Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nutreco first quarter revenue up 8.4 percent

    Nutreco reported revenue of 853.3 million Euro (US$1.18 billion)in the first quarter of 2014. That is an increase of 8.4 percent from the same period last year.
    The animal nutrition and aquaculture feed company’s animal nutrition revenues decreased by 4.6 percent to 438.8 million Euro (US$606.9 million). It saw higher sales in Canada and increased volume in value-added nutritional solutions.
    Fish feed increased 26.6 percent to 414.5 million Euro (US$573.3 million), mostly due to higher demand for salmon feed in Norway and fish feed for sea bass and sea bream in southern Europe partly offset by lower demand for non-salmonid feed especially in China.
    "We are pleased with the higher results for the first quarter compared to last year driven by higher volumes in fish feed, mainly in Norway,” said Nutreco CEO Knut Nesse. “Animal Nutrition results were slightly above last year with encouraging trends in margin development and volumes particularly in mature markets.”
    Nutreco reported that it is taking more time than anticipated to explore possible divestment opportunities of its compound feed and meat business in Spain and Portugal. Business in those countries improved from last year.
    Based on current trading conditions, Nutreco said it expects EBITA before exceptional items for continuing operations for the first half of 2014 to be higher than the 80.3 million Euro (US$111.1 million) in the first half of 2013.

Denmark organic egg, pork purchases surge

    Eggs and meat have led a surge in purchases of organic foods in Denmark during 2013, says the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, Landbrug & Fødevarer. According to 2013 data from Statistics Denmark, there was a 6 percent annual increase in sales by Danish supermarkets of organically produced food, due principally to rises in demand of 24 percent for organic eggs and 17 percent for organic meat.
    In 2012, total sales of all organic foods in Denmark had risen by only 0.5 percent.
    In value, the 2013 sales of such products through supermarkets and other multiple retailers amounted to DKK5.8 billion (US$1.08 billion). Organics accounted for 8 percent of this total, compared with a 7.6 percent market share in 2012.
    Kirsten Lund Jensen, head of the organic section at Danish Agriculture & Food, noted how the decision by more consumers to buy organic eggs in Denmark agreed with the conclusions of a council-sponsored study completed earlier this year. The study had examined attitudes towards the purchase and consumption of eggs. It found that Danes were starting to put other factors above price when they went shopping for eggs and indicated that they would be prepared to pay a small extra premium for organic foods.
    A similar trend has been seen in the purchasing of pork, with increased numbers of Danish shoppers actively choosing organic pork. Previously, she added, only a small core of specific consumers chose to buy organic pork.
    Lund Jensen also described signs that a downward national trend in sales of organic milk over recent years had been reversed in 2013.

Cooper family endows USPOULTRY Foundation for turkey research

    The Cooper Family Foundation, Oakwood, Ohio, has given to the USPOULTRY Foundation to endow the Virgil H. Cooper Turkey Fund to support industry research and recruiting. The fund is in memory of Virgil Cooper, founder of Cooper Farms.
    The Fund is in support of the Ensuring the Future campaign, which was initiated to enhance the sustainability and prosperity of the poultry and egg industry through the U.S. Poultry & Egg Harold E. Ford Foundation. To date, more than $7.7 million in commitments have been pledged for the campaign.
    The first funded project of the Virgil H. Cooper Turkey Fund will support an important piece of turkey research at Ohio State University. The project by Dr. Ramesh Selvaraj titled, “25-OH Cholecalciferol (HyD) Supplementation to Improve Anti-coccidial Defense in Turkeys,” will investigate the immune enhancement against coccidiosis in turkeys supplemented with the intermediate form of vitamin D.
    “The Cooper family members are proud to continue the tradition started by our founders, Virgil and Virginia Cooper, of being very supportive of the communities in Ohio and the national organizations like U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, whom have helped us be successful over the last 76 years,” commented Gary Cooper, COO, Cooper Farms.
    “The purpose of the foundation is to attract bright young people to the poultry industry and fund important research,” said campaign co-chairman Elton Maddox, president and CEO of Wayne Farms. “Today, our foundation is the primary funding source for those two critical industry needs. The Ensuring the Future campaign is a unique opportunity to invest today to ensure the continued success of the poultry and egg industry tomorrow.”
    “The tremendous support from Cooper Farms and other Foundation donors means that we can significantly increase the funding invested back into vital research and youth programs that help attract students into careers in the poultry and egg industry,” said John Starkey, president, USPOULTRY Foundation.

Tyson Foods shows commitment to employ military veterans

    Tyson Foods showed its commitment to hiring U.S. military veterans at an April 23 event where U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama announced a new government tool, called the Veterans Employment Center, designed to simplify job-hunting for veterans, transitioning service members, National Guard members, reservists and military spouses. Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden delivered remarks to more than 1,000 service members, military spouses, and private sector employers at the Fort Campbell Veterans Jobs Summit.
    Tyson Foods has hired more than 3,000 military veterans since 2011, when it committed to hiring more veterans as part of its involvement in the American Logistics Association. The company continues to hire more as part of an initiative called “Camo to Khaki,” a reference to Tyson Foods’ often-worn khaki uniform.
    “We support and honor our country’s veterans,” said Rodney Nagel, senior vice president of human resources for Tyson Foods operations. “We employ thousands of veterans now and we’re always looking to hire more because they’re well-trained, dedicated workers, and typically have strong leadership skills that translate well to our company.” 
    Tyson Foods attends more than 30 military recruiting events at military bases like Fort Campbell each year and has hosted two military job summits at its headquarters in Springdale, Ark. During the summits, typically between 20 and 30 current and recently separated soldiers are introduced to Tyson Foods through meetings with senior leadership and corporate tours; they’re then interviewed by various business unit leaders and many are offered positions on the spot. The next summit is scheduled for July. 
    “As a veteran myself, I know that transitioning veterans have an excellent work ethic and are ready to apply their skills,” said Alexa O’Leary, senior military recruiter for Tyson Foods and a U.S. Army Reservist. “Our company appreciates the service our nation’s veterans have given and we think they’re a great fit in our organization.” 
    Tyson Foods also supports the military by providing differential pay for all employees called to active military duty, making up the difference between military compensation and pay they normally receive from the company. Since September 11, 2001, the company has provided $2.2 million in differential pay to almost 460 team members. 
    Other ways the company supports the U.S. military include: 
    • Since 2009, Tyson Foods has sponsored and helped organize 10 “Honor Flights.” Through this program, more than 800 World War II veterans have been flown from Arkansas to Washington D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial built in their honor, as well as other military memorials. Another flight is scheduled for May 3, 2014.
    • Tyson Foods is the leading supplier of food to the Defense Commissary Agency and has been helping feed the U.S. military and their families for more than 50 years. In late 2011 the company, along with other commissary suppliers, committed to hiring more veterans and military spouses. 
    • One of the company’s five pillars for corporate charitable giving is focused on military veterans and causes related to recruitment, job training and hiring; programs that address hunger or emergency food assistance for military families; and programs that assist wounded veterans.
    The April 23 summit was a collaboration between the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and aimed to provide transitioning service members with employment resources. The event was organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Army’s Fort Campbell, Army Career and Alumni Program, Soldier for Life, and Installation Management Command among others.

