Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 IPPE attendees meet NBA Hall of Famer

    NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins signing an autograph at this year's International Production & Processing Expo.
    With International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) attendees waiting in line, NBA Hall of Famer, Dominique Wilkins, was in attendance at the 2014 IPPE on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The basketball legend joked with attendees and posed for pictures, in addition to signing autographs.
    One of NBA's true marquee players for more than a decade, Dominique Wilkins earned the nickname "Human Highlight Film" with a plethora of spectacular individual plays dating back to his college years at the University of Georgia. A member of the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1983, the high-flying 6'8" forward was named to seven All-NBA teams and nine consecutive All-Star squads and is a two-time winner of the NBA Slam-Dunk Championship.
    One of only 12 players to score over 25,000 points in his NBA career, Wilkins returned to the NBA in 1996-97 after one year in Europe and led the San Antonio Spurs in scoring with an 18.2 average at the age of 37. He left the NBA ranked seventh on the all-time scoring list with 26,534 points and 10th in career scoring average at 25.3 ppg (points per game).
    Comprised of the three integrated tradeshows - International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo and International Meat Expo - the global annual poultry, feed and meat industry trade show is taking place this week at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. IPPE will feature the latest technology, equipment and services used in the production and processing of poultry, meat and feed products and will also feature dynamic education programs addressing current industry issues.

USPOULTRY recognizes six Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award Winners

    The 2014 Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award winners.
    The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) recognized six poultry farms who received the annual Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award at the International Poultry Expo, part of the 2014 International Production & Processing Expo. The award is given in acknowledgment of exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.
    "The poultry industry has been acknowledged as a leader in environmental management for many years. We rely on the efforts of family farmers to sustainably produce poultry and egg products. These six winners represent the best of these producers," said newly elected USPOULTRY Chairman Elton Maddox, Wayne Farms, Oakwood, Ga.
    Applicants were rated in several categories, including dry litter or liquid manure management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques, and participation in education or outreach programs. Applications were reviewed and farm visits conducted by a team of environmental professionals from universities, regulatory agencies, and state trade associations in selecting national winners.
    Winners were chosen from six geographical regions from throughout the U.S., and the Galen Kropf farm was also recognized:
    • North Central Region - Lefevre Farms, Fort Recovery, Ohio
      Tom Lefevre, nominated by Ohio Poultry Association
    • Northeast Region - Walker Poultry Farm, Fort Seybert, W.Va.
      Dale Walker, nominated by Pilgrim's Pride and the West Virginia Poultry Association
    • South Central Region - Holliday Farms, Prairie Home, Mo.
      Chris Holliday, nominated by Cargill Turkey Production, LLC
    • Southeast Region - Hilton Davis Farms LLC, Waynesboro, Miss.
      Hilton Davis, nominated by Marshall Durbin
    • Southwest Region - Bar G Ranch Poultry, Rogers, Texas
      Darrell Glaser, nominated by Texas Poultry Federation and Cargill Turkey Production, LLC
    • West Region - Arvance Ranch, Inc., Kerman, Calif.
      Brad Arvance, nominated by Foster Farms
    • Unique Byproduct Handling Award - Galen Kropf, Berryville, Ark.
      Galen Kropf, nominated by Cargill Turkey Production, LLC

House easily passes farm bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed a nearly $1 trillion farm bill on January 29 that ends a direct subsidy to farmers and cuts food stamps, while expanding government-backed crop insurance programs.
    The measure passed 251-166. The bill is more than a year overdue after congressional negotiators struggled to forge a compromise.
    The Senate is expected to pass the bill, and as easily as next week. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill.
    The bill affects about 16 million jobs in the agricultural industry and can affect major agricultural companies' businesses.
    The agriculture committees estimate the bill will save about $23 billion over 10 years, while the Congressional Budget Office, using a different measurement, has estimated savings of about $16 billion over a decade.

    The previous farm bill, which passed in 2008, expired in September after a one-year extension.

Consumers have more knowledge, concerns about animal antibiotic use

    A recent poll conducted by Midan Marketing showed that 88 percent of consumers know about the use of antibiotics in production of poultry and livestock, while 55 percent of those polled say they are concerned about animal antibiotic use. But after digging deeper, Midan Marketing revealed that consumers may not know as much about animal antibiotic use as they may think, which poses additional challenges for the poultry and livestock industries.

    Danette Amstein, Midan Marketing principal, shared the survey findings and other experiences concerning consumers and their perceptions about animal antibiotic use on January 29 at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta.

    The problem with the recent surge in consumer awareness of animal antibiotic use is that it is mostly the negative aspects that are being shared. And as a result, many consumers do not know about the positives in using antibiotics to keep animals healthy.

    Among those polled, 19 percent of those polled know that antibiotics are used in animal production to prevent disease, 24 percent knew that antibiotics help keep animals healthy and 18 percent knew that antibiotics can cure illness. And while they knew these truths, Amstein said 13 percent falsely believed antibiotic use increases animal size. Additionally, only 14 percent of people surveyed believed that there are no residues of antibiotics in the meat and poultry products once they reach the grocery store.

    But once people polled were educated about the truths of animal antibiotic use, they gained a greater understanding that animal antibiotic use helps keep animals healthy, and that most producers and veterinarians only use antibiotics judiciously. But there will still be plenty of people who are worried that the use of antibiotics in poultry and livestock can create a human resistance to antibiotics, Amstein said, despite the fact that overuse of antibiotics in human health can be an even bigger contributor to developing resistance.

    Along with increased awareness and concerns about animal antibiotic use comes curiosity, and Amstein told those in attendance that the poultry and livestock industries need to make the most of that curiosity.

    "They have the right to ask those questions, and you have the privilege of answering those. Think about it as a privilege because we can create a dialogue with consumers, and when we create that dialogue and we educate, we put them in a position to understand and make things a whole lot less scary," said Amstein.

Where is the poultry industry going to be in seven years?

    With the slogan "What if…," Dr. Pearse Lyons, CEO of Alltech, urged the audience, both in-person at the International Production & Processing Expo 2014 and the 1,600 virtual attendants, to challenge themselves to imagine where the poultry industry could be by 2020. "What if an egg could provide all the DHA we need a day? What if we could really have antibiotic-free production? Or, what if there could be no leg problems in chickens?"
    The challenge continued with a presentation from Philip J. Wilkinson, executive director, 2 Sisters Food Group, based in the UK. To point out the importance of the poultry industry, he said that 49 percent of animal protein consumption in the UK comes from poultry. Wilkinson went on to ask the audience: Could we produce 550 eggs in 100 weeks with a 1:1 feed conversion rate, or 2 kg of chicken in 19 days with a 1:1 feed conversion rate?
    Nutrition and nutrigenomics are a fundamental part of this. The industry in the UK - and globally - is focusing on lowering feed costs and feed risks such as mycotoxins, but also increasing performance, profitability, nutrient utilization and bird health.
    DHA has been recognized as a very important omega-3 fatty acid, and Wilkinson asked: Can we replicate in chickens what we can in eggs with DHA? The good news is that research currently is being carried out to achieve this.
    The industry must strive to keep foods safe and traceable and needs to continue working on this. At the present time, 2 Sisters can trace a chicken thigh all the way back to the parent stock in just two hours. But the industry needs to communicate these values. "Food is a hot topic," Wilkinson said. Consumers alter their mindset or change their shopping behaviors with scares such as the horse meat scandal in the UK.
    Wilkinson also discussed what the future might bring for agriculture: Robotics, transparency in the food chain, the end of cheap food, precision farming, the high cost of land and the fact that each farm will become a mini energy station.

