Independent Public Health Agency Proposed

In an incisive article in the New England Journal of Medicine, (NEJM)* legal scholars affiliated with the Harvard Law School and the Boston University School of Law proposed the establishment of an independent agency to coordinate all aspects of public health including planning responses to disease outbreaks, acquisition and management of resources and communication.


CDC Campus

The article cites what in retrospect, appear to be politically inspired decisions that may have exacerbated the impact of COVID during 2020.  The authors maintain that interference in the tenure of senior officials in agencies including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disruption could have been prevented had there been a strong independent agency operating with a charter similar to the Federal Reserve, independent of political pressure.  The authors maintain that the Federal Reserve was able to resist political pressure during the past four years since it was structured and chartered as an independent agency. 


In the article the authors attribute the high incidence rate and fatalities associated with COVID to defects in the structure of core public health institutions that were subject to political interference and lack of coordination. Despite the accusatorial tone of the NEJM article, it must be recognized that the previous Administration embarked on Operation Warp Speed that resulted in three vaccines that received emergency use authorization at the end of 2010. This made possible mass vaccination during the first four months of 2021 under the present Administration.  The successful immunization of approximately 150 million U.S. residents by June 2021 was only possible due to the foresight, Federal investment and activities of scientists in existing government agencies including the NIH, cooperating with their counterparts in industry.


The authors emphasized that leaders of independent agencies including the proposed public health entity should be immune from removal on political grounds. Generally independent agencies have five commissioners but in the case of the Public Health Agency nominees should possess appropriate qualifications and experience and be subject to Senate confirmation.  It is however recognized that agencies can be hamstrung by deliberate failure by an administration to appoint commissioners thereby depriving the entity of a quorum or alternatively the agency can be “eviscerated” by eliminating or severely restricting the budget.


The authors of the article cite legal experts who maintain that the Constitution foresaw the creation of long-standing stable institutions serving public interest beyond politics. Although a legal case can be made to establish an independent public health agency, is believed that this would be exceptionally counterproductive. Currently the principal entities involved in public health include the Department of Health and Human Resources and their subsidiary agencies the NIH and CDC, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. The article did not take into account the resources of states that operate in conjunction with federal agencies or academia and industry that have established relationships that would be seriously impacted if not destroyed by creating a new unified and independent health agency.


Our best action going forward is to encourage collaboration among existing agencies, develop a greater degree of bipartisan cooperation in Congress, especially with respect to public health. We should rely on the electoral process to ensure a rational Administration working for the benefit of its citizens as a co-equal branch with the Judiciary and Legislature.


*Salwa,T. and Robertson, C. (2021) Designing an Independent Public Health Agency. NEJM 384:1684-1687

NIH Campus


Egg Industry News

Egg Exports

Export of Shell Eggs and Products, January-April 2021.


USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing January-April 2021 with the corresponding months in 2020:-



Jan.-April 2020

Jan.-April 2021


Shell Eggs


Volume (m. dozen)



+19.0 (+44.3%)

Value ($ million)



+19.4 (+44.9%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



0 ( 0 )

Egg Products


Volume (metric tons)



-2,031 (-14.1%)

Value ($ million)



-2.4 (-6.4%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



+236 (+9.0%)







Shell egg exports from the U.S. during January-April 2021 increased by 44.3 percent in volume and 44.9 percent in total value compared to 2020. Unit value was unchanged at $1.01per dozen for the comparison between 2020 and 2021. The top two importers, Hong Kong and Mexico combined, represented 56.7 percent of volume and 47.0 percent of total value.


Mexico was the leading importer of shell eggs during January-April 2021 with 19.6 million dozen representing 31.7 percent of volume and 25.4 percent of total value corresponding to a unit value of $0.81 per dozen. Prospects for additional sales will depend on continued acceptance of washed, white-shelled eggs held under refrigeration for retail sale, first announced in September 2018 but implemented in late 2019. For January-April 2021 imports of shell eggs by Mexico increased by 37.1 percent in volume and also 37.1 percent in value compared January-April 2020. For April export volume increased by 56.5 percent to 7.2 million dozen.


Hong Kong was the second-ranked importer of shell eggs in January-April 2021, with 15.5 million dozen representing 25.0 percent of volume and 21.5 percent of the $62.6 million total value of U.S. shipments of shell eggs. Average unit value was $0.87 cents per dozen, similar to the average prevailing nest-run USDA benchmark price during January-April 2021.


Crop Progress

Status of 2021 Corn and Soybean Crops


The USDA Crop Progress Report released on June 14th documented corn and soybean crop condition to June 13th compared to the 5-year average. Corn planting is complete ahead of the 5-year average. Soybean planting is 6 percent ahead of the five-year average, advancing 4 percent this past week to 95 percent completed. Corn and soybean emergence parallels the rate of planting at 96 percent for corn and 86 percent for soybeans.


U.S. average surface moisture levels were generally lower over the past week over the corn belt with Iowa, Illinois and Michigan deteriorating compared to last week and corresponding weeks in 2020. The severe drought in Western states and the Dakotas continues. Texas as a state is no longer in drought following prolonged and heavy rains with flooding across the Gulf Coast in early June. Topsoil moisture in Iowa deteriorated to 70 percent from 39 percent in the “Very Short” and “Short” categories. Pennsylvania deteriorated slightly to 19 percent and Illinois attained 34 percent representing the sum of the two driest topsoil categories.


CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA through the end of the 2021 harvest in November.


Reference is made to the June 10th WASDE Report #613 accessible in this edition for projected 2021 acreage and yields. This data will be updated after Report #614 is released in mid-July when acreage and projected yields have firmed.






June 6th

June 13th

5-Year Average

Corn Planted (%)

Corn Emerged (%)







Soybeans planted (%)

Soybeans Emerged (%)








Crop Condition

V. Poor





Corn 2021 (%)

Corn 2020 (%) 1

1. Late planting











Soybeans 2021 (%)

Soybeans 2020 (%)1

1. Late planting













V. Short




Topsoil moisture %: Past Week*





Past Year





Subsoil moisture %: Past Week





Past Year






* Western States with categories of “Very Short and “Short” Topsoil moisture combined (with previous week in parentheses):-

NM 75% (stable, 75%)

SD 80% (deteriorated, 78%). This week 13% of corn and 12% of soybeans in “Poor” and “Very Poor” categories

ND 62% (improved 84%). This week 20% of corn and 30% of soybeans in “Poor” and “Very Poor” categories

TX 20% (deteriorated, 12%; decline following heavy rain in SE of State in early June)

CA 75% (stable 70%; low snow pack inadequate to support 2021 irrigation)

WY 64% (deteriorated 53%)

OR 80% (improved 82%)


The major corn and soybean-producing states (KS, OH, IL, IN, IA, PA) have an average of 28% in the “Very Short” and “Short” categories (last week 18%) with a range of 10% for OH to 70% for IA.


Egg Week

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, June 17th 2021.

  • Shell inventory was down by 2.5 percent, following a fall of 2.4 percent last week reflecting moderate depletion of old flocks. Prices although relatively stable at a below-breakeven value for three previous weeks retreated this past week. Wholesale prices have declined since early May to below breakeven given the combined costs of nest-run, grading, packaging and delivery. Chains spread their purchases and preempted anticipated price rises before the Memorial Day Weekend. A large number of molted hens that returned to production before the recent holiday weekend are still laying Medium-sized eggs relative to demand by QCs hence the drop in price compared to Large. Industry participants expect buyers to reenter the market guided only by retail demand and inventories in DCs and stores. Since the beginning of 2021 generic eggs have been consistently priced high by many chains to maximize margin but this strategy depressed volume of sales to the disadvantage of the industry. Market data suggests that chains have increased shelf prices for generic white eggs for the past week and are not featuring generic Large and Extra large.
  • Currently inventory comprises close to five days of production. Price movement over the past five weeks defies conventional supply to demand relationships and indicates extraneous factors affecting price. This past four weeks wholesale price for Large and Extra-large were essentially stable with decreases in inventory this past two weeks compared to moderate increases in May. The commercial shell-egg price discovery system is obviously used by buyers to negotiate lower prices, serving as a self-fulfilling prophecy and a de facto instrument of potential indirect, but not necessarily intentional collusion. The current relationship between producers and chain buyers based on a single price discovery system constitutes an impediment to a free market. The benchmark price amplifies both downward and upward swings and functions to the detriment of the industry. A CME quotation based on Midwest Large, responding to demand relative to supply would be more equitable.
  • The U.S. flock in production was down 0.2 percent (0.5 million) from the week of June 10th to 306.4 million following seasonal depletions, with about 3.0 million molted hens having resumed production during the past month. The Industry has demonstrated beneficial restraint in flock placement but continued depletions and non-restocking of some complexes or houses is anticipated as margins continue in an historically low range for commodity eggs.
  • The USDA average Midwest benchmark price for generic Extra Large, Large and Medium sizes were down to at averages of 75.5 and 73.5 (2.6 percent lower) and 67.5 percent cents per dozen (down 10.0 percent) respectively. The 1st Quarter rise in prices reflected increased demand offset by a moderate increase in the U.S. flock in production. The trajectory in prices from May into June suggested stable to lower prices but with sharply reduced margins going forward into summer as feed, labor and fuel costs rise and unit revenue erodes.
  • There is some prospect of a return in the food service sector although both frozen and dried-egg prices are static. The economy is reopening with a decline in COVID incidence rates and hospitalizations in many regions. There is waning optimism over deployment and acceptance of the three approved vaccines especially in rural areas Reopening of the economy in areas with low herd immunity will result in a surge in incidence rate of COVID especially with the introduction of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • The Midwest price for breaking stock was down 1.0 percent to an average of 48.0 cents per dozen. Checks in the Midwest were down to an average of 40.0 cents per dozen. It is anticipated that these prices will fluctuate in response to market trends and recovery of the breaking sector.




According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports released on June 14th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra-large, Large sizes were down 2.6 percent on average from the previous week as delivered to DCs, attaining 75.5 and 73.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were down 10.0 percent to an average of 67.5 cents per dozen reflecting excess production over demand. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run, (excluding provisions for packing, packaging materials and transport) cost of 75.6 cents per dozen in May 2021 but probably now up a further 3 cents per dozen on feed cost. The progression of prices during 2021 to date is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.