Video addresses if animals fear being slaughtered

    The newest video in the Meat Mythcrusher series addresses one of the most common myths about the meat industry: that animals are aware and afraid of being slaughtered. The video features animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of animal science at Colorado State University, explaining her research into animal behavior prior to slaughter.
    Grandin has studied behavior by comparing animal reactions to entering a slaughterhouse versus a veterinary chute and found that they react the same.
    “If animals were afraid, we would see them backing up or refusing to go into the chute,” Grandin says. “Most of the animals, when things are set up right, just walk right on in to a slaughter facility, the same as they would a veterinary chute.”
    Grandin says animals are more likely to be fearful of a distraction such as reflections on a wet floor, a chain hanging from a chute or a coat on a fence.
    “If you get rid of these distractions, the animal will walk right up the chute,” Dr. Grandin says.
    Since 1991, the American Meat Institute Foundation has worked closely with Dr. Grandin on animal welfare guidelines and an audit guide to help companies ensure animals are properly cared for at meat plants. It is estimated that 95 percent of the beef, pork and lamb produced in the U.S. comes from plants that follow these guidelines.
    The Meat MythCrusher video series seeks to bust some of the most common myths surrounding meat and poultry production, processing, safety and nutrition and is jointly produced by American Meat Institute (AMI) and American Meat Science Association (AMSA). The series is now in its fourth year and includes more than 30 videos which have been viewed more than 70,000 times. Other video topics include myths surrounding meat and poultry nutrition, “Superbugs” in meat, Meatless Monday, hormone use in animals, ammonia in ground beef, grass-fed beef and more.

Poultry from California county banned in Hong Kong due to bird flu

    Hong Kong has imposed a ban on poultry products from Stanislaus County, Calif., after birds in a layer flock of Japanese quail there tested positive for a low pathogenic form of H5 avian influenza. The outbreak that prompted the ban was reported by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on April 22.
    The Hong Kong Food Safety Department has been in contact with U.S. officials about the ban on Stanislaus County poultry, and will continue to monitor the situation, according the news reports.
    The trade restriction follows an earlier ban on California poultry, which was implemented by Japan after the discovery of avian influenza in California was made. Bans on California poultry are also in place in Russia, Taiwan and Cuba because the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has agreements with those countries to self-impose trade restrictions in such cases.
    APHIS and the California Department of Food and Agriculture continue to conduct a comprehensive epidemiological investigation. Officials learned of the situation after a commercial layer flock of Japanese quail was experiencing increased mortality in the adult laying population. Samples were then submitted for laboratory testing and the specimens were found compatible with low pathogenic H5 avian influenza virus. The farm has been placed under quarantine, and depopulation of adult quail there has started.
    The affected layer house contained about 56,000 adult quail. An additional 39,000 quail are were in a brooder house at the farm. There are nine additional houses on the premises that house an estimated total of 21,000 Peking ducks for egg production.

Poultry industry depends on human resources to thrive

    “Human resources and the workforce are the cornerstone of our business,” said Jack Kelly, director of government affairs with Perdue Farms, while speaking at the 2014 Human Resources Seminar in Hilton Head Island, S.C., sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. Kelly remarked that in the long term, public policy has always been and will continue to be driven by human resources issues.
    Recalling his first appearance before this group, repetitive motion disorders were a major problem facing the industry, and human resources professionals within the industry led the development of improved work patterns and the introduction of machinery to reduce the risk to employees. Today, issues such as union representation and immigration reform are front and center, and human resources continues to lead the charge by constantly improving the workplace.
    Kelly also provided an inside look at Washington, citing the gridlock in Congress which led to the Republicans being blamed for last year’s government shutdown and sequester followed immediately by the Democratic party’s fumbling of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
    Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA, updated attendees on the status of immigration reform. While on the surface any meaningful reform appears dead for this session of Congress, there is some activity brewing as Republicans recently outlined their basic principles for immigration reform and spoke in terms of not if, but when, these reforms must be implemented.
    Chris Lauderdale of Jackson Lewis P.C., in a presentation titled The Reinvention of Labor Law and the Labor Movement, discussed the union’s growing use of ministerial and immigrant associations, politicians and activist groups to spread the message that unions are needed to protect worker rights. Lauderdale provided valuable guidance on the importance of listening to employee complaints, being a willing release valve for employees to vent and then providing a response so employees understand they have been heard even if workplace changes they seek cannot be implemented.
    Reflecting the continuing evolution of human resources practices to more and more regulatory compliance, speakers throughout the seminar addressed such issues as OSHA’s increasing reliance upon sub-regulatory means to effectively rewrite standards without going through the established procedures of rulemaking, the latest changes in the Affordable Care Act impacting employers and Wage and Hour and EEOC enforcement activities.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tyson Foods sends team to aid Arkansas tornado victims

    Tyson Foods deployed a disaster relief team to help feed people in the aftermath of an April 27 tornado in Central Arkansas. The storm has reportedly left 16 people dead and caused extensive damage.
    Tyson Foods is sending its Meals that Matter disaster relief trailer with truckloads of food and ice and cooking teams from nearby plant locations. The Tyson Foods relief crew plans to be on site in Mayflower, Ark., northwest of Little Rock, to help feed relief workers as well as residents affected by the storm.

