Egg Industry News


Meijer Opens Five Mid-West Stores

07/12/2020

Meijer has opened five supercenters each of approximately 160,000 square foot in extent in Manitowoc, WI.; Sycamore, IL.; Bad Axe, MI.; Brimfield, OH. and Lorain, OH.  The new stores incorporate Shop and Scan capability, using barcodes with a mobile app.  The stores will offer home delivery and pickup services. 

 

A spokesperson for Meijer noted that 600 varieties of farm-fresh produce and 150 USDA- certified organic items will be offered.  In addition to groceries, pharmacy and general merchandise items will be available.  The new stores will incorporate appropriate measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 including the use of masks by workers, daily health screening and plexiglass shields at checkout counters.

 

It is evident that Meijer is deviating from the trend of smaller stores and is still committed to large hypermarkets with a full range of groceries and household items essentially going toe-to toe with Walmart Stores.

 

Meijer operates more than 245 supermarkets and grocery stores in six states.


 

House Appropriations Committee Passes USDA/FDA Appropriations Bill

07/12/2020

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, July 9th passed the Fiscal 2021 Agriculture, Rural Development and Food and Drugs Administration Bill.  This intended legislation must now be reviewed by the House.  Committee mark-ups are expected to continue during the week of July 13-17th.  After passage, the House bill will have to be reconciled with the Senate version. Problems are anticipated with allocations for SNAP and related programs with even greater partisanship in an election year and the prevailing political climate and the COVID-19 issue.


 

Egg Exports

07/11/2020

Export of Shell Eggs and Products January-May 2020.

 

USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing the first five months of 2020 with the corresponding period in 2019:-

 

PRODUCT

Jan.-May 2019

Jan.-May 2020

Difference

Shell Eggs

 

 

 

Volume (m. dozen)

52.5

53.4

+0.9 (+1.7%)

Value ($ million)

43.7

51.0

+7.3 (+16.7%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)

0.83

0.96

+0.13 (+15.7%)

Egg Products

 

 

 

Volume (metric tons)

12,301

17,113

+4,812 (+39.1%)

Value ($ million)

38.4

45.5

+7.1 (+18.5%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)

3,122

2,659

-463 (-14.8%)

 

U.S. SHELL EGG AND EGG PRODUCT EXPORTS DURING

JANUARY-MAY 2019 COMPARED WITH JANUARY-MAY 2020

 

Source USDA-FAS/USAPEEC

 

SHELL EGGS

Shell egg exports from the U.S. during the first five months of 2020 increased by 1.7 percent in volume and 16.7 percent in total value compared to January-May 2019. Unit value was 15.7 percent higher or 13 cents per dozen for the comparison between 2020 and 2019. The top two importers, Hong Kong and Mexico combined, represented 71.7 percent of volume and 50.8 percent of total value.

 

Hong Kong was the leading importer of shell eggs in January-May 2020, with 20.5 million dozen representing 38.4 percent of volume and 32,5 percent of the $51.0 million total value of U.S. shipments of shell eggs. Average unit value was $0.81 cents per dozen, lower than the average prevailing nest-run USDA benchmark price during the corresponding months of 2020.

 

Mexico was the 2nd-ranked importer of shell eggs in January-May 2020 with 17.8 million dozen representing 33.3 percent of volume and 27.1 percent of total value corresponding to a unit value of $0.78 per dozen. Prospects for additional sales will depend on continued acceptance of washed eggs held under refrigeration for retail sale, first announced in September 2018 but implemented in late 2019. For January-May 2020 imports of shell eggs by Mexico increased by 183 percent in volume and value by 200 percent compared to January-May 2019.

 

Canada was a distant third in rank as an importer during January-May 2020 with 6.2 million dozen representing 11.6 percent of volume and 30.0 percent of total value at $9.3 million with a unit value of $1.56 per dozen. Canada reduced volume by 68.4 percent during January-May 2020 compared to 2019. April consignments of shell eggs were down 80.6 percent and may exports were negligible reflecting decreased demand from the food service sector paralleling the situation in the U.S. Shell eggs shipped to Canada represent the difference between domestic demand and production, limited by their national controlled marketing system

 

The Caribbean Region represented 11.1 percent of export volume for January-May 2020. This region was up 16.1 percent in volume and 18.6 percent in total value, an obvious improvement compared with January-May 2019. The unit value of shell eggs exports to the Caribbean apparently averaged $1.41 per dozen, ($1.39 during 2019). This is disproportionately high compared with the average export realization, most probably because a proportion of shell eggs enumerated may have been either fertile hatching eggs or enriched specialty eggs.

 

The Middle East Region imported 3.5 million dozen during January-May 2020 valued at $3.0 million with a unit price of $0.80 per dozen. Volume and value in January-May 2020 were respectively higher by 66.7 percent and 50.0 percent compared to January-May 2019. Southern E.U. nations in addition to India and Ukraine have a competitive transport advantage over the U.S in this market. Within the Middle East region the UAE ranked as the 4th largest importer from the U.S. with a volume of 2.1 million dozen. Israel ranked 6th with 0.9 million dozen, possibly based on depletion of flocks with SE. Collectively these nations imported shell eggs to the value of $2.7 million during January-May of 2020.

 

EGG PRODUCTS

The total volume of exported egg products during January-May 2020 increased by 39.1 percent and total value was higher by 16.7 percent compared to January-May 2019. Unit value decreased by 14.8 percent to $2,659 per ton from $3,122 recorded in January-April 2019. This decline reflects the relationship between World supply and demand with Ukraine and India as significant exporters.

 

Japan was the leading importer based on a volume of 3,977 metric tons that represented 23.2 percent of the total U.S. exports of egg products, an increase of 18.2 percent compared with January-May2019. The high unit value of $3,671 per metric ton compares with the average value for all exports of $2,659 or $2,362 excluding Japan. The discrepancy in unit price reflects the product mix including yolks. With conclusion of a bilateral trade agreement the U.S. will no longer be at a competitive disadvantage with respect to the E.U.

 

Mexico continued as the 2nd-ranked importer based on volume in January-May 2020 receiving 5,831 metric tons comprising 34.1 percent of export volume and 22.4 percent of value with a unit price of $1,749 per metric ton.

 

Canada represented a distant third in rank among importers purchasing 2,456 metric tons comprising 14.3 percent of volume and 19.1 percent of value with a unit price of $2,072 per metric ton. During January-May 2020 Canada increased volume by 3.6 percent and value increased 10.9 percent compared to the first five months of 2019 with a unit value of $2,077 per metric ton.

 

Notable changes in May included a 179 percent increase in exports to the UK+EU of 279 metric tons representing 10.4 percent of monthly volume valued at $1.0 million and at a unit price of $3,584 per metric ton. Taiwan doubled imports to 140 metric tons at a unit price of $2,857 per metric ton.

 

COMMENTS

Successful conclusion of negotiations to replace NAFTA led to the trilateral USMCA, announced on September 30th 2018. The subsequently-modified agreement was ratified by the Parliament of Canada, 17 months after after signing the basic trade pact and after ratification by the U.S. Congress and the Senate of Mexico in 2019. Exports of shell eggs and egg products to our neighbors were valued at $74.7 million in 2017, $89.7 million in 2018 and $80.8 million in 2019.

 

Prospects for long-term exports of shell eggs will be limited by the willingness of importers to accept the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) principle of regionalization in the event of exotic Newcastle disease or isolation of either H5 or H7 avian influenza, irrespective of pathogenicity. Most importing nations are now applying regionalization and permitting imports on a county or state-exclusion basis following H5 or H7 AI infection.

 

The twenty two-month ongoing series of incident cases of END involving four small commercial units and 476 backyard flocks comprising a high proportion of game fowl (fighting cocks) has officially ended in accordance with OIE criteria. The last case was diagnosed on February 25th 2020. Extension of the infection to four commercial farms in Southern California in late 2018 did not impact exports since importers are complying with the OIE principle of regionalization.

 

A limited and rapidly eradicated outbreak of H7N3 avian influenza in the Carolinas occurred in turkey flocks during mid-March to the first week in April. Eleven asymptomatic flocks infected with a low-pathogenicity strain, detected by intensive surveillance were rapidly depleted. A twelfth clinically affected flock in South Carolina yielded a highly pathogenic strain, identified after depletion of the flock. Restrictions should be lifted during the first week of July in accordance with OIE policy on an elapse of three months since depletion of the last diagnosed flock with appropriate surveillance

 

Generally pasteurized egg products should not be subject to any embargo imposed following reports of AI or Newcastle disease in a region.

 


 

USDA-WASDE FORECAST #602 July 10th 2020

07/10/2020

OVERVIEW

The July 10th 2020 USDA WASDE Report was updated from the June edition reflecting corn and soybean harvests based on projected yield and planted area. The corn acreage to be harvested is currently estimated at 84.0 million acres, down 6.6 percent from the June WASDE report. Soybeans will be harvested from 83.0 million acres, up 7.1 percent from the 2019 crop harvested from 77.5 million acres in 2019.

 

The July 2020 WASDE estimate of corn yield was unchanged at 178.5 bushels per acre, (168.0 bushels per acre in 2019). The projection of soybean yield was retained at 49.8 bushels per acre compared to 47.4 bushels per acre for the 2019 crop

 

The July USDA projection for the ending stock of corn was reduced by 20.3 percent to 2.648 million bushels. Due to increased supply the ending stock for soybeans was raised 7 percent to 425 million bushels.


 


COMMODITY REPORT: JULY 10th 2020.

07/10/2020

 

  • The financial and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic continue but will gradually ease as society returns to a “new normal” despite a recent serious upsurge in cases.
  • Corn and soybeans fluctuated in price this past week but ended lower after release of the July 10th
  • Prospects for commodity exports to China are apparently still restrained. China has reduced their domestic short-term demand for soybeans as a result of continuing losses from African swine fever but chicken production has now recovered. The U.S. anticipates shipping in quantity during late summer for the 2019/2020 and the succeding market year, following established seasonal patterns.