The June 14th 2021 edition of the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 24) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $0.85 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending June 9th 2021. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $0.76 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $0.90 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 20 cents per dozen above the 3-year average. This past week Midwest Large was almost the same as during the corresponding week in 2020 reflecting a sharp decline from exceptionally high prices stimulated by panic buying at the onset of COVID restrictions.


Updated USDA Projections for U.S. Egg Production

The USDA Economic Research Service issued an updated forecast of egg production on June 16th 2021 revising the previous May 18th 2021 report. The June projection of production for 2021 was increased by 0.4 percent to 8,090 million dozen with a per capita consumption of both shell eggs and liquid of 285.5 up 0.3 percent compared to 2020. The average 2021 benchmark New York bulk unit price was lowered to 112 cents per dozen despite higher prices during the first quarter. The USDA provided a long-term forecast for 2022 of 8,185 million dozen produced with a consumption of 287.6 per capita. Subsequent USDA forecasts will provide greater clarity on reopening of the economy that is still depressed with moderate unemployment attributed to COVID restrictions.


June 2021 data is shown in the table below:-












% Difference


Production (m. dozen)







Consumption (eggs per capita)







New York price (c/doz.)







Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook  released June 16th 2021


Subscribers to EGG-NEWS are referred to the postings depicting weekly prices, volumes and trends and the monthly review of prices and related industry statistics.





  • Markets declined sharply this past week influenced by upward pressure on the U.S. Dollar as a result of anticipated inflation; China tightening fiscal policy and stabilizing prices of pork and corn and China raising corn output by 4 percent to 271.8 million metric tons (10.709 billion bushels). There was little impact on prices from the June 10th WASDE Report that left areas and yields unchanged. Report #613 adjusted ending stocks for corn down by 10.0 percent and raised stocks for soybeans by 10.7 percent. Projected harvests and ending stocks will be restated in the July WASDE especially when there is greater clarity on the effect of weather.
  • Producers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers in the Midwest are paying above $6.50 per bushel for corn and crushers are paying $3.50 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis. Corn was a noteworthy 10.2 percent lower this week and the price of soybeans was 14.4 percent lower compared to the previous week. Soybean meal was down 5.5 percent for July delivery but will soon reflect the decrease in price of soybeans.
  • According to the USDA FAS Export Report for the week ending June 10th 2021, reflecting market year 2020-2021, outstanding export orders for corn for this market year amounted to 14.7 million metric tons (579 million bushels) with 54.6 million metric tons (2,151 million bushels) actually shipped. During the past week a net quantity of 0.18 million metric tons (7.1 million bushels) of corn was sold for delivery during the 2020-2021 market year. A total of 1.7 million tons (67.0 million bushels) of corn was shipped. For the succeeding 2021-2022 market year commencing in September, 0.3 million metric tons (12 million bushels) was ordered this past week with outstanding sales amounting to 15.4 million metric tons (607 million bushels) of new crop corn.
  • Outstanding export orders for soybeans for the 2020-2021 market year stand at 3.7 million metric tons (136 million bushels) with 57.9 million metric tons (2,125 million bushels) actually shipped. Weekly sales of soybeans attained <0.1 million metric tons (<3.7 million bushels) with 0.15 million metric tons (5.5 million bushels) shipped. For the 2021-2022 market year outstanding sales for soybeans amount to 7.6 million metric tons (279 million bushels) with 0.07 million metric tons (2.6 million bushels) sold this past week
  • During the past week 177,300 metric tons of soybean meal and cake were ordered, up 30.0 percent from the previous week. The quantity shipped attained 199,000 metric tons, 26 percent less than the previous week.


The following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at close of trading on June 17th 2021 compared with values posted at 13H00 on June 10th 2021 (in parentheses) reflecting specified months for delivery.



Corn (cents per bushel)

 July 633 (705)

Sept 548 (640)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

 July 1,325 (1,549)

Sept 1,252 (1,471)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

 July 362 (383)

Sept. 364 (388)


Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal over five trading days this past week were:-



Corn: July quotation down 72 cents per bushel (-10.2 percent)

Soybeans: July quotation down 224 cents per bushel (-14.4 percent )

Soybean Meal: July quotation down $21 per ton (- 5.5 percent )


  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.44 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


This week the downward change in the prices of corn and soybean meal would decrease nest-run production cost for eggs by 4.1 cents per dozen and for broilers 2.3 cents per live pound. Over the past 23 weeks, escalation in the prices of major ingredients have added 10.6 cents per dozen and 6.6 cents per live-weight lb. to production cost


The USDA weekly wholesale feedstuffs prices expressed per short ton posted on June 16th (with previous week in parentheses) were:-

  • Corn: $238 ($242), Chicago
  • Soybean Meal: $374 ($391), Central Illinois
  • Meat and Bone Meal: $425 ($415), Central Midwest
  • DDGS: $213 ($215), Eastern corn belt


According to the June 10th WASDE, corn harvested in calendar 2021 will attain 14,990 million bushels with ending stocks projected at 1,357 million bushels, down 10.0 percent from the 1,507 million bushels in the May 2021 WASDE Report. Values will be updated reflecting production, ongoing export volumes and domestic use in the July WASDE report. Compared with the June 10th value, the CME quotation for corn at close of trading on June 17th was down 72 cents per bushel for July delivery to 633 cents.