PEDv fund established to protect Saskatchewan hog industry

    A $400,000 contingency fund has been established to help Saskatchewan’s hog industry respond to potential cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus. To date, there have been no confirmed cases of PED virus in Saskatchewan hogs.
    Canadian Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart have committed $200,000 in government funding, to be matched by Sask Pork, for the PED virus contingency fund. 
    "Vigilance towards PED is key to reducing its impact on the Canadian agricultural sector and the economy as a whole," Ritz said. "This investment will help the Saskatchewan pork industry take proactive measures to stay in front of this disease."
    Governments and industry will provide a total of $400,000 to offset costs related to disease containment strategies, welfare issues, enhanced marketing efforts and mortality management should PED virus be discovered in Saskatchewan.
    "This is a very serious issue and I am pleased to partner with the federal government and industry to further enhancing on-farm biosecurity measures," Stewart said. "This funding will enable producers to work with their local veterinarian and marketing agencies to contain PED, locate alternate markets for PED-positive pigs and ultimately minimize the spread of the disease in Saskatchewan."
    The province already offers the Biosecurity Program which provides $150,000 in funding to Saskatchewan producers for improved biosecurity efforts with $300 for an onsite veterinary assessment and $1,000 for on-site changes to enhance biosecurity. Trucking companies are eligible for $500 to complete a biosecurity audit of their wash facility.
    The province has also committed $90,000 in funding for the surveillance of PED virus at high-risk sites including assembly yards, abattoirs, renderers and truck facilities.
    "The swine industry and ministry staff have been working proactively to prevent this from becoming an issue in Saskatchewan and Canada by educating pork producers on effective biosecurity practices," Sask Pork General Manager Neil Ketilson said. "We are pleased to see government stepping up to match the funding that our organization will provide."
    The provincial government has also made PED virus a notifiable disease in Saskatchewan, requiring laboratories to report the disease to the office of the Chief Veterinary Officer within 24 hours.
    Saskatchewan currently has 119 active producers raising 91,900 sows and produces about 2.2 million market hogs.

Merial Avian Forum draws more than 500 attendees to Paris

    The Merial Avian Forum, taking place April 23-25 in Paris, has attracted more than 500 participants. The three-day event is playing host to 23 international speakers with delegates coming from more than 68 countries.
    Under the slogan “Let’s grow together,” Jerome Baudon, head of global strategic marketing - avian franchise at Merial, opened the proceedings and noted that, by 2020, poultry meat will have overtaken pork as the world’s meat of choice, and added that Merial’s mission was to help producers better and safely feed the world.
    Offering an overview of the French poultry market, Dr. Jacques Bonin, country manager France, noted that France remained the largest poultry producer in the EU27, adding that, although the sector had undergone a degree of consolidation, more would be needed if French poultry producers were to be competitive on the international arena.
    And like poultry producers in many other countries, the French poultry industry has to confront welfare issues and reduced use of antibiotics.
    Topics covered during the first day included microorganisms’ variability, epidemiological consequences, the interaction between microorganisms and the immune system of birds, immune response versus the main avian pathogens, and the evolution of Gumboro vaccinology

Yum! Brands earnings increase as China regains trust in KFC

    Chinese consumers are regaining their confidence in KFC, as parent company Yum! Brands earnings grew 24 percent to $399 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. The Yum! Brands first quarter ended March 22. 
    The positive financial results, released on April 22, are a step in the right direction for Yum! Brands, which struggled throughout 2013 as Chinese consumers had lost confidence in KFC. The quick service restaurant chain that specializes in chicken dishes saw a sharp reduction in Chinese customers after a state television station reported in December 2012 that some of KFC’s suppliers had given their chickens unapproved levels of antibiotics. The company was handed a second challenge when avian influenza outbreaks occurred in China in 2013 and caused worries about the safety of chicken. 
    Yum! Brands’ China Division saw sales increase 17 percent for the first quarter of 2014, while the sales for Yum! Brands’ KFC Division increased 4 percent. 
    “Yum! Brands is clearly on its way to a strong bounce-back year, delivering first-quarter EPS growth of 24 percent,” said David C. Novak, chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands. “Operating profit grew 80 percent in China, prior to foreign currency translation, driven by strong sales and margin growth. Looking ahead, we have significant building blocks in place in China and each of our divisions to drive sales and profit growth this year and beyond.”
    Yum! Brands is also the parent company of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Bábolna Tetra expands with new hatchery in in Hungary

    Bábolna Tetra Kft., one of the world’s leading layer-hybrid breeding companies, has developed and opened one of Europe’s most advanced hybrid hatcheries at Uraiújfalu, in Hungary’s Vas County. With an annual capacity of 35 million eggs, Bábolna Tetra’s new hatchery has been developed with all the very latest innovations in single stage incubation, hatchery automation and environmental control from Pas Reform.
    Opened in March 2014, the new site includes 12 SmartSetPro 6 setters, 12 SmartSetPro 2 setters, 22 SmartHatchPro hatchers and an onsite Watter disinfection production system.
    For all egg and chick handling, Pas Reform’s latest automation systems are being employed to deliver pointsetting, egg grading, sexing and vaccination, chick counting, waste vacuuming, washing, stacking and de-stacking.
    The hatchery uses various renewable energy sources to deliver environmental and energy-efficient benefits in its operation, including Pas Reform’s innovative heat transfer system, which uses the heat produced by the developing embryos during incubation to preheat fresh air intake within the hatchery’s ventilation and climate control systems.
    Bábolna Tetra Kft. is market leader in Hungary and distributes its Tetra grandparent breeders and parent breeders to chick hatcheries producing commercial egg layers for egg producers in more than 40 countries around the world. Committed to the highest levels of efficiency and environmental awareness, the company’s hatchery expansion in Uraiiújfalu is the result of increased sales worldwide, following the successful genetic development of three new hybrids, the Tetra HB Color, Tetra Blanka and Tetra SL Long Life.
    Zoltán Budai, director of Bábolna Tetra Kft., says of the project: “Our company is delivering significant growth for sales of our breeder layer lines and with Pas Reform’s innovative hatchery technologies to support that growth, we have created a strong, stable platform for achieving ambitious targets both now and in the future.”

