Editorial


Federal Government Must Accelerate Hiring of Scientists

At a March 17th hearing before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Dr. Candice Wright, Acting Director for Science Technology Assessment with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, reviewed the need to accelerate hiring of scientists and technical specialists in their respective fields.  Loss of critical personnel was evident in many government departments including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy during the previous Administration. The situation with regard to the USDA Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture has been extensively reviewed since these vital agencies were subjected to forced attrition. In addition, many scientists in governmnt service are approaching retirement age.

 


ERS Staff Protest relocation from DC to Missouri

Dr. Wright emphasized the need to recruit from a wider base of universities, including minority-serving institutions and to deemphasize contract positions. 

 

Dr. Andrew Rosenberg of the Union of Concerned Scientists informed the House Committee that agencies place bureaucratic obstacles in the path of prospective employees with delays of up to three months before making formal job offers during which time the best prospective candidates find alternative employment in industry and academia.

 

If the U.S. is to maintain a position of dominance in agricultural technology science must drive policy. Administrators of agencies should be willing to empower ther research teams and encourasge achievement free of political restraints. Human capital is difficult to quantify but must be nutured in an environment that stimulates  creativity


 

Egg Industry News


COMMODITY REPORT

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT: April 2nd 2021.

 

  • The financial and economic policies of the Biden-Harris Administration are emerging following passage of the $1.9 Trillion COVID Stimulus Package. This legislation combined with intensifying the vaccination campaign to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic should restore the economy by early summer.  USDA will provide extensive support to minorities in agriculture, small family farms and will extend SNAP benefits to alleviate hunger.

 

  • The commodity market this past week was slightly higher reversing the trend from the previous week. This change was despite fewer export orders especially for corn and concern over ending stocks as forecast in the March 9th WASDE Report and the March 31st Grain Stocks update. Data on plantings and end stocks will be updated in the April WASDE.

 

 

  • The direction of agricultural and trade policy to be implemented by the Biden Administration in 2021 is now clear following the recent confirmation of Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary. He has emphasized support for the disadvantaged, sustainability and addressing climate change as Departmental priorities consistent with pre-election promises by then Candidate Biden.  Michael Regan and Kathleen Tai have been confirmed as the Administrator of the EPA and U.S. Trade Representative respectively. Ms. Tai has already expressed firmness in dealing with China, a sentiment echoed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken at bilateral meetings with China in Alaska on March 18th

 

  • U.S producers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers in the Midwest are paying close to $5.50 per bushel for corn and crushers are paying $14.00 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis.

 

  • Corn advanced by 1.3 percent and soybeans were fractionally higher than the previous week although at notably high levels. Soybean meal was up 1.2 percent for May delivery. This past week was characterized by extreme fluctuation with corn and soy limit high on Wednesday March 31st following the release of the USDA Grain Stocks and Planting Intentions reports.  Prices retreated on the two subsequent days based on a lack of export orders and a reflection on realities.

 

  • According to the USDA FAS Export Report for the week ending March25th 2021 reflecting market year 2020-2021, outstanding export orders for corn amounted to 32.0 million metric tons (1,261 million bushels) with 33.9 million metric tons (1,330 million bushels) actually shipped. During the past week 0.8 million metric tons (31.5 million bushels) of corn were ordered, down 46 percent from the four-week average. A total of 2.0 million tons (80.4 million bushels) of corn was shipped.

 

  • Outstanding export orders for soybeans for the 2020-2021 market year attained 6.0 million metric tons (220 million bushels) with 54.8 million metric tons (2,011 million bushels) actually shipped. This past week some previously placed orders from China were cancelled. Weekly sales of soybeans attained 0.1 million metric tons (3.7 million bushels) with 0.5 million metric tons (18.4 million bushels) shipped. During the past week 139,700 metric tons of soybean meal and cake were ordered and 257,400 metric tons were shipped, approximating 89 percent of the previous week.

 

The following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at14H00 on April 2nd 2021 compared with values posted at close of trading on March 26th 2021  (in parentheses) reflecting specified months in 2021 for delivery.

 

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

 May    559        (552)      

July      544      (535)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

 May 1,402     (1,401)

July  1,397   (1,392)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

 May    409         (404)

July     411       (406)

 

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

COMMODITY    CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK

Corn:                  May quotation up 7 cents per bushel             (+1.3 percent)

Soybeans:         May quotation up 1 cent per bushel               (+0.1 percent )

Soybean Meal: May quotation up $5 per ton                            (+1.2 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 changes in the prices of corn and soybean meal would increase nest-run production cost for eggs by 0.5 cent per dozen and for broilers 0.3 cent per live pound. Over the past quarter, escalations in the prices of major ingredients have added 7.8 cents per dozen and 4.6 cents per live-weight lb.

