Egg Industry News


USDA Offers Regulatory Response to Shift From Food Service to Retail Demand

03/26/2020

To support an adequate supply of high quality table eggs, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is immediately waiving the provision which prohibits official grading for eggs over 21 days in age or for eggs that have previously shipped for sale (7 CFR 70.3). This temporary deviation from the voluntary grading regulations will help meet consumer demand by allowing eggs recently shipped to foodservice to be returned to the packing plant of origin for reprocessing, repackaging and grading for retail distribution.

 

In addition, AMS will allow a temporary extension of the age restriction for eggs bearing the USDA grade shield from 21 days to 30 days including the date of lay.


 

Statement on COVID-19

03/26/2020

The EGG-NEWS team extends to our Sponsors and Subscribers peace of mind, security and freedom from COVID-19 infection at this difficult time. We wish a speedy and uncomplicated recovery to all who have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

 

We acknowledge the selfless contribution of first responders, hospital staff, researchers and field epidemiologic personnel involved in treating patients under difficult circumstances, administering diagnostic tests, evaluating vaccines and therapeutic compounds and performing logistic functions.

 

We look forward to a resolution of the pandemic 

 

Barbara and Simon


 

Surveillance Reveals Additional Turkey Flocks with LPAI in NC

03/26/2020

According to a statutory submission to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Dr. Mark Davidson, Associate Administrator of the USDA-APHIS reported additional cases of H7N3 low pathogenicity avian influenza in asymptomatic turkey flocks on March 24th. The diagnoses were obtained as a result of surveillance implemented in the infected zone following recognition of the initial cases involving a parent flock and two grow-out flocks in Anson and Union Counties in North Carolina on March 13th.

 

The provisional diagnoses were confirmed by the National Veterinary Service Laboratory in Ames, IA. applying RRT-PCR followed by sequencing on samples processed on March 17th, 21st and 23rd.

 

As of March 24th eight flocks totaling 186,000 turkeys have been depleted with a range in farm population of 11,000 to 45,000. In addition to the two North Carolina counties a single flock of 36,000 turkeys in Chesterfield County, South Carolina was identified as being infected.

 

It is presumed that epidemiologic studies are in progress to determine the source of the H7N3 LPAI infection. The most likely presumption is introduction by migratory waterfowl with inter-farm dissemination attributed to possible defects in biosecurity. If this is the case to be determined by wildlife surveys then it may be assumed that the virus is being shed by birds transiting the Atlantic Flyway. This corridor has not been previously involved in outbreaks among commercial flocks. If proven the presence of either an H5 or H7 AIV, irrespective of current pathogenicity has implications for egg production, broiler breeder, broiler and turkey flocks extending from Georgia to the Eastern Shore. It remains to be seen whether this episode is a replay of the contained 2014 outbreak among turkey flocks in Northern California and the 2016 outbreak among turkey flocks in Indiana or assumes the proportions of a more serious outbreak as in Minnesota and the Dakotas in 2015. Given sufficient time and a large commercial population exposed, H5 and H7 AI viruses invariably mutate to high pathogenicity.

According to the USAPEEC exports should not be adversely affected by this as yet isolated and controlled cluster since importing nations are applying regionalization, restricting embargos to counties.


 

Pizza and Food Delivery Companies Modifying Home Delivery Procedures

03/26/2020

Pizza delivery companies including Papa John’s, Pizza Hut and Domino’s together with Uber Eats, DoorDash and services operated by grocery chains are now applying non-contact delivery procedures to avoid transmission of COVID-19.  The increased demand for home delivery has created opportunities for Gig workers with Papa John’s offering employment to 20,000 drivers and for cyclists in urban areas.


 

Position Announcement: Technical Director, Eggland’s Best

03/26/2020

Eggland’s Best LLC., the leading U.S. specialty egg producer with national production and distribution, is recruiting for the newly-created position of Technical Director. The incumbent will report to the president and will be responsible for food safety, quality assurance, production compliance and product development as a member of a professional team.

 

Qualifications include graduation as a Veterinarian with ACPV certification preferred and relevant field experience an advantage. Residence within commuting distance of the corporate office in Malvern, PA is required. Relocation is available.  Approximately 25 percent travel is anticipated.

 

The position offers a competitive salary and fringe benefits. Applications attaching a CV should be addressed to Ellen Shea, Eggland’s Best LLC, at eshea@eggland.com.  Eggland’s Best is an equal opportunity employer.

 


 

Position Announcement: Technical Director, Eggland’s Best

03/26/2020

Eggland’s Best LLC., the leading U.S. specialty egg producer with national production and distribution, is recruiting for the newly-created position of Technical Director. The incumbent will report to the president and will be responsible for food safety, quality assurance, production compliance and product development as a member of a professional team.

 

Qualifications include graduation as a Veterinarian with ACPV certification preferred and relevant field experience an advantage. Residence within commuting distance of the corporate office in Malvern, PA is required. Relocation is available.  Approximately 25 percent travel is anticipated.

 

The position offers a competitive salary and fringe benefits. Applications attaching a CV should be addressed to Ellen Shea, Eggland’s Best LLC, at eshea@eggland.com.  Eggland’s Best is an equal opportunity employer.


 

Egg Week

03/25/2020

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, March 25th 2020.

  • The U.S. flock in production was 524.9 million .
  • Shell inventory down by 12.6 percent after two successive weekly declines reflecting unseasonal, COVID-19 driven demand and limited increase in flock size.
  • USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra large and Large were up by 53.5 percent on average to 225.5 and 223.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were up 53.9 percent to an average of 187.0 cents per dozen. The market advanced this past week after two successive weekly declines in inventory responding to exceptional COVID-19 buying. This trend should persist at the current or a higher level until Easter unless demand falls off due to consumers satisfying heightened but transitory demand. This will be indicated by a rise in inventory.
  • Price of breaking stock in the Midwest was 4.5 percent higher to 69.0 cents per dozen on average. Checks were up 6.6 percent to 56.5 cents per dozen. Checks are still below the USDA February 2020 benchmark nest-run production cost of 60.4 cents per dozen.

OVERVIEW

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on March 20 th 2020 the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large as delivered to DCs were higher by 53.9 and 54.7 percent to averages of 225.5 and 223.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were up 53.9 percent to 187.0 cents per dozen reflecting a restoration in balance among sizes as young flocks increase in age and heightened demand increased the value of this size. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 5-Region blended nest-run cost of 60.4 cents per dozen in February 2020, (excluding provisions for packing and transport). The progression of prices during 2018-2020 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.


 


Supermarkets Closed Temporarily Due to COVID-19 Diagnoses Among Workers

03/25/2020

Trader Joe’s has announced closure of three stores located in Manhattan and Plainview, NY. and in Elkridge, MD.  Stores will be closed temporarily to allow cleaning and restocking.  Affected workers will be quarantined.  Many stores are now taking the precaution of restricting the numbers of shoppers to maintain social distancing. 

 

An employee at a Publix supermarket in Cumming, GA. tested positive for COVID-19 on March 23rd.

 

The Kroger company announced that an employee at each of a King Soopers in CO. and at a Fred Meyer store in WA. were diagnosed with COVID-19.  Implicated stores remain open but have been subject to extensive decontamination.

 

According to public health officials, the risk to shoppers is low provided that personal hygiene procedures are followed.

 

Supermarkets have increased disinfection on high-contact areas including door handles, shopping carts and touch pads. 

 

Chains throughout the U.S. are designating an hour after early opening for senior citizens and those with a predisposing health issues making them more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19.

 

It is inevitable that with an apparent escalating incidence rate of COVID-19 in the U.S., limited only by the number of tests performed, that community transmission is taking place.  Cases will be diagnosed in all domestic and commercial locations and situations in coming weeks.

 


 

Dairy Industry Faces Losses as a Result of COVID-19

03/25/2020

A prominent dairy industry analyst noted that dairy product sales in grocery stores soared during mid-March concurrently with eggs attributed to panic buying stimulated by fear of COVID-19.  Sales of fluid milk were up 32 percent, cheese 45 percent and yogurt up 29 percent compared to the corresponding week in 2019. 

 

Sales of milk to schools representing 9 percent of all fluid milk volume have declined sharply with closures in many metropolitan areas. This factor together with decreased sales to restaurants and into food service will depress sales of all dairy products.  The National Milk Producers Federation estimates direct losses as a result of COVID-19 could attain $3 billion necessitating Federal support.  The NMPF has requested additional dairy product purchases by the USDA for food banks and is encouraging re-enrollment of farmers in the Dairy Margin Coverage Program.