NGFA testifies on effect of rail disruptions on grain industry

    The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) has urged thefederal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to require Class I rail carriers to reportand make publicly available several specific service-related metrics in the aftermathof the serious disruption in rail service that began last fall.
    Inwritten statement submitted April 17, the NGFA told the STB of the impacts and costs rail service disruptions have had on grain elevators, grain processors, integrators and exporters. NGFA's comments focused particularly on service-related disruptions involving the BNSF, Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific and CSX Railways. The NGFA's statement, which was presented orally during an April 10 STB public hearing, was endorsed and supported by six other national agribusiness organizations: Agricultural Retailers Association, Corn Refiners Association, National Chicken Council, National Council for Farmer Cooperatives, National Oilseed Processors Association and North American Millers' Association.
    "The sheer gravity, magnitude and scope of rail service disruptions now being experienced are unprecedented, and have rippled through all sectors of grain-based agriculture," testified NGFA Rail Shipper/Receiver Committee Chairman Kevin Thompson, assistant vice president and transportation lead for Grain and Oilseed Businesses at Cargill Inc. in Minneapolis. As a result, he pointed out:
    Country elevators and other originators of grain and grain products are extremely hesitant to price and book forward sales from farmers or commercial elevators because they cannot count on predictable rail service or reflect the current level of freight costs in their price bids.
    Grain processors and export elevators have idled or significantly reduced operating capacity because of an inability to predictably source sufficient quantities of grains and oilseeds.
    Millers in the upper and central Midwest are confronting facility shutdowns as they run out of raw commodities to process, including oats and certain classes of wheat.
    Still other grain processing and animal feeding operations, particularly in the Eastern United States, are shifting to comparatively inefficient and much more costly long-haul truck movements in an attempt to obtain sufficient quantities of grains and oilseeds. Still others are switching rail origination to other carriers in the limited instances where that is possible.

Soybean planting intentions reflect strong world demand

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) survey of U.S.crop producers in March 2014 revealed intentions to plant 81.493 million acresof soybeans this year. That is 3.765 million more than reported as planted orintended to be planted in June of last year, 4.96 million more than actuallyplanted in 2013, and 4.042 million more than the previous record acreage in2009.
    Planting intentions exceed last year’s acreage in every major soybean state except Missouri, with the largest increases reported for Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota.  A slightly smaller percentage of plantings likely will be double-cropped acreage because soft red-winter wheat acreage was reported to be down by 16 percent from acreage of a year ago.
    According to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good, the large increase in soybean planting intentions reflects strong world demand for soybeans and the resulting high prices of soybeans relative to other crops, particularly corn.
    “As the planting season gets under way, the job of the markets is to direct final planting decisions of major spring-planted crops,” Good said. “That is a complicated process surrounded by a lot of uncertainty about the nature of the growing season and resulting yields, as well as uncertainty about the strength of demand for U.S. crops during the year ahead. That demand strength depends on the magnitude of production in the rest of the world and a number of economic and political developments. There are differing and changing assessments of all of these factors. The market, however, must direct planting decisions without knowing the outcome of these important factors.  Ideally, production would be at levels that provide ‘reasonable’ prices for both producers and consumers of the crops and some level of reserves at the end of the year,” he said.
    The USDA projects consumption of U.S soybeans and soybeans imported in to the United States during the current marketing year at 3.36 billion bushels, equal to the record consumption during the 2009-10 marketing year. Good said that consumption is large in spite of continued high prices and back-to-back record production of soybeans in the rest of the world during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 marketing years. World consumption of soybeans during the current marketing year is projected at a record 9.884 billion bushels, 40 percent more than consumed 10 years ago.
    “Much of the growth in world consumption has occurred in China, up 130 percent in 10 years,” Good said. “Although it may not be reasonable to expect Chinese consumption to continue to grow at the pace of the past 10 years, there is no sign of a reversal in consumption. The United States should continue to have a large share of exports to China even with another large South American crop in 2015. Record-high livestock prices and a likely increase in biodiesel production should keep domestic soybean consumption large as well,” he said.
    According to Good, under the assumptions of “reasonable” prices, large South American production, and slower but continued growth in world soybean consumption during the year ahead, consumption of U.S. and imported soybeans should be at least as large as during the current marketing year. With stocks of soybeans at the start of the 2014-15 marketing year at the projected level of 135 million bushels, a 50 million bushel decline in marketing-year imports from the record level of this year, and a more comfortable level of year-ending stocks near 185 million bushels, the 2014 U.S. soybean crop would have to total 3.395 billion bushels to accommodate consumption of 3.36 billion bushels. That would be 106 million bushels larger than the 2013 crop and 36 million bushels larger than the record crop of 2009.

Elanco parent company Lilly to acquire Novartis Animal Health

    Eli Lilly and Company, parent company of Elanco Animal Health, has reached an agreement to acquire Novartis Animal Health for approximately $5.4 billion in an all-cash transaction that will strengthen and diversify Elanco. Upon completion of the acquisition, Elanco will be the second-largest animal health company in terms of global revenue. The Novartis acquisition is also expected to solidify Elanco's No. 2 ranking in the U.S. and improve its position in Europe and the rest of the world.
    With a presence in approximately 40 countries and 2013 revenue of approximately $1.1 billion, Novartis Animal Health is focused on developing better ways to prevent and treat diseases in pets, farm animals and farmed fish. Lilly will acquire Novartis Animal Health’s nine manufacturing sites, six dedicated research and development facilities, a global commercial infrastructure with a portfolio of approximately 600 products, a robust pipeline with more than 40 projects in development, and an experienced team of more than 3,000 employees.
    Deal terms
    Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will acquire all assets of Novartis Animal Health for a total purchase price of approximately $5.4 billion, including anticipated tax benefits. Lilly plans to fund the Novartis acquisition with approximately $3.4 billion of cash-on-hand and $2.0 billion in debt to be issued. No other financial terms of the transaction are being disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2015, subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, similar requirements outside the U.S., and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is not subject to any financing conditions.
    Financial expectations
    By improving efficiencies and reducing costs across both Elanco and Novartis Animal Health, Lilly expects to achieve estimated cost savings of approximately $200 million per year within three years of deal closing, equating to more than 10 percent of operating expenses from the combined animal health businesses. Excluding the amortization of intangibles, Lilly expects the combined entity to achieve earnings before taxes and interest as a percent of revenue in the mid-20 percent range by 2018. The company expects the transaction to be accretive to earnings on a cash basis beginning in 2016, excluding integration costs. The timing of accretion on a GAAP basis is dependent upon final purchase accounting. The acquisition is not expected to change the company’s dividend policy or current share repurchase program.
    John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., Lilly’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said that the acquisition of Novartis Animal Health validates Lilly’s commitment to Elanco as a key component of Lilly’s business going forward.
    “Animal health continues to represent an attractive growth opportunity for Lilly. We intend to keep Elanco and to take advantage of the substantial synergies between our animal health and human health businesses,” noted Lechleiter. “Significant investments in our animal health business in recent years have enabled Elanco to double its revenue since 2008, leading the industry in growth. Global trends suggest continued sustained demand for animal health products in the years ahead. Through this acquisition, which moves Elanco to top-tier in the industry, we intend to create value for our shareholders by adding to our promising pipeline of innovative animal health assets, increasing sales through a larger commercial footprint, and improving efficiencies and lowering costs.”
    Benefits of the transaction
    The acquisition is expected to greatly expand and complement Elanco’s product portfolio, research and development, manufacturing capabilities, and commercial presence in key geographies. In particular, it provides Elanco with a greater commercial presence in the companion animal and swine markets, expands Elanco’s presence in the equine and vaccines areas, and creates an entry into the aquaculture market.
    “This deal creates a global animal health leader able to deliver even more innovation and value to our customers,” said Jeff Simmons, senior vice president of Eli Lilly and Company and president of Elanco Animal Health.  “Combining these two great companies will enable us to provide more diversified brands, reach more market segments, expand our global footprint, and strengthen our pipeline, capabilities and expertise.  Best of all, it will enable Elanco to better fulfill our important mission of enriching people’s lives through safe, nutritious, affordable food and healthier pets.  And that directly supports Lilly’s mission to make life better for people around the world.”
    “Lilly emerged from our competitive process as the clear best buyer for Novartis Animal Health and a good home for our employees,” said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. “We look forward to a smooth transition of the business over the next several quarters.”