 

 Uncertainties still include:-

  • The extent and timing of soybean purchases by China in 2020 is in question. The U.S. - China Phase-One agreement signed in mid-January incorporated U.S. tariff rescissions, promised purchases of agricultural commodities (valued at $36.5 billion in 2020 and $43.5 billion in 2021), concessions on some structural issues by China and strengthened enforcement provisions. A virtual meeting between senior officials of the U.S. and China on Friday May 8th elicited a reassurance that China would fulfill its obligations with respect to imports of U.S agricultural products. Both sides accepted the need to improve relations damaged by recent injudicious rhetoric relating to the origin of COVID-19 and legislative pressure on Hong Kong. The Phase-One Trade Agreement still appears intact despite comments by White House advisor, Dr. Peter Navarro who issued a subsequent “correction”.
  • It is anticipated that China will take advantage of low world prices for commodities to import corn and soybeans to add to reserves. The U.S. expects to supply part of this requirement.
  • Total world soybean shipments from the U.S. during the 2019/2020 market year to date amounted to 36.61 million metric tons, (1.326 million bushels), with China representing 36 percent of this quantity.
  • Total world corn shipments from the U.S. during the 2019/2020 market year amounted to 31.13 million metric tons through May with China representing 83 percent of the quantity.
  • Domestic U.S. soybean and soybean meal demand is currently constrained by cutbacks in the intensive livestock and poultry sectors as impacted by COVID-19.
  • Justifiable uncertainty exists regarding the spread of African swine fever and COVID-19 to other Asian nations, Europe and North America with the potential to create a worldwide depression as economic activity is curtailed

 


 


Egg Monthly

07/09/2020

REVIEW OF JUNE 2020 EGG PRODUCTION COSTS AND STATISTICS.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • June 2020 USDA ex-farm blended nest-run benchmark price was 50.7 cents per dozen, 20.1 percent lower than in May and 60.5 percent lower than the high April value of 128.5 cents per dozen. The downward price trend during May and June is attributed to restoration of normal consumer purchasing patterns. This followed COVID-19 panic buying during late March into early April. The supply pipeline was re-filled in April and consumption declined thereafter.
  • June 2020 USDA average nest-run production cost was 0.3 cents per dozen lower than in April 2020 at 58.2 cents per dozen.
  • June 2020 USDA benchmark nest-run margin attained a negative value of 7.5 cents per dozen compared to a positive margin of 3.0 cents per dozen in May 2020.
  • May 2020 national flock in production (over 30,000 hens/farm) was down 5.7 million hens or 1.8 percent to 305.9 million. There are still 14.1 million hens in or returning from molt.
  • May 2020 pullet chick hatch was down 13.7 percent from April 2020 to 26.4 million.
  • May 2020 export of shell eggs and products combined was down 14.3 percent from April 2020 to710,000 case equivalents representing the theoretical production of 10.3 million hens.

 

INTRODUCTION.

Summary tables for the latest USDA June 2020 prices and flock statistics made available by the EIC on July 8th 2020 are arranged, summarized, tabulated and reviewed in comparison with values from the previous June 5th 2019 posting reflecting May 2020 cost and production data.

 

COSTS & REVENUE

Parameter

MAY 2020

JUNE 2020

5-Region Cost of Production ex farm (1st Cycle)

57.9 c/doz

58.2 c/doz

Low

54.6 c/doz (MW)

55.0c/doz (MW)

High

83.7 c/doz (CA)

84.4c/doz (CA)

Components of USDA 6-Region 1stCycle nest-run Cost of Production:-

 

 

MAY 2020

JUNE 2020

Feed

28.9 c/doz

29.2c/doz

Pullet depreciation

10.7 c/doz

10.8 c/doz

Labor (estimate)

4.0 c/doz

4.0 c/doz

Housing (estimate)

5.0 c/doz

5.0 c/doz

Miscellaneous and other*

9.3 c/doz

9.2 c/doz


* Adjusted January 2020 and used as a rounding factor

 

Ex Farm Margin (rounded to nearest cent) according to USDA values reflecting JUNE 2020:-

50.7 cents per dozen1- 58.2 cents per dozen = -7.5

(May 2020 comparison 60.91 cents per dozen – 57.9 cents per dozen = +3.0 cents per dozen.)

Note 1: USDA Blended egg price


 


Cargill and Nestle Appeal to Supreme Court over Decision Based on 18th Century Law

07/09/2020

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018 ruled that business practices involved in acquiring cocoa in West Africa contravened the Alien Tort Act enacted in 1789.  The case involves a claim alleging that child labor was used to produced cocoa and that workers were forced to labor on farms against their will.

 

The Alien Tort Statute allows non-U.S. citizens to seek damages in American courts.

 

A Federal district court in Los Angeles dismissed the lawsuit in 2017 but it was revived by the 9th Circuit in 2018 ruling that payments made to farmers for cocoa was in fact dependent on child slave labor.

 

Previously the Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs were ineligible to claim under the Alien Tort Statue for human rights violations.


 

Rural Counties in Southeast Contributing to New COVID Cases

07/09/2020

According to the Daily Yonder 138 rural counties representing 7 percent of the nation’s total, recorded 50 percent of incident cases of COVID-19.  These counties represented 61 percent of the 18,400 new cases over the period of review.  Almost 60 percent of the counties regarded as “hot spots” are located in seven states in the southeast and southern mid-Atlantic with North Carolina leading with 1,372 new cases during the third week of June.  It is significant that many of the hotspot counties have a large packing or poultry processing plant that monitors workers.

 

 

 


 

Iowa Senators Opposing Retroactive Waivers

07/09/2020

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has announced her intention to block the nomination of Doug Benevento to the position of Deputy Administrator of the EPA.  Without her vote, the nomination will not be forwarded to the Senate for confirmation.  At issue is the proposed pending decision on approval of 52 petitions calling for retroactive waivers on blending ethanol into gasoline.

 

Senator Chuck Grassley supports Senator Ernst and both legislators are putting pressure on the EPA and the Department of Energy to reject the principle of retroactive waivers.


Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)

 

 


 

Egg Week

07/09/2020

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, July 9th 2020.

  • The U.S. flock in production was 304.9 million, unchanged from the previous week.
  • Shell inventory was up 1.5 percent after a 0.2 percent increase last week indicating a small but growing imbalance between supply and demand despite a rise in price. There is evidence of a return in the food service sector as the economy reopens.
  • USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra large and Large were 14.1 percent (10 cents per dozen) higher to averages of 81.5 and 79.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were up 3.7 percent to an average of 54.5 cents per dozen. The market gained for the second consecutive week after stabilizing for two weeks and following a declining trend. Prices may deteriorate as molted hens resume production in the absence of an increase in demand.
  • The price of breaking stock in the Midwest was unchanged to an average of 35.5 cents per dozen. Checks were unchanged at 24.5 cents per dozen.

 


 


Walmart to Introduce Amazon-Like Subscription Program

07/08/2020

Walmart Stores is apparently close to launching a subscription-based service called Walmart +.  According to informed sources, the membership program will cost slightly under $100 per year and will provide same-day delivery of groceries and will suppy other benefits.  The launch was intended for the second quarter, but has been delayed due to the impact of COVID-19.  Amazon Prime has 150 million members and has a twelve-year headstart on Walmart +. The chain has made considerable progress in increasing online sales with a 37 percent growth rate in 2019 and an understandably higher 75 percent for the quarter ending April 30th. This is attributed to home confinement and pandemic buying.  The advent of Walmart + will represent competition for Amazon and could be characterized as a Clash of the Titans.


 

Uber to Acquire Postmates

07/07/2020

Spurned by Grubhub after negotiating a deal with Just Eat Takeaway of the Netherlands, Uber has agreed to buy Postmates for $2.7 billion in an all-stock transaction. Postmates holds a 10 percent share of the home delivery segment, ranked 4th after DoorDash (44 percent); Uber Eats and GrubHub.

 

It is questionable whether any delivery service is currently profitable and with competition in the segment and complaints from restaurants that commissions are too high, there does not appear to be much benefit from consolidation.  In contrast to Uber and Postmates that are essentially delivery services, the Just Eat Takeaway combination concentrates on ordering using apps and unique software integrated with restaurant kitchens, leaving the decidedly non-profitable delivery function to individual collaborating QSRs and take-out stores.

 

Financial analysts are divided on the justification for the transaction and whether the combination of Uber and Postmates will engender synergy. UBER closed at $30.68 on Monday 6th July but rose 7.0 percent post-announcement to close on Tuesday in a down market at $32.82.


 

Only Moderate Concern Over Emergence of G4 EA H1N1 Influenza in Swine in China

07/07/2020

Cooperative Research conducted in the U.K. and China on emerging G4 EA H1N1 influenza in swine has demonstrated that the pathogen is unlikely to be transmitted between humans.   Infection with the emerging swine strain of H1N1 influenza was confirmed from the presence of specific antibodies to the G4 EA virus in hog farmers and packing plant workers in China.  Because the infection involved an H1N1 variant, scientists recognize a possible pandemic potential given that the 2009 “swine flu” outbreak and the 1918-1920 “Spanish flu” were both caused by H1N1 influenza virus. The H1N1 Influenza A virus responsible for the 2009 pandemic contained a unique combination of genes derived from both mammalian and avian species.

 

 Studies have shown that the virus has circulated in hogs since 2016 without extensive infection of humans.  Molecular biologists maintain that numerous mutations would have to occur for the virus to become widespread in human populations. 

 

The reports of studies conducted in China and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stress the need for surveillance and control measures for this variant.  The level of biosecurity on commercial hog farms in China has been intensified following the emergence of African swine fever (ASF).  Precautions to prevent the introduction of the highly pathogenic ASF will reduce the possibly of dissemination of the H1N1 variant. 

 

Vaccination of hogs against H1N1 and incorporation of the variant into seasonal human influenza vaccines may be required should more extensive infection occur among those connected with the hog industry in China.


 

California Recalls Raw Milk

07/07/2020

California State Veterinarian, Dr. Annette Jones has announced a recall of raw milk produced by Valley Milk Simply Bottled.  The recall was based on the presence of Campylobacter jejuni confirmed on routine surveillance.  Individual states including California permit sale of raw (non-pasteurized) milk but interstate transport and trade is forbidden.

 

The California recall involved milk produced from June 19th to June 30th and encompassed an expiry date of July 9th.