 

Contrast the support programs extended to milk producers and to the absence of market stabilization for eggs. Our industry just has to battle through oversupply situations

 


 

March Wholesale Prices and Sales Sharply Increased According to Nielsen

03/25/2020

Sales of shell eggs increased 44 percent for the week ending March 14th compared to the second week of March in 2019.  This was due to panic buying by consumers who are eating home-cooked meals.

 

According to Urner Barry, wholesale egg prices have risen 180 percent from extremely low levels since the end of February as confirmed by USDA data.

 

According to CNN Business representatives of some chains have complained about price increases that have been characterized as "unconscionable."  What is in fact unconscionable is the nickel and dime approach of chain buyers during successive months of relative over-supply.  Despite low wholesale prices, chains maintain shelf markups and benefit from increased margins while depressing demand to the detriment of the industry.

 

Perhaps this period of unusual demand and high prices will have created a new realization of the value of eggs among consumers. Perhaps buyers following Urner Barry quotations will not revert to demanding prices that were below cost of production during eight months of 2020.


 

FSNS Courier and FedEx options

03/25/2020
 

FSNS is committed to being your trusted and responsive food safety partner. In doing so, we are offering various options for sample pick-up. With many delivery systems offering ‘contact-less’ pick-up, FSNS would like to offer our customers the following as options or alternatives:

If you are currently receiving courier service, we can offer:

  •  Switching to shipping via FedEx* vs. courier pick-up
  • Moving to ‘contact-less’ pick-up. Couriers would be notified of non-contact area to pick-up samples keeping face-to-face contact minimized. We stress that sample temperatures must be adhered to and will be checked prior to delivery to the lab. 
  • Aligning with FedEx no longer requiring signatures for deliveries, FSNS couriers will no longer require customer log or supply log signatures 
  • If you currently ship samples via UPS/FedEx – there are no changes needed. 

*at applicable rate

If you are interested in either of these options, please contact your existing FSNS testing laboratory and arrangements can be made expeditiously or contact our Customer Service Department at customerservice@fsns.com.

These are extraordinary times and we will continue to monitor developments and further adapt our policies and practices as new information becomes available. We are committed to serving our customers and thank you for your ongoing partnership.


 

Alltech to Host Webinar on Impacts of Mycotoxins

03/24/2020

On Tuesday, March 31st., 2020, at 15H00 EDT., Dr. Max Hawkins, a member of the Alltech® Mycotoxin Management team, will host a webinar focused on the results of the 2019 Alltech Harvest Analysis, including a discussion on mycotoxin risks and their impact on monogastric and ruminant animals.

 

In 2019, the United States experienced excessive moisture during the growing season, resulting in increased mold growth, primarily Fusarium  producing a variety of mycotoxins.

 

 The 2019 Alltech Harvest Analysis of 219 corn samples from across the U.S. conducted by the Alltech 37+® laboratory, showed that the samples contained eight mycotoxins per sample, on average, with a range of 0–18. The number of mycotoxins present is crucial, as feeds that contain multiple mycotoxins pose a greater risk to livestock performance and health than feeds containing only one or two since there is synergy among mycotoxins.

 

Type B trichothecenes (DON) (at 90.9%) and emerging mycotoxins (at 96.3%) were the two most commonly occurring mycotoxin groups in all samples, while fusaric acid and zearalenone were present in 85 and and 55 percent of the samples respectively. The average values of the mycotoxins analyzed showed that DON (at 1,294 ppb) and zearalenone (at 156 ppb) were the major mycotoxins of concern. Maximum levels for type B trichothecenes (33,230 ppb), type A trichothecenes (162 ppb), zearalenone (2,894 ppb), fusaric acid (6,792 ppb), Penicillium (1,689 ppb) and fumonisin (19,614 ppb) all present a significant risk when fed to livestock and poultry.

 

 The risk of contaminated corn to poultry is higher for layers and immature flocks, while broilers generally face moderate risk.

 

The first half of the webinar will focus on ruminants, register via this link, starting at 3:00 p.m. EDT. The monogastric presentation will follow at 3:30 p.m. EDT, register via this link. For more information on mycotoxin management, visit knowmycotoxins.com


 

McDonald's Corporation Closing All Restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland

03/24/2020

McDonald's Corporation announced that all stores were closed in the U.K. and Ireland on Monday, March 23rd consistent with Government policy.  In contrast, McDonald's has re-opened almost all restaurants in China as the incidence rate of COVID-19 has fallen sharply even in Wuhan the epicenter of infection.

 

In the U.S. and other nations, McDonald's and other QSRs are operating take out, drive-through and home delivery to maintain operations to retain employees and maintain cash flow.


 

Dean Foods Acquistion by Dairy Farmers of American Appears to be Unraveling

03/24/2020

Following the declaration of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by Dean Foods Company, a cooperative, Dairy Farmers of American Inc. (DFA) offered to purchase assets and to continue operation of the company to the benefit of their shareholders.

 

In papers filed last week with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston, the parties agreed to terminate the original asset purchase agreement involving a transaction of $425 million covering 44 plants and installations.

 

Dean Foods has now requested a different bid procedure to maximize the value of assets for the benefit of creditors, but also to preserve markets that will ultimately benefit shareholders of DFA.

 

Anne Divjak, Vice President, Government Relations and External Communications for Dean Foods Company stated "we believe that by avoiding unnecessary litigation regarding procedures and bid protections for DFA, all parties involved including DFA will focus on developing competitive and value-maximizing bids."

 

Monica Massey, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff for Dean Foods stated "DFA is re-evaluating our options given current circumstances, to bid.  We believe any bid we submit will benefit all dairy farmers as no one has greater interest in preserving milk markets then we do."


 

Think Tank Urges Escalation in SNAP Benefits

03/23/2020

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has suggested that increasing SNAP payments could provide benefits under anticipated conditions including widespread unemployment and disruption of the economy caused by COVID-19.

According to a study conducted by the Center in 2019, each $1expended in SNAP benefits generates $1.50 in gross domestic product.

The Center recommends a 15 percent increase in food stamps corresponding to $25 per person or $100 for a family of four each month.  Restrictions on eligibility should also be relaxed.

The recommendations by the Center are under consideration for inclusion in the relief economic package under negotiation. Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) noted "these recommendations would blunt the impact for most Americans and limit the damage to the U.S. economy."

Previously during the great recession, SNAP benefits were increased by 17 percent, at that time amounting to $80 per month for a family of four.

The Coronavirus Relief Bill signed on Wednesday18th March includes additional funding for the WIC Nutrition Program and would suspend the 90-day limit on SNAP benefits.


 

Additional hiring by Dollar and Convenience Stores

03/23/2020

Amid reports of layoffs due to COVID-19 infection, Dollar Tree has announced an intention to hire 25,000 full and part-time workers. Dollar Tree with subsidiary Family Dollar stores operates 15,000 locations and 24 distribution centers. Betty Click, Chief HR Officer stated, "during this unprecedented time our Company is seeking motivated individuals to support our stores and distribution centers as we provide essential products at great values to the communities we serve." 

Concurrently 7-Eleven will make 20, 000 new positions available to meet increased demand.  The CEO of 7-Eleven, Joe DePinto noted "this will provide job opportunities and ensure that     7-Eleven stores remain clean and in-stock with the goods our customers need during this critical time."  7-Eleven operates close to 12,000 stores in North America either under license or franchise.


 

Target to Spend $300 Millon on Personnel

03/23/2020

According to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on March 20th, Target will increase base pay by $2.00 per hour for 300,000 workers restocking shelves and assembling on-line orders.  Special previsions have been made for workers over 65 years old, those who are pregnant or have predisposing health risks.  Wage increases will last until May 2nd for full-time and part-time workers who currently receive a minimum wage of $13 per hour. 

Target will donate $10 million towards relief efforts for COVID-19 and CEO Brian Cornell will personally donate $1 million to a fund assisting victims of COVID-19.


 

GI-OVO Resumes Production of EggsCargo® System

03/23/2020

After suspending production to prevent dissemination of COVID-19 infection, GI-OVO has announced resumption of production with effect on Monday, March 23rd.


 

Amazon to Bid for Fairway Market Stores

03/23/2020

Supermarket News reported that Amazon will bid for four Fairway Market stores located in New York and New Jersey.

Amazon is experimenting with various supermarket formats incorporating high levels of technology including Just Walk Out installations as used in a prototype store in Seattle, WA.

Fairway stores filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy and curators are disposing of assets in metropolitan areas of the North East.


 

Deliveries to Supermarkets Will Satisfy Demand

03/23/2020

Both government and industry commentators have confirmed that there is no shortage of food in the U.S.  Empty shelves are a result of unprecedented panic buying by consumers concerned over lockdowns caused by COVID-19.