Monday, April 28, 2014

Novogen enters layer market in North Sumatera

    Novogen has entered the layer market in North Sumatera through the supply of the first Novogen Brown breeding stock. North Sumatera is the third-largest egg producing province in Indonesia, following East Java and West Java.
    “The chicks have been delivered by Novogen’s layer breeding partner in East Java to PT Expravet Nasuba, a subsidiary of Mabar Group, which is the major layer producer in the province,” explained Suryo Suryanta, Nogoven regional sales and technical manager. “This first shipment reflects our strategy to expand our business in the western region of Indonesia. Besides Expravet Nasuba, two other breeding companies in the province have shown their interest to place the Novogen Brown. So far the Novogen Brown has shown very good results in East Java and we strongly believe this will be the same in North Sumatera.”

2 Sisters upgrades poultry farms with biomass energy

    2 Sisters Food Group’s sister company, 2Agriculture, is upgrading 20 of its poultry farms with biomass energy.
    The company says that the GBP20 million (US$22.7 million) investment will further improve chicken welfare standards, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and lower running costs at the upgraded farms which supply poultry to 2 Sisters.
    The new solution involves indirect heating from a water-air heat biomass exchanger, powered by a wood pellets source. Efficient “dry heat” will now ensure optimum litter and air quality by providing total control over the humidity levels throughout the crop cycle. The birds will grow better and there will be considerably less waste, the company said.
    Lionel Halls, director of agriculture at 2Agriculture said: “We’re always looking to improve efficiency and innovate where we can, so this deal not only ticks both of these boxes, it also raises standards across our estate. As the key 2 Sisters Food Group poultry supply chain, we’re hoping that this contract will reap benefits right across the wider organization.”
    Installations are expected to start in April 2014 and will run throughout the year. 

National poultry judging contest named in honor of Ted Cameron

    The annual National Poultry Judging Contest, sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Harold E. Ford Foundation, was recently named the USPOULTRY Foundation Ted Cameron National Poultry Judging Contest. It will be funded through a grant from Mountaire Corp., in honor of Ted Cameron, past chairman of Mountaire. Under the leadership of Ted Cameron's son and current CEO Ronnie Cameron, the company has grown to be the seventh largest broiler producer in the United States. The contest is part of the foundation's comprehensive student outreach program to attract young people into poultry careers.
    "We are pleased to support this longstanding poultry judging competition that helps recruit and retain tomorrow's leaders of the poultry industry," Ronnie Cameron said. "We are happy to contribute to a program that exposes bright young students to poultry opportunities. It is essential for the sustainability and future of our industry. And I am personally proud that it is named in recognition of my father, one of our industry's pioneers."
    Louisiana State University (LSU) recently won the 67th National Poultry Judging Contest, held at LSU. The Penn State University team placed a close second in the team competition. Additionally, Nicholas Adams, a sophomore at LSU, was announced high individual winner, and BJ McDill, a junior at LSU, finished second in the individual category.
    The contest was established to enhance young people's interest in the poultry industry and encourage student enrollment in poultry science and related studies. Teams compete in production judging, breed selection and market products judging. Ten universities participated in this year's competition. The awards were presented by Paul Pressley, executive vice president of industry programs, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.
    The USPOULTRY Foundation also sponsors the annual College Student Career Program and International College Student Career Program at the International Poultry Expo, supports National FFA and National 4-H poultry activities and funds student recruiting efforts at colleges and universities from coast to coast.

Hillshire Brands to acquire Van’s Natural Foods

    The Hillshire Brands Company and Catterton Partners, the leading consumer-focused private equity firm, have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Catterton portfolio company Van’s Natural Foods. Van’s is a leading brand offering multiple product lines in frozen breakfast and snack foods.
    Hillshire Brands -- a leading U.S. turkey processor and parent company to brands like Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, State Fair, and Sara Lee -- will pay $165 million for Van’s, which is expected to have net revenues of approximately $60 million in calendar year 2014. The Van’s Natural Foods acquisition is expected to close in May of 2014, pending regulatory clearance.
    “The Van’s brand is a terrific addition to our portfolio,” said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer, The Hillshire Brands Company. “Not only does it expand our presence in the frozen category, it also gives us a proven health and wellness brand with extendability beyond frozen.”
    Van’s Natural Foods will become part of Hillshire Brands’ Retail segment, pairing with Hillshire’s other well-known brands. Van’s Natural Foods’ management will continue to lead the business.
    “As a leader in branded foods including breakfast products, Hillshire Brands is an ideal strategic partner for Van’s,” said Eric Kufel, CEO, Van’s Natural Foods. “Our positioning in the large and growing wellness consumer lifestyle segment is a perfect complement to Hillshire Brands’ product portfolio. We are pleased to have worked with Catterton, which helped drive our significant growth and market expansion into multiple new categories. I am truly excited to be joining with Hillshire and beginning the next phase of Van’s growth journey.”
    Van’s Natural Foods is based in Phoenix and is a leading simple/clean ingredient food brand in frozen breakfast and snack foods including waffles, pancakes, cereal, crackers and snack bars. Van’s frozen breakfast and snack foods are available at grocery stores, mass merchandise stores and natural food retailers nationwide.
    Marc Magliacano, a partner at Catterton, said, “We are proud of the brand and distinctive market positioning that we and the Van’s management team have created over the past few years. This transaction is a win for all parties involved and we are confident and excited that under Hillshire's ownership Van’s will continue to experience significant growth and capitalize on new opportunities.”
    Centerview Partners served as financial advisor and Stinson Leonard Street served as legal advisor to Hillshire Brands. Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher served as legal advisor to Van’s in connection with the transaction.