 

Chr. Hansen Posts Q3 Earnings

07/07/2020

In a press release dated July 2nd, Chr. Hansen posted results for the third quarter of fiscal 2020 ending May 31st, 2020.  Revenue increased by four percent from the corresponding third quarter of fiscal 2019 to $349 million.  Net profit was higher by five percent to $78 million.  The company generated a gross margin of 54.9 percent and the return on invested capital was 35 percent. Guidance for fiscal 2020 was reconfirmed and the company indicated it will announce the results of an ongoing strategy review on August 25th. Chr. Hansen has an asset value of $2.5 billion and carries $1.0 billion in long-term debt. 

 

In commenting on results, Mauricio Graber, CEO stated, "our business demonstrated resilience during the first volatile month since the outbreak of COVID-19, thanks to our essential natural ingredient solutions for the food, nutritional and agricultural industries".  He added "Animal Health continues to perform strongly driven by dairy products. Human Health also delivered strong growth supported by consumers' interest in probiotics with indications for immune benefits". 


Mauricio Graber CEO

 

Kroger Company to Introduce COVID-19 Home Collection Test Kit

07/07/2020

Kroger Health, a division of the Kroger Company has received FDA ‘emergency use authorization’ for a home collection test kit for COVID-19.  Patients and Kroger workers will be provided access to a dedicated Kroger website to answer screening questions and to register a unique code.  Qualified patients requesting a test will be supplied with the nasal swab, transport vial, an instruction sheet and prepaid shipping label.  Patients will be provided with tele-health guidance to ensure that samples are obtained correctly.  Patients will ship the swab to Gravity Diagnostics clinical laboratory in Covington, KY.  The laboratory will conduct a molecular diagnostic test indicating active infection with SARS-CoV-2 the causal virus responsible for COVID-19.  Negative results will be remitted to an electronic medical record portal.  Patients with positive results will be contacted by a healthcare professional.  Test results will only be accessible to a patient and shared with their organization according to authorization.

Kroger has conducted more than 100,000 tests across nineteen states and anticipates processing 60,000 tests per week by the end of July. Given the structure of the program those wishing to be tested for antigen will be subject to a delay of at least four days from the time of initiating the request to receiving results. This is too long a period to enable quarantine to be effected. The program and technology will soon be rendered obsolete by sensitive lateral flow immunoassay kits that will provide a suitable home-screening assay similar to a pregnancy test within 30 minutes. Presumptive positive results can then be confirmed by more specific molecular assay.


 

Sales of Specialty Foods to Diminish Post-COVID-19

07/06/2020

According to the Specialty Food Association growth in purchase of specialty foods will diminish after home confinement is lifted.  This is attributed to decreased disposal income related to prevailing and future economic conditions.  Specialty foods include refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives, shelf-stable and refrigerated creamers, frozen breakfast foods, refrigerated meat, poultry and seafood and baked goods.

 

In 2019 specialty foods and beverages accounted for $159 billion in sales through brick and mortar stores. On-line sales attained $5.4 billion in 2019, up 50 percent from 2018.

 

Post COVID-19, retailers and distributors will cull low-volume items and will concentrate on essentials to the detriment of specialty foods.  Bill Lynch, Interim president of the Specialty Food Association stated, "food retailers are an essential business channel and while that has been beneficial to sales for our members the overall landscape is uncertain".


 

Colorado to Become Cage Free

07/06/2020

A law to establish Colorado as a cage-free production state has been enacted.  By 2025, the hen population in Colorado will be housed cage-free joining Pacific states Washington, Oregon and California, in addition to Michigan in the Midwest and a New England consortium.  The regulations mandate one square foot of usable floor space per hen in aviary systems and 1.5 square foot of usable floor space per hen in cage-free housing that does not permit access to vertical space, referring to slatted, all-litter or combination floor systems.


Gov. Polis Announcing Colorado Egg Bill

 

Status of 2019 Corn and Soybean Crops

07/06/2020

The USDA Crop Progress Report released on July 6th documented soybean and corn emergence as complete but corn silking is behind the 5-year average. The condition of both corn and soybean crops are superior to 2019.

Subsoil and surface moisture levels were lower than the corresponding weeks in 2019 creating concern in some states over drought. Topsoil moisture was partly restored by rains this past week. 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 2020 harvest in October.

Reference is made to the June 11th WASDE Report #601 accessible under the STATISTICS tab for projected 2020 acreage and yields to be updated next week.

WEEK ENDING

Crop

June 28th

July 5th

5-Year Average

Corn Planted (%)

Corn Emerged (%)

Corn Silking (%)

100

100

4

100

100

10

100

100

16

Soybeans Planted (%)

Soybeans Emerged (%)

Soybeans Blooming (%)

Soybeans setting pods (%)

100

100

14

-

100

100

21

2

100

100

34

4

 

Crop Condition

V. Poor

 Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Corn 2020 (%)

Corn 2019 (%) *

* late planting

1

3

 

5

9

23

31

54

47

17

10

Soybeans 2020 (%)

Soybeans 2019 (%)*

 * late planting N/A

1

3

4

9

24

35

57

46

14

7

 

Parameter

V. Short

Short

Adequate

Surplus

Topsoil moisture: Past Week

10

26

57

7

Past Year

3

12

70

15

Subsoil moisture: Past Week

8

24

62

6

Past Year

3

10

70

17


 

Consolidation in Food Delivery

07/06/2020

During June, Just Eat-Takeaway.com NV of the Netherlands intervened in ongoing negotiations between UberEats and Grubhub to acquire the U.S. company in a $7 billion transaction. This provided Just Eat-Takeaway.com with a foothold in the U.S. to attain a scale of operations offering profitability. 
 

It is apparent that operating delivery networks for food is unprofitable, so the emerging business model applied by Just Eat-Takeaway.com is to provide the ordering platform including apps, allowing restaurants to effect local delivery using their own delivery resources.  This model is contrary to UberEats, DoorDash and Postmates who employ their own delivery personnel. 

 

Jitse Groen, the founder of Takeaway.com in 2000 bases company profitability on gathering orders and taking a slice of the proceeds as a commission.  He stated, "as long as we send messages, we make money".  Currently the Just Eat division in the UK delivers only a quarter of the orders placed on its platform.  Grubhub in the U.S. delivers half of the orders placed. 


Jitse Groen

Despite apparent efficiency from consolidation among food ordering and delivery companies they are encountering growing opposition from restaurants. This is based on a variable level of service and a disproportionate expense with up to a 30 percent commission imposed on orders.

 

Groen favors operation in high-density areas many of which have established distribution networks.  His business model is based on ordering and commissions.  The delivery component is downplayed with Groen stating, "with logistics you can't make any money".  Since Just Eat Takeaway.com went public in 2016 it has acquired competitors to the value of $17.4 billion including the recently announced Grubhub transaction.

 

Further consolidation among services is inevitable but the trend towards restaurants arranging their own delivery will persist after COVID-19 home confinement ends. This is due to an anticipated disinclination among consumers to visit restaurants.


 

USDA DATA ON JUNE CAGE-FREE PRODUCTION

07/06/2020

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

The USDA Cage Free Report for the month of June 2020 released on July 7th 2020 documented a 0.6 percent increase in the population of hens producing under the Certified Organic seal to 15.8 million, unchanged from the average in Q2 2019. In contrast cage free flocks increased by 2.5 percent in June to 62.6 million representing an 11.2 percent increase from the average during the first quarter of 2020. 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.

Average flock production was raised to 78.5 percent for both categories of non-caged hens reflecting the depletion of older flocks and higher relative production from chicks placed during late December 2019 and in January 2020.

 

Flock size June Av. Q2 (million hens) 2020 2020

 

Av. Q1 2020

 

 

Av. Q3 2019

 

 

Av. Q2 2019

 

 

 

Certified Organic 15.8 15.7

15.7

16.2

15.8

 

 

Cage-free hens 62.6 61.5

56.3

54.5

52.0

 

 

Total non-caged 78.4 77.2

72.0

70.7

67.8

 

 

 

Average weekly production (cases). May June

Certified Organic

236,899 241,360; +1.9%

Cage-free

920,155 955,367; +3.8%

Total non-caged

1,157,054 1,196,727; +3.4%

 

Average Wholesale Contract Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.53/doz. ($1.53 Sept.’19 through May‘20)

Range:

$1.15 to $2.10/doz. (unchanged)

FOB Negotiated price, grade quality, nest-run, loose

Price range $0.65 to $1.05 per dozen

Average Value of $0.78/doz. (was $1.71 May.)

 

 

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

$2.32/doz. (was $3.08 May 2020)

USDA 6-Regions

High: NE

$2.91/doz. $3.38 (NE.)

 

Low: SE

$1.99/doz. $3.11 (MW.)

 

Based on the importance of cage-free production, the USDA-AMS issues their 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 for the preceding month after the end of a quarter. It is suggested that USDA consider a quarterly report with more accurate and consistent 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.


 

Rabobank Evaluates Post-COVID On-line Grocery Business

07/04/2020

Bourcard Nesin, beverage analyst at Rabobank recently reported on a model to project online grocery sales through the remainder of 2020. Immediately following adoption of COVID restrictions and home confinement, major grocery chains experienced two to four-fold increases in on-line sales. Many banners reported substantial sales during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2019.  Nesin predicts that on-line sales will eventually revert to the pre-COVID level following restoration of what is expected to be "new normality".

 

Nesin stated, "even if overall on-line sales revert to the baseline scenario retailers that took assertive action during the height of the pandemic will not only benefit from much larger peak growth then the industry at large, but they will be able to deliver the kind of user experience that will help them retain those customers over the long term".

 

It is apparent that the COVID crisis resulted in an unprecedented demand for on-line ordering and delivery of groceries that boosted the channel and should provide competitive advantages even with restoration of in-store purchasing.


 

AEB School Outreach Program

07/03/2020

The American Egg Board has prepared the first of three videos in the new “How-To” series describing egg preparation for school nutrition professionals. The first video features an overview of egg products along with handling and storage requirements. The second and third videos will demonstrate hard-boiled egg and liquid egg recipes that highlight the versatility of eggs. The series of videos is scheduled to premiere this fall with additional promotions in 2021.