 

Noel White, CEO of Tyson Foods, stated “Once we are able to replenish supplies, which is probably going to take another week or so, I think we will be back in better equilibrium between supply and demand.”  White pointed to “imbalances” affecting supermarkets as a result of significantly higher purchases of eggs, beef, pork, and poultry.

 

To a large extent, the demand for animal protein at the supermarket level has been balanced by decreased supply to the food-service sector with virtual shutdown of restaurants, university dining facilities, and QSRs without drive-through installations.

 

The chicken industry has been quick to respond, moving from restaurant packs to tray packs.  Adding additional shifts and, in the case of one company, changing product mix at plants previously dedicated to food service presentations.


 

Darden Restaurants: A Bellwether for the Casual Dining Sector

03/22/2020

In a March 20th statement, Ricardo Cardenas, CFO of Darden Restaurants noted that same-store sales were down 60 percent following imposition of regulations aimed at reducing transmission of COVID-19.  Over half the 1,800 locations operated by the Company are now only  “to-go” and the remainder operate under mandated capacity or other restraints.

Cardenas noted that for the first week of the fourth quarter, same-restaurant sales were 3 percent above the corresponding week in fiscal 2018 followed by a static second week and a 21 percent decline during the third week for the fourth quarter.  All restaurants within the group were affected with Olive Garden down 19 percent, Longhorn Steakhouse down 16 percent and fine dining restaurants down 28 percent.

 

The management of Darden is developing contingency plans aimed at preserving the jobs of workers based on a strong balance sheet but their plan ultimately will require government assistance.

 

For the third quarter ending February 23rd, Darden posted net income of $232 million on sales of $2.4 billion with an EPS of $1.92.  Corresponding values for fiscal 2018 were net revenue of $224 million on sales of $2.3 billion with an EPS of $1.81.  Business segments during the quarter posed increases of 3.5 percent for Olive Garden to 8 percent for fine dining.


 

UEP Establishes Database for COVID-19 Publications

03/22/2020

In a practical measure to provide balanced and reliable information on COVID-19, United Egg Producers has established a website <unitedegg.com/covid-19-resources/>.  The website currently includes releases by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contingency planning for human resources, guidance on critical infrastructure, work force and daily updates. 

 

In accordance with the Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Work Force, workers at human and animal food and feed sectors are considered part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Work Force. 


Chad Gregory CEO of UEP

 

The database includes a March 19th memorandum under signature Jeff Hendricks, USDA-AMS National Supervisor-Shell Eggs, relating to in-person quarterly shell egg plant surveillance inspections.  Supervisors can now suspend physical visits to plants and allow the resident USDA graders to provide information relating to compliance.


 

Sharp Fall in the Value of the Mexican Peso May Impact Exports

03/22/2020

A precipitous decline in the value of oil and the advent of COVID-19 has resulted in a 30 percent devaluation of the Mexican peso compared to the U.S. dollar.  During the present week, the exchange rate is expected to attain 25 pesos to the U.S. $ with implications for pricing shell eggs and egg products.

 

In 2019 Mexico imported 27.1 million dozen shell-eggs valued at $19 million and 6,397 metric tons of egg products with a value of $13.8 billion. Although the U.S. now benefits from the USMCA tariff-free exports to Mexico will depend on the willingness of consumers to pay for relatively higher priced commodities from the U.S. in competition with alternative supplying nations.


 

COMMODITY REPORT: March 20th 2020.

03/20/2020

Corn futures for May declined 16.1 percent this past week compared with the quotation on March 13th. Soybeans increased by 2.1 percent comparing the March 13th quotation for current month delivery with the March 20th value for May. Anticipated increases in price have not occurred after signing the Phase-One trade agreement with China and ratification of the USMCA. Prospects for commodity exports to China are currently restrained by the logistic restrictions imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Uncertainties still include:-

  • The extent and timing of soybean purchases by China in 2020. The U.S - China Phase-One agreement signed in mid-January incorporating U.S. tariff rescissions, promised purchases of agricultural commodities, concessions on some structural issues by China and strengthened enforcement provisions
  • The market is now less optimistic that future shipments of soybeans to China will take place according to the quantities promised by the Administration after signing the Phase-One agreement. Total soybean shipments YTD have amounted to 1.13 million tons, (41.5 million bushels), approximately 22 percent of the quantity consigned during the corresponding period in 2019.
  • Justifiable uncertainty regarding the spread of COVID-19 to other Asian nations, Europe and North America with the potential to create a worldwide recession.

 

Questions still exist:-

  • Traders are reviewing projected ending stocks and taking into account the relative sizes of both corn and soybean harvests in 2019 and planting intentions for 2020. The volume of exports of soybeans to China is still uncertain.
  • Brexit is now a reality following legal departure of the U.K. from the E.U. on January 31st 2020 and a final customs break scheduled at the end of January 2021.
  • 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. A bilateral agreement appears in jeopardy over disagreements over the use of Huawei communications equipment by the U.K. and chlorination used in processing of U.S. chicken.
  • The relationship with the E.U. is tenuous especially with the threat of retaliatory tariffs by the U.S. on food products from France and auto imports from Germany.

Compared with the March 13th 2020 close, the CME quotation for May corn posted near close of trading on March 20th was down 30 cents per bushel to 343 cents, continuing the trend in losses. May soybeans, expected to be the beneficiary of the Phase-One agreement, were up 17 cents per bushel to 863 cents.

 

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.

 

China placed orders for one million metric tons of soybeans from Brazil during the first week of February 2020. A total of 20.5 million metric tons has been ordered for delivery through May 2020. This quantity is equivalent to 754 million bushels or 42 percent of the projected total U.S. export of soybeans in 2020 as documented in the March 2020 WASDE #598. The purchases by China from Brazil are ascribed to competitive prices compared to the U.S. The USDA recorded exports of previously- ordered consignments amounting to132,000 tons (two shiploads) of U.S. soybeans during the week ending February 27th.

 

The following extracts from the January 10th 2020 edition of the USDA Grain Stocks Report indicate the levels of storage on farms and in fields and off-farm for corn and soybeans in early December 2019.

  • Corn stored in all positions on December 1, 2019 totaled 11.4 billion bushels, down five percent from December 1 st 2018. Of the total stocks, 7.18 billion bushels are stored on farms, down four percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 4.21 billion bushels, are down six percent from a year ago. The September through November 2019 data indicated disappearance at 4.52 billion bushels, compared with 4.54 billion bushels during the same period last year.
  • Soybeans stored in all positions on December 1 st 2019 totaled 3.25 billion bushels, down 13 percent from December 1st 2018. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 1.53 billion bushels, down 21 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 1.73 billion bushels, are down five percent from December 2018. Indicated disappearance for September through November 2019 totaled 1.22 billion bushels, up eight percent from the same period a year earlier.

The following quotations for May were posted by the CME near close of trading on March 120th 2020 compared with values for March 13 th 2020 (in parentheses) reflecting specified months for delivery.

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

May 343 (373 March)

July 349 (366 May)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

May 863 (846 March)

July 866 (848 May)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

May 323 (299 March)

July 313 (300 May)

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

 

COMMODITY CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK

Corn: May quotation down 30 cents per bushel from March     (-16.1 percent)

Soybeans: May quotation up 17 cents per Bushel from March  (+2.1 percent)

Soybean Meal: May quotation up $24 per ton from March        (+8.0 percent)

  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-
    • The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen
    • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight
  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-
    • The cost of egg production would change by 0.44 cent per dozen
    • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

 

COMMENTS

The USDA Farm Futures Survey of 728 respondents suggests that 97.3 million acres of corn and 80.6 million acres of soybeans will be planted in 2020.

 

Subscribers are referred to the March 11th WASDE #598 under the STATISTICS tab.

 

Prices of commodities are influenced by projections of ending stocks from the 2019 harvest, 2020 exports and domestic use.

 

USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansen speaking at the 96th Agricultural Outlook Forum indicated that U.S. agricultural commodities to the value of $14 billion would be imported by China in 2020, far short of the $40 to $50 billion per year promised by the White House in terms of the Phase-One Agreement. In the light of decreased demand in China due to COVID-19, purchases from Brazil and port congestion, now easing, the volumes suggested by Dr. Johansen may be optimistic.

 

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 possibly lower imports by China. President Donald Trump stated 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”. MFP payments would be funded by tariff revenue representing a transfer of money from consumers to the agricultural sector.


 

Sad State of Shelf Replenishment

03/20/2020

If eggs are not on the shelf they can’t be sold. Producers are working hard to pack and deliver eggs to distribution centers and are expediting direct store delivery. It is up to the chains to place eggs on the shelf to satisfy high but transitory demand fueled by COVID-19 concerns.

 

Supermarkets have reduced operating hours and have presumably increased their staff complements for decontamination and re-stocking.  That last 50 yards from the dairy cold-room to the shelf is becoming more important. It would also help if at regular intervals, dairy personnel could clear away packs with leakers that have been picked over by consumers. 


