farm, thereby contributing to sustainably increasing animal protein production: producing more from less."
    At InnoVision, Nutreco scientists met animal science researchers from New Zealand, the United States, France and the Netherlands. During the meeting, Nutreco research and development professionals gained insight on the opportunities to improve "post-absorptive nutrient efficiency."
    Professor Den Hartog, director of research and development and quality affairs at Nutreco said, "At our previous InnoVision meeting in 2011, we concluded that nutrition targeting animal health would boost productivity and sustainability. Since then we have seen great research results leading to successful concepts and products in the positive influence of functional ingredients on the health status of the animal gut and the role of its microbial population in animal performance. This year at InnoVision we identified a similarly promising research area. There are still many unknowns in the key factors and mechanisms that drive post-absorptive efficiency. We now have clear focus points for our research to go forward, such as functional ingredients to modulate and support metabolism and to balance the nutrient cost of events such as immune responses."
    During his speech at the multi-stakeholder AgriVision conference that follows InnoVision, Professor Leo den Hartog, spoke about Nutreco's focus areas in animal nutrition. In addition to feed efficiency, key focus areas are young animal nutrition, preventive gut health and precision feeding. 

The most innovative minds belong in food production

    When it comes to the latest breakthroughs in technology, none are more important than those discovered in the agriculture sector. In order to feed a continually growing world population, the most creative and innovative minds need to be involved, said James Borel, executive vice president of DuPont.
    "Science can provide universal answers, but we need to find local solutions. We need to ensure that the best minds and the brightest thinkers of the next generation are fully engaged in addressing food security locally," Borel said during the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association's World Forum and Symposium on June 19. "
    With the global population at 7 billion now and forecast to reach 9 billion in 40 years, there is urgency in creating a globally integrated food system that's efficient, transparent, barrier-free and consistent across borders and cultures, Borel said. That can be achieved if the great thinkers of the world involved in science and technology, transportation and government work together to address the challenges that result in hunger.
    Borel said when many people are asked what they view as a world-changing piece of technology, they will hold up an iPhone. Borel disagrees.
    "There's as much technology and there's even more human ingenuity in a modern kernel of seed corn. That corn has something that no iPhone will ever possess. It can feed the world, it can bring the world out of poverty and it can create a better world for all of us," said Borel. "There's so much need for creativity, and as much need for startling world-changing innovation in how we feed the world as there ever could be in the digital world. Food is the great challenge of the 21st century. And make no mistake about it, good ideas and useful innovations travel at the speed of human enthusiasm. We need bright young people to understand how much they can contribute and how rewarding it can be." 

Poultry and Egg Export Council elects new board members

      Members of the Executive Committee are, seated left to right, Chaz Wilson, Charles von der Heyde, Jim Sumner. Standing left to right, Jim Wayt, Steve Monroe, Neil Carey, Mike Little, Joel Coleman, Steve Lykken.
    Charles von der Heyde, president of Pilgrim's of Mexico, was elected chairman of the board of the United States Poultry and Egg Export Council for 2013-14.
    Von der Heyde succeeds outgoing Chaz Wilson, vice president of Grove Services, an international poultry trading company with offices in Atlanta, Ga. His election came Thursday during the council's annual meeting in Williamsburg, Va.
    Until January, von der Heyde was vice president of international sales at Pilgrim's headquarters in Greeley, Colo., when he was promoted to head up the company's operations in Mexico. Pilgrim is second-largest poultry producer in the world.
    "Although USAPEEC has always been an international organization, this will make it even more so," said U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council president, Jim Sumner, of von der Heyde's election. "It should serve the interests of both the U.S. and Mexican industries well and should also enhance the relationship that has developed over years with our Mexican counterparts."
    As chairman, von der Heyde will head the eight-member Executive Committee, which sets policy and gives direction to the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council, an organization whose mission is to promote and increase exports of U.S. chicken, turkey, duck, and egg products worldwide.
    Also elected to the executive committee were Mike Little, director of export sales at Mountaire Farms in Selbyville, Del., as first vice chairman, and Jim Wayt of Intervision Foods in Atlanta, Ga. as second vice chairman. Joel Coleman, vice president and general manager of international sales at Butterball in Mt. Olive, N.C., was re-elected secretary-treasurer of the organization.
    Neil Carey of Simmons Prepared Foods in Siloam Springs, Ark., was re-elected chairman of the Marketing Committee. The chairman of this committee also serves on the board and has a seat on the Executive Committee.
    Rounding out the executive committee as at-large members are Steve Monroe of Sanderson Farms in Laurel, Miss., and Steve Lykken of Jennie-O Turkey Store in Wilmar, Minn. Wilson will remain on the committee as past-chairman.
    New members elected to three-year terms on the council board are Sher Marshall of Interra International in Atlanta; Bobby Wilburn of Peco Foods in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Dean Hughson of Henningson Foods in Omaha, Neb.; and Scott Chapman of Lineage Logistics in Richmond, Va.