 

COMMODITY REPORT: JULY 3rd 2020.

07/03/2020

  • The financial and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic continue but will gradually ease as society returns to a “new normal” despite a recent upsurge in cases.
  • Corn and soybeans were markedly higher in price this past week following release of the USDA Planting and Stocks Report on June 30th. Corn futures for July delivery were higher by a noteworthy 8.2 percent compared with the quotation on June 27th. Soybeans were up 3.0 percent compared with last week, attributed to orders placed by China.
  • Prospects for commodity exports to China are apparently still restrained. China has reduced their domestic short-term demand for soybeans as a result of continuing losses from African swine fever but chicken production has now recovered. The U.S. anticipates shipping in quantity during late summer for the 2020/2021 market year, following established seasonal patterns.

 

Uncertainties still include:-

  • The extent and timing of soybean purchases by China in 2020 is in question. The U.S. - China Phase-One agreement signed in mid-January incorporated U.S. tariff rescissions, promised purchases of agricultural commodities (valued at $36.5 billion in 2020 and $43.5 billion in 2021), concessions on some structural issues by China and strengthened enforcement provisions. A virtual meeting between senior officials of the U.S. and China on Friday May 8th elicited a reassurance that China would fulfill its obligations with respect to imports of U.S agricultural products. Both sides accepted the need to improve relations damaged by recent injudicious rhetoric relating to the origin of COVID-19 and legislative pressure on Hong Kong. The Phase-One Trade Agreement still appears intact despite comments by White House advisor, Dr. Peter Navarro who issued a subsequent “correction”.
  • It is anticipated that China will take advantage of low world prices for commodities to import corn and soybeans to add to reserves. The U.S. expects to supply part of this requirement. A consignment of 390,000 metric tons (14.3 million bushels) of soybeans was ordered on Monday 22nd
  • Imports of soybeans by China from Brazil were delayed by inclement weather and COVID-19 port disruptions during the first quarter of 2020, resulting in soybean stocks falling to a multiple-year low. Imported consignments increased stocks to 4.26 million tons (157 million bushels), up 28.7 percent from March 2020.
  • The market is now more accepting of the reality that future shipments of soybeans to China will not attain the quantities promised by the Administration after signing the Phase-One agreement.
  • Total world soybean shipments from the U.S. during the 2019/2020 market year amounted to 36.61 million metric tons, (1.326 million bushels), with China representing 36 percent of this quantity.
  • Total world corn shipments from the U.S. during the 2019/2020 market year amounted to 31.13 million metric tons through May with China representing 83 percent of the quantity.
  • Domestic U.S. soybean and soybean meal demand is currently constrained by cutbacks in the intensive livestock and poultry sectors as impacted by COVID-19.
  • Justifiable uncertainty exists regarding the spread of African swine fever and COVID-19 to other Asian nations, Europe and North America with the potential to create a worldwide depression as economic activity is curtailed

 

Questions still exist:-

  • The eventual sizes of corn and soybean crops will influence price going forward. According to the June 30th USDA Planting and Stocks Report, corn acreage was down approximately five percent from the March estimate. Yields of both corn and soybeans are expected to be impacted by emerging drought and heat in the corn-belt. Projections will be updated in the July WASDE to be released mid-month.
  • A U.S. trade agreement with the U.K. should be concluded in 2020 but trade with the U.S. will be conditioned by commitments to the E.U. by the departing nation. Negotiations commenced in early January between Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and his U.K. counterpart, Minister Elizabeth Truss and are continuing at appropriate levels in working groups. A bilateral agreement will have to overcome U.S objections over the use of Huawei communications equipment by the U.K. and application of chlorine and alternative antibacterial solutions in processing U.S. chicken and feeding beta agonists to livestock.

 

Corn to be harvested in calendar 2020 is expected to attain 15,000 million bushels with ending stocks influenced by yield and exports. Compared with the June 26th 2020 close, the CME quotation for July corn on July 2nd was up by 26 cents per bushel to 342 cents. 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 addition to gasoline. Forty percent of U.S. ethanol fermentation capacity is off-line at present but the outlook for increased demand is improving. Ethanol was priced at $1.25 per gallon on July 2nd up 9 cents per gallon from the previous week and compared with a five-year low of $0.92 per gallon on March 26th. Currently gasoline at $1.24 per gallon (quoted New York Harbor) is 0.8 percent less expensive than ethanol but has a 63 percent higher BTU rating than ethanol.  

 

Soybeans, expected to be the beneficiary of the Phase-One agreement, were up 26 cents per bushel to 892 cents for July delivery.  The USDA anticipates a 2020 crop of 4.125 billion bushels up 16 percent from 2019 but subject to climatic conditions. Ending stocks are projected at 395 million bushels.

 

From May 12th to June 9th the Yuan remained constant at CNY 7.08 to US$1 except for a brief spike at the end of May. During this time the Brazilian Real strengthened against the US$ from BRL 5.9 to BRL 4.9 and the BRL strengthened against the CNY  from BRL 0.83 to BRL 0.69, effectively favoring purchases of soybeans by China from the U.S. The value of the BRL then declined with an increase in the incidence rate of COVID-19 in Brazil. On July 3rd the BRL exchange with the CNY was 0.75 compared to 0.78 the previous week.

 

The USDA reported the following sales this past week:-

  • 202,000 metric tons of corn (7.95 million bushels) for delivery to China during the 2020/2021 marketing year; and
  • 126,000 metric tons of soybeans (4.63 million bushels) for delivery to China during the 2020/2021 marketing year.

 

For consecutive 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 following extracts from the June 30th 2020 edition of the Quarterly USDA Grain Stocks Report indicate the levels of storage on farms and in fields and off-farm for corn and soybeans. The data will be updated at the end of September.

  • Corn stocks in all positions on June 1st 2020 totaled 5.22 billion bushels, up less than one percent from June 1st Of the total stocks, 3.03 billion bushels are stored on farms, up three percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 2.20 billion bushels, are down two percent from a year ago. The March - May 2020 indicated disappearance is 2.73 billion bushels, compared with 3.41 billion bushels during the same period last year.

 

  • Soybeans stored in all positions on June 1st 2020 totaled 1.39 billion bushels, down 22 percent from June 1st On-farm stocks totaled 633 million bushels, down 13 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 753 million bushels, are down 28 percent from a year ago. Indicated disappearance for the March - May 2020 quarter totaled 869 million bushels, down 8 percent from the same period a year earlier. The June 11th WASDE projected the 2020 harvest for corn from 89.6 million acres and from 82.8 million acres for soybeans. These values were lower than the projections developed before the advent of COVID-19.

 

The following quotations for July delivery were posted by the CME at close of trading on July 2nd (closed on July 3rd) compared with values posted on June 26th  (in parentheses) reflecting specified months for delivery.

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

  July  342  (316)        

Sept.  343  (318)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

  July  892  (866)

Sept.  891  (860)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

  July  293  (282)

Sept.  298  (285)

 

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

 COMMODITY            CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK

Corn:                  July quotation up 26 cents per bushel                  (+8.2 percent)               

Soybeans:         July quotation up 26 cents per bushel                  (+3.0 percent)

Soybean Meal: July quotation up $11 per ton                                 (+3.9 percent)

 

The shortage of meat and bone meal in May and June due to reduced processing of pork and beef has ended. Prices for this ingredient for Minneapolis delivery settled at $170 per ton on June 30th unchanged from June 23rd. On July 2nd 2019 Meat and bone meal was priced at $210 per ton. The production of meat and bone meal from euthanized whole hogs will require adjustment of ingredient matrices for meat and bone meal depending on source.

 

With more plants producing ethanol, DDGS is now more available at a lower price. Eastern Corn-belt product was priced at $142 per ton on June 30th, $7 per ton lower than on June 25th 2019.

 

  • 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

 

 COMMENTS

 Subscribers are referred to the June 11th WASDE #601 under the Statistics TAB.

 

Dr. Joe Glauber of the International Food Research Institute and formerly a USDA economist for 30 years, expressed the view that China would not be able to comply with obligations under the Phase One Agreement. Imports of U.S. commodities amounted to $5 billion in the first quarter of 2020, comprising pork, cotton, corn and wheat. The volume of commodities delivered would have to increase to $10 billion for each of the succeeding quarters to attain the promised $36.5 billion for the current year. Dr. Glauber anticipates that China will even fail to meet the 2017 baseline of $24 billion. Escalating tensions with China over COVID-19 and pressure on Hong Kong will not benefit exports to that Nation.

 

During 2018 and 2019 a total of $28 billion was disbursed to the agricultural sector in Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. Additional requests are being made by industry groups for 2020 MFP relief and these may be justified by delayed or anticipated lower imports by China. President Donald Trump stated in late February 2020 that the Federal Government would “provide additional aid to U.S. farmers as needed until recently negotiated trade deals with China, Mexico, Canada and other countries fully kick in”. At least one round of 2020 MFP payments was anticipated. Approximately $16 billion will be disbursed under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). As of June 3rd, $540 million has been distributed. This effectively represents a transfer of funds from taxpayers and their grandchildren to the agricultural sector.


 

NPC International to File for Bankruptcy Protection

07/03/2020

NPC International, a franchisee of Pizza Hut and Wendy’s Company will file for Chapter 11 protection.  The company operates more than 1,500 restaurants and employs more than 37,000.  The company was established in 1962 and has expanded to be a significant restaurant chain.

 

The company incurred a heavy debt burden through remodeling and expansion.  The advent of COVID-19, with home confinement restrictions, seriously impacted cash flow and the company missed interest payments on $800 million in loans.  NPC has been in discussion with lenders since February regarding restructuring of debt.


 

Hamlet Protein to Present at PSA 2020

07/03/2020

The 2020 Poultry Science Association will take place in virtual format July 20th-22nd

 

Dr. Alfred Branch will review  latest cooperative research with the University of Georgia.

 

 

Click the image on the right to view a clip of Dr. Alfred Branch.