Wednesday 18th Feb


Thursday 10th March

 

Supermarket Chains Adapting Hours to the Realities of COVID-19

03/20/2020

In addition to reducing total store hours to allow decontamination of stores and restocking of shelves, operators are now designating time periods to accommodate senior citizens.  The elderly are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 and the concession to allow a dedicated period for those at risk will be beneficial in terms of both “flattening the curve” and reducing possible complications following infection.

 

Target has reserved the first hour of shopping on Wednesday at stores nationwide for vulnerable guests.  Local chains in Anaheim, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Houston, TX, Phoenix, AZ and Minneapolis, MN have all introduced programs mostly from 06H00 to 07H00 for senior citizens and those with predisposing health conditions to shop with greater security.

 


 

The Value of L-selenomethionine

03/20/2020

Dr. Brecht Bruneel, Technical Director for Orffa Additives BV of the Netherlands has prepared an article documenting the benefits of L-selenomethionine marketed as Excential Selenium 4000.

 

The additive is superior to inorganic selenium  and selenocysteine with respect to absorption, retention and metabolic activity. Benefits of supplementation derived from inactivation of oxygen free radicals  enhances response to stress and improves field performance of broilers, breeders and egg-producing hens compared to dietary supplementation with alternative sources of selenium.

 

Click here to view full article.


 

Walmart Foundation Donates To COVID-19 Defense

03/19/2020

The Walmart Foundation has committed $25 million to support communities impacted by COVID-19.  The donation will be distributed among international efforts to help countries prevent, detect and manage coronavirus infection ($5 million); food donations to food banks school meal programs serving impoverished communities ($10 million) and to local communities in both the U.S. and internationally to respond to COVID-19($10 million).

 

Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer stated, "in times of need we see communities come together to do extraordinary things".  She added "this pandemic is no different, we are humbled by the efforts of our store associates, non-profit partners and citizens across the globe who are coming together to support those in need." 

Walmart is joined by a number of food retailers in providing resources to alleviate suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  These include H-E-B and the Kroger Company Zero Hunger Program that have donated $3 million.


 

JUST Announces Distribution Partnerships and Also Adult Supervision

03/19/2020

In a company release, JUST announced partnerships to distribute their synthetic vegetable-based egg product in Latin America, the EU and East Asia.

 

Partners include SPC Samlip of South Korea, the PT Betagro Group of Indonesia and Grupo Bimbo in Latin America.  JUST has also partnered with the Eurovo Group and the PHW Group in the EU.

 

The advisory Board now includes Jacob R. Robbins, CEO of Emeterra, who was formerly an executive with Coca Cola.  Apparently JUST will distribute a concentrate that will be reconstituted, packed and sold in areas of operation. Dana Hollinger is a second addition to the Board.  She served previously with the California Public Employees Retirement System. 

 


Josh Tetrick

JUST claims that sales of its substitute egg product represents the equivalent volume of 30 million eggs over twelve months.  The figure may appear large to the uninitiated but in fact it represents a flock of 103,000 hens in constant production out of a population of 330 million or 0.4 percent of the national flock.  This is a far cry from the frequently voiced boast by Tetrick that his product would replace the entire hen population of the U.S.

 

It is questioned why Tetrick is attempting entry into markets in the EU, Latin America and Southeast Asia while his company has made little inroad into the domestic U.S market.


 

MOBA Statement on COVID-19.

03/19/2020

Moba has announced that it will be taking appropriate measures to protect the health of customers, employees, agents and the wider community. Moba is closely monitoring the latest recommendations issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Federal and local agencies and authorities in different regions around the world regarding human coronavirus infection (COVID-19). Moba intends to do everything practical to maintain current service levels during this constantly evolving situation.

 

The following measures have been implemented:-

 

  • Moba has implemented guidelines, plans and measures across all offices around the world, including health and safety protocols
  • Moba has intensified daily cleaning procedures at its facilities and has counseled employees on the best practices recommended by the WHO, as well as local authorities and health advice centers
  • Moba is closely analyzing its worldwide spare parts inventory and is monitoring changes in demand. This will enable the company to respond quickly by issuing replenishment orders as soon as possible, ensuring that order fill rates can be maintained for all items
  • Moba is working closely with its suppliers and logistics partners to maintain the flow of machines and spare parts or to find alternatives where supplies may be limited. When needed, the company will use its state-of-the-art production facilities for production, assembly and testing
  • Moba has robust business continuity plans across all its businesses and locations that rely on options such as working remotely and transferring work to other offices and countries when needed
  • Moba has limited non-essential travel in accordance with local health and safety rules and guidelines and is encouraging the use of its in-house virtual meeting resources where appropriate. In principle, scheduled installations of new equipment will be postponed and customers will be informed of progress at regular intervals.
  • Moba's HelpDesk staff and support levels will be maintained in all its offices worldwide. Where travel is necessary and possible, Moba will work closely with its customers and agents to ensure the best and safest method of visiting facilities

 

Moba is aware that in the weeks ahead customers may need Moba support for their businesses and Moba will be there to help. Despite these operational challenges, Moba is committed to being a reliable partner for egg grading, packing and processing solutions and will continue to provide the best possible support for its customers.


 

USDA Closes Wing of South Building Due to COVID-19 Case

03/18/2020

The USDA closed a wing on the second floor of the South building as a result of a diagnosis of COVID-19 in an employee. The office suite and rooms visited by the patient will be decontaminated and contacts will be screened for SARS-CoV-2.

Perhaps the Administration has identified an epidemiologic justification after the event, for moving USDA employees to locations outside DC. as was the case with relocating the ERS to Kansas City and the Bureau of Land Management to Grand Junction Co.


 

Candidate COVID-19 Vaccine Undergoing Phase-One Evaluation

03/18/2020

A phase-one clinical trial to demonstrate the safety of an investigational COVID-19 vaccine has commenced in Seattle.  The project is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).  Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute is conducting the trial involving 45 healthy adult volunteers 18 to 55 years of age.  The vaccine mRNA-1273 was developed by the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with Moderna Inc., located in Cambridge, MA. 

 

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci Director of the NIAID stated “Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, the causal agent of COVID-19, is an urgent public health priority.”  He added, “This phase-one study, launched in record speed, is an important first step towards achieving that goal.”

 

Following the release of the genome of SARS-CoV-2, scientists at Moderna developed the candidate vaccine targeting the spike protein of the virus and the product is based on messenger RNA that stimulates expression of a viral protein that will elicit an immune response. Moderna previously worked on experimental vaccines for SARS and MERS, which are also caused by coronaviruses. 

 

Study subjects will receive two doses of the vaccine by intramuscular injection 28-days apart.  Low and high doses of vaccines will be compared and the immune response of subjects will be assayed.  Unlike animal experiments, phase-one human trials determine safety and proof of concept and  do not involve challenge as in animal models.


 

QSRs Benefit from Breakfast servings and Drive-Thru’s

03/18/2020

In a COVID-19 environment, market research group NPD recorded a four percent increase in transactions by quick service restaurant chains during the first week of March compared to the corresponding week in 2019.  The survey reflected performance at 73 QSRs, fast casual, mid-scale and casual dining chains.  Customer transactions at full-service restaurants declined by five percent and mid-scale family dining chain transactions were three percent lower.

 

David Portalatin of NPD noted, “In these uncertain times we are monitoring trends to detect possible disruption in the market but thus far the QSR sector has been resilient.”  Wendy’s has commenced serving breakfast and has stimulated competition with established chains including McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Brands and Burger King.

 

Stores with drive-through capability will certainly outperform store-front operations with consumers disinclined to risk exposure to SARS-CoV-2 the virus causing COVID-19.


 

Ratification of USMCA Will Benefit U.S. Egg Producers

03/18/2020

Both chambers of the Parliament of Canada ratified the USMCA on Friday March 13th after similar action by the senate of Mexico in 2018 and the U.S. Congress in January 2019.

 

With respect to Canada that maintains a supply management system for eggs, the Nation agreed to allow 30 percent of shell egg import licenses to be granted to new entrants in that nation.  U.S. egg exporters will enjoy a 15 percent increase for tariff free access to a total of 10 million dozen eggs and egg products annually. This quantity will increase by one percent per year over a 10- year period. The U.S. will also be eligible to export 21.4 million dozen eggs and egg-equivalent equivalents products under WTO tariff rate quotas.

 

Mexico will provide duty-free access for shell eggs and egg products and will maintain the NOM-159 regulation that allows washed eggs from the U.S. to be marketed in shell form subject to refrigeration.

 

In 2019 our USMCA neighbors collectively imported shell eggs to the value of $44.7 million in addition to $26.1 million in egg products.