Avure Technologies honored for role in Hormel Foods processing

    High pressure processing (HPP) leaderAvure Technologies has been honored with a 2013 Spirit of Excellence Award fromHormel Foods Corp. The award recognizes the significant role the HPP equipment supplier played in Hormel Foods’ continuous improvement process throughout the past year.
    Spirit of Excellence recipients “truly go above and beyond in helping us achieve our goals,” saidTyler Hulsebus, Hormel director of purchasing. According to Dave Fuller, Avure director of services, the recognition is closely tied to the world-class HPP equipment services and support (ESS) platform the company introduced in October 2014. The new program is designed to help customers take advantage of opportunities to boost productivity and profitability.
    “It is an honor to be included in Hormel’s elite group of suppliers, who must meet high standards in conformance, scheduling, price, documentation, and communication,” Fuller said. “We were evaluated for performance in areas like system productivity, throughput, and on-time parts shipment, all of which are enhanced by the ESS commitment to help our customers experience the full benefits of their HPP deployment.”
    Based on new service agreements, Hormel and Avure are now actively engaged in a partnership effort to drive down operating costs, generate greater productivity, and streamline knowledge transfer.
    “Like Hormel, Avure is dedicated to continuous improvement,” says Matt Rutherford, senior vice president of business development and global sales. “Our new ESS platform, which reflects the full breadth of our 50-plus years in the production of ultra-high pressure presses, is a value-added tool to maximize uptime, reduce risk, optimize productivity, and accelerate customer return on investment.”
    Headquartered in Austin, Minn., Hormel Foods is a highly respected multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products. The company itself was recently honored as one of “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine.
    HPP is the post-packaging lethality treatment that uses ultra-high pressure instead of heat to inactivate foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms in products as diverse as raw and RTE proteins, deli meats and salads, fresh fruit and vegetable beverages, and seafood. The non-thermal, all-natural pasteurization process is increasingly applied around the globe to enhance safety, extend shelf life, enable innovation, and improve the nutritional value of food. Hormel Foods has successfully implemented HPP programs to its brands for offering customers all-natural, clean-label premium products.

Uncertainty in commodity markets developing along with El Niño

    As researchers keep an eye on a large pool of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean, the prospects seem high for an El Niño weather pattern returning. And if El Niño returns, commodity markets will be significantly disrupted, according to private agribusiness consultant Ken Shwedel.
    Occurring every three to seven years, El Niño is a buildup of unusually warm surface waters in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean that leads to global changes in temperature, wind patterns and precipitation. That has the potential of playing havoc with world agricultural production.
    According to Shwedel, El Niño tends to cause drought-like effects in Australia, impacting the Australian and world beef markets. In other parts of the world, such as Peru, it tends to create flooding, which will have a harsh effect on feed crops. Shwedel also indicated there are prospects of increased precipitation in the United States. All of those factors are expected to subsequently impact world feed, pig and poultry markets.
    El Niño projections differ among agencies, as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said there is a 50 percent chance of an El Niño phenomenon in 2014, while the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is calling for the chances to be more than 70 percent.

Biomin, Boku win Houska Prize for fumonisin research

    The Vienna-based B&C Foundation hasawarded the first place in the Houska Prize to Biomin for its fumonisin-degradingenzyme FUMzyme.
    The Boku Vienna project – the joint Biomin-Bokumycotoxins research -- “stood out with a highly topical scientific concept” while offering “a prime example of successful cooperation between (academic) research and corporate partnership,” according to the B&C Foundation.
    For the first place award, the Houska Prize committee at the B&C Foundation identified molds as a recurring problem in agriculture and growing threat to food safety. In addition to the billions in losses due to damage, fumonisins induce severe diseases in animals that could lead ultimately to death.
    The latest BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey 2013 found more than 21% of all feed ingredient samples containing more than 1,000 ppb of fumonisins, a level of fumonisin contamination that poses a medium-to-high health risk for pigs and poultry.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Kish Island VIV show brings more than 3,000 visitors

    ImEx Gulf Inc. displayed the U.S. flage at a trade show in Iran for the first time in more than 30 years.
    The first international poultry, aquaculture and large animal trade show in conjunction with VIV Europe was held February 21-23 at Kish Island, in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The 2014 Iran VIV brought together more than 200 local and international exhibitors and more than 3,000 attendees in Kish Island.
    Among international companies, there were 10 companies from the United States, some of which even sent representatives.  The show also featured some seminars organized to promote sales, by both local and international companies.
    ImEx Gulf Inc., which represents over 10 U.S. companies, had the most visitors as it had displayed the U.S. flag in its stand.  As a matter of fact, this happened for the first time for over three decades.
    Since the first Kish Island show was a success, VIV and Sunsafa Co. are discussing the possibility of hosting another Kish Island show.