 

 


 

Extensive Spread of Rabbit Hepatitis Virus

07/03/2020

Wild lagomorphs, including rabbits, hares, and pikas, in Western states are dying in large numbers from Rabbit Hepatitis virus II.  The causal agent is a calicivirus, which apparently originated in China in 1984 with variants of the infective agent since spreading worldwide.  Rabbit hepatitis virus has been used as a biological control agent to destroy wild rabbits in Australia.  The RHDV2 variant appeared in the U.S. in 2018 and is believed to have been introduced from Europe.There are two inactivated vaccines available in Europe, but efficacy against RHDV2 has yet to be determined.

 

An unfortunate choice of nomenclature will undoubtedly result in concern among the public.  A veterinarian based in Texas inappropriately referred to the infection as “Bunny Ebola”.  Using the term Ebola, which is a serious hemorrhagic and frequently fatal infection of humans, endemic to Central Africa creates a misleading association. The misappelation will require strong statements from USDA and health authorities that RHDV2 is a disease of lagomorphs and does not affect humans.

 

USDA regard the infection as a “foreign animal disease”, but based on mortality in wild rabbits and hares it should now be regarded as endemic as it is in Canada.


 

Emergence of Porcine Influenza Virus with Pandemic Potential

07/03/2020

Scientists affiliated with the Shandong Agricultural University and the Chinese National Influenza Center have identified a derivative of H1N1 virus designated at G4.  This specific virus was consistently isolated over a period extending from 2011 to 2018 involving surveillance of hogs delivered to slaughterhouses. A total of 179 influenza viruses were isolated from 30,000 nasal swabs, most of which were only present for a season.

 

Researchers noted that the G4 virus reoccurred annually and showed increased incidence after 2016.  The G4 virus contains H1N1 genes and can bind to human cells in vitro.  Serologic studies in Hebei and Shandong Provinces demonstrated antibodies among hog farmers and slaughterhouse workers.  As yet, there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted among humans.

 

It is absolutely essential that viruses of hogs should be constantly surveyed to detect the emergence of strains which are potentially pathogenic to humans. In 2019 the H1N1 influenza pandemic was responsible for as many as 500,000 fatalities worldwide.  The G4 virus has developed by interchange of genetic materials that occurs readily in very large populations of susceptible animals or humans in close association.

 

 International cooperation with coordination of research and diagnostic activities by individual nations is critical to recognizing the emergence of an epidemic strain of influenza or other viral diseases.  The emergence of SARS, MERS, and most recently COVID-19 demonstrate the need for international cooperation and communication with coordination by apolitical agencies, such as the World Health Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health.

 


 

Moba Robotics Improves Plant Efficiency

07/02/2020

Moba recently installed MR12 packers an MR50 de-palletizer and an Endoline case erector in a Missouri off-line plant.  According to the manager, the MR50 de-palletizer reduces labor input and is ergonomically beneficial.  Installation of MR12 packers has reduced head count and improved plant throughput.  The packer is permits changing product without sacrificing speed.  The combination of the robotic packer with the case erector allows flexibility with regard to assignment of line workers.

For further information on Moba robotic packers, de-palletizers and case erectors access the company website by clicking onto the Moba logo on the right side of the Welcome page.


 

Moba Robotics Improves Plant Efficiency

07/02/2020

Moba recently installed MR12 packers an MR50 de-palletizer and an Endoline case erector in a Missouri off-line plant.  According to the manager, the MR50 de-palletizer reduces labor input and is ergonomically beneficial.  Installation of MR12 packers has reduced head count and improved plant throughput.  The packer is permits changing product without sacrificing speed.  The combination of the robotic packer with the case erector allows flexibility with regard to assignment of line workers.

 


MOBA CP12 case packer

For further information on Moba robotic packers, de-palletizers and case erectors access the company website by clicking onto the Moba logo on the right side of the Welcome page.

 


 

Integration of Jamesway and Chick Master

07/02/2020

TBG, the holding company for Jamesway, Chick Master, Petersime and Moba has announced the integration of Jamesway and Chick Master.  The combined company will operate from the Jamesway headquarters in Cambridge, Ont., Canada.  An office will continue to operate in Medina, OH.  Procurement, quality control, human resources and IT will be concentrated in Cambridge.

 

Paul Degraeve, CEO of the Hatchery Division of TBG stated, “As we move forward, we will remain strongly committed to continue offering our two distinct, successful brands.  He added, “Chick Master and Jamesway each have unique value propositions that our loyal customers have come to expect.”

 

Dennis Kan will serve as the leader of Jamesway Chick Master Incubator Company.

 


 

Dr. David Smith Appointed to Huvepharma Position

07/01/2020

Dr. David Smith will serve as the Veterinary Technical Service Manager with the U.S. Poultry team of Huvepharma.

 

In commenting on his appointment David stated, "Huvepharma is well on its way to becoming a leader in the poultry industry and I am excited to be part of the journey".  He added "their focus on products for nutrition, prevention and treatment provide new choices to the industry and I look forward to adding my expertise and insights to their expanding and unique portfolio of poultry products". 

 

Dr. Smith earned a baccalaureate degree in science from the University of Louisiana at Monroe followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Louisiana State University and subsequently a Master’s degree in Veterinary Clinical Sciences from Mississippi State University.  He was most recently director of Professional Veterinary Services at Boehringer Ingelheim for the U.S. Poultry business.  He worked in various roles at Merial Select for sixteen-years prior to the acquisition of the company.


 

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Disbursement

07/01/2020

According to a June 29th USDA release, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has disbursed $4.86 billion to 319, 500 recipients.  The breakdown of funding includes:-

•   Livestock $2.5 billion to 238,000 applicants

•   Conventional crops $1.3 billion to 176,000 applicants

•   Dairy $1.0 billion to 17,000 applicants

•   Specialty crops *$112 million, 3,000 applicants

*fruit, nuts, vegetables etc.


 

Cal-Maine Foods Sustainability Report

06/30/2020

Cal-Maine Foods has issued their first sustainability review. Commenting on the report, Dolph Baker, chairman and CEO of Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., stated, “As the largest producer and distributor of shell eggs in the United States, we believe it is incumbent on Cal-Maine Foods to be a leader in promoting sustainability throughout our operations. As a public company, we are committed to creating long-term value, while contributing to a stable global food supply. Since inception, we have pursued a strategic direction focused on both organic growth and acquisitions, a favorable product mix, operational excellence and outstanding customer service. An integral part of this growth strategy has been an emphasis on our environmental and social responsibility with a strong commitment to support the communities where we operate. We are pleased to share these initiatives in our 2019 Sustainability Overview, including our efforts to minimize our energy usage and impact on the environment, our rigorous food safety and quality programs, our animal welfare standards and our community service programs. Going forward, we will continue to evaluate our operations in line with our sustainability objectives, and we look forward to sharing our ongoing progress.”

 

The full report may be found on the Company’s website at www.calmainefoods.com.

 

EGG-NEWS will comment on the conclusions derived from the report in a subsequent posting as sustainability and corporate responsibility are emerging as important issues from the perspective of company image, consumer acceptance and customer approval


 

Mink Culled in Denmark Following COVID-19 Diagnosis

06/30/2020

The Danish Health Authority has announced that a patient with COVID-19 probably acquired the infection from a mink farm in North Jutland.  The diagnosis was confirmed by the Danish State Serum Institute (equivalent to NVSL).  Approximately 11,000 mink have been euthanized.

The Head of Crisis Management at the Danish Veterinary Food Administration announced that all mink farms will be subject to screening and appropriate responses will be developed including quarantine or depletion in the event of infection.  Denmark is the world’s largest supplier of mink pelts producing close to 20 million each year.

 

The outbreak in Denmark follows a series of at least five farms in Holland confirming the susceptibility of mink to SARS-COV-2 the causal virus of COVID-19.  Ferrets serve as a research model for COVID-19 and influenza and are closely related to mink.

Disposal of 11,000 farmed mink

 

Ethanol Production Rises

06/30/2020

According to the Energy Information Administration, for the week ending June 19th, ethanol production rose to 893,000 barrels per day approximately 85 percent of the pre-COVID-19 output.  Since the demand for ethanol is closely linked to gasoline, ethanol refiners benefited by the 10 percent increase in use of E-10 to 8.6 million barrels per day.  Accordingly, both ethanol and gasoline inventory fell with ethanol stock now at 21 million barrels.

 


 

Introducing Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board

06/29/2020

Emily Metz was appointed to the position of president and CEO of the American Egg Board effective June 8th.  Ms. Metz comes to the AEB with a wealth of experience in agriculture.  A professional communicator and lawyer specializing in food and drug law, Ms. Metz has served as a speech-writer for Dr. Richard Raymond at the USDA and was involved in aspects of beef, dairy, and poultry production with an emphasis on food safety and public health.  Ms. Metz spent her early career with the Animal Agriculture Alliance dealing with legislation, biosecurity and industry relations.  She served as a senior administrator in the National Milk Producers Federation facing similar challenges to the egg industry involving consumption, sustainability and substitutes.  Her commercial experience includes leading global R&D communications and corporate communications for Genus PLC, encompassing both international and U.S. promotion of new technologies related to hogs.

Ms. Metz was delighted to be appointed to her new position at the AEB, regarded as her "dream job".

 

EGG-NEWS had the opportunity to review the approach that she will take to build on the foundation established at the AEB by her predecessor Anne L. Alonzo who appointed a strong management and technical team during her tenure.

 

EGG-NEWS

After four weeks with the AEB, you have probably developed some priorities and plans.  Please would you share in your initial thoughts with our subscribers?

 

EMILY METZ:

“My immediate priority—with support from the AEB’s Executive Committee and my leadership team—is to draft a strategic plan for the next five years that will set the industry up for long-term success, ultimately increasing the demand for eggs and egg products both here and abroad for years to come.  Our team plans on being proactive and aggressive in promoting the industry.”

 

 

EGG-NEWS

Could you kindly share some of the objectives.

 

EM:

“First, the AEB must be ruthlessly results-oriented.  We will assess the value of all campaigns and programs relative to tangible results in the marketplace. We’ll identify opportunities with the highest potential return, and invest more judiciously, with fewer, more impactful initiatives and cross-functional value.

Second, we must be data-driven. Our decisions must be backed by data, information and insight. I want the AEB to be the knowledge base and insight authority for the egg industry.