Dr. Mark Jackwood receives 2014 Charles Beard Research Excellence Award

    Dr. Mark Jackwood is the 2014 recipient of the 2014 Charles Beard Research Excellence Award.
    USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation are proud to recognize Dr. Mark Jackwood as the 2014 recipient of the annual Charles Beard Research Excellence Award. The award is named for Dr. Charles Beard, former director of the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory and retired vice president of research at USPOULTRY.
    The USPOULTRY Foundation Research Advisory Committee selected Dr. Jackwood for this prestigious award based on his exceptional work to advance the understanding and control of infectious bronchitis. During the course of his research, Dr. Jackwood has received numerous research grants from USPOULTRY which helped him develop new infectious bronchitis vaccines, introduce new methods for classification of the virus and promote improved methods for controlling the disease.
    "Dr. Beard's long and productive career is an inspiration, and I have a lot of respect for him. I am truly honored to receive this award that bears his name. U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has been very supportive of our research program over the years, and I am extremely grateful for the support and for this recognition," commented Dr. Jackwood.
    "Dr. Jackwood's research is a great example of how USPOULTRY research funds can be directed to understanding and solving an important problem for the poultry industry. The quality of Dr. Jackwood's research is outstanding, and it is very fitting to see his work recognized by the Charles Beard Research Excellence Award," remarked Dr. Glisson, vice president of research programs for USPOULTRY.
    Dr. Jackwood received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Delaware and his PhD degree from Ohio State University. He joined the faculty of the University of Georgia in 1989 and now serves as professor and head of the Department of Population Health at the University of Georgia. He is widely recognized as one of the world's top experts on infectious bronchitis virus, and his research has broadly impacted the control of the disease on a global basis.
    The goal of the Charles Beard Research Excellence Award is to recognize outstanding completed research projects, funded by USPOULTRY or the USPOULTRY Foundation, which have made a significant positive impact on the poultry industry. As the recipient of the award,Dr. Jackwood received a $1,500 cash prize.  The award was presented to him during the International Poultry Scientific Forum by Dr. Beard and Dr. John Smith, Fieldale Farms Corporation, and chairman of the Foundation Research Advisory Committee.

UK pig producers urged to review defense against disease

    BPEX is urging pig producers to review biosecurity to protect their herds against devastating diseases, including African Swine Fever (ASF) and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), which have both spread to new countries.
    ASF has just been confirmed in wild boar within the EU, in Lithuania, while the virulent strain of PEDV in the U.S. has now crossed the border to Canada.
    ASF is a particular risk to UK pig producers because it can be carried via affected pig meat products and there is a considerable number of pig farm workers who travel to and from eastern Europe.To alert staff to this risk, producers can order 'Don't bring it home' posters, free from BPEX.
    Key points for good biosecurity include: the isolation of pigs on arrival to the unit, limiting access to vehicles and people, thorough cleaning and disinfection of livestock lorries and arranging an offsite collection point for deadstock collection vehicles. Producers should always ensure that pigs have no access to meat products or products which may have come into contact with meats.
    For help, the Pig Health Improvement Project offers a biosecurity tool, which includes specific advice on PEDV. There is also information available on ASF from Defra and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

USPOULTRY recognizes Dr. Hongwei Xin as industry Workhorse of the Year

    Dr. Hongwei Xin was named the 2014 USPOULTRY Workhorse of the Year at the International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production and Processing Expo. 
    Dr. Hongwei Xin, professor, associate chair for research, and director of the Egg Industry Center for Iowa State University, was named USPOULTRY's Workhorse of the Year during the International Poultry Expo, part of the 2014 International Production and Processing Expo. The poultry industry's most esteemed honor is given annually by USPOULTRY in recognition of dedicated service and valuable leadership given to the association and poultry industry.
    Xin was "collared" with the long-established horse collar by 2013 Workhorse of the Year recipient, Dr. Charlie Olentine. He was also presented with a commemorative plaque by 2013 USPOULTRY Chairman James Adams, Wenger Feeds, Rheems, Pa.
    "We are honored to recognize Dr. Xin with this special award and acknowledge his many contributions to the poultry industry. Dr. Xin led a landmark study that shows a significant environmental footprint decrease in U.S. egg production over the last 50 years. His research found that all aspects of the egg production process, from cultivating feed to the raising of laying hens, have led to a decreased environmental footprint. We are deeply appreciative of the time and energy he has committed to help address and meet the challenges facing our industry," remarked Adams.
    Xin received his B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from Shenyang Agricultural University, his M.S. in Agricultural Engineering and his Ph.D. in Engineering, related to the bio-environmental engineering field, from the University of Nebraska. Xin is an Iowa Egg Council endowed professor for the Departments of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and Animal Science and director of the Egg Industry Center for Iowa State University.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Zoetis introduces Rotecc Coccidiosis-Management Initiative

    Zoetis Inc. introduced Rotecc Coccidiosis Management, a new, science-based initiative to help poultry producers worldwide develop more strategic, cost-effective and sustainable programs for battling the costly parasitic disease.
    "Overall, the poultry industry has done a commendable job managing coccidiosis. But clearly, when you look at billions of dollars in losses associated with the disease, there is still lots of room for improvement," Mark LaVorgna, Ph.D., a nutritionist and global technical services director for the company, said at a news conference in Atlanta before the 2014 International Production and Processing Expo.
    Rotecc begins with a consultation by a Zoetis representative, who reviews a poultry operation's past and current programs, necropsy data and results from anticoccidial sensitivity testing, as well as seasonal preferences for product usage, production goals and management practices. Other variables such as feed costs and meat prices also are considered.
    Rotecc is built on best practices widely accepted by the poultry science community for coccidiosis management. Specifically, this includes not using the same in-feed anticoccidial for too long, rotating among products from different classes, resting each product and using a synthetic anticoccidial once yearly to clean up lingering coccidia and help reduce infection pressure.
    Don Waldrip, D.V.M., senior technical services veterinarian for the company, with years of production experience, said poultry producers would benefit from thinking longer term - perhaps even 24 months ahead - when developing their coccidiosis-management programs.
    To support Rotecc, Zoetis is developing several digital tools to help producers and veterinarians tailor a long-term program to suit their individual needs. These include the Rotecc Program Advisor, an iPad app that initially will be available in the U.S., and a Rotecc Calculator, which will run on the iPad and Windows operating systems. It will be used to help determine the most cost-effective anticoccidials for each producer's rotation plan while adhering to best practices for rotation. 

GNP leader: All links of supply chain must be engaged in sustainability

    GNP Company Sustainability Manager Paul Helgeson speaks January 27 at the IPPE Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit.
    A large percentage of the GNP Co.'s Just Bare chicken's carbon footprint operations lies where GNP Co. Sustainability Manager Paul Helgeson refers to as "upstream" and "downstream" of the company's operations. That's why Helgeson believes poultry processors who want to produce a sustainable product must have a good knowledge of all pieces of the supply chain and engage the people involved "from the cradle to the grave."
    Helgeson shared his message at the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit, held January 27 as part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta.
    Helgeson explained to Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit attendees that about 50 percent of the Just Bare carbon footprint comes upstream from GNP operations. Thirty-five percent of that comes from the production of feed that the company uses, while another 15 percent comes from the company that serves as GNP's packaging supplier.
    Another 28 percent of the carbon footprint is left downstream of the GNP processing facilities, Helgeson said. Twelve percent is in distribution and retail, 9 percent is in use and the remaining 7 percent involves disposal.
    That leaves 22 percent of Just Bare's carbon footprint, which involves energy burned at the plant, at the feed mill, in its vehicles and in other machinery that the company owns. While poultry companies can continue to work on reducing its in-house carbon footprint, it can be more challenging to improve what happens both downstream and upstream of the plant.
    "I have to respect the golden rule of sustainability, and that is whoever has the gold makes the rules," Helgeson said. "We're not going to tell the customers necessarily what to do, but we can try to work with them."
    He cited an example of working with one major retailer, whose customers wanted a certain type of packaging that enabled them to see how many pieces of chicken were included.
    "It shows the challenge of working downstream. You're in a different dynamic," he said. 