The restrictions imposed in the U.S. as a result of COVID-19 will reduce ethanol demand by 1.5 billion gallons or 10 percent of projected 2020-2021 requirement accepting a nominal ten percent addition to gasoline. This past week 82.1 percent of the U.S. ethanol fermentation capacity was operational, based on January U.S. Energy Information Administration (US EIA) data. The outlook for increased production will depend on higher domestic demand with approximately ten percent of production exported. According to the U.S. EIA, for the week ending June 11th the industry produced on average 1,025,000 barrels per day down 3.9 percent above the week ending June 4th 2021. On June 11th ethanol stock was 3.0 percent above the previous week at 20.6 million barrels, (an approximately 20-day reserve).


Ethanol was priced at $2.48 per gallon on June 17th unchanged from the previous week and should be compared with a five-year low of $0.92 per gallon on March 26th 2020 during COVID restrictions. Concurrently RBOB gasoline at $2.15 per gallon (quoted, New York Harbor) was down 7 cents per gallon (3.2 percent) from the previous week presumably due to reduced demand, since WTI crude price ($70.97 per barrel) was fractionally higher than last week. Gasoline is 33 cents per gallon lower than ethanol but with a 63 percent higher BTU rating.


With most plants among the 201 that were operational on January 1st 2021 now functioning, DDGS is freely available but commanded a higher price than in the first quarter of 2021. Eastern Corn-belt DDGS was priced at $215 per ton on June 16th 2021, $4 per ton lower than the previous week but $63 per ton more expensive than on June 9th 2020. Generally DDGS is incorporated at low inclusion levels in egg-production formulas based on high price relative to the nutrient contribution of corn and other ingredients.


 Soybeans continue to be the beneficiary of export demand by China and other nations. The CME price at close of trading on June 17th lost 224 cents per bushel over the week to 1,325 cents per bushel for July delivery. The USDA documented a 2021 crop of 4,405 million bushels. 6.5 percent higher than for 2020. Ending stocks according to the June 10th 2021 WASDE projection will attain 155 million bushels, up 15 million bushels from the May Report. This is however close to a seven-year low and possibly represents an over-estimate.


According to a release on June 15th by the National Oilseed Processors Association, 164 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in May compared to an estimate of 165 million bushels. The May crush value was 2.9 percent lower than in April partly due to disruption caused by maintenance and a disinclination to purchase high-priced soybeans. On June 16th 2021 soybean meal quoted central Illinois attained $374 per ton, $17 per ton lower than the previous week and compared to $289 per ton on June 9th 2020.


On June 16th 2021 Meat and Bone meal quoted Central U.S. attained $425 per ton, $10 per ton higher than the previous week and compared to $290 per ton on June 9th 2020 when a surplus prevailed due to COVID-related disruption of packing operations requiring euthanasia and disposal of hogs.


On June 17th the conversion of CNY 1 to the BRL was 0.82 BRL, up CNY 0.03 from the previous week. The conversion of US$1 to the CNY was set at CNY 6.25 (up CNY 0.14, from the previous week.


For consecutive calendar years 2017 through 2019 the U.S. supplied 34.4 percent of soybean requirements for China amounting to 95.5 million metric tons. This was followed by a decline to 16.9 percent of 88.5 million metric tons in 2018 and 16.6 percent of 88.0 million metric tons in 2019. The USDA anticipates that soybean imports by China will amount to 95 million metric tons during the 2020-2021 market year.


For the 2019/2020 market year China imported 2.1 million metric tons of corn from the U.S., 4.8 percent of total exports of 43.3 million tons, but 12 percent less than in the 2018/2019 market year. The U.S. Grains Council documented sales of U.S. corn to China through December 31st 2020 during the 2020/2021 year amounting to 11.7 million metric tons (460 million bushels) with 65 percent yet to be shipped.


For the 2019/2020 market year China imported 16.3 million metric tons of soybeans from the U.S., 36.2 percent of total exports of 44.9 million metric tons, but 3.9 percent less than in the 2018/2019 market year.



Subscribers are referred to the June 10th 2021th WASDE #613 under the Statistics TAB.


Consistent with the need for self-sufficiency China announced on January 8th that an additional 1.7 million acres would be planted to corn in 2021. China intends to rehabilitate 6.8 million acres of “polluted land” to be brought into production.



Sec Tom Vilsack

USDA to Revisit Outside Access for Organic Flocks


In a June 17th USDA release, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated, “I have directed the National Organic Program to begin a rulemaking to address this statutory interpretation and to include a proposal to disallow the use of porches as outdoor space in organic production over time and on other topics that were the subject of the OLPP final rule”. 

In-line aviary complexes generally do not have adequate space for outside access of 1 square foot or more per hen


Refrigeration Status of Shell Eggs Imported into Mexico

The Mexican Association of Poultry Producers (UNA) was recently in discussion with the Mexican Commission of Sanitary Risk Prevention regarding refrigeration of table eggs imported into the Nation. 