 

Updated USDA Projections for U.S. Egg Production

03/18/2020

The USDA Economic Research Service issued an updated forecast of egg production on March 16th 2020 updating the previous February 18th 2020 report. The volume of eggs produced and per capita consumption in 2019 were increased by 3.9 and 2.9 percent respectively compared to 2018 data. The discrepancy between production and consumption represents over-supply and hence lower prices. The projection for 2020 is shown in the table below. The projected benchmark New York unit price for 2020 was increased 12.8 percent from 2018. Production data reflecting 2016 and 2017 should be compared to 2015, that was impacted by the Spring outbreak of HPAI in the upper-Midwest. The price elasticity of eggs is denoted by the disparity in the decline in the New York price benchmark relative to volume of production in 2019. The latest data is reflected in the table below:-

 

Parameter

2015

(actual)

2016

(actual)

2017

(actual)

2018
(actual)

2019
(revised)

2020
(projection)

% Difference
2019-2020

EGGS

       

Production (m. dozen)

6,938*

7,437

7,755

7,952

8,265

8,370

+1.3

Consumption (eggs per capita)

255.8*

272.0

279.9

284.0

292.1

295.7

+1.2

New York price (c/doz.)

182*

86

101

138

94

106

+12.8

 

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook –March 16th 2020

*Impacted by Spring 2015 HPAI outbreaks. Consumption in 2014, 267 eggs per capita

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


 

Egg Week

03/18/2020

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, March 19th 2020.

  • USDA hen numbers in production (if valid) were up 0.2 million during past week to 331.5 million .
  • Shell inventory down by 9.7 percent after a 10.0 percent decrease last week reflecting increased demand and limited increase in flock size.
  • USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra large and Large were up by 55.5 percent on average to 146.5 and 144.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were up 45.5 percent to an average of 121.5 cents per dozen. The market advanced this past week after two successive declines in inventory responding to panic COVID-19 buying. This trend should persist at the current or a higher level until the Easter surge unless demand falls off due to consumers satisfying heightened but transitory demand. This will be indicated by a rise in inventory.
  • Price of breaking stock in the Midwest was 75.2 percent higher to 66.2 cents per dozen on average. Checks were up 51.4 percent to 53.0 cents per dozen. Checks are still substantially below the USDA February 2020 benchmark nest-run production cost of 60.4 cents per dozen.

OVERVIEW

 

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on March 13 th 2020 the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large as delivered to DCs were higher by 55.0 and 56.2 percent to averages of 146.5 and 144.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were up 45.5 percent to 121.5 cents per dozen reflecting a restoration in balance among sizes as young flocks increase in age and heightened demand increases the value of this size. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 5-Region blended nest-run cost of 60.4 cents per dozen in February 2020, (excluding provisions for packing and transport). The progression of prices during 2018-2020 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.


 


Gi-Ovo Tribute to Egg Producers

03/18/2020

Gi-Ovo the holding company for the Dutch subsidiary manufacturing the EggsCargo System issued a tribute to egg producers in this difficult time of COVID-19 infection.

 

It must be remembered that Italy, home of the company, has diagnosed 32,000 cases with 2,500 fatalities.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GI-OVO Stated:-

In the “war” against the Corona Virus it is of the utmost importance that the food chain continues to function. Our customers in the egg processing sector, worldwide, are an indispensable link in this chain.

For this reason, we would like to say a big THANK YOU to all our customers' employees who continue to do their work day after day and under difficult circumstances.

Although we may not be able to do much for you, know that we think of you and show our respect for your efforts!

On behalf of the GI-OVO Team


 

NIH Reports Case of Covid-19 Among Staff

03/17/2020

Over the March 14th weekend, the National Institutes of Health reported a diagnosis of COVID-19 in a staff member at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.  The individual was not involved in patient care.

 

The report is significant in that it indicates how preparedness and procedures can limit infection in a large organization.  The patient developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 at home, although was asymptomatic at work.  The patient informed the NIH Occupational Medical Service, designated to manage potential COVID-19 infections among staff members.  Testing demonstrated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the patient was isolated at home.  Consistent with good epidemiologic practice, co-workers of the patient were screened for the presence of the virus.

 

It is understood that this was a community-acquired infection and was not associated with either laboratory or patient exposure.


NIH Complex Bethesda MD.

 

White House Easter Egg Roll Cancelled for 2020

03/17/2020

Out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with the National Emergency Declaration concerning COVID-19, the Office of the First Lady has announced cancellation of the 2020 White House Easter Egg Roll.

 

This unfortunate but necessary action has deprived the egg-production industry of a valuable promotional opportunity and will disappoint the children who look forward to the event.


 

U.S. Power Generation Moves to Natural Gas

03/17/2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that in 2020, natural gas used to generate electricity will increase by 4 percent to 1.53 trillion kilowatt hours compared to 2019.  In contrast coal-generation will decrease 16 percent and will average 0.8 trillion kilowatt hours. Attempts to prop up the coal industry by subsidies and other artificial measures fly in the face of economic reality.  Abundant natural gas is less expensive than coal and has fewer environmental impacts.

 

The EIA predict that U.S. oil production will average 13.0 million barrels per day in 2020 falling to 12.7 million barrels in 2021.  On March 9th crude oil price fell below $35 per barrel but with an annual forecast of $43 per barrel for Brent reflecting higher supply by OPEC during 2020.  This has implications for lower fuel and transport costs benefiting the industry.


 

Shell Egg Academy Postponed

03/16/2020

The Annual Shell Egg Academy scheduled for April 22nd and 23rd has been postponed as a result of precautions to prevent transmission of COVID-19. 

 

The event will be rescheduled during the fall at the Marriott Hotel in Lafayette, IN. on a date to be announced.

 

Registrants have been informed of the change, but prospective attendees are advised to await an announcement of the rescheduled program.

 

Attendance is highly recommended given the quality of speakers and the extent of practical information provided.


 

Iowa Egg Council Export Symposium

03/16/2020

The Iowa Egg Council will present the first Egg Export Symposium on June 8th 2020 at the Sheraton Hotel, West Des Moines, IA.

 

This Symposium will cover the world market for U.S. eggs with specific reference to Japan, Mexico and existing importers other areas representing potential opportunities. 

 

Speakers will represent the USDA AMS with respect to government regulations and protocols.  The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council and the Iowa Economic Authority will present information based on experience in international trade.

 

Exports of shell eggs and egg products in 2019 amounted to $218 million representing 8.6 million case equivalents or about 3 percent of U.S. output. This volume was produced by a flock amounting to approximately ten million hens. The implications on domestic prices are evident for any significant increase in exports.


 

Outbreaks of Low Path AI in Ireland

03/14/2020

The Irish Times reports that an outbreak of low pathogenicity H6N1 avian influenza (AI) was diagnosed in a flock of laying hens in County Monaghan.  Three biologically contiguous flocks are under surveillance.

 

Veterinary authorities have imposed a quarantine on the affected area consistent with the directions of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) although the H6 strain involved is only reported annually.

 

It appears that H6N1 is fairly widespread having been diagnosed in adjoining Northern Ireland in addition to Scotland and England during recent weeks. This suggests that this AI strain is disseminated by migratory waterfowl. Outbreaks in the UK and Ireland are distinct from the H5N8 outbreaks diagnosed in Central and Eastern Europe.


 

COVID-19 Declared a Pandemic

03/14/2020

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11th.  The Director General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus stated "this is not only a public health crisis it is a crisis that will touch every sector".

 

The designation of COVID-19 as a pandemic relates to the geographic extent of infection that now includes 110 nations with prospects of increased incidence in these nations by community transmission.

 

A disease outbreak is declared a pandemic when viruses demonstrate ease of spread on a person-to-person basis over many nations located on numerous continents. Designation as a pandemic does not indicate the severity of an infection.

 

The WHO has previously applied the “pandemic” categorization to only eight infections.

 

SITUATION IN NUMBERS total and new cases in last 24 hours

Globally

132 758 confirmed (7499 new) 4955 deaths (342 new)

China

80 991 confirmed (11 new) 3180 deaths (07 new)

Outside of China

51 767 confirmed (7488 new) 1775 deaths (335 new)

122 countries/territories/ areas (5 new)

WHO RISK ASSESSMENT

China Regional Level Global Level

Very High Very High Very High


 

Export of Shell Eggs and Products January 2020.