Poultry producers worried about propane’s short supply, high price

    Low propane supplies and high propane prices have caused concerns among U.S. poultry farmers who rely on the fuel to keep their poultry houses warm amid the cold winter months.
    Poultry producer Jeremy Brown, Ramer, Ala., told the Montgomery Advertiser he uses heaters fueled by propane to keep temperatures around 90 degrees in his six poultry houses, which each house about 28,500 chicks. Should that source of heat not be available, Brown said, the chicks would not survive.
    The tight supplies have pushed prices to about $4.50 per gallon from the $.80 range they were at during the summer of 2013. "It's the highest I've seen them, possibly ever," Mason Hamilton, an analyst with the Energy Information Administration said of propane prices during a January 24 USDA radio report.
    One of the reasons cited for the shortage of propane in the U.S. is that a larger-than-normal amount of propane was used in 2013 in an effort to dry grain during a late harvest.

KFC reorganizing, cutting undetermined number of jobs

    KFC is reorganizing and cutting an undisclosed number of jobs, a company spokesperson said.
    KFC is reorganizing and cutting an undisclosed number of jobs, according to a company spokesman. The quick service restaurant chain did state, however, that the job cuts at KFC included both positions at the corporate offices in Louisville, Ky., and in the field.
    "We made the difficult but necessary decision to reorganize KFC to maximize efficiencies and better reflect our current business needs," said     Karen Sherman, senior director of public relations and internal communications at KFC, in a statement to Business First. "We are fully committed to dramatically improving our business performance and our guests' experience. We are doing everything possible to help support those affected by the reorganization in their transition."
    KFC, one of three major chains operated by parent company Yum! Brands, includes more than 13,900 restaurants - including more than 4,500 units in the United States and more than 9,400 abroad, excluding the Yum! China and India divisions.
    Other restaurant chains operated by Yum! Brands include Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

Ayrstone announces new distribution partners

    Ayrstone Productivity, a leader in wireless farm networking, announced that HTS Ag and Feedlogic now offer its complete line of outdoor Wi-Fi technology products.
    The availability of the company's products at these businesses is one more convenient way for farmers, ranchers and livestock operators to have access to fast and easy outdoor Wi-Fi coverage. Customers may also continue to purchase products online.
    "We're excited about the opportunity to work with HTS Ag, an industry-leading precision ag provider and consultant group, and Feedlogic, a leading supplier of intelligent farming solutions for livestock production," said Bill Moffitt, president of Ayrstone Productivity. "We are confident that Ayrstone customers will benefit from our new partners' expertise and support."
    Moffitt said the company plans to continue to expand distribution opportunities in the coming year. Its flagship product, the Ayrstone AyrMes Hub2n, allows all farm-connected Wi-Fi devices to be viewable and used just like they are a part of the Wi-Fi network in the home. Customers can easily access devices more than seven miles away on their home Wi-Fi networks, including remote cameras, switches, gauges, weather stations, and signals from tractors, combines and sprayers. Ayrstone products also are capable of enabling the collection and monitoring of precision ag data from cab components and helping customers take full advantage of the data generated by these tools.

Shat-R-Shield expands manufacturing facility

    Shat-R-Shield celebrates its building expansion.
    Shat-R-Shield Inc. hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on January 15, 2014 to celebrate the expansion of their manufacturing facility in Salisbury, N.C.
    Many dignitaries from both the local and state levels were present, including Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson, Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell, County Commission Vice-Chairman Craig Pierce, Representatives Harry Warren and Carl Ford from the North Carolina House of Representatives, members of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce and RowanWORKS Economic Development.
    The event included a light breakfast networking reception, a plant tour and a ceremony lead by Shat-R-Shield CEO Bob Nolan. Mayor Woodson and Vice-Chairman Pierce also shared a few congratulatory words.
    Shat-R-Shield has been the leading manufacturer of safety-coated lamps and lighting products for over 40 years. As new product lines are introduced and the business grows at an impressive rate, the need for a facility expansion is imminent. Shat-R-Shield will be increasing the square footage of the current facility in Salisbury by 25 percent.
    "My father, Jim Nolan, first turned the lights on here in Salisbury exactly 25 years ago," said Nolan. "I know he would be proud to see how the business has evolved since 1989 as we continue to grow and strengthen the brand that he established."
    "We are very fortunate that Shat-R-Shield is thriving and have an aggressive business plan to ensure that it continues to do so," said Karen Clouse, Shat-R-Shield president. "A building expansion is necessary for our company to perform to its maximum potential."
    The new facility will include additional space for research and development, production, warehousing, shipping and office space. The expansion project is being managed by Star, N.C. based D.R. Reynolds Company, who has completed numerous construction projects throughout North Carolina.  The expansion is estimated to be complete and available for use by summer 2014.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Canadian pig industry learns of country’s first PEDV case

    Dr. Doug MacDougald addresses porcine epidemic diarrhea virus while speaking at the Banff Pork Seminar.
    Just before the Banff Pork Seminar's boar pit session kicked off on January 23 in Banff, Ontario, a bombshell had dropped - the first case of deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) had been confirmed in Canada. This topic understandably dominated the session, which is designed as an open-format, no-holds-barred, frank and interactive discussion of the hot issues in pork production.
    Leading the session were three panelists: producer Claude Vielfaure , Dr. Doug MacDougald of SouthWest Ontario Veterinary Services, and economist Steve Meyer of Paragon Economics. Shannon Meyers of Fast Genetics served as the moderator.
    Managing a potential crisis
    PEDV has recently become a major problem for the U.S. pork industry. MacDougald has been at the forefront of Canada's effort to understand and rally support for precautions to limit PEDV risk. He provided an update based on the day's news.
    "There's a 500 sow farrow-to-finish operation confirmed positive as of today," said MacDougald. "It's a closed herd. At this point there is no short-list of probable introductions of the virus. The direction today is containment. The direction is also to follow contacts on where people, supplies and equipment have gone. As of today and tomorrow, the focus is marshalling resources and doing extensive investigating. We will know 30 hours from now on at least the initial contacts to this farm if it has spread by those means or not."
    There is no need to raise panic, he said. "There are a lot of misconceptions on the manner and speed of how this has spread in U.S. It may be acting like a supervirus, but folks, it's not. It's a coronavirus, there's good history and knowledge, and we know if it's handled right in most situations, the track record is sow herds can eliminate this in 90 to 100 days."
    "The most important thing in a case like we've found today is put your arms around and contain it. That's what's happening now." More cases are likely and the industry is expected to enter a lock-down mentality to limit spread. Several participants noted the risk has been very high given the close interaction between the Canadian and U.S. industries, so while the news is not welcome, it is also not surprising.
    The tone in the room reflected a resolve to make good decisions and work diligently to turn a challenging situation into a speed bump that will not derail a Canadian pork sector that has been looking very strong.

Hormel Foods recognized as one of the 2014 best companies for leaders

    Hormel Foods Corporation was ranked No. 9 on the 2014 Best Companies for Leaders list by Chief Executive magazine. This is the first time Hormel Foods has received this recognition.

    Chief Executive magazine compiles the list each year to identify companies that excel in leadership development. Criteria included having a formal leadership process in place, the depth of the leadership funnel (as measured by the percentage of senior management and middle management positions filled by internal candidates), and the company's performance.

    "It is an honor to be recognized on the 2014 Best Companies for Leaders list for our leadership development practices," said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer. "Our promote-from-within culture allows us to maintain our talented team of employees and achieve outstanding results."

    The final top 40 ranking consists of public companies with more than $1 billion in revenue.