According to regulations (NOM-159) imported eggs must be refrigerated from packing through transport and distribution.  According to the report, the Government agency has 31 complaints on file relating to lack of refrigeration.


USAPEEC emphasizes the need for members to maintain a cold chain through to point of delivery in accordance with Mexican regulations.



Bob Evans Farms Introduces New Breakfast Items

The Bob Evans Foods division of Post Holdings has announced that Bob Evans Egg Bites and Bob Evans Omelette Rolls will be available in grocery stores nationwide. Bob Evans Omelette Rolls will be marketed in three varieties and the Omelette Rolls allow consumers to add any filling desired.  Bob Evans Egg Bites are prepared from eggs laid by cage-free hens and are presented in a versatile microwaveable tray.  Three varieties are available.


Thyme Hill, Chief Marketing Officer for Bob Evans Farms, stated “In only one minute, breakfast lovers have the convenient, protein-packed wholesome breakfast they are craving during the week day.”  Hill added, “These products are the perfect way for retail grocers to attract motivated shoppers to the refrigerated aisles.”



AEB Circulates Updated Nielsen Statistics for May

The American Egg Board (AEB) made available Nielsen data reflecting 52-week rolling sales and consumption of eggs and egg products for the week ending May 22nd 2021.  Nielsen data captures retail volume and sales value of shell eggs, consumer-packed liquid and cooked peeled eggs. Data is derived from supermarkets, groceries, dollar outlets, drug and convenience stores all with annual sales in excess of $2 million. Some club warehouses provide data but Costco is excluded.

The data assembled by Nielsen and distributed by the AEB for the current month covers 3.26 billion dozen egg-equivalents over the 52-week period. This represents 40.4 percent of 2020 egg production totaling 8.06 billion dozen or capture of approximately 65 percent of the shell egg segment of the industry.


  • For the 52-week period, retail sales of all eggs expressed as egg-equivalents decreased 0.4 percent.  Dollar value was 2.2 percent higher than the previous 52-week period.  Per capita consumption in 2020 advanced to 286.5 eggs representing a 2.4 percent decline as a result of COVID restrictions during the 1st Quarter of 2020. Direct comparisons are distorted by the late March and April 2020 panic buying in response to COVID restrictions. The projected per capita consumption of 285.1 eggs in all egg forms in 2021, is down 0.5 percent from 2020.


  • On a rolling 52-week basis, the volume captured by Nielsen comprising retail shell-egg sales attained 3.14 billion egg equivalent dozens representing a 0.7 percent decrease in volume and a 2.0 percent increase in dollar value to $6.0 billion.  Egg alternatives including liquid, frozen and powdered egg products converted to equivalent dozens attained 93.6 million a 10.4 percent increase over the previous 52-week period and a 9.5 percent increase in value to $303.8 million. Rolling 52-week hard boiled egg sales attained 29.7 million dozen equivalents amounting to a 2.3 percent decline in volume and a disproportionate 2.2 percent rise in value.


  • In classifying retail sales by product segment, conventional eggs represented 84.9 percent, cage-free 12.2 percent and organic 2.9 percent by proportion. Rolling 52-week conventional egg sales decreased 11.2 percent in volume and 4.8 percent in value.  Cage-free eggs increased 0.2 percent in volume and 16.3 percent in value.  Organic eggs decreased 6.8 percent in volume and fell 4.0 percent in value.


  • With respect to volume of other than generic shell eggs, 52-week rolling branded egg sales comprised 29.1 percent of retail sales compared to 70.9 percent for private label.  Branded eggs generated 42.7 percent of dollar value compared to private label at 57.3 percent.  Branded eggs declined by 8.6 percent in volume and 9.1 percent in value.


  • In analyzing retail channels for shell eggs, 52-week rolling values compared to the previous period, supermarkets and groceries decreased by 12.0 percent, drugstores declined by 28.6 percent, convenience stores were down by 11.9 percent and the combination of club stores and dollar stores (excluding Costco) decreased by 6.4 percent presumably with the largest contribution from big-box clubs.


In reviewing May USDA data there are 68.5 million hens in bans and aviary houses producing cage-free eggs, excluding 17.5 million non-confined hens under the Certified Organic program. The complement of cage-free hens represents 30.4 percent of an assumed population of 225 million hens in the shell egg segment of production. If USDA data on hens under cage-free housing (aviaries and barns) are accurate and accepting the Nielsen data indicating a sales proportion of 12.2 percent for this category, more than half of cage-free eggs are down-marketed to conventional. If the Nielsen data is accurate the situation with Certified Organic is even more extreme with 7.8 percent of 225 million hens producing under the category but representing 2.9 percent of shell egg sales YTD. The differences between potential production and recorded sales cannot be ascribed to use of cage-free and organic eggs in egg liquids. The nominal (pre-COVID) complement of hens producing eggs for the breaking segment is estimated at 95 million, predominantly as generics.


Cargill Promotes Regenerative Agriculture

In an address to the National Feed and Grain Association Annual Convention, David MacLennan Chairman and CEO of Cargill Inc. promoted regenerative agriculture as a means to improve the environment and enhance revenue. He urged farmers to follow no-till cultivation and use cover crops among other innovations.  MacLennan cited studies in which corn growers realized an additional $50 per acre and soybean farmers attained an incremental $45 per acre.  Benefits arise from reduced fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide costs, increased yields and potentially improved resilience to extreme weather events.