Novus International president, CEO named IFAMA board president

    The International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) has announced Novus International President and CEO Thad Simons will be the new president of the organization's board of directors. IFAMA is an agribusiness nonprofit that brings together experts from all sectors of food production and consumption to improve the industry.
    Simons succeeds Mary Shelman, director of the agribusiness program at Harvard Business School. During her term as IFAMA president, Shelman was instrumental in expanding the global footprint of the organization. During his two-year term as IFAMA's president, Simons said he specifically seeks to focus the organization's efforts on global talent development for agriculture.
    "From my first encounter with IFAMA, I understood the unique value that the organization creates by providing a connection to talent around the world," said Simons. "IFAMA is uniquely positioned to serve agribusiness because we stand at the nexus of education, industry and the future - our student stakeholders."
    Simons brings to IFAMA extensive agribusiness experience and industry know-how. As the president and CEO of Novus International, Simons pursues the company's vision to feed the world affordable, wholesome food. Simons does this by creating an environment friendly to developing market-specific solutions based on the company's core technologies. Simons also has been recognized as an industry leader, most recently receiving the 2013 Agribusiness Leader of the Year award from the National Agri-Marketing Association.

Ready-to-eat meat and poultry processor has license suspended

    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has suspended the license of Aliya's Foods, a ready-to-eat meat and poultry establishment, over non-compliance of meat inspection regulations. The action took effect on June 17.
    The agency says Aliya's Foods, based in Edmonton, Alberta, failed to document and address product cooling issues during pre-shipment review, and failed to address allergen control issues, the Canadian Press reported.
    No meat or poultry products have been recalled, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency stated it will take action if any potentially contaminated product be identified.
    The federal agency said Aliya's Foods will not be able to resume operations until the company has put in place corrective actions that are approved by the food inspection agency.
    Noorudin Jiwani, president of Aliya's Foods, said the suspension is over record-keeping protocols only.
    "The safety and quality of our products are at no risk to the consumers. Our records did not provide clear and concise definitive written evidence that product cooling time requirements were being met, although cooling of products within the plant is within required standards," Jiwani said in a news release.
    "Instances where the records do not clearly indicate that the cooling procedure was met, food safety assessments (such as predictive modeling) show no growth for the time and temperature indicated, therefore there is no food safety concern present."
    Jiwani also said that allergen tests are negative for allergen cross contamination, which he said indicates that controls in place are effective.
    Since the suspension of production, the company has revised all records and implemented automated verification systems to provide a second check to assure that similar recording issues will not be a problem in the future, Jiwani said. He added that the staff is working closely with the federal agency and is working to improve written procedures. 

US feed gain supply outlook down on delayed plantings

    The outlook for 2013-2014 U.S. feed grain supplies has been lowered as delayed plantings reduce yield prospects for corn, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Corn production is projected 135 million bushels lower at 14 billion bushels, with the average yield projected at 156.5 bushels per acre, down 1.5 bushels from May numbers. Forecast total use is down 70 million bushels to 12.9 billion bushels. Feed and residual use is lowered 125 million bushels to 5.2 billion bushels, but industrial use is raised 55 million bushels.
    According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service June 10 Crop Progress report, as of June 9, 95 percent of the corn crop had been planted, compared with 100 percent at the same point in the 2012 season and 98 percent for the 2008-2012 average. Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin were well behind the normal pace. Corn emergence statistics reveal more of the effects of cool, wet weather on the 2013 corn crop, with only 85 percent emerged as of June 9 compared with 99 percent in the previous season and 92 percent for the 2008-2012 average.
    As would be expected, emergence was well behind normal in the same states where planting was significantly delayed. Corn rated good or better comprised only 63 percent of the 18-state total, compared with 66 percent at the same point last season, according to the USDA.
    The projected 2013-2014 season average farm price for corn is raised $0.10 at both ends of the range to $5.20 to $4.40 per bushel, with a resulting midpoint of $4.80 per bushel. Prices are also raised for sorghum, barley and oats.
    For 2012-2013, corn imports and industrial use have been increased, but exports have been lowered, leaving forecast ending stocks up 10 million bushels. U.S. prices for old-crop corn are high compared with competitors, encouraging imports and discouraging exports. Brazil's 2012-2013 corn production is record large and raised again for June. The country's second-crop corn is just beginning to be harvested, and the Brazilian government increased area harvested for grain in its latest report. Recent showers across Mato Grosso came after the dry season had set in, providing a boost to corn in the grain-fill stage. Corn production is up 1 million tons in June to a record 77 million tons.