USPOULTRY Feed Mill Management Seminar to focus on mill efficiencies, technology

    The 2014 USPOULTRY Feed Mill Management Seminar will provide up-to-date information on ways to keep mills running efficiently and effectively. The program will address topics, such as a Safety/OSHA Update, Are Alternate Feed Ingredients Really Saving You Money?, The Importance of a PM Program, and A Virtual Tour of a State-of-the-Art Mill. Sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, the seminar will be held March 19-20, at the Doubletree Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.
    "Feed manufacturing is one of the most important areas of poultry and egg production and processing. The Feed Mill Management Seminar is a valuable source for staying current on the latest industry technology and techniques," said program committee chairman Donny Maddox, Tyson Foods.
    The seminar was developed by an industry committee of experienced and knowledgeable feed mill managers and university faculty. In addition to the topics above, the program will address:  Feed Variables and Controlled Nutrients - Moisture and Steam; A Feed Mill Management Open Forum; Retrofitting Your Mill; A Regulatory Update: NESHAP/FSMA, What Will An Inspector Look For?, Practical Application Case Studies; and Motivating Your Employees for Success.

Live poultry trading halted in Hangzhou, China

    Live poultry trading has been put to a stop in Hangzhou, the capital city of east China's Zhejiang province. The halt of live poultry trading in Hangzhou was announced on January 23 in an effort to help contain H7N9 avian influenza infections.
    According to reports, city authorities ordered to disinfect live poultry markets in six districts and launched a widespread monitoring over domestic fowl and birds in poultry farms, habitats of migratory birds as well as parks. The government also banned the flying of carrier pigeons.
    The ban of live trading comes on the heels of five new human cases of H7N9 avian influenza reported in Zhejiang. The mayor of the city announced there were two new avian influenza fatalities, but did not confirm with any further details.

Researchers characterize new pathogenic Gumboro viruses

    The USPOULTRY Foundation announced the completion of a funded research project at Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio, that characterizes new pathogenic Gumboro viruses. The project is part of the USPOULTRY's comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. A brief summary of the completed project is shown below. A complete report, along with information on other research, may be obtained by going to USPOULTRY's website. The project summary is as follows: 

    Project #F038: Studies on Newly Emerging Reassortant Very Virulent Infectious Bursal Disease Viruses

    (Dr. Daral Jackwood, Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio)
    In recent years the very virulent infectious bursal disease virus (Gumboro virus) has appeared in the U.S. poultry industry for the first time. The virus has since recombined with infectious bursal disease viruses that have been common in the U.S. for years. Researchers at the Ohio State University, led by Dr. Daral Jackwood, have isolated and characterized these new recombined viruses and found that they are less virulent than the parent very virulent viruses but break through maternal antibodies earlier than our native viruses. This may require adjustments in breeder vaccination programs in areas of the country where these viruses have been found.

Michael Foods expanding egg plant near Britt, Iowa

    Expansion of the Michael Foods egg plant near Britt, Iowa is expected to increase production at the plant and bring another 25 jobs to the Britt area. The Michael Foods expansion project is valued at $11 million.
    Michael Foods purchased the egg plant, along with another plant in Altura, Minn., on June 2013 from Primera Foods in $35.7 million deal. Michael Foods in August 2013 announced that it would close the Altura plant and consolidate its operations into the Britt plant.
    "This investment will expand our production capabilities and capacity at the Britt location, provide enhanced service for our customers, and position the plant for future growth," stated Emilio Escobar, plant manager. "Michael Foods is committed to the Britt community and appreciates the support of local officials, who were instrumental in helping get the project under way."
    Ed Berg, director of Hancock County Economic Development, told the Globe Gazette that Michael Foods has been a good addition to the community and finds its expansion project "heartening."

USPOULTRY Foundation awards $31,557 grant to Texas A&M

    Texas A&M University recently received a $31,557 student recruiting grant from the USPOULTRY Foundation. The check was presented by Brian Barrett, president of Feather Crest Farms and USPOULTRY board member, and TJ Klein, complex manager for Feather Crest Farms, to Dr. David J. Caldwell, professor and head, poultry science department at Texas A&M University. James Grimm, executive vice president of the Texas Poultry Federation, assisted with the check presentation.
    "We greatly appreciate USPOULTRY's support of our student and departmental programs.  In the coming year, we plan to strengthen existing departmental student recruitment and development programs and develop new and innovative strategies for attracting youth to the department and the field of poultry science," Caldwell remarked.
    The USPOULTRY Foundation board recently approved student recruiting grants totaling more than $183,000 to the six U.S. universities with poultry science departments and 14 other institutions with industry related programs. The Foundation provides annual recruiting funds to colleges and universities to attract students to their poultry programs.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bioproton opens biotechnology export factory

    Queensland science and innovation minister Ian Walker officially opened Bioproton's new export factory and laboratory in Acacia Ridge. The $4.5 million building is a state of the art facility that will transform the biotechnology industry in Queensland.
    Walker said it's a fantastic investment that will expand the science related companies that call Queensland home.
    "Bioproton is a Brisbane based agri-technology firm, which has grown from a humble start-up firm to today employing 15 staff," Walker said.
    "This is a fantastic example of a home grown company that is turning great ideas into great opportunities. Bioproton is a true Queensland success story, exporting their feed enzyme products to over 40 countries," Walker said.
    The opening was the culmination of long-held ambitions to bring together the production and research activities of Bioproton into a single purpose built location, with new production lines and a fully equipped laboratory. It will also serve as a hub for Australian and international research and commercial development of biotechnology; enabling collaboration between research and commercial partner, such as Bioproton's long-standing research program with the University of Queensland.
    Bioproton General Manager Henrik von Hellens thanked his team and partners designing, constructing and commissioning the facility: "We operate in global markets and therefore need to continue to invest in research and facilities so we can continue to succeed in the international marketplace. The immediate benefits are the ability to manufacture our products with shorter lead-time, improved quality control and higher efficiency. In the longer-term, the facility will enable us to work collaboratively with partners from academia, research and industry to introduce new science based technologies that will help reduce environmental impact and costs."

Tyson Foods and Team Rubicon team up to enhance disaster relief efforts

    Tyson Foods is partnering with Team Rubicon, a military veterans' group, to enhance disaster relief efforts in the United States. The collaboration will combine Team Rubicon's knowledge of logistics planning in the field with Tyson Foods' experience in providing food to victims and volunteers.
    As part of the partnership, Tyson Foods will donate a 53 foot semi-trailer that will serve as Team Rubicon's command center during relief efforts. The truck will include sleeping quarters and office and storage space for Team Rubicon's staff and volunteers. Tyson Foods will mobilize the unit alongside the company's Meals that Matter mobile feeding unit, when appropriate, and will work collaboratively onsite to bring assistance to disaster victims and aid workers.
    "We're in a lot of communities where we're responsible for making a difference, said Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson.  "And then you look at these individuals who want to volunteer their time, they volunteered it in the military to protect us, and now they want to volunteer their time to help when there's a different type of disaster going on. It was simply a natural fit that came together."
    "Command and control must be established quickly during disasters to ensure that the most pressing needs are met, and this trailer will be a valuable resource," said Jake Wood, cofounder and CEO of Team Rubicon. "We are extremely grateful for Tyson Foods' support of not only our mission, but the continued example they set by providing warm meals to communities in need."
    Team Rubicon was established by Wood, and fellow former Marine William McNulty, following the Haiti Earthquake in 2010. What sets the non-profit organization apart from other relief organizations is that it combines the skills and experiences of veterans with those of first responders. Beyond helping disaster survivors, their work helps veterans reintegrate through continued service.
    Four years after the quake, Team Rubicon has grown from eight to 14,000 members-most of whom are military veterans. Team Rubicon has 51 missions under its belt now, including Superstorm Sandy, Oklahoma Tornadoes, Colorado Floods, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Team Rubicon was recognized at the Clinton Global Initiative for their accomplishments during Hurricane Sandy.
    Tyson Foods first launched its Meals that Matter unit during Hurricane Sandy. In 2013 it was deployed to Moore, Okla., for three weeks and served more than 80,000 meals in the aftermath of the devastating tornado.