 

According to the March 9th WASDE, corn harvested in calendar 2021 will attain 14,183 million bushels with ending stocks projected at 1,502 million bushels, unchanged from the February 2021 WASDE Report. Values will be updated reflecting production, ongoing export volumes and domestic use in the April WASDE. Compared with the March 24th value, the CME quotation for corn at 14H00 on April 2nd was up 7 cents per bushel for May delivery to 559 cents. The USDA projects a 1 percent decrease in acreage planted to corn in 2021.

 

The social 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 12 percent of the U.S. ethanol fermentation capacity was off-line or operating at lower than capacity. The outlook for increased production will depend on domestic demand with ten percent of production exported. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency for the week ending March 26th the industry produced on average 965,000 barrels per day up 4.7 percent from the 922,000 barrels per day for the week ending March 19th 2021, after recovering from disruption due to severe weather in mid-February. Ethanol stocks stood at 21.1 million barrels up 6.0 percent from the previous week.

 

Ethanol was priced at $1.91 per gallon on April 2nd up 6.1 since March 26th reflecting WTI crude and compared with a five-year low of $0.92 per gallon on March 26th 2020. Concurrently RBOB gasoline at $2.02 per gallon (quoted, New York Harbor) was up 3.6 percent from the previous week (presumably due to WTI crude price and a recovery from severe weather conditions) and remains 11 cents per gallon higher than ethanol but with a 63 percent higher BTU rating.  Relative prices of commodities, crude and ethanol might be influenced in early April as a result of the one-week blockage of the Suez Canal that disrupted trade between Asia and Europe and exacerbated the current shortage of available marine shipping containers.

 

With more plants among the 201 operational on January 1st 2021, DDGS is freely available but commanded a higher price than in the fourth quarter of 2020. Eastern Corn-belt product was priced at $208 per ton on March 30th 2021, $6 per ton lower than the previous week but $23 per ton more expensive than on March 24th 2020.

 

 Soybeans continue to be the beneficiary of export demand by China. The CME price at 14H00 on April 2nd rose 1 cent per bushel over the week to 1,402 cents per bushel for May delivery. The USDA documented a 2021 crop of 4,135 million bushels. Ending stocks according to the March 9th 2021 WASDE projection will attain 120 million bushels, unchanged from the March and February projections representing a seven-year low. The USDA Planting Intentions report indicated that soybean acreage would increase by 5 percent over 2020. According to the National Oilseed Processors Association 155 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in February. This value was 6 percent lower than in January due to disruption caused by a shortage of natural gas attributed to severe weather.

 

On March 30th` 2021 Meat and Bone meal quoted Central U.S. attained $425 per ton, unchanged from the previous week and compared to $250 per ton on March 24th 2020 when a surplus prevailed due to COVID-related disruption of packing operations requiring euthanasia of hogs.

 

On April 2nd the BRL exchange with the CNY was 0.87, (unchanged from the previous week). The conversion of the US$ to the CNY was set at 6.57 up CNY 0.03, 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.

COMMENTS

Subscribers are referred to the March 9th 2021th WASDE #610 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.

 

Approximately $16 billion was disbursed under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) in early 2020. An additional $14 Billion relief package was announced by the Administration on September 18th with all of the allotment having been distributed. Additional funds will be included in the proposed Coronavirus Relief Package. USDA has frozen distribution of CFAP funding including $2.3 billion for hog and poultry contractors and $13 billion for row crop farmers. A decision regarding disbursement will be issued soon according to a USDA release.


 

USDA DATA ON MARCH 2021 CAGE-FREE PRODUCTION

EGG-NEWS summarizes and comments on data and trends in the monthly USDA Cage-Free Report, correlating the information posted weekly on the EGG-NEWS Egg Weekly Price and Inventory Report.

 

The USDA Cage-Free Report for the month of March 2021 released on April 5th 2021 documented a static population of hens producing under the Certified Organic seal at 17.5 million. Cage-free flocks were unchanged at 67.5 million compared to February 2021. (all rounded to 0.1 million). The respective numbers of hens in organic and cage-free flocks should reflect the realities of supply and demand in the market over successive quarters. It is evident that a noteworthy proportion of organic and cage-free eggs are down-priced to the generic category when comparing Nielsen retail sales data with potential production based on hen numbers as documented by the USDA.

 

Average flock production was reduced by 0.5 percent to 78.5 percent for both categories of non-caged hens. This reflects flocks of slightly increasing average age. Younger flocks increase the availability of cage-free eggs and organic eggs reflecting pullet chick placements in anticipation of pre-Christmas and pre-Easter demand. Average flock production in March represented the balance between older flocks and the higher relative production from pullet chicks placed during mid to late September 2020 and a small number of molted flocks resuming production during the month.

 

Flock size March. Av. Av. Av. Q1 Q4

(million hens) 2021 2021 2020

Av. Q3

2020

Av.

Q2

2020

Av.