Chicken in Arkansas tests positive for avian influenza

    A chicken in Arkansas has tested positive for avian influenza. State officials have quarantined poultry within a 6.2-mile radius of the infected bird's farm.
    The Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission said the chicken, located in Scott County, tested positive for H7N7 low pathogenic avian influenza, according to news sources.
    The agency is coordinating its response and deciding on additional testing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Only the USDA can officially confirm avian flu cases.
    Officials said recent flooding in west-central Arkansas was conducive to the spread of the virus, as chickens can get avian flu from infected waterfowl or contaminated water. The Arkansas Health Department says there is no public health threat for humans. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Poultry meat supply concerns unfounded in 2 Sisters' Vion UK purchase

    The sale of Vion's poultry and red meat processing businesses in the UK to 2Sisters Food Group was cleared by the UK authorities on June 18.
    There had been concerns that the purchase might create competition issues for the supply of poultry meat in the UK; however, the Office of Fair Trading has ruled that this would not be the case.
    Vion operated 11 processing sites in the UK with approximately 6,000 employees and supplied beef and lamb as well as poultry to the retail and food service sectors. It announced plans to dispose of its UK operations in November 2012.

US egg exports jump 27 percent in April

    The United States exported 30.8 million dozen eggs and egg products in April, a 27 percent jump from the exports recorded during the same month in 2012. A strong demand for egg products in Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates were key to the increase, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, released on June 18.
    Egg and egg product shipments to Mexico reached 9.9 million dozen in April, accounting for 32 percent of U.S. egg exports. The April figures reflected the most shipments to Mexico since September 2012, three months after the avian influenza outbreak that hit two layer farms in Jalisco.
    Exports to Canada and Hong Kong in April were up 18 and 24 percent, respectively, while exports to the United Arab Emirates were up 135 percent. 

Smithfield lays off 120 at closing Virginia plant

    Smithfield Foods is laying off 120 more workers as part of its closure of a facility in Portsmouth, Va., that makes hot dogs and deli meat. Smithfield officials plan to close the Portsmouth plant in mid-August.
    The move is unrelated to the company's pending $4.72 billion takeover by Shuanghui International Holdings, China's largest meat producer. Rather, Smithfield announced plans in 2011 to close the plant and shift production to a facility in Kinston, N.C. Layoffs at the facility began in January, with more than 400 workers to be affected by the time plant is closed.
    Smithfield spokespeople told the Associated Press the plant is closing because it cannot support the manufacturing technology changes and product development necessary to meet its needs. 

Ag machinery group opens part center in China

    On June 6, 2013, AGCO GSI Agriculture Equipment Co. Ltd. held an opening ceremony for the new AGCO Part Distribution Center in the Wujin District of Changzhou city, Jiangsu Province. The new facility covers a total area of 63,000 square meters, including a workshop of 21,000 square meters and an independent office building of 960 square meters. It hosts two main factory buildings, one of 12,000 square meters belonging to the protein sector and the one of 9,000 square meters for grain business. The distribution center will be the third largest distribution center of AGCO Group.
    "GSI, an international company with an annual sales volume of nearly $1 billion, provides services to various customers throughout grain production, poultry and pig breeding and other industries in the whole world. GSI's new facility is launched in 2013, the 15th year that GSI has entered into the market of China, as an important milestone in the course of its development," said Tom Welke, senior vice president of AGCO Group.
    GSI has seen the fastest business growth in China, and the opening of the new facility will contribute the development of GSI. The Changzhou center will not only supply to the Chinese market, but internationally as well. The company has received its first order from Europe.
    "China is the critical market for AGCO to expand its business and Changzhou is the core of the group's business here as well as an important base of its global strategy. Now Changzhou has proved qualified to manufacture such advanced agriculture equipments as the AGCO-brand tractor and harvester. In the future, it will even shape the global purchase and production base of AGCO. The opening of the new plant helps AGCO and GSI to localize their production of grain conveying system and poultry and livestock breeding equipments in China, which will effectively help farmers and cooperatives to improve their profitability. In the meantime, the new plant also has set up AGCO parts and service center with a storing capacity of 15,000 pieces in being and 50,000 pieces in future," said Andreas Weishaar, vice president of AGCOGroup and managing director of AGCO China and India.
    Weishaar also said that training for service teams and distributors will be regularly carried out in Changzhou to improve quality of its after-sales service. After establishment, AGCO GSI Agriculture Equipment and AGCO Parts Distribution Center will become the spare part warehouse for AGCO China and the whole Asia-Pacific region, providing parts and service to Chinese and global clients.
    AGCO will focus on several aspects in China in the next 15 years. Welke said, "The first is that AGCO is hoping to establish itself as one of the most outstanding manufacturer of agriculture equipment with the highest reputation in China; the second, the company is hoping to turn their employees into highly motivated and competent professional and help them continue to improve; the third, while keeping a foothold in the market of China, strive to 'go out.' I'm very confident with the future of AGCO and GSI Agriculture Equipment in the market of China."