He noted the income farmers can receive through organizations including the Iowa Soil and Water Outcomes Fund and selling carbon sequestration credits amounting to $30 to $50 per acre for applying principles and practices associated with regenerative agriculture.

CEO David MacLennan


Cargill has initiated a science-based climate commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the global supply chain by 30 percent, expressed per ton of product by 2030.  The company is assisting farmers working ten million acres of North American farmland to improve efficiency through regenerative agriculture.


Major customers for agriculture commodities including Land O’ Lakes and Danone North America are incorporating regenerative agriculture practices in their sourcing and supply chain.


Sanovo Unveils GraderPro 75-220 Range

In a recent press release, Sanovo Technology Group announced release of the Sanovo GraderPro Range with capacities of 75-220 cases per hour.


The smaller packers incorporate features offered on larger installations including:


  • Fabrication using food-contact material


  • Cleaning-in-place capability


  • Available egg traceability software


  • Modular construction with potential to expand throughput


  • Ergonomic design


  • Reduced impact on eggs with optimized track speed and synchronization of orienters with the main track.


  • Cost-efficient design reflected in competitive cost

The GraderPro 75-220 range has been tested under practical conditions to ensure efficient operation from the completion of an installation.



Kroger Company Opens Groveland, FL. Fulfillment Center

On Tuesday June 8th, the Kroger Company opened the Groveland, FL. Fulfillment Center equipped with Ocado technology.  This is automated facility is the second to commence operation following the April inauguration of the Monroe, OH. Center.  Kroger has committed to eight additional customer fulfillment centers ranging in area from 135,000 to 375,000 square feet, six of which are scheduled to open in 2022. 


The Groveland operation is 375,000 square feet in area and is capable of filling thousands of orders each day.  Large customer fulfillment centers will serve as hubs for satellite locations. Two units from which local deliveries will be made will open this month in Jacksonville and Tampa, FL. Respectively. The Groveland Center will service satellites up to 90 miles from the hub location. 

Ocado Installation in Kroger Fulfillment Center

Each customer fulfillment center is equipped with numerous robotic hoppers on tracks that are filled with specific orders that are sorted prior to delivery to ensure that fragile items are suitably placed in bags that are evenly weighted.  Kroger delivery vans store up to twenty orders and their delivery runs are optimized using similar algorithms to those used by FedEx and UPS.


In commenting on the initiation of the Groveland operation, Gabriel Arrega, Chief Supply Chain Office for Kroger stated, “Our delivery network combines the efficiency of technology with the experience of our associates to deliver fresh, affordable food and a consistent and rewarding customer experience.”  He added, “We are proud to launch Kroger delivery in Florida, a new geography for our company and a milestone moment in our history to build on our success as one of America’s leading retailers and e-commerce companies.”


American Humane Releases Escape from Extinction Video

The American Humane Association is making available Escape from Extinction as a video-on- demand platform.  The program narrated by Dame Helen Mirren features efforts made by accredited zoos to preserve species in danger of extinction.  For information on viewing Escape from Extinction access



New York City Lawsuit Over Delivery Cost

Michaeli Bakery has filed an intended class-action lawsuit against Grubhub Inc., DoorDash and Uber Eats claiming overcharging, inconsistent with New York City ordinances.

The plaintiff claims that excessive fees were charged beyond the 15 percent for delivery and five percent for other services as determined by the City Government.  Under New York City law, ordering and delivery services can charge a credit-card processing fee in addition to the combined 20 percent cap but only as a "pass through" fee.  It was alleged that during COVID restrictions, delivery services abused their position in the chain between restaurants and consumers by charging excessive fees.


McDonald's Corporation Acknowledges Computer Intrusion

McDonald's Corporation has confirmed an intrusion of computer systems in Asia.  According to a recent report, data including customer and employee details were exfiltrated from databases reflecting operations in South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa and Russia.  According to the statement, there was no disruption in operations as a result of the intrusion and there was no ransom demand.

McDonald's Corporation has hired external consultants to assist internal IT personnel to strengthen protection and the company has increased investment in cybersecurity defense.  Recent improvements apparently helped in the response to the attack that allowed unauthorized access for a week.  The company confirmed that customers and employees in the U.S. were not affected by the intrusion.


Massachusetts Paints Itself into a Corner with Rule on Housing

The Office of the Attorney General of the state of Massachusetts is apparently compiling regulations in terms of the 2016 ballot loosely based on California Propositions #2 and #12.  Rules should have been issued in 2019 but were delayed by COVID restrictions.

The sticking point is a requirement of 1.5 square feet of house floor area per hen.  By adopting a non-standard requirement, the Office of the Attorneys General has created a situation in which eggs will be an expensive source of food in the state. Since there are no producers of appreciable size in Massachusetts the state must introduce eggs from Connecticut, Maine, New York and Pennsylvania.