Q1

2020

Certified Organic 17.5 17.4 17.2

16.2

15.7

15.7

Cage-free hens 67.5 66.6 62.8

62.9

61.5

56.3

Total non-caged 85.0 84.0 80.0

79.1

77.2

72.0

 

Average weekly production (cases)

February 2021

February 2021

Certified Organic

268,689

266,988 -0.6

Cage-free

 1,036,814

 1,030,251 -0.6

Total non-caged

 1,305,503

 1,297,239 -0.6

 

Average Whole Contact Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.60/doz. ($1.51 Sep. to Dec. 2020. $1.60, Q1 2021)

Range:

$1.15 to $2.35/doz. (Unchanged from January)

FOB Negotiated price, grade quality, nest-run. Loose

Price range $1.20 to $1.70 per dozen

Average Value of $1.40/doz. ($1.78 Feb. 2021.)

 

Average Advertised National Retail Price C-F, L, Brown

$2.53/doz. (was $2.48 February 2021)

USDA 6-Regions

High: NE $2.77/doz. $2.91 (NE)

Low: SW $2.40/doz. $2.32 (SW)

 

The narrower range for both wholesale and retail prices this past month reflects stability between supply and demand during March 2021 but accepts the reality of downgrading to conventional categories.

 

Based on the importance of cage-free production, the USDA-AMS issues the report on volumes and prices at monthly intervals for the information of Industry stakeholders. There is some doubt as to the accuracy of the individual monthly flock numbers especially when reports show either no change in the cage-free flock for sequential months or a large difference usually after the end of a quarter. It is suggested that USDA consider a quarterly report with more accurate and consistent hen data to be more useful to the industry.

 

Subscribers are referred to weekly USDA wholesale and retail prices posted in the EGG-NEWS Egg Price and Inventory Report E-mailed each Friday. The previous Monthly Cage-Free Report is available under the STATISTICS Tab.


 

Egg Week

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, April 8th 2021.

  • Shell inventory was down by 0.9 percent, following a gain of 0.7 percent last week. The trend over five weeks indicated increased demand relative to supply with implications for prices extending through mid-April. Prices have retreated over the past two weeks and this trend will continue with increasing velocity as buyers effectively filled the pipeline leading into the Easter weekend and consumers stocked their refrigerators. Chains purchased in quantity over the last two weeks of March to preempt and to suppress anticipated price rises. A large number of molted hens continue to return to production. Industry participants expect buyers to delay reentering the market in force but to be guided by retail demand and inventories in DCs and stores.
  • It is inexplicable to observe how inventory can decline one percent while prices drop 20 percent in a week. This movement on price defies conventional supply to demand relationships and indicates other factors affecting price. The standard 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.
  • Prices for Extra Large and Large in the Midwest were on average 21.7 percent lower this past week and will continue to fall with reduced post-Easter demand by chains. With mild oversupply inventory will accumulate. There is some prospect of a return in the food service sector although dried-egg prices are static. The economy is reopening despite a recent increase in COVID-19 incidence rates in many regions, following a plateau. There is however optimism over more rapid deployment and acceptance of vaccine.
  • The U.S. flock in production was unchanged from the week of March 31st to 323.0 million, with about 3.0 million molted hens resuming production within weeks. The Industry has demonstrated beneficial restraint in flock placement.
  • The USDA average Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra-large and Large sizes were down 21.7 percent from the previous week at averages of 102.5 and 100.5 cents per dozen. Mediums were down 18.0 percent at an average of 77.5 cents per dozen. The 1st Quarter rise in prices reflected increased demand countered by a moderate increase in the U.S. flock in production. Broad demand from retail over the previous two weeks has evaporated as pipelines were refilled and the pre-Easter market swooned. The trajectory in prices from the last week of March onwards suggests lower prices and hence margins going forward into spring as feed costs rise and unit revenue erodes.
  • The Midwest price for breaking stock was down by 2.2 percent to an average of 66.0 cents per dozen. Checks in the Midwest were 3.2 percent lower to 59.0 cents per dozen.

 

OVERVIEW

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports released on April 5th 2021 the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra-large and Large sizes were down 21.7 percent on average from the previous week as delivered to DCs, attaining 102.5 and 100.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were down 18.0 percent to an average of 77.5 cents per dozen despite a stable supply from young flocks that have now matured. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run, (excluding provisions for packing and transport) cost of 71.1 cents per dozen in February 2021. The progression of prices during 2021 to date is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

 

The April 5th 2021 edition of the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 14) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.33 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending April 2nd 2021. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.23 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.40 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 80 cents per dozen below the 3-year average. This past week Midwest Large was about $1.65 per dozen below the corresponding week in 2020 that was influenced by panic buying at the onset of COVID restrictions.


