Friday, November 28, 2014

New Jersey gestation crate bill could impact presidential race

  • Tim Larsen/State of New Jersey
    Gov. Chris Christie is getting pressure from both opponents and proponents of a bill to ban gestation crates in New Jersey.
    From WATTAgNet:
    A bill to outlaw the use of gestation crates in New Jersey could have national implications if Gov. Chris Christie chooses to sign it into law.
    Christie has until early December to decide whether to sign a bill that would ban hog farmers in the state from using gestation crates. The bill has the overwhelming support of Republican and Democrat state lawmakers in New Jersey, which only has about 300 hog operations that don’t regularly use crates.
    If the bill is signed into law, it would not greatly impact the U.S. pork industry, it could have a national impact on the political scene. Christie is a potential Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 elections, and his decision is being watched closely by voters in Iowa, the largest pork producing state in the nation and the home of 2016’s first-in-the nation presidential caucuses.
    Christie has received pressure from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, whose relationship he has carefully cultivated and who could prove a crucial ally in the early-voting state if Christie decides to run. Branstad, a Republican who won easy re-election November 4, is ardently opposed to the restrictions and has called Christie to urge him to reject the bill when an earlier version landed on his desk last year.
    “I called him to tell him how bad I thought it would be and how the people that are involved in pork production, that really understand this, feel this would be very bad,” said Branstad, who added that the crates provide protection to baby pigs that could be crushed by older pigs.

EPA delays final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard

PED virus spreads into Hawaii

Farm bill subsidies could hit $10 billion

    Economists have estimated that new subsidies from the U.S. government’s five-year farm bill could be as high as $10 billion.
    From WATTAgNet:
    Some economists have estimated that new subsidies from the U.S. government’s five-year farm bill could be as high as $10 billion. That would be more than 10 times the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) working estimate and more than double the forecast by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
    If farmers’ revenues fail to meet benchmarks tied to long-term price and production averages, they could receive payouts. The USDA and CBO made their estimates before crop prices fell on record harvest expectations.
    The farm bill’s new programs were meant to cost taxpayers less by replacing a nearly two-decade-old scheme of direct cash payments to farmers, which were about $5 billion per year and were made regardless of need.
    Due to ample supplies, corn prices have fallen well below the long-term average price used as a benchmark for one of the farm bill’s programs. This year’s bumper harvest may not be large enough to compensate for the price falls, and revenues for some farmers could be low enough to trigger payments.
    Beginning November 17, farmers were able to start signing up for the programs. Most participants will be the farm families who own and operate about 98 percent of all U.S. farms.

JBS agrees to acquire Big Frango, Primo Group

John Soules Foods acquires chicken processor Pro View Foods

  • Mike Johnson
    Meat and poultry processor John Soules Foods has acquired poultry processor Pro View Foods.
    From WATTAgNet:
    John Soules Foods (JSF), a processor of ready-to-cook and fully-cooked beef and chicken products, has acquired Pro View Foods, a processor of ready-to cook and fully-cooked chicken products based in Gainesville, Georgia. Pro View Foods will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of JSF and will continue to operate out of Gainesville under the Pro View Foods name.
    Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
    “This is an important and exciting transaction for John Soules Foods and Pro View Foods. The combination of our strong product development and manufacturing capabilities will enable the acceleration of our leading market positions in core categories, expansion into new, high-growth retail categories and the broadening of our geographic reach across the retail and foodservice markets,” said Mark Soules, co-CEO of JSF.
    “We are pleased to welcome the addition of Pro View Foods' talented team to our own. Together, we will comprise one of the most sophisticated and efficient workforces in the industry, providing exceptional customer service and innovative new product development capabilities, while continuing to deliver the highest levels of quality and food safety,” added John Soules, Jr., co-CEO of JSF.
    The new organization offers a highly complementary range of further processed beef and chicken products for multiple channels, including grocery retail, foodservice and school/institutional. Pro View’s products include a broad range of whole muscle and formed, ready-to-cook and fully-cooked chicken products in a wide variety of flavor and breading profiles. John Soules Foods, headquartered in Tyler, Texas, is the nation's leading provider of ready-to-cook and fully-cooked beef and chicken fajitas as well as a variety of other high quality, fully-cooked protein products.
    “We are very excited about the meaningful growth opportunities that this combination will afford to the talented employees at Pro View Foods and to the broader Gainesville community,” said Jan Cooley, CEO of Pro View Foods. “Over the past decade we have built a distinct leadership position in the value-added, fully-cooked chicken segment, and believe that John Soules Foods is the perfect partner to help drive the Pro View Foods vision into the future – continuing to deliver tremendous quality and value for our customers along the way.”
    John Soules Jr., and Mark Soules will become the Co-CEOs of the combined companies, and Jan Cooley will move into an advisory role. The current Pro View management team, employees and facilities will be integrated into JSF operations, but will maintain the Pro View Foods name for marketing purposes. John Soules Foods now will have approximately 1,225 total employees, with about 475 employees at the JSF facility in Tyler and about 750 employees at Pro View’s three facilities in Georgia.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Koch Foods says Mercy for Animals’ video inaccurate