Provisur Technologies, Scanico enter freezing technology pact

    Provisur Technologies, Inc., known the world over for offering a complete platform of food processing equipment, is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement with Scanico A/S in which Scanico has become Provisur's global partner in commercial freezing technology.
    This partnership allows Provisur to offer its customers a broader range of freezing technologies, including a variety of spiral and impingement freezing options that enhance Provisur's capability to tailor full-line solutions to meet customer requirements. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
    Scanico applications expertise brings more than 25 years of freezing experience in a variety of applications.In 1972, Holger Colding formed his first company, specializing in stainless-steel solutions for the food industry. His business philosophy was based on developing and manufacturing high-quality industrial equipment specifically for the food industry.
    Formerly the Freezer Division of Scanima A/S, Scanico was established as a separate company on July 1, 2009. Today,its installations exist in 49 countries throughout the world, and Scanico remains a 100 percent family-owned business, headquartered in Aalborg, Denmark.
    "Our entire company is delighted with this agreement and is very much looking forward to working with Provisur Technologies in the future," said Lars Colding, managing director and son of founder Holger Colding. "As Provisur's partner in freezing technology, our combined processing and freezing expertise now has the ability to benefit many more processors throughout the world."
    "Welcoming Scanico as a valued business partner greatly enhances the Provisur global product and services platform," said Brian Perkins, vice president of global product management for Provisur Technologies. "Scanico's freezing technology solutions, which already benefit millions of consumers around the world, will now be available through Provisur Technologies' ever-expanding product portfolio."

Case Farms gives annual donation of $5,000 to Calypso Volunteer Fire Department

    Leading poultry producer Case Farms recently donated $5,000 to the Calypso (N.C.) Volunteer Fire Department. This year, the annual donation is designated
    for the department's building renovation and expansion payments. The fire department, located at 103 SE Center St. in Calypso, is 100 percent volunteer-driven with a substantial amount of their funding coming from donations and their annual fundraiser.
    "We are proud to support local organizations, especially one that provides safety and protection to the residents of our community," said Alfredo Moreno, Case Farms Goldsboro human resources manager. "The Calypso Volunteer Fire Department is an important part of our community and we are pleased to see it grow over the years."
    The Calypso Volunteer Fire Department serves the town of Calypso and North Duplin County, including the Case Farms feed mill, as well as surrounding rural communities on need-based circumstances. With donations from Case Farms and other contributors the fire department has renovated the fire house, which included a 2,220 square foot expansion of the building. The Calypso Volunteer Fire Department has six operating fire trucks and 37 men and women volunteer firefighters.
    "Most of our servicing capabilities depend on donations," said Brandon Cashwell, chief of the Calypso Fire Department. "With the help from Case Farms, we are able to ensure we can provide fire and basic life support to the residents in our district.

Americans to eat 1.25 billion chicken wings for Super Bowl

    An estimated 1.25 billion chicken wings will be consumed in the U.S. over Super Bowl weekend.
    Lady Michelle Obama isn't the only one turning 50 this year.  2014 also marks the 50th anniversary of the first "Buffalo Wing" being sauced and tossed at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.
    With the second biggest eating day of the year after Thanksgiving - Super Bowl Sunday - upon us, there's no hotter time of year for chicken wings, which have become a staple food of Super Bowl parties in the United States.
    According to the National Chicken Council's 2014 Wing Report, 1.25 billion wings will be devoured during Super Bowl XLVIII, as fans watch the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos battle for the Lombardi Trophy, matching the record level of 2012.  That is about 20 million more wings than were consumed in 2013 during Super Bowl XLVII.
    To put that into perspective, if 1.25 billion wing segments were laid end to end, they would stretch from CenturyLink Field in Seattle to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (home of Super Bowl XLVIII)… 30 times. That is enough wings to put 572 wings on every seat in all 32 NFL stadiums.
    Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based National Chicken Council, explains that the increase in consumption coincides with an increase in chicken production linked to increasing consumer demand and decreasing feed costs.
    "The National Chicken Council estimates about four percent more chicken will be produced this year compared to last," explained Roenigk.  "More chickens mean a bigger supply of wings and more favorable prices this year for consumers. Based off of current supermarket features, consumers can expect to pay around five percent less than last January for wings.
    "This means that the 'Great Wing Shortage' of 2013, that never really was, is officially over.  Sports fans can enjoy this affordable luxury even more this year."
    Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2012, due to two reasons:  the record drought in the Midwest in the summer of 2012 and the ensuing pressure on corn prices from a continued federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol.
    Wing-eating competition among NFL playoff cities
    While Seattle is known for many things, including its coffee, Fortune 500 companies and Pearl Jam, chicken wings aren't one of them.
    Residents of Seattle tend to punt on chicken wings, as they are 44 percent less likely to eat chicken wings in general than the average resident of the top 42 U.S. markets, according to The NPD Group's CREST Local Market service.  A San Francisco victory in the NFC Championship game would have fared even worse for wing consumption.
    Here' a look at how the eight cities/teams that made it to the NFL playoffs divisional round stack up when it comes to eating chicken wings:
    Above Average
    Charlotte (Panthers): Eat 26 percent more wings than the average resident of the top 42 U.S. markets
    New Orleans (Saints): Eat 21 percent more wings than average
    Boston (New England Patriots): 4 percet less likely to eat wings
    Denver (Broncos): 5 percent less likely
    Below Average
    Indianapolis (Colts): 13 percent less likely to eat wings
    San Diego (Chargers): 39 percent less likely
    Seattle (Seahawks): 44 percent less likely
    San Francisco (49ers): 48 percent less likely
    "We quite possibly would have seen more than a 20 million wing increase this year based on this data, had the Panthers and Patriots made it to the big game," said NCC's Roenigk.  "But with a team from Washington state and Colorado playing in the Super Bowl, the council has high hopes that chicken munchie consumption will increase as a result."
    Interestingly, a city without a team, the residents of the Columbia, S.C market, have the highest order rate for chicken wings among the 42 local markets tracked by The NPD Group … 56 percent more likely to eat wings than the average eater.
    Ranch hands blue cheese second consecutive defeat in annual poll
    More than half (51 percent) of U.S. adults who eat chicken wings said they typically like to eat their wings with ranch dressing, according to a new National Chicken Council poll conducted online in January 2014 by Harris Interactive.  Ranch is once again the No. 1 side or sauce typically eaten with wings, but down six percent from 57 percent one year ago.  Only about one-third (32 percent) prefer blue cheese dressing.
    Interestingly, 66 percent of women aged 18-34 choose ranch dressing.
    Northeastern wing eaters, though, are significantly more likely to prefer blue cheese dressing (45 percent) than those in the Midwest, South (both 31 percent) and West (23 percent), while those regions are more likely to prefer ranch dressing.  Of all U.S. adults who eat wings, barbeque sauce, not blue cheese, comes in second after ranch as the dipping sauce most typically eaten with wings, at 35 percent.
    The data also show that more than four in five U.S. adults (81 percent) eat chicken wings, up two percentage points over last year.  Consumption does not vary significantly by gender.  Women (78 percent) are just as likely as men (84 percent) to roll up their sleeves, break out the wet naps and eat a few wings.
    After ranch dressing at the top:  35 percent of wing lovers choose barbecue sauce as their typical snack or dipping sauce; 32 percent said blue cheese; 31 percent hot sauce; 29 percent celery; and 17 percent choose carrots. Ten percent of wing lovers describe themselves as purists who eat nothing with their wings.
    'Buffalo' favorite style/flavor
     Among those U.S. adults who eat chicken wings, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) say Buffalo wings are among their favorite flavors/styles, with 39 percent saying they prefer mild, 36 percent hot and eight percent "atomic."
    Women (62 percent) are just as likely as men (67 percent) to choose Buffalo style as their favorite.  More than four in 10 (44 percent) women aged 18-34 like their Buffalo wings hot, significantly more than any other female age category.
    Northeastern wing eaters are significantly more likely (74 percent) to prefer Buffalo style wings than those in the Midwest (63 percent), South (61 percent) or West (62 percent).  Folks in the Midwest are significantly more likely (57 percent) to choose barbecue wings as among their favorites.
    After Buffalo (65 percent) and barbeque (49 percent), another favorite flavor/style of chicken wings is breaded/fried, at 35 percent.  Teriyaki (33 percent), sweet and sour (29 percent) and plain (28 percent) round out the poll.
    Where do Americans get their wings? 
    The National Chicken Council estimates that of the wings eaten during the Super Bowl, 75 percent will come from food service outlets and 25 percent from retail grocery stores.
    Although the vast majority of wings eaten during the Super Bowl are purchased from food service outlets, such as restaurants, bars and wing and pizza places, wing sales at grocery stores and supermarkets spike dramatically the week of the Super Bowl, and the data show that consumers also stock up the week before, too.
    According to Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts data, both fresh and prepared wings totaled $1.7 billion in sales at stores covered in their system for the 52 weeks ending November 30, 2013, an increase of 6.4 percent compared to a year earlier.
    Consumers cooking their own wings at home can find traditional and unique chicken wing recipes on the National Chicken Council website. The website also includes the full 2014 Wing Report, including "Wing-onomics," buffalo wing history, 2014 wing consumption projections and how football and wings came to be connected.