 

Amazon Fresh Store Proposed for Long Island

Industry observers suggest that an Amazon Fresh store will be located on Long Island in Plainview, NY.  The unit would occupy a vacated Fairway market store in Manetto Hill Plaza.  During November 2020, Amazon announced that it would open an Amazon Fresh store in a vacated Fairway Market in Woodland Park, NJ.

 

The prototype Woodlands Hills, CA. store opened in August 2020 features Amazon Dash carts and Amazon Echo Show linked to Alexa.

 

It would appear that Amazon will promote Amazon Fresh stores and is ignoring the Whole Foods Market brand as a medium to increase grocery sales through both brick and mortar and E-commerce platforms.


Amazon Fresh Store. California

 

Rabobank See Obstacles to Recovery of U.S. Food Service Market

RaboResearch has prepared a report on the food service sector authored by Maria Castroviejo, Michelle Huang and Amit Sharma, Senior Analysts for Consumer Foods.  The authors consider that COVID-related disruptions will continue to influence food service sales over the intermediate term. 

 

Recovery of the sector will depend on the protection and durability of vaccination, government stimulus and stable costs for ingredients and labor.  The food service industry will face numerous challenges and many businesses will not survive.  Trends that will influence recovery include the cost and convenience of home delivery, continued work-from-home patterns with sustainability and efficiency serving as significant factors influencing long- term transformation of food service.

 


 

Proposal to Install Solar Panels over California Canals

A technical feasibility study* published in Nature Sustainability prepared by scientists at the University of California, Merced and Santa Cruz campuses proposes installing solar panels over the 4,000 mile state system of water canals.  It is estimated that the project would save 63 billion gallons of water that evaporates each year and would provide 13 gigawatts of renewable power annually.  Power generated would represent half of the new electrical capacity the State will need by the 2030. Actual solar installations are in operation over canals in India (see image)

 

It is an inconvenient reality that 75 percent of available water is in the northern third of the state of California with the southern two-thirds responsible for 80 percent of consumption.

 

The authors of the paper considered the physical requirements and technical feasibility but not the financial and political restraints. Notwithstanding, profound challenges require bold and innovative solutions.

 

*McKuin, B. et al Energy and Water Co-benefits from Covering Canals with Solar Panels. Nature Sustainability (2021) doi.org/10.1038/s4893-021-00693-8

 


 

VIV Turkey 2021 to be Postponed to 2023

According to an announcement issued by HKF Trade Fairs, organizers of the 2021 VIV Turkey Exhibition the event will be rescheduled for June 8th-10th 2023.  The decision was made out of an abundance of caution given the persistence of COVID.


 

Canada Addressing Conflicts between Suppliers and Retailers

The Empire Company Ltd. parent of giant Canadian supermarket chain Sobeys is cooperating with  Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada, the association representing packaged goods manufacturers to develop a Grocery Supply Code of Practice for Canada.

 

After decades of conflict between retailers and suppliers, both sides recognize the need for stabilization.  The draft code has been submitted to federal and provincial working groups.  The Code would require written agreements between retailers and suppliers, and makes provision for official mediation in the event of complaints or deviation from the Code.

 

Introduction of the Code was obviously stimulated by the problems encountered during the disruption of distribution due to COVID.  Contentious issues include unfair negotiating tactics, arbitrary fees, discrimination against smaller suppliers and farmers.

 

The Code would establish good-faith fair dealing between suppliers and retailers to promote transparency and establish an efficient mechanism to resolve disputes.

 

The initiative in Canada might well prompt a similar approach in the U.S. following statements by the National Grocers Association regarding anticompetitive behavior by big-box club stores and online grocery behemoths concerning supply and prices.


 

Evonik Increases Investment for In Ovo Gender Technology

Founded in 2013 by Dr. Wouter Bruins and Dr. Wil Stutterheim of Leiden University, In Ovo has developed technology to identify a biomarker associated with male embryos.  The process requires extraction of a minute quantity of allantoic fluid from the egg that is then subjected to mass spectrometry to determine gender.

 

In commenting on the investment, Bernhard Mohr, head of the Evonik Venture Capital, stated “In Ovo has reached a crucial milestone with a successful scaling up of its unique technology.”  He added, “Since we first invested and partnered with In Ovo in 2018, the ethical problem of culling chicks has gained attention and calls for a solution have become louder.” 

 

Dr. Bruins noted, “We are continuously improving our technology on speed, accuracy, and day of testing.”  He added, “I am confident that we are well placed to meet the market and regulatory demands.”  According to legislation passed in Germany, by 2024 gender assignment must occur before day-6 of incubation, which is currently not possible.  In Ovo has installed a gender typing machine in a hatchery and 150,000 commercial level pullets have been placed.  In Ovo has not released any data on livability and performance of pullets subjected to their gender determination procedure.