The high area requirement dictates more expensive housing that may not necessarily provide a higher standard of welfare.  Regulations covering six pages issued by the Office of the Attorney General reflect the 1.5 square foot as incorporated in the 2016 ballot question.  As with all ballots, voters are unaware of the financial consequences of their decisions.  It is understandable that as worded, the ballot was carried with a 7 to 3 majority. This is about the same response that would be obtained if seven year olds were asked they were in favor of ice cream.


It would be appropriate for legislators to adjust the ballot to conform to other states that have adopted the UEP standard.  In any event, establishing a standard floor area is irrelevant with aviary systems where birds are able to use the cube volume of a structure and are not confined to a single level.  Unless the Legislature becomes involved, eggs will become an endangered and expensive commodity to the determe


New Zealand Diagnoses Salmonella Infection in Breeder-Hatchery Operation

According to a recent report in the New Zealand Herald, a routine safety audit detected Salmonella (serotype presumed to be Enteritidis) in a supply flock for a hatchery distributing pullets to producers.  Appropriate responses involving depletion of the affected flock, tracing forward to detect infection in rearing pullets and in 64 commercial-level farms. The belated action was initiated to prevent release of potentially contaminated eggs tothe market.


Two commercial farms were identified with affected flocks and their product withheld.  Four additional farms that were not in production were identified as infected and flocks were culled and facilities decontaminated. 

A spokesperson for the Ministry for Primary Industries confirmed that surveillance has been intensified across the industry. It is apparent that the regulations to suppress SE in New Zealand do not require three week sampling of parent flocks or alternatively, this precautionary procedure was ignored with evident consequences.


Perpetrators of Fipronil Contamination Sentenced in Belgium

Following the April 2021 sentence of two owners of companies involved in distributing and applying fipronil in poultry farms in the Netherlands between 2015 and 2017, their compatriots in Belgium have now also been sentenced to prison terms.  The sentences culminate an investigation initiated in 2017 to determine how fipronil manufactured in Romania was incorporated in illegally manufactured insecticides used in Dutch and Belgian chicken houses to treat mite infestation.


The principals of a Belgian company AgroRemijsen that prepared and distributed the illegal insecticide Dega-16 were sentenced in one case to a year in prison and a nominal fine with the second person involved receiving a suspended sentence.  The fines and action by the government of Belgium were inconsistent with the damage caused by fipronil contamination.  Farmers received more than $5 million in compensation for the loss of their flocks.  The Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain was granted $21 million and the Public Waste Agency of Flanders received $2 million to compensate for their response to the massive recall and disposal of eggs and contaminated hens.


Hillandale Accountant Indicted for Embezzlement

According to a Thursday, June 3rd release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Stephen Kaufman was charged with multiple counts including fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, embezzlement, and willful failure to file tax returns.  The indictment involves theft of approximately $6.8 million during his tenure with the company extending from October 2005 through January 2019.  During this time he diverted company funds to a series of companies that he controlled and laundered illegally acquired money to support real estate purchases and “lavish personal expenditures”. 


USAPEEC and AEB Promoting U.S. Egg Products

In the face of extreme competition, USAPEEC consistently promotes U.S. eggs and egg products to support domestic volume and value.  For the first four months of 2021, Japan was the leading importer of egg products receiving 3,861 metric tons representing 31.2 percent of total U.S. exports of products and an increase of close to 20 percent compared with the corresponding period in 2020.  Egg product exports during the first four months of 2021 attained $13 million, but it is significant that the unit value for Japan was significantly higher than the average attaining $3,367 per metric ton.  Since conclusion of a bilateral trade agreement with Japan, the U.S. will no longer be at a competitive disadvantage with respect to the E.U.


On June 3rd and 4th, USAPEEC and the AEB jointly organized an educational seminar in Yokohama City to educate future chefs about U.S. egg products, the industry and quality.  The program was presented in collaboration with the Seishin International Food Confectionary School.  Approximately 120 students participated to hear presentations from guest speakers representing leading food companies.  Yukako Sakai of the Kewpie Corporation was the featured guest.  Her company is responsible for manufacturing and distribution of 10 percent of eggs and egg products consumed in Japan.  Ms. Sakai discussed egg structure and composition, functional properties, dried eggs and their application in manufacturing


Additional seminars are planned incorporating hands-on-cooking demonstrations by prominent chefs featuring U.S. dried egg products.


Sad Passing of Dr. Herb Kling

Dr. Herbert F. “Herb” Kling, 73, passed away on June 2nd at the age of 74. He was raised on a family poultry farm in Lewisburg, PA. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master's Degrees in Poultry Science at Penn State University and was awarded a Ph.D. in Animal Science from Colorado State University. During his early career in the industry he worked for Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as a Nutritional Research Associate rising to the position of Director of Scientific Affairs in 1993. In 2005 he was Manager of Technical Services for Huvepharma, Inc. and in 2009 joined Chr. Hansen, Inc., where he served as a Technical Consultant supporting probiotic use in poultry in a post-antibiotic era.


Dr. Kling focused on the research and application of intestinal health products for poultry.  This included extensive work with anticoccidials, probiotics and antiparasitics extending from evaluation through licensing and extending to post-launch technical support to his colleagues in the industry.

The Late Dr. Herb Kling

The writer knew, travelled and worked with Herb over a 30-year professional relationship and can attest to the esteem in which he was held by his staff, peers and customers. He was always willing to provide assistance and in his quiet and sincere way provided guidance to younger colleagues who benefitted from his experience and wisdom.