Human cases of H7N9 on the rise again in southern and eastern China

    Human infections with the H7N9 avian influenza virus are on the rise again in China and the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities provide opportunity for further spread and human exposure, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned January 20.
    Millions of people and poultry are expected to be on the move and many households will slaughter poultry at home to celebrate the new year on January 31. FAO called upon neighboring countries to remain vigilant in the face of H7N9 and other avian influenza viruses, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1.
    The number of human infections with H7N9 has considerably increased since late December 2013 in East and Southeast China, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The increase in cases was expected, as influenza viruses traditionally show increased activity during the winter months. So far, no other country has reported H7N9 in humans, animals or in the marketplace.

    There is strong evidence that people become infected following close contact with infected live poultry, mostly in live bird markets or when slaughtering birds at home. According to WHO, no sustained human-to-human transmission has occurred so far. Genetic analysis by FAO reference centers has revealed that the virus has not changed significantly since its emergence in 2013.

    "Chinese authorities are enforcing important measures to reduce the risk of human exposure to the (H7N9) virus," said FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Juan Lubroth. "This includes temporary closures of live bird markets, regular market rest days, improved hygiene in markets, heightened and ongoing surveillance in poultry and live bird market environment, and control of poultry movements."

    Risk to humans remains
    "But countries need to stay alert, as the virus continues to circulate in poultry without showing any visible clinical signs. The risk to humans remains, especially over the next few months and particularly during the Chinese New Year's holiday period," Lubroth said.

    FAO is assisting a number of member countries, particularly those that are at high risk, in preventing and preparing for possible H7N9 introductions into their poultry populations, conducting  risk assessment, contingency planning and expansion of diagnostic capabilities, and risk based surveillance.

    In South and South-East Asia, FAO, with strong support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has assisted countries with the implementation of animal and environmental surveillance at live bird markets and on farms since June last year. FAO supported projects are also underway to assist some countries in Africa to prevent and be prepared for facing threats from avian influenza viruses, including H7N9.

    It is essential to focus on good biosecurity standards on farms and markets, regular market cleaning and disinfection, and targeted surveillance in areas that have direct or indirect live poultry trade with infected areas. If infection in animals is shown or suspected to be confined to a specific area, culling should be considered as long as it performed in a humane way with appropriate compensation paid to producers and marketers.

    FAO continues to recommend producers and consumers the following standard precautions:
    • Close contact with infected animals can put people at risk. Since H7N9 causes little or no signs of disease in birds, it is crucial to separate living areas for animals from those of people.
    • Seek immediate advice from your doctor if you show signs of fever after being in contact with poultry, farmed birds, wild birds or other animals.
    • Wash your hands often to kill and remove microbes such as bacteria or viruses. You should always do so after handling birds or other animals, before and after preparing food, and before eating.
    • Observe good hygiene practices such as keeping raw meat separate from cooked or ready-to-eat foods to avoid contamination, using separate utensils to prepare raw meats and other foods (e.g. chopping boards and other surfaces, knives, and plates, for instance) and washing and disinfecting all surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with raw meat.
    • Eat only well-cooked meat products (food reaches 70C or more in all parts). Influenza viruses are not transmitted through consumption of well-cooked food. The consumption of raw meat and uncooked blood-based dishes is a high-risk practice.
    • Keep different types of birds and other species of domestic animals apart. Screens, fencing or nets can be used to separate species from each other and help prevent possible transmission.
    • Even though wild birds do not seem to be implicated in the spread of H7N9 avian influenza, it is still considered good practice to limit access of wild birds to poultry and other domestic animals.
    • Report sick or dead animals to the local veterinary (or public health) authorities. If this is not possible, tell your community leaders. Even though currently, H7N9 does not cause illness in poultry, H5N1 does and it remains important that all signs of illness or sudden and unexplained deaths in poultry, farmed birds, wild birds or other animals are reported to the authorities so that they can deal with them safely and help stop any potentially damaging disease from spreading and limit/avoid subsequent human exposures.
    • Do not eat sick or dead animals and do not give or sell them to others. Such animals, also, should not be fed to other animals.

Monday, January 27, 2014

UK pig industry slashes greenhouse gas emissions

    Two years after the publication of the BPEX Roadmap, the reduction in climate change potential (carbon footprint) already achieved is beyond expectation, far exceeding the overall 2020 target. An updated report was launched January 21 by UK Farming Minister George Eustice at a swine industry event held in the House of Commons.
    In particular, the reduction in climate change potential achieved to date of 26 percent amounts to 800,000 metric tons of CO2-eq in 2012 compared to 2008.
    There have been considerable improvements in eutrophication, acidification and resource depletion four years into a 12-year timeframe - indicating the pig industry is using resources more efficiently and stemming the losses of phosphorous, ammonia and using energy better.
    The composition of pig feed delivered the greatest single contribution to the reduction in carbon footprint.
    This is not totally unexpected as volatility and high commodity prices in 2010 caused feed compounders and nutritionists working directly with farmers to find new sources of proteins in particular resulting in a move away from soya bean meal to food co-products and by-products.
    At the same time there have been improvements in farm productivity and pig health which are demonstrating the industry's pro-active approach.
    BPEX Chairman Stewart Houston said: "It is with a great deal of satisfaction - but a total absence of complacency - that I can report outstanding progress to date.
    "Of the improvements we forecast would be achieved by 2020 in the four key environmental impact categories identified, climate change potential has already been exceeded; eutrophication has almost been met and we are already more than half way to achieving our goals in the other two categories, acidification and abiotic resource depletion, - all after only two years.
    "This is an outstanding achievement by any measure and particularly commendable in the economic climate currently challenging all agricultural sectors.
    "That said, many of the ways in which we are reducing our impact on the environment also deliver production efficiencies for producers."
    At the launch, Eustice said: "The industry set itself very challenging targets and has made huge progress towards achieving those targets."

Delaware ag secretary honors poultry producers

    Delaware Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee honored four poultry producers from Delaware's Sussex County. The awards were presented January 13 during Delaware Ag Week, held at the Delaware State Fairgrounds.
    Poultry producer Connie Carmean was selected for the 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award because of her efforts to improve water quality and reduce nutrient runoff, according to the Sussex Countian. Carmean, who grows for Mountaire Farms, has raised poultry since she and her late husband built the first two poultry houses in 1986. The farm, now with four poultry houses, now has a capacity of 99,400 birds per flock. As part of her efforts to reduce nutrient runoff and improve water quality, Carmean's farm has a large manure storage structure and channel composter, as well as heavy use pads and a large retention pond to capture and treat runoff. She is certified as a private nutrient handler by the Delaware Nutrient Management Program.
    Richard McGinnis, Larry and Mary Ann McAllister, and John and Mary Reed were selected as runners-up.
    McGinnis, Dagsboro, is a grower for Amick Farms. His farm has a capacity of 249,000 birds. He has built three manure structures and put heavy use pads at the poultry houses, planted a windbreak of evergreen trees and installed a retention pond to treat runoff.
    The McAllisters, Laurel, are growers for Allen Harim Foods. Their farm has a capacity of 67,000 birds. They have built a manure structure and enlarged heavy use pads, and their poultry house area borders tilled cropland that serves as a vegetative buffer to prevent runoff.
    The Reeds, Bridgeville, are growers for Perdue Farms. Their operation has a capacity of 67,000 birds. They have heavy use pads, a manure shed, composter and retention pond, and collect stray feathers with a lawnmower equipped with a bagger.
    Carmean will receive $1,000, a plaque and a sign for their farm. The runners-up will receive $500, plaques and signs. The awards are supported by Allen Harim Foods, Amick Farms, Mountaire Farms and Perdue Farms.