 

The approach used by In Ovo is reminiscent of the tecnnology developed by Embrex in the 1990s. The system was developed by Dr. Catherine Ricks to assay allantoic fluid from embryos at about 16 days of incubation. The equipment classified and segregated eggs with male and female embryos for separate-sex broiler growout. In the event, interest in growing cockerel and pullet chicks on different farms of a complex waned and cost and other factors inhibited commercial adoption.


 

Preliminary Data Confirms Effectiveness of mRNA Vaccines

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has released preliminary results of a study involving 4,000 health-care personnel and first responders vaccinated between mid-December 2020 and mid-March 2021. The subjects were drawn from six states and the evaluation was conducted during the first quarter when COVID incidence rates were rising sharply. 

 

 It was determined that a single dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine provided 80 percent protection.  Following the second dose, a protection level of 90 percent was attained. Among 2,479 fully vaccinated subjects, three had confirmed infections.  Among 477 receiving one dose, eight cases were diagnosed.  Among the 994 non-vaccinated controls 161 infections were confirmed.

 

In commenting on the initial data, Dr. Rochelle Walensky Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated “The vaccines receiving FDA Emergency Use Authorization provided early, substantial real-world protection against infection for our nation’s healthcare personnel, first responders, and other frontline essential workers.” Dr. Walensky added, “These findings should offer hope to the millions of Americans receiving coronavirus vaccines each day and to those who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and be vaccinated in the weeks ahead.”

 

The interim results of the healthcare and first responder study confirm the data submitted by the manufacturers of the two mRNA vaccines following completion of their respective Phase 3 trials in 2020.


 

USDA SNAP Benefits Increased from April 1st

The USDA announced on April 1st that $1 billion would be added to food assistance each month to provide an estimated 25 million recipients with additional assistance. Not all households are receiving additional support including 40 percent with children, 20 percent with an elderly resident and 15 percent with someone who is disabled.

 

According to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, "the emergency SNAP increases authorized by Congress last year were not being distributed equitably and the poorest households-who had the least ability to absorb the economic shocks brought about by COVID-received little to no emergency benefit increases".  He added, "today's actions will provide much-needed support for those who need it most".  Since the start of the pandemic, USDA has issued about $29 billion in additional benefits to bring all SNAP households up to the maximum for their household size. 

 

The January 22nd Executive Order on Economic Relief related to the COVID-19 Pandemic directed all Federal agencies to consider administrative actions to better address the current economic and social crises resulting from the pandemic.


 

Moderna to Evaluate mRNA Vaccine Against COVID Variants

The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases will supervise a trial to determine the efficacy of a Moderna vaccine against the B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 variant that emerged in the Republic of South Africa.  The newly devised vaccine designated 1273.351 was rapidly developed by Moderna Inc. and confirms the flexibility of the mRNA platform.

 

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of NIAID stated that the B.1.351 variant has been confirmed in nine states in the U.S. Although the current approved vaccines show effectiveness against this strain, Moderna has developed the vaccine candidate in the event that it may be required, possibly as a booster.  It is noted that the AstraZeneca vaccine that uses an adenovirus as a vector for the spike protein antigen was only 10 percent effective against the South African variant in that Nation. 

 

Following a successful Phase 1 clinical trial, the phase 2/3 evaluation will include 210 adults between the ages of 18 and 55 who had not previously received a vaccine and had no evidence of exposure to COVID. The trial will be monitored by an independent safety committee and it is anticipated that all participants will be enrolled by the end of April 2021.


 

King Soopers to Donate $1 Million to the Colorado Healing Fund

King Soopers, a banner of the Kroger Company will donate $1 million to the Colorado Healing Fund. This will provide support to victims, family survivors in the community following the deadly shooting at the Table Mesa Drive store in Boulder, CO.  On March 22nd resulting in ten fatalities. 

 

Steve Burnham, President of King Soopers stated, "our entire family continues to mourn the loss of those who were victims of the senseless act of violence".  He added, "we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our fellow Coloradans and we thank everyone for their incredible kindness".

 

King Soopers is providing access to mental health services and other benefits for store associates including emergency paid leave and an associate hotline.  Assistance is extended to victims' families to support funeral expenses.


 

AEB Outlines Promotional Campaigns

According to an Update circulated by Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board, promotional efforts will be intensified using Instagram and other social media.  The campaign will be evaluated by analyzing purchases made by consumers who reviewed content on social media.  Examples of focused promotion on Instagram include a Passover cooking activity and the National Egg Salad Week.


 

CDC/NIH to Evaluate Home COVID Testing

A March 31st joint announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided information on a pilot trial on home COVID testing to be conducted in Pitt County, NC and Hamilton County, TN.

 

Participants will be provided with rapid antigen tests to be used for up to three times per week over a month.  The home tests will be provided free of charge to evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative and to establish whether a self-administered test can reduce community transmission of COVID.