03/14/2020

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

PRODUCT

Jan. 2019

Jan. 2020

Difference

Shell Eggs

     

Volume (m. dozen)

8.0

10.1

+2.1 (+26.3%)

Value ($ million)

8.2

8.5

+0.3 (+3.7%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)

1.03

0.84

-0.24 (-13.3%)

Egg Products

 

 

 

Volume (metric tons)

2,680

3,266

+586 (+21.9%)

Value ($ million)

8.7

9.1

+0.4 (+4.6%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)

3,246

2,786

-460 (-14.2%)

U.S. SHELL EGG AND EGG PRODUCT EXPORTS DURING

JANUARY 2019 COMPARED WITH JANUARY 2020

Source USDA-FAS/USAPEEC

SHELL EGGS

Shell egg exports from the U.S. during January 2020 increased by 26.3 percent in volume and increased 3.7 percent in total value compared to January 2019. Unit value was lower by 13.3 percent or 24 cents per dozen for the comparison between 2020 and 2019. The top two importers, Hong Kong and Mexico combined represented 72.3 percent of volume and 67.4 percent of total value.

Hong Kong was the leading importer of shell eggs in January 2020, with 4 million dozen representing 39.6 percent of volume and 39.5 percent of the $8.6 million total value of U.S. shipments of shell eggs. Average unit value was $0.78 cents per dozen, above the average USDA benchmark price for nest-run during the third quarter.

Mexico was second in rank during 2019 with 3.3 million dozen representing 32.6 percent of volume and 27.9 percent of total value attaining a unit value of $0.73 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. For January 2020 imports of shell eggs by Mexico increased by 371 percent and value by 380 percent compared to January 2019. In December 2019 Mexico imported 1.8 million dozen, up 800 percent from December 2018.

Canada was a distant 3rd in rank as an importer during January 2020 with 0.9 million dozen representing 8.9 percent of volume and 8.1 percent of total value at $0.7 million with a unit value of $0.78 per dozen. Shell eggs shipped to Canada represent the difference between domestic demand and production, limited by their national controlled marketing system

The Caribbean Region represented 6.9 percent of export volume for January 2020. This region was up 16.6 percent in volume and 17.9 percent in total value, an obvious improvement compared with January 2019. The unit value of shell eggs exports to the Caribbean averaged $0.85 per dozen. ($1.35 during 2019). This appeared high compared with the average export realization, most probably because a proportion of shell eggs enumerated previously may have been either fertile hatching eggs or enriched specialty eggs.

The Middle East Region imported 0.9 million dozen during 2019 valued at $0.8 million with a unit price of $0.89 per dozen. Volume and value in January 2020 were respectively higher by 50.0 percent and 60.0 percent compared to January 2019. Southern E.U. nations in addition to India and Ukraine have a competitive transport advantage over the U.S in this market.

EGG PRODUCTS

The total volume of exported egg products during January 2020 increased by 21.9 percent and total value was higher by 4.6 percent compared to January 2019. Unit value decreased by 14.2 percent to $2,786 per ton from $3,246 obtained in January 2019. This decline reflected the relationship between World supply and demand with Ukraine and India as significant exporters.

Mexico was the leading importer in January 2020 receiving 897 metric tons comprising 27.5 percent of volume and 17.5 percent of value exported with a unit price of $1,783 per metric ton

During January 2020, 2nd-ranked Japan represented 25.4 percent of the total U.S. export volume with 3,266 metric tons, an increase of 22.8 percent compared with January 2019. The high unit value of $3,378 per metric ton 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.

Canada represented a distant 3rd in rank among importers purchasing 452 metric tons tons comprising 13.8 percent of volume and 11.0 percent of the $1.0 million in value exported with a unit price of $2,212 per metric ton. During January 2020 Canada increased volume by 52.1 percent and value by 42.8 percent compared to the corresponding month in 2019.

COMMENTS

Successful conclusion of negotiations to replace NAFTA led to the trilateral USMCA, announced on September 30th 2018. The since-modified agreement will have to be ratified by the Parliament of Canada, 17 months after after signing the basic trade pact and subsequent to ratification by 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) is coming to an end according to incident rates. 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.

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


 

Tesco Partnering with Loop for Reusable Packaging in the UK

03/13/2020

Tesco, a major U.K. supermarket chain will initiate the TerraCycle Loop program in April. Participants in the program pay a one-time refundable deposit for containers that are refilled in the store.

 

The concept was introduced in 2019 to replace single-use disposable packaging.  Manufacturers including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, PepsiCo, Mondelez International, Nestle, and others have indicated their participation.

 

The Loop program will be available throughout the UK in April, compared with only regional launches in France.


 

Amazon to Market Just Walk Out Technology

03/13/2020

Amazon Go checkout-free stores incorporate patented technology developed internally by the company.  Amazon now intends to market the same installations for retailers incorporating cameras and sensors to allow cash-free and checkout-free shopping.  The system will require customers to insert a credit card on entry. Receipts are E-mailed following completion of the purchase.

 

The first Amazon Go cashierless convenience store was opened at the beginning of 2018 and the technology now operates in an Amazon Go grocery commissioned last month.


 

Investors Sue Bayer AG over Monsanto-Roundup Debacle

03/13/2020

Following the $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto, many shareholders expressed regret and concern over liabilities represented by lawsuits alleging that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® is potentially carcinogenic.

 

According to Bloomberg, Bayer faces 49,000 U.S. lawsuits and it is estimated that to settle claims, Bayer may have to disperse $10 to $13 billion. Bayer is heavily indebted and its equity value has fallen by a third since the Monsanto acquisition.

 

The shareholder lawsuit filed in the State Court in Manhattan, demands compensation and punitive damages and disgorgement of pay for executives responsible for the transaction.  The complaint alleges that the acquisition and adverse verdicts resulted in a sharp decline in market capitalization, reducing the value of shares.  Plaintiffs characterized the acquisition as “one of the worst corporate takeovers in history.”


 

COMMODITY REPORT: March 13th 2020.

03/13/2020

Corn and soybean prices both declined this past week, with CME corn down 1.3 percent and soy lower by a noteworthy 4.1 percent. Anticipated increases in price have not occurred after signing the Phase-One of the trade agreement with China and also ratification of USMCA by Congress. Prospects for commodity exports to China are currently restrained by the logistic restrictions imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Uncertainties still include:-

  • The extent and timing of soybean purchases by China in 2020. The U.S - China Phase-One agreement incorporating U.S. tariff rescissions, promised purchases of agricultural commodities, concessions on some structural issues by China and strengthened enforcement provisions
  • The market is now less optimistic that future shipments of soybeans to China will take place according to the quantities promised by the Administration after signing the Phase-One agreement. Total soybean shipments YTD have amounted to 1.13 million tons, (41.5 million bushels), approximately 22 percent of the quantity consigned during the corresponding period in 2019.
  • Justifiable uncertainty regarding the spread of COVID-19 to other Asian nations, Europe and North America with the potential to create a worldwide recession.

Questions still exist:-

  • Traders are reviewing projected ending stocks and taking into account the relative sizes of both corn and soybean harvests in 2019 and planting intentions for 2020. The volume of exports of soybeans to China is still uncertain.
  • Brexit is now a reality following legal departure of the U.K. from the E.U. on January 31st 2020 and a final customs break scheduled at the end of January 2021.
  • 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. A bilateral agreement appears in jeopardy over disagreements over the use of Huawei communications equipment by the U.K. and chlorination used in processing of U.S. chicken.
  • The relationship with the E.U. is tenuous especially with the threat of retaliatory tariffs by the U.S. on food products from France and auto imports from Germany.

 

Compared with the March 6th 2020 close, the CME quotation for March corn posted at close of trading on March 13th was down 5 cents per bushel to 373 cents, continuing the loss during the previous week. Soybeans, expected to be the beneficiary of the Phase-One agreement, were down 36 cents per bushel to 846 cents.

 

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.

 

China placed orders for one million metric tons of soybeans from Brazil during the first week of February 2020. A total of 20.5 million metric tons has been ordered for delivery through May 2020. This quantity is equivalent to 754 million bushels or 42 percent of the projected total U.S. export of soybeans in 2020 as documented in the March 2020 WASDE #598. The purchases by China from Brazil are ascribed to competitive prices compared to the U.S. The USDA recorded exports of previously- ordered consignments amounting to132,000 tons (two shiploads) of U.S. soybeans during the week ending February 27th.

 

The following extracts from the January 10th 2020 edition of the USDA Grain Stocks Report indicate the levels of storage on farms and in fields and off-farm for corn and soybeans in early December 2019.

  • Corn stored in all positions on December 1, 2019 totaled 11.4 billion bushels, down five percent from December 1 st 2018. Of the total stocks, 7.18 billion bushels are stored on farms, down four percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 4.21 billion bushels, are down six percent from a year ago. The September through November 2019 data indicated disappearance at 4.52 billion bushels, compared with 4.54 billion bushels during the same period last year.
  • Soybeans stored in all positions on December 1 st 2019 totaled 3.25 billion bushels, down 13 percent from December 1st 2018. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 1.53 billion bushels, down 21 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 1.73 billion bushels, are down five percent from December 2018. Indicated disappearance for September through November 2019 totaled 1.22 billion bushels, up eight percent from the same period a year earlier.