Adifo strengthens market position in China and the US

    Adifo, a Belgian company specializing in software for the food and feed industries, is about to acquire U.S. company Brilliant Alternatives and Chinese company Brill Resellers. The negotiations have entered the final stage. The acquisition will help Adifo significantly strengthen its international position.

    Brilliant Alternatives has a strong position in its U.S. home market, as well as on the international scene. For instance, it has a significant market share in China via its local distributor Brill Resellers.

    "This acquisition will make us one of the most important partners for the Chinese food and feed sector, a rapidly expanding market," said Peter Tsjoen, sales director at Adifo. "Food safety is increasingly gaining importance in China. As a European company, Adifo has acquired lots of expertise and experience in this domain over the past forty years. Through Brill Resellers' extensive network, we will be able to deliver this added value directly to the Chinese market."

    The acquisition at hand will enable Brilliant Alternatives to ensure a secure future for its international customer portfolio.

    Bob Brill, president at Brilliant Alternatives, stated: "Adifo has been active in our sector for forty years and has attained an important position in the international market. Over the past several years, Adifo has brought its software portfolio to a high lever through various innovations. As a result, it is now recognized as the global technological market leader. Moreover, it values long-term business relationships, making it a solid partner for our customers in the long run."

Environmental footprint of the US egg industry has fallen sharply over the past 50 years

    According to the results of a new study published in Poultry Science, the U.S. egg industry's introduction of new technologies and production practices over the last 50 years has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the industry's environmental footprint, even given today's higher levels of egg production. 
    The study quantified the environmental footprint of the U.S. egg industry's egg production supply chains in 2010 versus those in 1960.  The researchers looked at changes in what they term "foreground" (e.g. hen performance) and "background" (e.g. fertilizer production) variables that contribute to the industry's environmental impact.  Their findings provide strong validation for the effectiveness of modern egg production techniques in reducing the industry's impact on the environment.
    On a per-kilogram of eggs produced basis, the environmental footprint of the U.S. egg industry in 2010, versus 1960, was: 
    • 71 percent lower in greenhouse gas emissions
    • 71 percent lower in eutrophying emissions
    • 65 percent lower in acidifying emissions
    While table egg production was 30 percent higher in 2010 than 50 years prior, the study found that the same key environmental impact factors were still sharply lower in 2010, even on an absolute basis.  Specifically, the U.S. egg industry in 2010, as compared with 1960, had a total environmental footprint that was:
    • 63 percent lower in greenhouse gas emissions
    • 63 percent lower in eutrophying emissions
    • 54 percent lower in acidifying emissions
    The researchers determined that improvements in three key areas were responsible for the above reductions: feed efficiency, feed composition, and manure management.
    The study was conducted by researchers at Global Ecologic Environmental Consulting and Management Services and at the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University.  They have summarized their findings in an article appearing in the upcoming February issue of Poultry Science, a journal published by the Poultry Science Association   (PSA).
    "The advances in the egg industry that this work revealed were, from an ecological perspective, really extraordinary.  In essence, we found that the industry can produce a dozen eggs today with one-third or less of the environmental impact it had 50 years ago," said Dr. Hongwei Xin, the corresponding author of the study and a professor at Iowa State University.
    Life Cycle Assessment - Identifying Areas for Future Improvements
    To quantify their comparisons, the researchers used an approach called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), an analytical framework for characterizing material and energy flows and emissions along product supply chains.   The LCA methodology has been standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
    "One of LCA's key strengths, for our purposes, is that it facilitates the identification of opportunities for mitigating key drivers of different kinds of environmental impacts.  Based on our LCA analysis, we believe that continued genetic improvement and improved management - of housing types, manure management, etc. - will enable the industry to continue reducing its impact on the environment," said Xin.
    Xin will be discussing some of the study's findings at an IPPE symposium, "Eggs and the World Food Challenge," on January 29 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Banff Pork Seminar honors innovator with Aherne award

    The developer of a tool that improves handling for baby pigs at processing and improves the health and wellbeing of farm workers has been awarded the 2014 F.X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production by the Banff Pork Seminar, which is being held January 21-23 in Banff, Alberta. Helmut Janz, a barn manager for Maple Leaf in Zhoda, Manitoba, received the award for his invention called the "piglet processing arm."
    "Innovation is the lifeblood of any industry and the F.X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production is an opportunity to recognize those individuals who have developed either original solutions to pork production challenges or creative uses of known technology," says Dr. Michael Dyck of the University of Alberta, chair of the F.X. Aherne prize committee.
    The award is named after the late Dr. Frank Aherne, a professor of swine nutrition and production at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and a major force for science-based progress in the western Canadian pork industry.
    As a hog barn manager, Helmut Janz recognized the need for a better way to process baby piglets when he saw employees suffer repetitive stress injuries as a result of performing piglet processing tasks.
    His "piglet processing arm" gently and safely holds the animal and allows it to be pivoted and rotated during the handling process. This makes the processing of piglets a safer task by eliminating the potential for repetitive stress and strain injuries on the employees.
    The beauty of the design lies in its simplicity. It is constructed out of six simple, standardized, easy-to-source, low cost parts.
    A universal joint similar to what is used on power take off shafts on tractors serves as the basis for the device. A holding plate for the piglets is attached to that and mounted on the processing cart. Various trial designs lead to improvements in the final product. Foam inserts were added to cradle the piglet and a Velcro strap was added to easily hold the piglet in place.
    The processing arm is designed to attach to a processing cart. It can be adjusted for height of employee and can be used easily by both right and left handed people.
    With this new tool processing tasks such as injections, tattooing, castrating, tail docking and oral drenching can now all be done with the piglet in the cradle by simply swiveling the arm to the correct position. Since the piglet can be processed without being held and squeezed by staff, there is less stress on the animal and far less repetitive stress on the staff.
    The arm is now used by 40 people in 20 barns across the Maple Leaf system.   This means the processing arm will be used on approximately 1.5 million piglets annually.
    As well, Maple Leaf is now manufacturing new custom designed carts for their barns with two arms. Use of the carts will be a mandatory part of operating procedures because they are seen as an important opportunity to improve injury prevention.
    Held since 1972 the Banff Pork Seminar is coordinated by the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, in cooperation with Alberta Pork, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and other pork industry representatives from across Canada.

WATT Global Media, Pig International to exhibit at 2014 IPPE

    WATT Global Media and Pig International will be exhibiting at the 2014 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), scheduled for January 28-30 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. IPPE attendees are encouraged to stop by the WATT Global Media booth No. 512, located in Hall A.
    At the booth, show attendees can visit with the staff from Pig International, as well as WATT publications Poultry USA, Egg Industry, Industria Avicola, Poultry International, Feed International and Feed Management.
    In addition to exhibiting, WATT Global Media will sponsor a roundtable discussion on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) at the VIV International Pork Production Summit, to be held in from 1 to 5 p.m. January 29 in conjunction with the 2014 IPPE. Dr. Matthew Turner, swine veterinarian with Prestage Farms, and Dr. Mary Battrell, swine veterinarian with Murphy-Brown LLC, will be the featured speakers for the discussion. Both veterinarians are on the front lines of the PEDV crisis for their respective companies and pig production facilities across the country. The panel will be moderated by Terrence O'Keefe, editor for Egg Industry magazine. The PEDV panel discussion will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. in room B-305 of the Georgia World Congress Center.
    The VIV International Pork Production Summit will bring together industry and academic representatives to review technical best practices related to pig health, farm management and feed and nutrition.