 

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC stated, "reliable and widely available testing is a critical part of our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Regular screening with at-home COVID-19 tests can strengthen our prevention efforts".  She added, "combined with efforts to increase vaccination, this important step will help us understand how best to use these at-home tests to reduce viral transmission rates in communities".

 

Participants will order test kits online for home delivery and a phone app. will be offered. It is hoped that participants in this "Say yes! COVID tests" program will continue to participate in NIH-supported research studies.

 

The Quick View™ E-test developed by Quidel of San Diego will be supplied under the NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Initiative.  Dr. Elizabeth DiNenno, Associate Deputy Director for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Sciences at the CDC stated, "if self-testing is shown to effectively reduce viral spread in the selected communities, the hope is that it will lead to wider distribution and acceptance of frequent home testing across the country".


 

U.S. Trade Representative Investigates Obstacles to Trade

Ambassador Katherine Tai, U.S. Trade Representative commissioned a report documenting barriers to U.S. exports among 65 trading partners.  The annual report issued on March 31st surveyed 65 trading partners including groups such as the E.U., the Arab League and the United Kingdom that account for 99 percent of U.S. trade in goods.

 

The report considered barriers relating to tariffs, import licensing and phyto-sanitary measures that directly affect U.S. export of agricultural commodities.  Many of the restrictions are not based on science and are blatantly protective or punitive.

It is apparent that Ambassador Tai will continue to advocate for U.S. exports following the policies established by her predecessors.  Some of the issues to be addressed include anomalous technical standards imposed by Saudi Arabia, local content requirements required for export to Indonesia, unjustified restrictions that are capriciously imposed by China and retaliatory bans on imported food products by the Russian Federation.


 

Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Donated 8,000 Cases of Eggs in 2020

The Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Group (MAPI) comprising DeWeerdt Poultry Farm, Farmcrest Foods, Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, Schipper Eggs, Sunrise Acres Egg Farm, and VandeBunte Eggs collectively donated 8,300 cases of eggs in 2020. 

 

According to the Executive Director of the Association, Allison Brink, “Michigan’s family egg farms are incredibly generous and continue to be invested in their communities making sure as many people as possible have access to healthy local protein donations.”  Recipients of donations included the Holland Rescue Mission; Hungry for Christ; People Helping People; Food Bank of Eastern Michigan; Feeding America, West Michigan and other outreach ministries.  The MAPI is a statewide nonprofit organization representing egg, chicken, and turkey farmers, hatcheries, and pullet growers.


 

EPA Administrator Dismisses Outside Experts Appointed by Previous Administration

Michael Regan, the Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, has revoked the membership of 40 outside experts respectively serving on the EPA Science Advisory Board and the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.  The experts were appointed by the previous Administration and were instrumental in modifying regulations related to air pollution and fracking among other issues. The previous Administration favored experts from within industry and ignored independent specialists from academia.  Administrator Regan intends to reestablish scientific integrity in the Agency and to suppress interference with research on climate change and pollution.  Regan maintains that “resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work and protect human health and the environment.” 

 

The dismissals are opposed by Jeff Holmstead who led the EPA Office of Air and Radiation in the Bush Administration and is now a partner in a law and lobbying firm.  Holmstead observed that the action would undermine rather than restore confidence by eliminating experts with views contrary to the Administration and would detract from trust in the Agency. Dr. John D. Graham, previously Chair of the Science Advisory Board who served in the Bush Administration, stated “We have an EPA Administrator interested in receiving scientific advice only from those scientists that he has personally appointed.”

 

In a related issue, Administrator Regan reintroduced an EPA webpage on climate change that was deleted when the previous Administration assumed office.  Regan has told staff that science should inform policy and that politics should not drive science.  Procedures and policies developed during the previous Administration will now undergo scrutiny.  These include standards for ozone and permitted levels of particulate matter emitted by trucks and other vehicles.


 

Aviagen Releases Coccidiosis Control Manuals

Dr. Jose J. Bruzual, Senior Poultry Veterinarian with the Aviagen Global Veterinary Team has prepared manuals on controlling coccidiosis.  The two documents deal specifically with breeders and broilers respectively and cover vaccine handling, storage, administration, monitoring and brooding practices that contribute to immunity.

 

The manuals can be downloaded by accessing the Aviagen website by clicking on to the company logo on the right side of the welcome page.


 

Eggland’s Best Honored by Men’s Health

For the sixteenth consecutive year, Eggland’s Best was recognized by Men’s Health in the food category for a product high in protein and low in saturated fats.

 

Charlie Lanktree, CEO of Eggland’s Best stated, “We are thrilled once again to be honored by respected and trusted Men’s Health.

 

Other products receiving Men’s Health awards included Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Simple Scrambles, Bell and Evan’s Spatchcock Chicken™ among the poultry-related products.

 


 

U.S. Poultry and Egg Association Names Officers for 2021-2022

At a recent Board of Directors meeting, it was decided to re-nominate the Executive Committee to a second term.