 

The following quotations were posted by the CME at close of trading on March 13th 2020 compared with values for March 6th 2020 (in parentheses) reflecting specified months for delivery.

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

March 373 (378)

May 366 (376)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

March 846 (882)

May 848 (890)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

March 299 (301)

May 300 (305)

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

COMMODITY CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK

Corn: March quotation down 5 cents per bushel           (-1.3 percent)

Soybeans: March quotation down 36 cents per Bushel (-4.1 percent)

Soybean Meal: March quotation down $2 per ton         (-0.7 percent)

  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-
    • The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen
    • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight
  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-
    • The cost of egg production would change by 0.44 cent per dozen
    • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

 

COMMENTS

The USDA Farm Futures Survey of 728 respondents suggests that 97.3 million acres of corn and 80.6 million acres of soybeans will be planted in 2020.

 

Subscribers are referred to the March 11th WASDE #598 under the STATISTICS tab.

 

Prices of commodities are influenced by projections of ending stocks from the 2019 harvest, 2020 exports and domestic use.

USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansen speaking at the 96th Agricultural Outlook Forum indicated that U.S. agricultural commodities to the value of $14 billion would be imported by China in 2020, far short of the $40 to $50 billion per year promised by the White House in terms of the Phase-One Agreement. In the light of decreased demand in China due to COVID-19 and port congestion the volumes suggested by Dr. Johansen may be optimistic.

 

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 possibly lower imports by China. President Donald Trump stated 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”. MFP payments would be funded by tariff revenue representing a transfer of money from consumers to the agricultural sector.


 

Egg Week

03/12/2020

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, March 12th 2020.

  • USDA hen numbers in production (if valid) were up 0.2 million during past week to 331.3 million .
  • Shell inventory down by 10.0 percent after a 4.5 percent increase last week reflecting increased demand and limited increase in flock size.
  • USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra large and Large were up by 8.1 percent to an average of 94.5 and 92.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were up 18.4 percent to an average of 83.5 cents per dozen. The market rose this past week after a sharp fall three weeks ago and is expected to remain at the current level until the Easter surge unless demand falls off that will be indicated by a rise in inventory.
  • Price of breaking stock in the Midwest was 20.0 percent higher to 48.0 cents per dozen on average. Checks were up 28.6 percent to 35 cents per dozen. Both categories are still substantially below the USDA February 2020 benchmark nest-run production cost of 60.4 cents per dozen.

OVERVIEW

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on March 9 th 2020 the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large as delivered to DCs were higher by 8.0 and 8.2 percent to averages of 94.5 and 92.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were up 18.4 percent to 83.5 cents per dozen reflecting a restoration in balance among sizes as young flocks age. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 5-Region blended nest-run cost of 60.8 cents per dozen in January 2020, (excluding provisions for packing and transport). The progression of prices during 2018-2020 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

 

The March 9th 2020 USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 67: No. 10) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $0.95 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending March 1st. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $0.86 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.01 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 25 cents per dozen below the three-year average of $1.10 per dozen and equal to the price during the corresponding week in 2019.


 


Egg Monthly

03/12/2020

Review of February 2020 Egg Production Costs and Statistics.

  • February 2020 USDA ex-farm blended nest-run benchmark price was 68.9 cents per dozen, 30.2 percent higher than in January 2020 at 52.9 cents per dozen. Falling prices during February are consistent with seasonal purchase trends but the intensity during past weeks was accentuated by oversupply. The sharp upward price during the second week of March is attributed to COVID-19 panic buying. Prices will respond negatively when the pipeline is full since consumers are willing to store only a relatively small number of eggs over normal purchase patterns.
  • February 2020 USDA average nest-run production cost was 0.4 cent per dozen lower than in January 2020 at 60.4 cents per dozen.
  • February 2020 USDA benchmark nest-run margin attained a positive value of 8.5 cents per dozen compared to a negative margin of 7.9 cents per dozen in January 2020.
  • January 2020 national flock ( over 30,000 hens/farm) was down 1.8 million hens or 0.6 percent to 323.3 million.
  • January 2020 pullet chick hatch was up 14.3 percent from December 2019 to 26.4 million.
  • January 2020 exports of shell eggs and products were down 4.4 percent from December 2019 to 738,000 case equivalents representing the theoretical production of 9.9 million hens.

 

INTRODUCTION.

Summary tables for the latest USDA February 2020 prices and flock statistics made available by the EIC on March 11th 2020 are arranged, summarized, tabulated and reviewed in comparison with values from the previous February 11th 2019 posting reflecting January 2020 cost and production data.


 


STOP PRESS

03/12/2020

2020 MPF Convention Cancelled

According to a March 12th statement by Greg Nelson, President, Midwest Poultry Federation, the  Board of Directors has cancelled the 2020 MPF Convention scheduled for March 17th-19th at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, MN.

 

Although no cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region or the state of Minnesota to date, travel restrictions imposed on attendees from the E.U. and by both exhibitors and production companies contributed to the decision based on an abundance of caution.

 

The decision is consistent with CDC recommendations to avoid gatherings of more than 250 persons and to restrict travel to absolute necessity. This is reflected in suspension of major league sports schedules, closing of schools and universities and cancellation of political and social events.


 

Albertsons’ Files for IPO

03/11/2020

Cerberus Capital Management intends listing Albertsons on the New York Stock Exchange.  A registration statement has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to list under the ticker symbol ACI. If the IPO takes place, the Company would be valued at about $20 billion according to The Wall Street Journal.

 

Although volatility in the market would appear to preclude an IPO in the immediate future, the move would complete the proposed IPO in 2015 that was shelved.  Albertson's does not release financial data, but it is understood that Albertsons earned $130 million on revenue of $60 billion in the most recent fiscal year ending on February 23rd 2019.

 

Albertsons operates 2,250 stores in 24 states under 20 banners including Albertsons’, Safeway, Von’s, Star Market, Shaw’s and Jewel-Osco.


 

McDonald's Cancels Annual Worldwide Convention

03/11/2020

CEO of McDonald's Chris Kempczinski announced that the scheduled biennial Worldwide Convention for 2020 will be canceled based on travel restrictions and advice from health authorities including the WHO.

 

In announcing the cancellation, Kempczinski stated "this decision was not made lightly, I for one was really looking forward to my first convention as CEO and I appreciate the significance of this announcement for the system."  He added "the magic of our Worldwide Convention always happens when we come together from more than a hundred countries for four days in Orlando.  This year we know that our customers and our community need us doing what we do better than anyone else serving as leaders."  It is understood that McDonald's is planning a digital convention in place of the biennial in-person gathering.

 


CEO Chris Kempczinski

At this time health authorities are advising against gatherings of more than 250 people at a single venue. Many sports, corporate, religious, entertainment and political events have been cancelled over an abundance of caution concerning possible community transmission of COVID-19.


 

Federal Guideline Advisory Committee to Meet Online

03/11/2020

The Fifth meeting of the 2020 Guideline Advisory Committee scheduled for mid-March in Washington, DC will move to an online format.  Travel restrictions imposed to prevent transmission of COVID-19 coupled with restraints imposed by universities on employees motivated the discussion.

 

Each of the subcommittees will submit a report to be available on <www.dietaryguidelines.gov>.

 

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service administers fifteen nutrition-assistance programs to ensure that children, individuals and families with low incomes have an adequate diet.

 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is developed jointly by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and The Department of Health and Human Services and encompasses promotion of adequate diets, disease prevention and promotion of health.


 

USDA Approves Waiver for California Meal Service During School Closures

03/11/2020

Schools closed as a result of COVID-19 will be allowed to serve meals to children of low- income families providing that they are served in other than group settings.  The waiver was announced on March 9th and will continue through June 30th. 

 

Brandon Lipps, Deputy Undersecretary for USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services stated, “USDA stands with the people of California as a part of a Federal-wide coordinated response.” He added “the flexibility provided by the waiver as approved will help ensure that our children get wholesome meals, safeguarding their health in times of need”.


 

Harvard University Study Validates Safety of An Egg-per-Day

03/11/2020

A study conducted under the direction of Dr. Frank Hu, Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University has concluded that one egg per day is not deleterious for consumers unaffected by Type-2 diabetes.  The result follows evaluation of data from a 34-year longitudinal study of 215,000 men and women in acceptable health at the commencement of the study period.  No deleterious effect was detected from consuming an average of one egg each day over the study period.  The only increased cardiovascular risk involved subjects with Type-2 diabetes, confirming previous studies.