Corbion Purac expands research capabilities

    Corbion Purac, a global market leader in biobased meat and food ingredients, has announced the completion of its newly expanded research facility in Lenexa, Kan. Based at the company's North American headquarters, the new Corbion Purac expanded laboratory, covering over 10,000 square feet, will help the company to continue serving its clients with innovative solutions that secure food safety, extend shelf-life and improve sensory attributes and functional performance of a wide range of meat and culinary applications.
    Led by an experienced team of meat scientists, culinary technologists and microbiologists, the new facility will primarily focus on supporting and partnering with customers in applying Corbion Purac's portfolio in their applications and evaluating the impact of the offered solutions on the sensory, functional and shelf-life properties of various foods, including ready to eat and fresh meats, sauces, dressings, refrigerated foods and prepared foods. The company will be conducting in-depth research in line with its meat and culinary strategy.
    This area has seen a significant investment over the past few years, highlighting Corbion Purac's efforts in diversifying its preservation portfolio and bringing new and innovative solutions to the industry for food safety and shelf life. Further research activity will focus on microbiology, predictive modeling, and other areas as color stability, yield enhancement, texture and flavor optimization.
    "Research excellence has always been one of our main priorities at Corbion and has played a key role in the company's growth over the past 80 years," said Saurabh Kumar, technical service manager at Corbion Purac, North America. "This expansion to our facilities further strengthens our in-house meat and food testing capabilities and demonstrates our commitment to our customers to develop the next generation of innovative meat and culinary ingredients."
    Simone Bouman, meat and culinary director of business development, added: "The recent expansion marks the third upgrade of the applications center within the last six years, underwriting our commitment to our customers and our innovation strategy, and we will continue to expand research capabilities over the coming years to provide food manufacturers with the tools they need to respond to changing consumer demands. This will enable us to not only add value to our customers and the market, but also strengthens our position as market leader and go-to company for meat preservation and more."

USDA now requiring reporting of PED virus cases

    The USDA will require reporting of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus and swine delta coronavirus (SDCV) in hopes to slow the spread of this disease across the United States, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced April 18. USDA is taking this latest action due to the devastating effect on swine health since PED virus was first confirmed in the country in 2013.
    "USDA has been working closely with the pork industry and our state and federal partners to solve this problem. Together, we have established testing protocols, sequenced the virus and are investigating how the virus is transmitted," said Vilsack. "Today's actions will help identify gaps in biosecurity and help us as we work together to stop the spread of these diseases and the damage caused to producers, industry and ultimately consumers."
    In addition to requiring reporting of PED virus, USDA will also require tracking movements of pigs, vehicles, and other equipment leaving affected premises; however, movements would still be allowed. USDA is also working with industry partners to increase assistance to producers who have experienced PED virus outbreaks in other critical areas such as disease surveillance, herd monitoring and epidemiological and technical support.
    As part of USDA's coordinated response, USDA's Farm Loan Programs is working with producers to provide credit options, including restructuring loans, similar to how the Farm Service Agency successfully worked with livestock producers affected by the blizzard in South Dakota. In the case of guaranteed loans, USDA is encouraging guaranteed lenders to use all the flexibility available under existing guarantees, and to use new guarantees where appropriate to continue financing their regular customers.
    USDA is already providing assistance to researchers looking into this disease, with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) working with the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa to make models of the disease transmission and testing feedstuffs. This modeling work is contributing to some experimental vaccines to treat animals with the disease. ARS also has a representative serving as a member of the Swine Health Board. USDA also provides competitive grant funding through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program and anticipates some applications on PEDv research will be submitted soon. In addition, USDA provides formula funds to states and universities through the Hatch Act and National Animal Health Disease Section 1433 for research activities surrounding this disease.
    In conjunction with the pork industry, state and federal partners, the USDA is working to develop appropriate responses to the PED virus and Swine Delta Coronavirus. A question-and-answer sheet on the new PED virus reporting requirement is available on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website. A summary of USDA actions to date is available also available online.

Cargill gives $150,000 for PED virus feed research

    As the first anniversary of confirmation of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus in the United States nears, the National Pork Board continues to build an arsenal of information based on its nearly $2 million in Pork Checkoff-funded research funded to date. This work will be aided by a decision by Cargill's Animal Nutrition and Pork Businesses to donate $150,000 for additional PED virus research directed by the National Pork Board.
    "Cargill is committed to supporting research priorities related to PEDv," said Douglas Cook, director of innovation at Cargill's Provimi North America business, which includes the Akey brand, in Brookville, Ohio. "Cargill's Animal Nutrition and Pork businesses are pleased to provide the National Pork Board with funding to be used for PEDv feed-related research priorities to advance knowledge on this critical topic for everyone in the pork industry."
    Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board's vice president of science and technology, said this investment is a welcome addition to the series of funding coming from groups outside of Pork Checkoff that will help further leverage Checkoff-funded research into the costly disease.
    "Our main goal with this round of research is to find answers to PEDv and feed-related questions as quickly and efficiently as possible," Sundberg said. "We appreciate the funding by Cargill and will continue to collaborate with all pork industry stakeholders to get practical results for farmers to use to save their pigs."
    The top research priorities for this group of projects are:
    • To investigate the effectiveness and cost of treatments that could be used to mitigate the survival of PED virus and other viruses in feeds
    • To conduct contamination risk assessments at all steps within the feed processing and delivery chain
    • To develop a substitute for the currently used swine bioassay procedures
    • To continue to investigate the risk of feed systems and other pathways for pathogen entry into the U.S.

Maple Leaf Foods closes wiener production plant

    The Maple Leaf Foods wiener production facility on Brockley Road in Hamilton, Ontario, has been closed. The company announced on April 17 it has transferred production to its new Maple Leaf Foods prepared meats facility in Hamilton.
    "We are in the final phase of completing a transformation of our prepared meats network," said Michael H. McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. "We have established world-class facilities and technologies to step-change our profitability and competitiveness. This year, the focus is on shifting production to these new facilities, closing legacy plants, and realizing related cost and productivity gains. We are doing this in a way that is respectful of our people and provides them ongoing employment opportunities wherever possible. A low-cost, highly efficient network will provide a strong platform for growth and support Canada's broader agrifood sector."
    Maple Leaf has produced wieners at the leased Maple Leaf Foods Brockley Road plant since 1994. Approximately 88 percent of the plant's workforce of 213 people has been provided employment at the new Heritage facility in Hamilton. The new jobs provide these people with opportunities to advance their skills in a high technology environment.
    To date, the commissioning of the Heritage facility has been successful and on schedule. The company is focused on transferring production from four other plants over the remainder of 2014, which will subsequently close, and continuing to ramp up both wiener and sliced meats production at the new facility. It will be among the largest and most technologically advantaged plants of its kind in North America.