Poultry purchasing trends changing in Central America, South America

    Developing economies in Central America and South America are changing how and where consumers there are purchasing poultry.
    Ernesto Baron, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council Latin America/Caribbean president, told council members that the number of supermarkets in Central America  has grown substantially in recent years, with about 40 percent of the population now shopping in supermarkets. The growth has been especially noticeable in El Salvador, Hondourus and Panama.
    "In 2013 alone, more than 100 new supermarkets are opening," Baron said.
    As the economy improves in Central America, more people are using their dollars for protein. However, they are also buying more convenient foods like deli meats and boneless chicken products as more households have more than one person working away from home and spending less time in the kitchen.
    The scenario is similar in South America. Increased demand for poultry products has helped poultry exports to South America double over the past four years, Baron said, with increased market access to Chile being one of the biggest drivers. Steady economic growth in Peru, Columbia and Suriname are also contributing factors.
    Along with the growth of supermarket shopping, trends in the South American retail sector include increased government oversight of markets and supermarkets, an increase in diversity of processed meat products and the growth of convenience foods. 

Food safety lab receives allergen analysis accreditation

Poultry distributor adopts technology to combat waste

    A change in France's waste legislation in July 2010 encouraged SFPA, a poultry distribution company, to examine the potential of installing candling machines at its Mûr de Bretagne, France site. Apart from being able to determine live from clear or damaged embryos, candling technology can reduce the amount of waste generated by a hatchery.
    "Hatch residue is the main source of waste at our sites. It consists of egg shell, fluff and dead or infertile eggs. The non-hatchable eggs are mostly of liquid consistency and being able to separate these from the hatch significantly reduces our waste treatment cost. When the subsidies we received to handle this waste dropped, our costs increased dramatically and we turned to iD Projects to provide us with a solution," said Yann Ruelland, hatchery manager at SFPA.
    Since April 2010, SFPA has been using the iD Twin candling machine from iD Projects, a hatchery technology provider. It is capable of processing up to 100,000 eggs per hour and uses artificial vision equipment, according to the company. This technology takes more than 1,200 surface measurements across each egg top to identify and remove clear and dead embryos. 

Game bird farm partners with hatchery technology producer

      Candling equipment from iD Projects allows Bettws Hall employees to remove infertile and dead eggs.
    Hatchery technology producer, iD Projects, has been chosen as the technology provider for a United Kingdom game bird hatcheries and game farms, Bettws Hall. iD Projects' candling, transfer and counting solutions have been installed at Bettws Hall's site in Powys, Wales, where more than half a million pheasant and partridges eggs are set each week during the hatching season.
    Established as a farm in 1988, Bettws Hall is a family-run countryside business, which has diversified into a wide range of countryside and field sport activities including driven game shooting, a game bird hatchery and game farm, All Terrain Vehicle sales and servicing, luxury accommodation, shooting lodges and public houses.
    Bettws Hall produces pheasant and partridge chicks, poults and ducks, delivering to around 400 customers throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Approximately 60 percent of Bettws Hall's eggs are produced on the company's own sites, while 40 percent are bought in from suppliers in France and America.
    Bettws Hall has invested in a new candling and transfer line in preparation for the 2013 hatching season.
    "Having researched the various products available on the market, we decided to appoint iD Projects as our technology partner. Not only were the team very professional in their approach to identifying the best solution to meet our needs, they also offered the best pre and aftersales customer service we'd seen. The technology and equipment was competitively priced, but perhaps more importantly, the lead time for installation was very quick and the installation team had an in-depth knowledge of the products," said Richard Crofts, stock and sales manager at Bettws Hall.
    The candling system from iD Projects allows hatchers to remove dead and infertile embryos. Bettws Hall also included iD Projects’ four line counting machine at the hatchery. According to the company, the machine counts up 60,000 chicks per hour. Two staffers at Bettws Hall grade the chicks, identifying and removing unformed chicks and egg shells. Once counted, the chicks are secured in boxes and distributed immediately on trucks to customers throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