Friday, January 24, 2014

'Free range' and 'pasture raised' officially defined by Humane Farm Animal Care

    Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) announced new standards for products that are labeled Certified Humane and either "free range" or "pasture raised." There is currently no legal definition for "free range" or "pasture raised" in the U.S., therefore these terms are often used on poultry packaging with no unilateral definitions for the consumer to trust. HFAC's 28-member Scientific Committee has spent nearly two years reviewing all of the current research, which has resulted in new standards for the Certified Humane label.
    HFAC has revised their laying hen standards, which now divide the "free range" section of the standards into "pasture raised" and "free range." The "free range" section was originally written for what is now defined as a "pasture raised" system; the revised standards add a third category for birds which are outdoors seasonally. This change in standards means that Certified Humane producers wishing to use either of the two terms on packages must now meet the requirements of the newly defined categories.
    Dr. Ruth Newberry, Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, chaired the Poultry Committee within HFAC's Scientific Committee. The Scientific Committee and the producers gave input while the Standards Committee did the final review. That process included review of animal research and visits to farms to review various outdoor systems.
    The USDA's (and industry standard) definition for "free range" is that birds must have "outdoor access" or "access to the outdoors." In some cases, this can mean access only through a "pop hole," with no full-body access to the outdoors and no minimum space requirement.
    HFAC's Certified Humane "free range" requirement is 2 square feet per bird. The hens must be outdoors, weather permitting (in some areas of the country, seasonal), and when they are outdoors they must be outdoors for at least six hours per day. All other standards must be met.
    HFAC's Certified Humane "pasture raised" requirement is 1,000 birds per 2.5 acres (108 square feet per bird) and the fields must be rotated. The hens must be outdoors year-round, with mobile or fixed housing where the hens can go inside at night to protect themselves from predators, or for up to two weeks out of the year, due only to very inclement weather. All additional standards must be met.
    Pasture raised and free range producers must meet all the standards in addition to those specific to the pasture raised and free range housing systems.
    "Any product labeling terms that are important to consumers need to be clearly defined. The Certified Humane labeling program is in place to assure a trusted product for consumers who care about how animals are raised and slaughtered for food," said Adele Douglass, HFAC's executive director. "While it takes time for the entire industry to adapt best practices, we at HFAC have the opportunity to break ground, and we do so every year as we revise and raise our standards."
    Without any legal definitions for the terms, HFAC's previous "free range" standards were written for what is now defined as "pasture raised" standards and had a requirement of 2.5 acres per 1,000 birds (108 square feet per bird), which is the standard space requirement based on the British Free Range Standard and was a recommendation of the Soil Association, an organization founded in 1946, that focuses on sustainable farming and preventing soil degradation. As consumer demand has increased for Certified Humane products, HFAC realized a need to separate the terms to define farms that had "outdoor access" and create a standard for "free range" versus those that were actually "pasture raised."
    Currently, there are already three "pasture raised" egg companies on the program: Vital Farms (Austin, Texas), White Oak Pastures (Bluffton, Ga.) and Ayrshire Farm (Upperville, Va.). The only 100 percent "free range" company to be on the program, so far, is Happy Egg Company (San Francisco, Calif.).
    In addition to the revised best science-based standards that encompass both "free range" and "pasture raised" hens, HFAC's current animal care standards for laying hens include standards for the rearing of laying hens in barns either with or without outdoor access. Cages of any type (including furnished cages) have always been prohibited.  The minimum space requirements for barn-raised chickens include clean air (less than 10 parts per million of ammonia), 15 percent of the floor space must have litter for the hens to dust-bathe, perches must be provided at 6 inches per bird and at least 20 percent of those perches must be elevated. There are requirements for feeder space and drinker space, as well. All animal byproducts are prohibited, as are antibiotics.

HGCA encourages dialogue between growers, ‘grain chain’ at spring events

    Following the success of its "Meet the Processor" and "Meet the Exporter" events, the UK's Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) is encouraging growers to join them at one of 14 events already planned for spring 2014.
    This year's initiative, which is open to participation from all processors, includes visits to three millers, a feed mill, three maltsters and seven exporter sites.
    "The overriding aim of the events is to encourage open dialogue and better understanding between growers, processors and exporters," explained Roz Reynolds, HGCA's head of marketing. "At our previous events, the conversations between the hosts and growers have established a greater trust in the supply chain."
    Jonathan Tipples, HGCA chairman added: "This will be the third year HGCA has run the events, and as word has spread, more processors and exporters have come forward to take part, offering up their senior staff to meet growers and explain how their operations work."
    "These events enable growers to gain a better understanding of why certain technical specifications have to be met - and also how processors manage in years like 2012 when grain quality was relatively poor."
    This year, the initiative offers the chance to see modern milling machinery, cereal and seed laboratories, test bakeries, export depots and maltings in action.
    To book, visit HGCA's website or contact HGCA's events.
    Please note that, due to limited places, the events are for cereals growers only. Places are also on a first come, first served basis, and attendance is at the discretion of individual hosts.
    Meet the Processor and Meet the Exporter dates 2014:
    • March 18 - EB Bradshaw & Sons Ltd., Driffield, East Yorkshire
    • March 20 - FWP Matthews, Chipping Norton, Oxon
    • April 29 - Whitworth Bros Ltd., Wellingborough, Northants
    • March 13 - Boortmalt, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk
    • April 3 - Molson Coors, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire
    • April 10 - Warminster Maltings, Warminster, Wiltshire
    Feed Mill
    • April 8 - Crediton Milling, Devon
    • April 30 - Fengrain & Openfield, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
    • May 6 - Frontier, Southampton, Hampshire
    • May 8 - Glencore Grain, Tilbury, Essex
    • May 12 - Openfield, Portbury, Avon
    • May 14 - Nidera, Ipswich, Suffolk
    • May 15 - Bartholomews, Shoreham, West Sussex
    • May 20 - Wessex Grain, Poole, Dorset

Parliament to study impact of planning, antibiotics, welfare on UK poultry industry

    The UK's All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for eggs, pigs and poultry, covering the egg, poultry meat and pork sectors, has announced that it intends to hold an inquiry into planning, antibiotics and welfare and is calling for interested parties to submit written evidence.
    Group chairman Neil Parish MP says: "Since the establishment of the APPG for eggs, pigs and poultry, we have focused on raising the profile of these sectors. As part of this process, we are calling for evidence to look broadly at what effect the current rules on planning, antibiotics and welfare have."
    The group was established in July 2012 to raise awareness of the issues affected the industries concerned and has the support of the National Pig Association, the British Poultry Council, the British Egg Industry Council and the National Farmers Union.

Bell & Evans plans expansion of chicken operations

    Bell & Evans has plans to expand its chicken operations in Fredericksburg, Penn., that would include constructing two plants and hatchery. The move could allow the operation of to nearly double its work force.
    Bell & Evans is seeking tax breaks from the Lebanon County Commission for the construction of one processing plant and a hatchery. Details of the plans have been presented to the commission by Bell & Evans Chief Financial Officer Dan Chirico and attorney Tim Dietrich, the The Lebanon Daily News reported.
    The company, which produces antibiotic-free chicken, informed the commissioners the project is necessary in order to keep up with consumer demand. The first plant could be completed within about a year, while completion of the second plant would likely be about three years away.
    The news of the planned Bell & Evans expansion offers hope to the community's economy, as Fredericksburg is also the location of the Booth Creek Natural Chicken plant, which parent company Perdue Farms announced would close in March.