Contaminated feed blamed as likely cause of PED virus in Ontario

    Contaminated feed has been shown to be the most likely cause of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus outbreak in Ontario, said Dr. Chris Byra, manager of the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network. The virus has spread to more than 40 farms in the Canadian province, since the confirmation of PED virus in Ontario in January.
    Speaking at Manitoba Pork's 2014 annual general meeting, Byra said there is very strong evidence of a link between contaminated feed and PED virus. The farms that became infected were linked by a single source of feed and a single batch of plasma, Byra said, adding that the biosecurity on some of these farms was very good and there were no other links to PED virus.
    “What really kind of sealed it from an epidemiological point of view was finding a positive case … which had absolutely no link with Ontario at all but had purchased feed from that batch from the same supplier,” said Byra. “The overwhelming epidemiological evidence already confirms that feed was a high risk.”

Cooper Farms donates 11,000 pounds of pork to Ohio food bank

    Ohio pig farmers from Cooper Farms donated more than 11,000 pounds of pork on April 16 to the food bank in Dayton, Ohio.
    The meat will provide more than 50,000 meals for hungry families in the Miami Valley of Ohio.
    Pig farmers say they use opportunities like this to give back to the community. Pig farmers across the state have donated more than 1 million pork meals to food banks since 2009. 
    "We like to support the local schools and everything, so when we can do 55,000 meals in one swoop like this, we really feel good as a family," said Gary Cooper, chief operating officer at Cooper Farms

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Delmarva Poultry Industry presents awards at banquet

    At the 2014 Delmarva Poultry Industry Booster Banquet, awards were presented, from left, to Dr. G. Donald Ritter, Connie Parvis and William Vanderwende.
    The Delmarva Poultry Industry (DPI) recognized 13 outstanding chicken growers and three individuals for their work on behalf of the chicken industry. Guests and hundreds of people in the Delmarva Peninsula’s chicken community gathered April 16 in Salisbury, Md., for the 58th Delmarva Poultry Industry Booster Banquet, the 1,800-member trade association’s annual membership dinner.
    The J. Frank Gordy, Sr. Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award, DPI’s highest honor, was presented to William Vanderwende of Sussex County, Del. Though not employed in the chicken industry, he has made huge contributions to its continued success in Delaware and the entire Delmarva Peninsula.  He has served as chairman of the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission since its creation in 1999. In this capacity, Vanderwende has helped steer this policy-making group of farmers and others to develop and implement the Delaware Nutrient Management Law, a farmer-friendly, common sense, and bottom-up approach to working on nutrient management issues. Under his leadership, the commission helped guide Delaware through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval of the state’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation regulations. Due to his dedicated work, Delaware’s program is recognized nationally and accepted by Delaware chicken growers and other farmers.
    Vanderwende was a member of the Sussex Conservation District board of supervisors for 36 years, 22 of them as chairman. In this position, he and fellow board members provided tremendous support for Delaware chicken growers. He is a past member of the Delaware Governor’s Advisory Council on Agriculture, past vice chairman of the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation Board of Trustees, a member of the Delaware State Fair Board of Directors, a manager of his local tax ditch association, and a member of his local board of education.  DPI’s recognition also was due in part to his other accomplishments, such as being named Delaware’s Outstanding Young Farmer by the Jaycees in 1968, recipient of the Sussex County Service Club Award for outstanding service to agriculture, the Delaware Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Year in 1993, the Delaware 4-H Alumnus Award in 1994, and the Delaware Secretary of Agriculture’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award in 2009.
    The Edward H. Ralph DPI Medal of Achievement was presented to chicken industry veteran Dr. G. Donald Ritter of Salisbury, Md. Ritter began his career as a chicken health professional on the Delmarva Peninsula soon after graduation from veterinary school. He joined Showell Farms in 1985 and then worked for Perdue Farms Inc.  He has been with Mountaire Farms since 1995.  Ritter has chaired DPI’s Poultry Health Committee since 2001 and under his leadership DPI’s National Meeting on Poultry Health, Processing, and Live Production remains the premier meeting of its type in America. He was a leader during the 2004 Delmarva challenge from avian influenza.
    He has worked with state and federal departments of agriculture, members of Congress, and professional organizations to ensure the prosperity of the chicken industry.  He is the chairman of the National Chicken Council’s Poultry Health Committee and president of the American Association of Veterinarians in Broiler Production.  He is an at-large representative on the General Conference Committee for the National Poultry Improvement Plan. 
    Connie Parvis, DPI director of education and consumer information, was recognized with a DPI Medal of Achievement for her nearly 43 years of service to the chicken industry and DPI.  Under her leadership since 1972, the Delmarva Chicken Festival and Delmarva Chicken Cooking Contest were premier industry promotion events. Parvis worked for decades on the National Chicken Cooking Contest. Her hundreds of presentations to television and in-person audiences helped promote the chicken industry and greater consumption of chicken. In recent years, she has directed DPI’s educational programs, including projects for students and teachers, the production of videos about Delmarva’s industry, coordinating DPI’s college scholarship program, developing school curriculum, assisting with outreach programs to the general public, heading the effort that produced the 1998 book about the history of Delmarva’s chicken industry, and pitching in whenever asked for thousands of other activities.  Parvis served for many years on the board of directors of the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation and the board of the Maryland Agricultural Council. She is the longest serving DPI employee in the organization’s history.
     Additionally, DPI recognized 13 outstanding poultry producers.  Selected by their companies from Delmarva’s nearly 1,600 poultry growers, this year’s recipients are:
    • Scot and Johnna Beauchamp, Westover, Md. - Mountaire Farms
    • Roger and Karen Davis, Felton, Del. - Perdue Farms
    • Mark and Vicky Eck, Henderson, Md. - Mountaire Farms
    • Jeon (Howard) Haejong and Clara Lee, Eden, Md. - Allen Harim
    • Steve and Rose Hostetler, Sudlersville, Md. - Allen Harim
    • Kung Yong and Mee Jo, Hebron, Md. - Mountaire Farms
    • Richard and Janet Kauffman, Harrington, Del. - Amick Farms
    • Jason and Kim Lambertson, Pocomoke, Md. - Tyson Foods
    • Judy and Zach Loller, Chestertown, Md. - Perdue Farms
    • Ronnie and Barbara Matthews, Greenbush, Va. - Tyson Foods, Inc.
    • Mack and Norma Lee McCary, Frankford, Del. - Mountaire Farms
    • Rantz and Donna Purcell, Princess Anne, Md. - Perdue Farms
    • Ron and Janice Whaley, Laurel, Del. - Perdue Farms