Pitman Family Farms expands chicken processing plant

    Pitman Family Farms has added 25,000 square feet to a chicken processing plant in Sanger, Calif. Building improvements totaled about $2 million.
    In addition, the fast growing company is adding two new buildings totaling 14,000 square feet valued at $500,000 and is installing solar panels to its complex, a city planner told the Fresno Business Journal.
 Pitman Family Farms has farms in both Tulare and Fresno counties raising an organic line of turkeys, chicken and ducks.
    Pitman Family Farms' Mary's Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks brand reported 600 full-time employees in The Business Journal's most recent Food Processors list. The Mary's label is named for founder Rick Pitman's wife Mary. 

US turkey poult hatchings, placements drop 13 percent in May

    Turkey poults hatched and placed both dropped 13 percent during the month of May, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Turkey Hatchery report, released on June 17. Turkey eggs in incubators also dropped 13 percent as of June 1.
    Turkey poults hatched during May in the United States totaled 22.1 million, down from May 2012, when the number of poults hatched reached 25.5 million. Poults hatched were also down 4 percent from the April total of 23 million poults.
    The 21.8 million net poults placed during May in the United States were down from the 25.1 million placed during May 2012. Net placements were down 2 percent from the April total of 22.1 million.
    Turkey eggs in incubators on June 1 in the United States totaled 26.4 million, down from the 30.4 million reported on June 1, 2012. Eggs in incubators in June were up slightly from the May 1 total of 26.3 million eggs. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

House rejects bipartisan farm bill

      House Agriculture Committee members Collin Peterson, Frank Lucas and Kristi Noem debate the farm bill, which was defeated June 20 by the entire House. (Photo courtesy of House Agriculture Committee)
    The U.S. House of Representatives rejected a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill by a 234-195 margin on June 20.
    The bill would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them, but those cuts weren't deep enough for the 62 Republicans who voted against it, objecting to the cost of the nearly $80 billion-a-year food stamp program, which has doubled in the past five years.
    The bill also suffered from lack of Democratic support necessary for the traditionally bipartisan farm bill to pass. Only 24 Democrats voted in favor of the legislation after many said the food stamp cuts could remove as many as 2 million needy recipients from the rolls, according to reports. The addition of the optional state work requirements by Republican amendment just before final passage also turned away many remaining Democratic votes the bill's supporters may have had.
    House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has argued the bill is necessary to avoid farm crises of the past and that it has some of the biggest reforms in years. The measure would have saved around $4 billion after new subsidies were created for crop insurance, rice and peanut farmers. Just before the vote, Lucas pleaded with his colleagues' support.
    The Senate overwhelmingly passed its version of the farm bill on June 10, with about $2.4 billion a year in overall cuts and a $400 million annual decrease in food stamps - one-fifth of the House bill's food stamp cuts. If the two chambers cannot come together on a bill, farm-state lawmakers are likely to push for an extension of the 2008 farm bill that expires in September. However, Lucas remained optimistic that a compromise can be made.
    "We are assessing all of our options, but I have no doubt that we will finish our work in the near future and provide the certainty that our farmers, ranchers, and rural constituents need," Lucas said. 

Brazil's agriculture sector opens European Union representative office

    The Brazilian Agriculture and Livestock Confederation, CNA, opens a representative office in Brussels in June.
    The office will function under the name of Espaco Agro Brasil, and its purpose will be to grow the market share of Brazil's agricultural products in the European market, as well as promote more partnerships between Brazil and the region's agricultural sector, among other things.
    The European Union is currently the main export destination for Brazil's agricultural exports. 

Ingredient producer expands Brazilian plant

    Biorigin, a Brazilian company that produces natural ingredients for food and feed, will start the expansion of its unit located in Quatá, Brazil, aiming at doubling its production capacity.
    With investments of around $120 million and expected to start in June, 2013, the expansion plan includes fermentation, pure culture, autolysis and drying sectors. Production increase is expected for 2014.
    According to Mario Steinmetz, Biorigin's general director, "This investment will allow Biorigin to continue its process of sustainable growth in the market of food and feed ingredients, as well as to innovate in products and services, as we have done during the last 10 years."
    Biorigin is a business unit of Zilor, a sugar and alcohol producers in Brazil. Biorigin produces raw materials and utilities in a sustainable manner.
    "This expansion initiative was brought about by positive market perspectives and by health and wellness market trends of an increasing search for natural ingredients. Moreover, we have a production model that allows the traceability of the ingredients applied. In addition, we use renewable energy sources that supply the requirements of sustainability," said Steinmetz.