 

 

  • Greg Hinton of Rose Acre Farms was elected for a second term as Chairman of the Board of Directors of USPOULTRY. 
  • Mike Levengood of Perdue Farms will serve as Vice-chairman,
  • Mikell Fries of Clackson Poultry will be Treasurer,
  • Gerald Morrison of Farbest Foods will serve as Secretary
  •  John Prestage will be the Immediate-past Chairman.
  • Newly elected members of the Board of Directors are Dr. Marc de Beer of Aviagen North America, Bill Griffith of Peco Foods, Mandy Clopp of Pilgrim’s Pride and Gerald Sappenfeld of Simmons Prepared Foods. 

John Starket president USPOULTRY

 

In commenting on the election of the Executive Committee, John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY stated, “I look forward to the leadership and guidance these officers and new board members will provide our organization.”


 

FMI Calculates Cost of COVID to Retailers

In a video presentation, Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) estimated that incremental expenses at the retail level required to prevent COVID-19 and incentivize workers amounted to $24 billion in 2020.  The figure is based on a survey of 52 member companies representing 40 percent of the food retail industry, operating 14,000 stores.

 

This survey demonstrated that retailers responded to COVID by introducing in-store safety measures, providing staff bonuses, initiating curbside pickup and online ordering, providing PPE and extensive decontamination.  The industry was proactive in implementing safety, workforce and other available technology to maintain business and to provide service in a responsible manner to customers and the workforce.


 

Annual Commemorative Egg Presented to the First Lady

Emily Metz, president of the American Egg Board commented on the 2021 presentation of the AEB Commemorative Egg to the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden at a White House event, muted by ongoing COVID restrictions that included cancellation of the 2021  Annual Easter Egg Roll .

 

Emily Metz reported “This year’s First Lady’s Commemorative Egg was intricately designed to honor Dr. Jill Biden and her shared commitment with America’s egg farmers to serving those in need, at such a great time of need, and to reflect the American spirit of hope and optimism in the wake of COVID-19”.

 

Designed by egg artist Russ Hagen, the 2021 First Lady’s Commemorative Egg features the White House front and back flanked by meticulously crafted cherry blossoms. The image of the White House appears on hand-cut, vintage silk.


Presentation of AEB Commemorative Egg to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden

 

AEB Publishes Nielsen Statistics for Year-ending February 2021

The American Egg Board (AEB) recently resumed circulation of Nielsen data reflecting 52-week rolling sales and consumption of eggs and egg products for the week ending February 20th 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 3.4 billion dozen egg-equivalents over the 52-week period. This represents 42 percent of 2020 egg production totalling 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 increased 7.0 percent.  Dollar value was 10.3 percent higher than the previous 52-week period.  Per capita consumption advanced to 287.1 eggs representing a 0.4 percent increase. Direct  comparisons are distorted by the late March and April 2020 panic buying in response to COVID restrictions

 

  • On a rolling-52-week basis, the volume captured by Nielsen comprising retail shell-egg sales attained 3.42 billion egg equivalent dozens representing a 9.6 percent increase in volume and a19.9 percent increase in dollar value to $6.9 billion.  Egg alternatives including liquid, frozen and powdered egg products converted to equivalent dozens attained 93.1 million a 13.1 percent increase over the previous 52-week period and a 14.3 percent increase in dollar value. Rolling 52-week hard boiled egg sales attained 28.5 million dozen equivalents amounting to a 9.6 percent decline in volume and a disproportionate 15.5 percent decline in value.

 

  • In classifying retail sales by product segment, conventional eggs represented 84.9 percent, cage-free 12.3 percent and organic 2.8 percent. Rolling 52-week conventional egg sales increased 5.4 percent in volume and 7.4 percent in value.  Cage-free eggs increased 19.2 percent in volume and were almost equivalent at 19.6 percent in value.  Organic eggs increased 7.6 percent in volume and 15.5 percent in value.

 

  • With respect to volume of other than generic shell eggs, 52-week rolling branded egg sales comprised 29.2 percent of retail sales compared to 70.8 percent for private label.  Branded eggs generated 43.3 percent of dollar value compared to private label at 56.7 percent.  Branded eggs increased by 13.9 percent in volume and 19.5 percent in value.

 

  • In analyzing retail channels, 52-week rolling values compared to the previous period, supermarkets and groceries increased by 8.1 percent, drugstores declined by 3.9 percent, convenience stores were up by 4.7 percent and the combination of club stores and dollar stores increased by 5.7 percent presumably with the largest contribution from big-box clubs.

 

In reviewing current USDA data there are 68 million hens producing cage-free eggs, excluding non-confined hens under the Certified Organic program. This complement of hens represents 30.2 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 12.3 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 2.8 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.