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Survey shows corn, soy yield increases when cover crops are used

    Farmers are seeing increased yields when cover crops are used.
    From WATTAgNet:
    The second survey from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program has found that farmers are seeing increased yields of up to five bushels per acre of corn and two bushels per acre of soy when cover crops are used.
    The survey studied 1,924 users and non-users of cover crops in winter 2013-14. Of the respondents, 639 provided data comparing corn yields and 583 provided data comparing soy yields.
    The results of the 2013-14 survey were less significant than the previous year, when improvements of 11.1 bushels of corn and 4.9 bushels of soybeans were seen. The changes could be attributed to the drought during the summer of 2012, which highlights the moisture-management benefits of cover crops.
    Other benefits of the use of cover crops cited in the report include changes in soil organic matter, soil erosion and compaction, weed control and nitrogen content.
    Other findings of the survey include:
    71 percent of the cover crop users seed their own cover crops
    48 percent of cover crop users apply herbicide for termination; tillage and choosing species that winter-kill are each employed by about half as many growers (21% and 20%, respectively).

Continental Grain may sell stake in Wayne Farms

Second avian influenza outbreak reported in The Netherlands

  • Andrea Gantz
    Two outbreaks of avian influenza have been confirmed in The Netherlands in less than one week.
    From WATTAgNet:
    A second Dutch farm has been infected with avian influenza, less than one week after avian influenza struck a layer farm in Hekendorp, Utrecht, The Netherlands, according to authorities.
    On November 20, thousands of chickens were culled at a farm in Ter Aar in South Holland, about 15 miles away from the farm where the first avian influenza outbreak occurred.
    Tests are being conducted to determine the serotype of the virus detected at the Ter Aar farm. The previous outbreak of avian influenza was determined to be of the H5N8 serotype. In that outbreak, reported by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on November 16, about 1,000 layer and breeding hens were found dead. An additional 149,000 susceptible chickens at that farm were destroyed.
    H5N8 avian influenza has also struck two other European farms in November. On November 6, an estimated 1,880 birds died at a fattening turkey holding in Germany. On November 17, the virus was detected at a duck farm in Yorkshire, U.K., where 338 birds died.
    The outbreaks have prompted the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ukraine to impose bans on the import of poultry and poultry products from The Netherlands, Germany and the U.K.
    Authorities from the U.K. Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) have stressed that H5N8 avian influenza does not pose a great threat to human health and does not impact the food chain.

Brazil’s poultry exports to Russia continue to rise strongly

National Pork Board funds new swine health information center

Boar taint and aggressive behavior not closely linked, study finds

  • Andrea Gantz
    A recent study from Wageningen University examined links between boar taint and aggressive or mounting behaviors.
    From WATTAgNet:
    Selecting on less boar taint does not automatically mean selecting on less mounting and aggressive behavior in boars, according to research at Wageningen University’s Swine Innovation Centre Sterksel (SIC) and a commercial pig farm.
    The EU has proposed ending surgical castration of male piglets in 2018 and beyond. However, the quality of meat from some intact males is negatively influenced by odor and taste, referred to as boar taint. By using boars with a low breeding value for boar taint, the percentage of boars with boar taint at the slaughter house can be reduced by 40 percent. This was investigated by measuring the behavior and boar taint in offspring of boars and sows with respectively a high or a low breeding value for boar taint.
    The breeding value for boar taint had no effect on mounting behavior of the boars, according to the study. Also, there was no relationship between mounting behavior and boar taint. The effect of the breeding value for boar taint on aggressive behavior of the boars is not clear. Aggressive behavior was lower at SIC Sterksel but higher on the commercial pig farm in boars with a low breeding value for boar taint. There was no relationship between aggressive behavior and boar taint.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tyson Foods anticipates record-setting year in 2015