Our third aim is for the AEB to be visionary. The ability to connect the dots and see around the corner is critical to any organization’s future.  Five years might seem like a long way out, but unless we initiate a program of forward planning with annual revisions, the AEB will simply react to circumstances and will miss opportunities. 

Fourth, we must be more agile in order to rapidly seize opportunities as they emerge. COVID-19 pressure-tested this industry and we have learned quite a bit from it. The AEB must become nimbler to help our producers thrive in an uncertain, rapidly changing environment.

Lastly, we will be enterprising and innovative. We must explore, understand and experiment with new technology platforms as a means of connection. I want AEB to be the first commodity checkoff that figures out how to activate against the technologies that are reshaping our lives. Our competitive advantage will not only be based on anticipating trends; we will drive them.”

 

EGG-NEWS

How do you intend implementing the five-year strategic plan to be developed?

 

EM:

“It is my intention to generate synergy among the talented people we have at the AEB and to combine their skills and experience with their industry counterparts.

We must explore all possible opportunities including exports, further-processed products and new added-value presentations.  We must build on previous initiatives involving outreach to consumers and health professionals and to the recovering food service industry.”

 

EGG-NEWS

How do you view substitutes for eggs?

EM:

“I have first-hand experience with the challenge of imitators in the dairy industry. To be realistic, imitators are not going away. But they cannot compete with The Incredible Egg’s nutritional profile, versatility and affordability or its functional value in food formulation. Instead, they are attempting to compete on sustainability. This is an area I intend to focus on proactively so that our industry is secure for generations to come.”


 

EGG-NEWS

What other issues will be considered in the strategic plan?

 

EM:

“We have a significant role to play in the forthcoming recovery of our nation. The AEB will have a hand in supporting our nation’s restaurants by partnering to drive new menu items and product innovation. And The Incredible Egg is uniquely positioned to become a key solution for many of consumers’ biggest challenges—offering nutritional value, versatility, convenience and great taste. So engaging current and future generations of egg consumers and anticipating their needs will be critically important.”

 

EGG-NEWS

Are there any messages you wish to convey to the industry?

EM:

“To future-proof this industry, we must push the envelope, take more risks and invest in new opportunities. We must consider aspects of packaging, economic factors driving consumption and the image of eggs. We must understand what deeply motivates consumers and determine attributes that drive the purchase decision, including welfare, sustainability, quality and cost.

Working together, closely, with our egg producers and industry partners like UEP and USAPEEC, over the next five years we will future-proof this industry, helping our producers grow their businesses, ensuring the long-term security and prosperity of this industry and cementing the position of The Incredible Egg as an essential, indispensable part of people’s lives.”

 

EGG-NEWS

Thank you Emily. We wish you and your colleagues every success in your endeavors.


 

Prospects for Soybean Exports to China

06/28/2020

In an appraisal of recent purchases by China authored by Jerry Gulke in the Ag Web Farm Journal the motive for a recent sharp rise in orders was evaluated.  Some industry observers believe that purchases including the 390,000 metric tons on Monday June 21st are seasonal and reflect the end of supplies from Brazil.  Port congestion arising from the first-quarter coronavirus outbreak allowed stocks to fall. 

 

Planners in China do not want to enter and  progress through the 2020/2021 market year with low inventory.  There is a pervading fear that in the event of COVID-19 affecting internal U.S. movement of soybeans and their shipment, that China could be subjected to restricted supply. 

 

Notwithstanding recent orders, it is unlikely that China will comply with their Phase-One commitment to import agricultural commodities to the value of $36.5 billion.  It is possible that they may request forbearance, rolling forward, the promise by one quarter, citing disruption in imports during February and March of this year.


 

Munters CB Evaporative Cooling System™ Released

06/28/2020

Munters is now supplying the CB Evaporative Cooling System™ specifically designed for cost-effective cooling.

 

The system is configured in ten-foot modules and is compatible with CELdek® evaporative cooling pads.

 

Features of the system include a stainless steel header and pad tray; PVC piping for durability and low maintenance and a system designed for ease of installation in new buildings, as a retrofit or replacement. 

 

For further information access the Munters website www.munters.com or click on to the Munters logo on the right side of the Welcome page.


 

Probability of a La Nina Event Emerging

06/27/2020

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has recorded a decline in water temperature in the tropical Pacific Ocean.  Accordingly, models indicate the chance of a La Nina increasing from “neutral” to “watch”.

 

During a La Nina event tradewinds intensify across the Pacific from east to west.  Climatic changes include:

  • Above average rains in Australia and Southeast Asia
  • Drier weather in the south of the U.S. and cooler temperatures and heavy rains in the Pacific Northwest due to a shift in the jet stream
  • Drought in Southern Brazil depressing soybean yields

Developing La Nina Event

 

The U.S. National Weather Service considers that there is an equal chance of neutrality between a La Nina and an El Nino event.  Water temperatures along the Pacific coastline will indicate the direction in which the El Nino-Southern Oscillation is developing. 

 

Subscribers are referred to previous post on climastic cycles in the Pacific. Enter El Nino in the SEARCH feature.

 


 

FSNS Appoints Manager for Livestock Services

06/27/2020

Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) Certification and Audit have appointed Dr. Valerie Smith as Technical Manager of the program.  Dr. Smith obtained her baccalaureate degree from Western Kentucky University and a DVM from Auburn University, College of Veterinary Medicine.  She was most recently with Dean Foods and previously practiced as a food-animal Veterinarian.

 

Dr. Smith will conduct assessment of livestock certification programs, conduct audits and training and will work with producer groups. 

 

John Bellinger, CEO of FSNS, noted “We are fortunate to have Valerie join the FSNS Certification and Audit team as her experience, knowledge and passion for animal welfare are exemplary.”


 

China Demanding COVID-19 Certification for all Agricultural Commodities

06/24/2020

In an extension of the requirement that meat and poultry exporters provide letters confirming “freedom from COVID-19”, China has now extended the program to soybeans and fruit.

 

It is apparent that the impetus for the certification letters emanated from the General Administration of Customs and not from the Central Government.

 


 

CDC Reports on Salmonellosis from Backyard Poultry

06/24/2020

In an investigative Report released on Wednesday June 24th The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on 368 confirmed incident cases of salmonellosis associated with backyard poultry since May 20th 2020, in a continuing series totaling 465 diagnoses. Thirty-six percent (86) patients required hospitalization and one fatality was recorded. As with other outbreaks of salmonellosis associated with backyard chickens a noteworthy proportion of cases investigated (31 percent) were children under 5 years old. 

 

Reports were obtained from 42 states. Chicks and ducklings were ordered on-line from small hatcheries or were purchased from feed and supply stores. 

 

Despite CDC and state extension service pamphlets and web guidance on prevention of Salmonella infection, backyard flocks continue to affect owners and their children


 

Dr. Todd Applegate Named a Fellow of the Poultry Science Association

06/24/2020

Dr. Todd Applegate, Head of the Department of Poultry Science, University of Georgia, was named a fellow of the Poultry Science Association (PSA).  This is the highest distinction for a member of the PSA and recognizes contributions to the field of poultry science and service to the industry.

 

Dr. Applegate served on the Board of Directors of the PSA from 2006 to 2009 and also during 2012 to 2016.  He was President of the PSA during 2014-2015 and served as a reviewer for Poultry Science and the Journal of Poultry Research.  He has a distinguished career in both research and teaching and has mentored numerous masters’ and doctoral level students who continue to contribute to the advancement of poultry science.

 

In responding to the announcement, Dr. Applegate noted “I am truly humbled by this honor.  I cannot express enough thanks to all of my mentors, students, collaborators, colleagues for all we’ve been able to accomplish together.”


Dr.Todd Applegate

 

 

 

 


 

American Egg Board, EggPro™ Presentations

06/24/2020

On Wednesday, July 8th at 11h00 PST/13h00 EST the American Egg Board, EggPro ™ program will be entitled Off-Premise Menu Solutions with Eggs. The webinar will be led by Chef Robert Danhi with assistance from Jeff Miller.

 

The program on Wednesday, July 22nd at 13h00 PST/15h00 EST will be Protein Fortification and Nutrition with Eggs presented by Dr. Mickey Rubin of the Egg Nutrition Center and Chef Emily Cruz.


 

Courts Allow Use of Purchased Dicamba for the Current Harvest Year

06/24/2020

On June 3rd a panel of three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency and ordered a revocation of the registration of three  herbicides containing dicamba as the active ingredient.  The vacatur was issued in terms of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

Based on the fact that most farmers intending to use products containing dicamba had already purchased their supplies from among the three alternatives, the EPA issued a cancellation order allowing for existing stocks to be used but embargoing new sales and distribution.

 

On June 19th the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a petition by environmental activist groups to prevent all use of dicamba compounds with immediate effect.  In terms of the ruling farmers and commercial applicators are now allowed to use existing stocks, but application must conform to statutory label instructions to prevent drift.  Distribution, sale and transport of the three dicamba products is prohibited unless products are conveyed for disposal or return to an agent for manufacturers, BASF, Cortiva or Bayer.

 


 

Thailand Places Paraquat and Chlorpyrifos on Hazard List

06/24/2020

Thailand has placed paraquat, a herbicide and chlorpyrifos, an insecticide on a list of hazardous substances.  This has implications for the import of commodities that may contain residues of these compounds.

 

Thailand imports U.S. soybeans worth $500 million annually and is a major importer of U.S. wheat in addition to cooking oil and animal-feed ingredients.

 

The U.S. and Brazil have both lodged protest with Thailand over the ban on the two chemicals noting that detection of residues could seriously impact trade.

 

In terms of WTO agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures to justify bans, Thailand will have to provide scientific evidence supporting their action.

 

Chlorpyrifos is banned in California and the EU based on its deleterious effect on the development of the nervous system in children it should be phased out in favor of alternatives.  Thailand could make a case for chlorpyrifos and possibly for paraquat although evidence of detectable residues in imported commodities and feed ingredients would be necessary as a justification for action.


 

NPD Crest® Confirms Increased Sales by QSRs

06/24/2020

NPD Crest® issued a performance alert confirming a seven percent improvement in the food service segment over the past week but down 14 percent from the corresponding week in 2019.  QSR transactions were up by four percent during past week but was13 percent below a year ago.