 He is survived by his widow, Deborah, three married children and their families, a sister and 13 grandchildren and one great grandchild.


Herb will be sadly missed by all who had the privilege of his acquaintance. We extend our sincere condolences to his family at this sad time.


USPOULTRY 2021 Education Schedule

The following programs will be offered by USPOULTRY during 2021:


  • Financial Management Seminar; June 28-30, Amelia, FL


  • Hatchery Breeder Clinic; July 7-8, Nashville, TN


  • National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry; August 16-18, Destin, FL


  • Women’s Leadership Conference; Aug 19-20, Destin, FL


  • Live Production, Welfare and Biosecurity Seminar; September 15-16, Nashville, TN


  • Environmental Management Seminar; September 16-17, Destin, FL


  • Human Resources Seminar; September 20-22, Destin, FL


  • Poultry Protein and Fats Seminar; October 6-7, Nashville, TN


  • Feed Mill Management Seminar; November 3-4, Nashville, TN


  • Poultry Processor Workshop; November 16-17, Nashville, TN

The Air Cargo Seminar, Grower Relations Seminar and Poultry Wastewater Operations Training Program will be scheduled on industry request.


For additional information access www.uspoultry.org/educationprograms


Versatility of Ovotrack Systems

Since Ovotrack IT systems are modular, customers can select packages to effectively monitor inventory or to manage the entire chain of production from egg collection on farms through to delivery of packed product. 

Ovotrack now provides end-of-line automated printing module for labeling.


Ovotrack systems are pivotal to traceback and are based on bar-code recording at all stages of handling.  A mock recall during an audit of any large packing plant requires approximately 15 minutes using Ovotrack technology.


Ovotrack has developed a return on investment calculator to demonstrate the value of a comprehensive installation to provide accurate data on stock level without physical recording requiring keyboard entry or archaic paperwork.


Ohio Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory Appoints Director

Dr. Richard A. French has been named Director of the Ohio Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.  Dr. French holds DVM, MS and PhD degrees and has over thirty years experience in academia and industry with a concentration on laboratory diagnostics.  He has extensive international experience including China and the U.S. with both universities and commercial organizations. 


He co-founded the Annual Veterinary Diagnostic Conference for China and has consulted for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.  He was an instructor for the USDA APHIS Foreign Animal Diseases Diagnosticians course at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center for ten years and is a registered Emergency Veterinary Medical Officer with the USDA APHIS.

Dr Richard A. French


In his new position, Dr. French will advance technology and automation to improve efficiency in the Ohio laboratory.



Task Force on Disruption of Supply Chains a Vehicle of Social Change?

The Administration has developed a Task Force with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as co-chair to evaluate and prevent disruption of supply chains. This initiative is consistent with the Build Back Better approach promoted in pre-election rhetoric. Part of this program will involve investment of more than $4 billion to strengthen the food system through improved production, more efficient processing and distribution and developing marketing opportunities.

Secretary USDA

In commenting on the initiative, Secretary Vilsack stated, “The COVID pandemic led to massive disruption for growers and food workers.  It exposed a food system that was rigid, consolidated and fragile.  Meanwhile those growing, processing and preparing our food are earning less each year in a system that rewards size over all else.”  Vilsack added, “The Build Back Better initiative will make meaningful investments to build a food system that is more resilient against shocks and delivers greater value to growers, workers and consumers.”


Areas of investment involving grants, loans and other financing will include:-


  • USDA will provide direct assistance, grants, training and technical guidance in food production with special emphasis on farmers and ranchers and agricultural workers who receive a diminishing share of the food dollar.


  • USDA will make investments to support new and expanded regional processing capacity to avert future disruptions in supply that may arise from reliance on a few extremely large packing and processing plants.


  • USDA will make investments in food system infrastructure including distribution and aggregation to ensure that food is available as and when it is needed.  Deficiencies were evident during COVID restrictions.


  • USDA will support new and expanded access to markets for a diversity of growers and will emphasize healthy foods given the relative expenditures on healthcare and food.

Sec. Vilsack picking up where he left off in 2017. Farmer explaining how high the pile of Dollars should be

It is evident that agricultural policy under the Administration will prioritize local and regional food production and establish fairer markets for producers. The Administration will focus on minor crops, fruits and vegetables, attempting to limit climate change, increase the income of veterans and traditionally disadvantaged farmers and improve the working conditions of agricultural laborers and plant employees. Clearly the vision for the USDA will to become an agent of social reform consistent with policies of the Administration. This may be to the detriment of large, integrated crop and livestock producers and supporting companies that represent the bulk of our domestic food production and agricultural exports.


Sponsored Announcements

Big-Dutchman USA Aviary Specialists Provide Advice on Management of Aviary Systems

Big-Dutchman USA technical specialists recently presented an informative program at the  2021 virtual Midwest Poultry Federation educational program


The video contains management suggestions to improve productivity of egg-prodution flocks housed in aviaries both during rearing and after transfer to laying aviaries


The program is reproduced for the benefit of subscribers 


8 Tips to Managing Your Aviary_Midwest.mp4


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