 

U.S. Economy to Expand in 2021

After a 3.5 percent contraction in the U.S. economy as a result of COVID during 2020, the International Monetary Fund projects that the U.S. economy will expand by 6.4 percent in 2021.  The improvement is attributed to deployment of vaccines and unprecedented and aggressive stimulus measures. 

 

Advanced economies including the EU, Japan, the UK, and China are driving the recovery.  China is expected to expand by 8.4 percent in 2021 up from a previous forecast of 5.1 percent.  In the U.S., the Federal government has spent $5 trillion since March 2020 and the Federal Reserve has reduced interest rates to slightly above zero in addition to purchasing securities to stabilize the economy.


 

2021 Midwest Poultry Federation Educational Program

Subscribers can access <www.midwestpoultry.com> for the complete listing of presentations.

 

 

Contact: Lara Durben

ldurben@midwestpoultry.com or 763/284-6763

 

Midwest Poultry Federation Announces Education Program

Core Tracks for Turkeys, Eggs, Broilers & Processing + Additional Content from Purina and Multi-State Poultry Conference

 

The full education program for the 2021 Midwest Poultry Federation (MPF) Virtual Convention is now available at MidwestPoultry.com.

 

MPF’s Education Co-Chairs – Drs. Darrin Karcher of Purdue University and Ken Koelkebeck of the University of Illinois – worked with poultry experts form academia, government agencies, and industry to develop a robust education program that covers a variety of important topics for poultry farmers, poultry processing companies, and suppliers.

 

MPF’s core education tracks were each given a specific day on the schedule in an effort to keep the sessions flexible for attendees:

 

March 18 – Broiler Track

March 19 – Processing Track

March 20 – Pullet / Egg Layer Track

March 21 – Turkey Track

 

In addition to the live speakers on these days, there will be a variety of on-demand presentations in each track as well as a special “Exhibitor Featured Content Track”.

 

Attendees also will be pleased to find out their registration provides complimentary access to these special events as well:

 

·      Lunchtime Learning session on May 20, with topics covering why the right building materials matter from an insurance standpoint; and lessons learned from the founders of ChopLocal.com – a website that connects consumers directly to farmers.

·      Purina Animal Nutrition Symposium, featuring a variety of speakers on May 19 (8:00 am – Noon CST)

·      Multi-State Poultry Feeding & Nutrition Conference on May 19 (speakers and topics run 1:00 pm – 4:45 pm CST)

 

All education programming will remain available to attendees through May 31.

 

Registration to the MPF Convention is open now at https://midwestpoultry.com/attendees/registration/.

 

About MPF

MPF is a 501(c)6 nonprofit association and its annual convention is the nation’s largest poultry trade show and convention dedicated 100% to the poultry industry. In 2019 more than 3,100 attendees and exhibitors attended the show in Minneapolis. In 2020, MPF hosted its first-ever successful virtual trade show and convention.

 

Revenue generated by the convention goes back to MPF’s members (comprised of 11 poultry associations in the Midwest) and to support various poultry programs. Since 2011, MPF has donated over $500,000 back to the poultry community.

 

To request complimentary media registration to the 2021 MPF Virtual Convention, please contact Lara Durben. 

 

Link to this press release


 

Commentary


Pressure Mounting to Recycle Plastics

A number of environmental advocacy groups and regional community organizations have petitioned to President Joe Biden to expedite the Presidential Plastics Action Plan.  The objective will be to reduce production of single-use plastics and place a moratorium on new manufacturing facilities. 

 

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) have introduced the Breakfree From Plastic Pollution Act into their respective Chambers.

 

President Biden has already issued an Executive Order addressing climate change with recycling to be incorporated into the program.  It is anticipated that in addition to national action, environmentalists will initiate action at the local level with publicity directed against specific brands, manufacturing plants and incinerators.

 

It is evident that many of the plastic plants are located in areas with a predominance of minority residents.  A case in point is the concentration of petrochemical facilities up-river from New Orleans. Currently there is opposition to a proposed Formosa Plastics complex in St. James Parish LA. Adjacent to the Mississippi River. Community groups are pressing for the concept of environmental justice with local and national politicians involved.

 

Earthworks, an international group that uses tort law to oppose new and existing plants, is shifting emphasis from oil and gas towards plastics.  The organization will strenuously oppose permits for new and expanded plastic facilities.  Concurrently the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives will be active in the area of disposal of plastic and will advocate for recycling. 

 

According to Chemical and Engineering News published by the American Chemical Society, the industry has formed the Alliance to End Plastic Waste with membership including Shell, Formosa, and ExxonMobil.  The Alliance through its commercial affiliations will raise $1.5 billion over five years to support efforts in education and environmental remediation.  Over the past three years member companies of the American Chemistry Council have collectively invested $5.3 billion in 64 recycling projects in the U.S.

 

Producers of polystyrene and PET egg cartons are encouraged to develop re-cycling programs and to apply emerging technology to reduce dependence on virgin plastic.


 

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