 

Although breakfasts at QSRs were heavily impacted during the early weeks of COVID home confinement, there has been a marked improvement from the second week of June with a strong rebound as consumers return to work.

 


 

California Enjoined from Labeling Glyphosate as Carcinogenic

06/24/2020

Federal Judge, William Shubb has issued a permanent injunction against the state of California preventing the labeling as a potential carcinogen, herbicides containing glyphosate marketed extensively as Roundup™.  In his finding, Judge Shubb noted “the great weight of evidence indicates that Glyphosate is not a known carcinogen.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has declared that glyphosate is not a carcinogen based on literature reviews and epidemiologic studies conducted on farm workers in the U.S..

The erroneous classification of glyphosate as a carcinogenic arises from a 2015 monograph issued by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) designating the herbicide as a “probable cause of cancer in humans”.  The IARC report was subsequently withdrawn following criticism by environmental scientists. Unfortunately the perception that glyphosate is carcinogenic persists. The principal author of the monograph also served as an expert witness for plaintiffs in claims again Monsanto, the manufacturer of the compound, representing an egregious conflict of interest. 

Verdicts have been handed down in civil lawsuits against Monsanto claiming that glyphosate was responsible for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  Verdicts that were under appeal and an additional universe of cases were recently settled for $10 billion by Bayer AG that acquired Monsanto and its liabilities. 


 

Regional Sales Manager Position Offered

06/24/2020

Big Dutchman Inc. has a position available as Regional Sales Manager for poultry equipment.  The incumbent will service clients in Mid-Western and Northern tier states to promote equipment for egg production with an emphasis on aviary systems.  A baccalaureate degree in Poultry or Animal Science is preferred with a minimum of three years of experience in agribusiness.  Commercial egg production is not required but would be valued.  Personal qualities should include communication and computer competence, problem solving, organizational skills and self-motivation.  A minimum of 80 percent travel will be necessary.

Respond to Beth Velderman Senior Human Resource Manager , enclosing a CV <bvelderman@bigdutchmanusa.com>.


 

Bulgaria Reports H5N8 Avian Influenza

06/24/2020

A diagnosis of H5N8 strain highly pathogenic avian influenza resulted in the depletion of a flock of 80,000 birds in Southern Bulgaria.  Cases of H5N8 were reported by this Nation in recent weeks. The infection was in all probability introduced by migratory birds followed by introduction into commercial farms due to deficiencies in biosecurity.

 


 

CDC Issues Guidance on Testing

06/22/2020

The CDC has issued a guidance document Testing Strategy for COVID-19 in High-Density Critical Infrastructure Workplaces after a COVID-19 Case is Identified. 

The CDC recommends:-

  • A risk-based approach for testing co-workers of an employee confirmed with COVID-19                               

       

  • Testing known exposed co-workers

 

  • Testing co-workers on the same shift but in different areas of the establishment

 

  • Testing co-workers who have shared common spaces such as breakrooms and locker rooms.

 

CDC recommends a comprehensive testing strategy to protect workers although the implication is that plants will continue functioning.  To be effective, a policy to prevent lateral spread of COVID-19 must incorporate provisions for paid leave so that infected workers may undergo quarantine in addition to precautions to prevent transmission including social distancing and PPE.

 

The Tier-3 testing of co-workers who have shared common spaces implies that virtually all employees on a specific shift would have to be tested.  This is completely impractical and at best very expensive and will probably not be part of a routine response.  In the absence of an effective vaccine regimen, companies can implement a program limiting infection among workers until the level of immunity eventually attains 80 percent of the workforce.  Even then, new workers that have not been previously exposed or vaccinated will be susceptible when introduced into the plant.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 will be a factor in recruitment, health maintenance, operations and will influence plant efficiency for many years to come.


 

Cape Town, RSA Impacted by COVID-19

06/22/2020

According to a June 18th report by Reuters, Cape Town has recorded 47,000 confirmed cases of COVID out of the national diagnosed total of 80,000.  It is now presumed that the infection was present in the western Cape port city in February resulting in community transmission. 

 

As with major Chinese ports during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic, South African ports including Cape Town and Port Elizabeth are operating at reduced capacity, creating problems for both exporters and importers.


Container terminal at Cape Town empty

As international freight is dependent on skilled operators to unload and load containers, mechanized installations are vulnerable to absenteeism due to disease, strikes and other issues.  USAPEEC has issued a notification to exporters regarding the situation in South Africa and obviously will continue to monitor the situation for the benefit of the poultry industry.


 

Liphatech Appoints Animal Health Business Manager

06/22/2020

In a June 19th release, Liphatech announced the appointment of Matt Elderbrook to the Agriculture Division as Animal Health Business Manager.  He will represent the wide range of rodent baits manufactured by Liphatech.

 

Matt attended the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse earning a baccalaureate degree in business marketing.  In his new position he will coordinate marketing among distributors and end users and promote Liphatech products at industry trade shows.  In his previous position as Midwest district sales manager for Liphatech’s Pest Management Division he gained considerable experience in rodent control.


Matt Elderbrook

 

Bayer AG Clears the Deck on Lawsuits

06/20/2020

On June 24th, Bayer AG announced that it had reached a series of agreements to resolve outstanding litigation.  Cases involved glyphosate product liability, damage from Dicamba™ drift and contamination of water with PCBs.

The agreement closes 75 percent of glyphosate claims and establishes a mechanism to resolve potential future claims.  Roundup® litigation will cost $8.8 to $9.6 billion with an additional $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement for future litigation. 

 

 

 

Dicamba™ drift will cost Bayer $400 million and PCB water contamination $820 million. 

 

The spokesperson for a group of plaintiff attorneys stated, “It has been a long journey but we are pleased that we achieved justice for the tens of thousands of people who through no fault of their own are suffering from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma”.

 

Bayer acquired the glyphosate liability in 2018 after purchasing Monsanto for $63 billion. Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer commented, “The Roundup™ settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end.”  He added, “It resolves most current claims and puts in place a clear mechanism to manage risks of potential future litigation.”

 

To reduce the liability side of the Bayer AG balance sheet, the Company has been selling non-core businesses including the Animal Health segment to Elanco Animal Health.

 

 

 

Werner Baumann contemplating his future?

 


Soybean leaves affected by Dicamba drift

 


 

Albertsons Launches IPO

06/20/2020

On Thursday June 18th the Albertsons Company launched an initial public offering of 65.8 million shares expected to be priced at $18-$20. 

 

Albertsons will list on the NYSE under the symbol ACI.  This is the third attempt to list. After the merger with Safeway in 2015, the owners explored a listing, but the offer was withdrawn in a down market. In 2018 the company attempted to go public through a $124 million merger with Rite Aid Corp, but the transaction was not completed. 

 

Albertsons is controlled by Cerberus Capital Management.  Seventeen percent of the equity will be sold to Apollo Global Management through the purchase of $1.75 billion of convertible preferred stock in Albertsons.  Kimco Realty Corp received $156 million as part of the Apollo purchase of Albertsons stock increasing the Kimco equity stake to 9.3 percent.

 

Albertsons operates 2,252 food and drug stores in thirty-four states and DC with Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, and Shaw's as the leading banners.  Albertsons operates 1,726 pharmacies, 402 fuel stations and has 23 distribution centers and 20 manufacturing plants.


 

Target Raising Starting Wage to $15 per Hour

06/20/2020

Target has raised the existing starting wage of $13 per hour to $15.  Since late March, Target has paid workers an additional $2 per hour as hazard pay that will now become permanent.  In announcing the increase, which will take effect on July 5th, a company spokesperson stated “team members have always been essential to Target’s success and the current crisis has only amplified how their work serves communities and families every day.” 

 

Target will also give hourly workers a one-time bonus of $200 at the end of July and will provide a number of benefits including free “virtual” doctor visits, backup child and family care, on- demand fitness classes, and free thermometers.  The action by Target is contrasted by Kroger withdrawing their “hero pay” of $2 per hour on May 17th,  the $3 per hour temporary raise extended by Starbucks and $2 per hour by Amazon.


 

Data on Spanish Industry Documented by USDA-FAS

06/19/2020

According to GAIN report SP2020-0019 dated June 10th, Spain houses 45.8 million hens on 1,323 farms representing an average of 35,000 hens per unit.  Spain contributes 11 percent to EU egg production, attaining 1,100 million dozen in 2019.

 

Seventy-seven percent of hens in Spain are still in cages although there is a gradual transition to alternative housing.  Spain exports 15 percent of egg production to other EU states and North Africa.  Given that 85 percent of eggs are consumed by the domestic market of 47 million, average per capita amounts to 238 eggs in shell and liquid form.


Central Market Valencia

Farm in San Lorenzo de la Parilla 300,000 aviary capacity

 

As with the U.S., COVID-19 restrictions in the face of a severe outbreak led to closing of restaurants with home confinement.  The hotel and industrial segment collapsed but was in large measure compensated by increased domestic consumption.  The GAIN report notes that the pandemic “improves Spanish consumer views towards eggs as an immunity-boosting food.”

 

 


 

McDonald’s CEO Confirms Improvement in Business

06/19/2020

In a news release on June 16th, McDonald’s Corp. outlined progress in reestablishing normal business both in the U.S. and in the international market.  Chris Kempczinski, CEO appeared on CNBC expressing confidence that the company would successfully negotiate the effects of COVID-19.

 

Kempczinski stated “our strong foundation and the unique advantage of the McDonald’s system including a high percentage of drive-thru restaurants and investments in delivery and digital have enabled us to adapt to the changing landscape presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.” He added “the steps we are taking in response to the pandemic and to accelerate recovery while continuing to serve the great and familiar taste of a meal from McDonald’s will position this world for the next phase of this crisis.” 

 

There were no specific data on sales in the press release but the company claims improvements through April and May, although obviously lower than the corresponding months in 2019.  Kempczinski referred to the breakfast day-part and growth in a larger average check contributing to improvements in sales.


Chris Kempczinski

 

In the UK and France, mandatory store closings impacted sales, but sales trends continued through May with positive comparative sales in Australia but offset by negative comparisons for Germany, Canada, and Russia.  Negative comparisons were recorded in Latin America and China but were positive in Japan.