Final phase of avian influenza vaccination in Jalisco, Mexico

Ag groups urge Obama to intervene in port disruption

Defra confirms UK duck farm infected with H5N8 avian influenza

Egg Farmers of Canada creates chair in public policy

DeCosters scheduled for February sentencing in Salmonella case

Monday, November 24, 2014

Forecasts for 2015 positive for poultry and swine producers

Zoetis announces $500 million share repurchase program

European Antibiotics Awareness Day – Everyone is Responsible

Poultry industry leader Jack England dies

Pork board may create National Swine Health Information Center

  • Andrea Gantz
    The National Pork Board will soon vote on a proposal to create a National Swine Health Information Center.
    From WATTAgNet:
    The National Pork Board will soon vote on a proposal to create a National Swine Health Information Center with funding from the Pork Checkoff. If realized the center would be used as a tool to implement industry preparedness for disease challenges that impact the swine industry. 
    The announcement about the proposal was made during the Iowa State University Swine Disease Conference by
    Harry Snelson, DVM, American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), and Craig Rowles, DVM, Elite Pork, announced the proposed center during the Iowa State University Swine Disease Conference.
    Snelson and Rowles said that the center, if approved, would be funded over a five-year period by a $15 million to $20 million investment by the Pork Checkoff.
    “A board made up of representatives from the National Pork Board (NPB), National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and AASV will have the responsibility for setting the executive direction of the Swine Health Information Center,” Rowles said. “AgConnect, part of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases at Texas A&M, will work with the new Center to put geospatial data with potential disease outbreaks.”
    Rowles said the center would be used as a tool to help implement swine industry preparedness, enhance and supplement non-regulatory disease response and improve swine health management.
    The center, according to Snelson, would focus on global production diseases and would establish a mechanism for evaluating disease implications and prioritizing threats.

Avian influenza strikes in Netherlands, UK

  • Andrea Gantz
    The European poultry industry is on alert after avian influenza has been found in The Netherlands and the UK.
    From WATTAgNet:
    European countries are on alert after highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza has been found in a flock of layer and breeding hens in the Netherlands and a strain of H5 avian influenza at a duck farm in the U.K.
    The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reported that H5N8 avian influenza was detected at a farm in Hekendorp, Utrecht, The Netherlands, killing about 1,000 hens. An additional 149,000 susceptible hens were destroyed. The property is being disinfected, while movement control, screening and zoning procedures have been implemented.
    The cause of the H5N8 outbreak has not yet been determined.
    Meanwhile, a highly pathogenic avian influenza strain has been found on a duck farm in Yorkshire, U.K., reported Defra. The exact serotype of the avian influenza found at the duck farm has not yet been determined. However, the British Poultry Council (BPC) reported that the source of the outbreak appears to be migratory birds. The property is being disinfected and protection and surveillance zones have been set up.
    “Wide and ongoing surveillance of house and wild birds in the U.S., particularly susceptible waterfowl species, is key. We hope this outbreak has been quickly contained. Avian influenza is a disease of birds and the risk to the general public is judged by health experts to be negligible,” said Andrew Large, BPC chief executive.

Poultry groups voice opposition to waters of US rule

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tyson Foods Q4 net income drops by nearly half

156,000 attended EuroTier in Germany

Despite record harvest, some farmers collecting on crop insurance

    Despite the record corn crop in 2014, some Iowa farmers will collect crop insurance indemnity payments.
    From WATTAgNet:
    Despite the record corn crop in 2014, some Iowa farmers will collect crop insurance indemnity payments.
    Agricultural economists say crop insurance payments will be made because harvest prices are substantially lower than spring projected prices.
    The 2014 projected prices, established in the spring by the federal Risk Management Agency, were $4.62 per bushel for corn and $11.36 per bushel for soybeans.
    For crop insurance purposes, the harvest prices, determined by taking the average of settlement prices on Chicago Board of Trade futures contracts in October, were $3.49 per bushel for corn, a 24.5 percent drop from the spring price, and $9.65 per bushel for soybeans, 15 percent lower than the spring price.
    In Illinois, yields were so good that payments will be much less common than in Iowa. Illinois’ average was 200 bushels of corn per acre, while Iowa’s average was 183 bushels per acre.
    To illustrate how payouts are determined, for example, take a farmer with 85 percent coverage and an actual production history of 190 bushels per acre. That farmer’s guaranteed revenue would be derived by multiplying the historical yield (190 bushels per acre) by the level of coverage (0.85) by the fall price ($4.62), yielding a guaranteed revenue of $746.13 per acre.

Brazil, China sign new poultry and pig meat trade agreement