 

In the U.S., 1,000 restaurant dining rooms have re-opened with reduced capacity and only 100 restaurants remain closed due to their locations in malls.  Virtually all restaurants operate drive-thru, delivery and take away frequently with limited menus or operating hours.

 

In a June 19th announcement McDonalds reduced the range of menu items including parfaits and salads to expedite drive-through service and to simplify operations.

 

The company will release first quarter earnings on April 30th when specific financial and performance comparisons will be provided.


 

AEB Webinar on Products

06/19/2020

Elisa Maloberti, AEB’s director of Egg Product Marketing, and CuliNex chef Emily Cruz  hosted an Egg Products 101 webinar on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. This live, online event provided an in-depth exploration and review of U.S. egg products. 

 


 

Cooper Family Foundation Provides Scholarships

06/18/2020

The V.H. Cooper Scholarship was awarded to 36 graduating students from schools in Northwest Ohio at the end of the 2020 academic year.  The scholarships are an extension of the generosity of Virgil H. Cooper who founded Cooper Farms and was an active philanthropist.  The V.H. Cooper scholarships were established in 1986 and the endowment has grown to help 36 recipients in 2020 to attend college.

 


 

North Carolina ‘Ag Gag’ Law Ruled in Violation of the Constitution

06/18/2020

Judge Thomas Schroeder

In 2019 U.S. Federal District Judge Thomas Schroeder dismissed legal filings challenging the North Carolina Property Protection Act of 2015.  Subsequently, a Federal appeals court reversed his decision ruling that animal welfare activist organizations had “a reasonable fear that the law would hinder their planned activities on behalf of animal welfare.”  This past week, Judge Schroeder ruled that provisions of the act did in fact deny free speech.

 

If North Carolina wishes to enact an ‘ag gag’ law, legislators will have to craft a bill that effectively prevents intrusion and video recording on farms and in processing plants without contravening the First Amendment rights of activist groups.


 

Agricultural Groups Urge Retention of Phase-One Trade Agreement with China

06/18/2020

Amid heated rhetoric from both Beijing and Washington, farming groups are concerned that the Phase-One Trade Agreement with China, negotiated in mid-January, might be scrapped.

In a letter to President Donald Trump, 200 organized groups, representing all sectors of the agricultural industry, urged patience and continued implementation of the agreement.  The organizations recognized the slow rate of implementation, due in part to COVID disruption during the first quarter of 2020.

 

The letter stated “We appreciate your initiative to complete and preserve the historic trade agreement with China in the face of uncertainty and maintaining international trade flows as a result of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus on the world’s economies.”  The letter to the President concluded “At this especially challenging time, rural America needs one of its greatest potential export markets for food and agricultural products.”

 

It is estimated that U.S. net farm cash income will decline nine percent, equivalent to $11 billion in 2020 compared to the previous year.  Economists have calculated that almost one-third of farm income in 2020 will be derived from federal grants and programs.


 

SANOVO Establishes Agreement with JigLabs for Optical Crack Detection

06/17/2020

Sanovo Technology Group has signed a worldwide exclusive license agreement with JigLabs to develop an optical-based, computer vision system, using artificial intelligence to detect cracks.

For many years egg crack detection has been based on acoustical measurements. A signal is generated by the egg hitting sensors or by hammers, creating vibration in the eggshell, transferred to a sensor. This sensor converts the vibration to an electrical signal to identify and reject eggs with defective shells.

Sound-based systems impose mechanical stress on the eggshell, but also increase the risk of cross-contamination among eggs and acoustic detection requires manual cleaning and occasionally dismantling for inspection.

 With increasing food safety concerns, innovative crack detection requires a new solution obviating direct contact between eggs and detectors. Accordingly SANOVO has signed an agreement with JigLabs, a software development company for an optical-based computer vision system that uses deep learning and artificial intelligence to detect cracks and leakers.

Jan Holm Holst, R&D Director at SANOVO stated: “Optical detection of egg cracks, especially hair-line cracks, has been tried for many years and several patents have been granted.  This new and specially designed artificial neural network algorithm, imbedded in advanced, high-performing hardware, represents a revolutionary change to the future of egg crack detection, with the potential for this technology to displace sonic based systems used today.”

Evaluation of the system in a plant in the U.S. packing white eggs confirmed superiority over sound-based crack detection. Advantages included:-

  • More stable detection due to the elimination of mechanical moving parts
  • Obviating contamination of sensors.
  • Almost maintenance-free since the vision system is based on advanced camera technology and LED light sources

Jan-Willem Pennings, R&D Manager at SANOVO opined, “when I was introduced to the concept, I saw all the potential benefits of the system. The crack detection concept is totally non-contact compared to the available sonic systems on the market. This means no potential further damage to the final product. The system requires no extra transfers with grippers or a change in the carrying surface causing damage by transfer of eggs. The system is static without moving parts, resulting in low maintenance and operating cost. No adjustments are required for egg size”.

 To commercialize this innovation for all types of eggs, SANOVO and JigLabs are currently working on system integration and optimization of the technology. SANOVO anticipates revolutionizing crack detection in egg graders all around the world.


 

EPA Stalling on Retroactive Biofuel Waivers

06/17/2020

Following the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that a large number of waivers extended to fuel refiners were granted illegally, oil companies have petitioned for retroactive blending waivers. The requests were characterized as a subterfuge to reinstate improper waivers according to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). He demanded that petitions should be rejected, although to date the EPA has not acceded to his request.

 

A Department of Energy spokesperson noted that retroactive waivers relating to blending could be compliant with the ruling of the Court, representing a reversal of the intent.

 


Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Grassley noted "if the EPA ends up accepting these petitions, not only will they lose again in court they will risk President Trump's support in Iowa and other mid-western states".  The ethanol industry regards waivers as an erosion of the renewable fuel standard effectively reducing demand for ethanol.

 

There are indications that the ethanol industry is recovering from the precipitous drop in demand for E-10 gasoline and hence ethanol with approximately half of ethanol capacity shuttered during April.  Production is slowly returning as storage levels decline with increased post-COVID consumption.


 

Grubhub and Yum Brands in Conflict Over Service and Cost

06/17/2020

In 2018 Yum Brands purchased a three percent stake in Grubhub with the delivery service contractually obligated to provide favorable pricing and service for Taco Bell and KFC restaurants operated by franchisees.  With the advent of COVID restrictions and an increased demand for home delivery, Yum franchisees have been obliged to use the service of Uber Eats and Postmates. Grubhub claims that this is a violation of the contract.  Yum requested that Grubhub renegotiate the contract, but the company demurred and notified franchisees of a new pricing arrangement requiring consumers to pay more for home delivery.

 

The 2018 contract allowed for a $50 million termination fee to be paid to Yum if Grubhub were to be acquired by a third party competing with Yum.  This past week Grubhub and Just Eat-Takeaway combination in the EU merged, complicating the relationship between Yum and its erstwhile service provider.

 

Grubhub has encountered concerted opposition from DoorDash and Uber Eats. The merger with the European partner was an attempt to achieve synergy by consolidating delivery services, reducing overhead and applying improved technology.


 

Third Attempt at Iowa Ag-Gag Legislation

06/17/2020

Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa has signed into law a provision preventing illegal entry onto farms.  The first Act was ruled unconstitutional and the second is currently subject to legal challenge.

 

According to the new statute the first offense is punishable by up to two years in prison as a deterrent against intrusions by activist groups including Direct Action Everywhere.

 

The law comes at a difficult time for hog farmers who have been harassed by activists. Intrusions and planting of spy cameras have taken place during the unfortunate process of euthanasia of hogs that cannot be slaughtered due to plant closings as a result of COVID-19 infection.

 

Generally State Ag-Gag laws have not been upheld when challenged in Federal courts.


Gov. Kim Reynolds (R)

 

Farmers to Families Food Box Program to Be Extended

06/17/2020

The Farmers to Families Food Box Program announced on April 17th involved linking producers of vegetables and fruit with food banks, community and faith-based organizations for the benefit of needy families.  The program was to run from May 15th through June 30th.  In a June 17th release, USDA announced extension of the program through August 30th and would require the purchase of food to the value of  $1.2 billion.

 

Between May 15th and June 17th distributors delivered 17 million food boxes to 3,200 non-profit organizations in the U.S. including Guam and Puerto Rico. 


USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue

In commenting on the program, Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Sonny Perdue stated, "these extensions are a testament of the great work done by vendors in support of American agriculture and the American people".  He added "they are also a testament that the programs are accomplishing what we intended-supporting U.S. farmers and distributors in getting food to those who need it most".


 

NIH Establishes the N3C COVID-19 Database

06/17/2020

The National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) has been established by the National Institutes of Health with funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).  The project will create a platform to collect clinical, laboratory and diagnostic data from healthcare providers and organizations including state and regional laboratories and major hospitals.  This data will be entered into a comprehensive database and will available for researchers and healthcare providers undertaking research on COVID-19.

 

Dr. Christopher P. Austin leader of the project stated, “NCATS initially supported the development of this innovative collaborative technology platform to speed the process of understanding the course of diseases, and identifying interventions to effectively treat them,” He added, “This platform was deployed to support this important COVID-19 effort in a matter of weeks, and we anticipate that it will serve as the foundation for addressing future public health emergencies.”

 

NCATS serves as the steward of data and is obviously applying maximum levels of security to maintain privacy. The database will be certified through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.

 

Currently 35 collaborating sites will submit data on patients and individuals tested for COVID-19.  The database will harmonize how data is entered and stored to permit direct comparisons and analyses.

 

Data will include demographics, symptoms, medications, laboratory results and outcomes extending over the proximal five years. Sister divisions will support the NCATS initiative including the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.


 

Experienced Manager Seeks GM Position

06/17/2020

Competent and proven egg-industry manager in mid-career, available for a position as a GM of an egg producing company or large complex. Experience includes feed milling and representation, live production, egg processing and packaging, administration including budgeting and control, human resources, regulatory compliance, egg sales, distribution and customer service.

 

Responses in confidence to Dr. Simon M. Shane sshane@nc.rr.com.

 


 

MPF going virtual in August

06/16/2020


 




























































































































































































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