 

The results denoting that one egg per day is innocuous was supported by a meta-analysis of studies in North America, Asia and Europe.  No adverse effects on heart health could be determined in the 1.7 million subjects in the various trials evaluated. The results published by the Harvard University team are consistent with the 2019 American Heart Association Cholesterol Advisory and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

 

The Harvard study is timely as Dr. Victor Zhong of the Department of Preventative Medicine at the Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago recently published a paper on data from a 17- year longitudinal study of 29,000 subjects. Statistical analysis apparently established a  correlation between increasing dietary intake of eggs and an elevated risk of heart disease or early death.  The analysis conducted by Dr. Zhong noted that each half egg (presumably contributing 90mgs of cholesterol) per day over the study period was associated with a one percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a two percent higher risk of early death due to any cause.

Dr. Victoria Taylor affiliated the British Heart Foundation stated, “eggs are a nutritious food and eating healthy is all about balance”. She noted that the Northwestern University study only demonstrated an association and did not establish a cause and effect relationship.  Taylor correctly noted that eggs are consumed with other foods and that the type of study conducted by Northwestern University could not establish that either eggs or the cholesterol that they contain was responsible for increased risk of cardiovascular disease.


 

Argentina Raises Export Tax on Commodities

03/11/2020

Faced with a need to restructure $100 billion in debt, the incoming Administration of President Alberto Fernandez has temporarily suspended Agricultural exports pending an increase in the export tax from 30 to 33 percent.  Effective February 26th, traders were prohibited from concluding new export deals in anticipation of the introduction of the increased tax.

 

During the past decade Argentina has emerged as a major supplier of soybean meal, soybeans and corn.


 

Dr. Krista Krish Joins FSNS as Business Development Manager

03/11/2020

In a March 11th release Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) announced the appointment of Krista Krish, Ph.D., as Business Development Manager – East.  She joins the Company from a major animal vaccine manufacturer, where she served as a scientist in R&D and QC. Previously she was Director of Food Safety at United Egg Producers.

 

Krista brings to FSNS experience in microbiology with numerous publications as well as business development in the food industry.  Her roles will include representing FSNS as the lead for technical business development in the poultry and egg industries.

 

Jeff Carpenter, SVP of Strategic Alliances commented "we welcome Krista to FSNS and we look forward to benefiting from Krista’s vast experience. He added "this position highlights the increasing level of interest in our food-testing services on the East coast as well as all over the U.S."

 

Food Safety Net Services (FSNS), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a national network of ISO 17025 accredited testing laboratories open 24/7, 365 days a year. The Company provides expert technical resources to assist companies with implementing food safety and quality programs and to improve process controls. Available technology includes GFSI, SQF and PAACO, approved auditing and certification capabilities. For more information click the FSNS logo on the right side of the Welcome page.


 

Dedication of Iowa State Poultry Research Farm

03/11/2020

The Robert T. Hamilton Poultry Teaching and Research Farm was dedicated on March 5th. The facility located on an eleven-acre site, formerly the Iowa State University Poultry Science Farm replaces obsolete buildings erected in the 1960's. The new resource has dedicated areas for poultry and egg processing, research-standard housing and laboratories to accommodate applied projects relating to egg production.

 

The facility represents an investment of $7 million and was funded entirely by private donations.

 

These included:

· $3 million from the Arlene Hamilton and the Robert and Arlene Charitable Foundation

· $1.5 million from the Iowa Egg Council acknowledged in the naming of the research wingn

· The Hy-Line Genetics Research Wing was made possible by a gift from Hy-Line International

· The Henning Family Atrium was supported by a $750,000 gift from Jeff and Cindy Henning

Gifts in kind in the form of equipment and other contributions included:

· Big Dutchman, Inc.

· Munters Corp.

· Once Inc.

· Best Veterinary Solutions.

  • Fienhage Poultry.

· L.B. White Company.

· Nature Form-Pas Reform North America.

· Chore Time Inc.

· Poultry Management Systems.

· Vencomatic Inc.

· Ziggity Systems.

 

Dr. Wendy Winterstein, President, Iowa State University noted "this is what Iowa State Land-Grant Mission is all about--- training the future workforce for the industry to grow our economy".

 

President of Hy-Line International, Jonathan Cade noted "this facility will support education of students who will go and help our company and others assure its sustainable source of protein around the world".

 

Jeff Henning commented "our family is proud to pay forward to future leaders in the industry by supporting and constructing this poultry facility". He added "we are committed to lasting relationships that move all aspects of the industry forward by way of research, education, construction and implementation".


 

USDA Secretary Comments on 2020 MFP Prospects

03/10/2020

Dr. Sonny Perdue noted on March 5th that prospects for a 2020 MFP payment were remote.  Despite requests by Rep. Mike Conway (R-TX) to consider support for farmers, Sec. Perdue noted that there was no immediate plan for federal support.

 

Perdue has stated that MFP was not a price support program, but was to compensate farmers for trade disruption.  In view of the Phase-One agreement and the anticipation that China will commence purchasing and receiving agricultural commodities, the USDA is unwilling at this time to commit to additional support.

 

Despite the trade agreement, the reality is that farmers are facing decisions on loans and planting within weeks, and China has not committed to purchases, despite importing soybeans from Brazil subsequent to signing the trade agreement.

 

Given the socioeconomic and political implications of support funding, a supplementary payment, either under the MFP or some other program, is likely despite current negative assertions by the Secretary of Agriculture.


 

Federal Agencies Clamp Down on Spurious Covid-19 Claims

03/10/2020

The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have sent warning letters to seven companies making unsubstantiated claims relating to prevention or cure of Covid-19 infection. Among the recipients of FDA attention is Jim Bakker, previously a televangelist and convicted felon, having served four years in prison for fraud before his electronic rehabilitation. Six companies have made unsubstantiated and unscientific claims relating to Covid-19 for their products.  Noncompliance with warning letters within 48 hours may result in enforcement action including seizure of products, injunctions, and mandatory refunds for consumers.


Jim Bakker

 

FDA Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn stated “The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent Covid-19 products to be a threat to public health.”  FTC Chairman, Joe Simons stated “What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims.”


 

Darling Ingredients Reports Fiscal 2019 Results

03/10/2020

In a February 25th release, Darling Ingredients [DAR] reported results for Fiscal 2019 ending December 28th. For the year, the company posted net income of $312.6 million on revenue of $3.4 billion. The the Feed Segment, represented by meat and bone meal and grease, operated with a gross margin of 23 percent and a net margin of 4.2 percent.  The company has net assets of $5.35 billion, with long term debt of $1.65 billion.

 

Comparative values for Fiscal 2018 included net income of $101.5 million on revenue of $3.4 billion.  EPS increased to $1.34 in FY 2019 compared to $0.60 in FY 2018.

 

Darling has traded over the past 52 weeks from $18.20 to $29.57 with a 50-day moving average of $27.72.  The company posted a 12-month trailing operating margin of 2.4 percent with a profit margin of 9.3 percent.  Return on assets was 1.0 percent and return on equity, 12.9 percent.


 

USDA-WASDE FORECAST #598 March 10th 2020

03/10/2020

OVERVIEW

Predictably the March 10th 2020 USDA WASDE Report was little changed from February and included accurate yields for corn and soybeans and relatively unaltered price projections for these commodities.

 

Corn and soybean harvests reflected in the March 2020 WASDE are based on actual yield and harvested area. The corn acreage harvested was 81.5 million acres, unchanged from the January and February 2020 WASDE reports (81.8 million in 2018). Soybeans were harvested from 75.0 million acres, unchanged from the January and February 2020 WASDE reports. (88.3 million acres in 2018)

 

The March 2020 WASDE projected corn yield was unchanged at 168 bushels per acre, (178.9 bushels in 2018). The relatively low value was due to late planting, delayed development and adverse weather before harvest. Soybean yield was unchanged at 47.4 bushels per acre from the January 2020 WASDE, (52.1 bushels in 2018). There is concern that a wet spring in 2020 may delay planting again this season.

 

The March USDA projection for the ending stock of corn was unchanged at 1,892 million bushels. Due to increased exports the ending stock for soybeans was projected to be 425 million bushels.

 

Projections for ending stocks of both corn and soybeans have influenced recent CME price quotations concurrently with conflicting reports on trade negotiations and the Phase-One of a trade agreement with China. It is presumed that projections are based on the assumption that China will delay commitments due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Reports on import volumes of commodities by China will be included in upcoming editions of CHICK-NEWS and in subsequent mailings as data becomes available.

 


 


Alltech Cancels 2020 ONE-Ideas Conference: To Transitions to an On-line Format

03/09/2020

Due to an abundance of caution concerning COVID-19, Alltech will present the 2020 ONE-Ideas Conference in a virtual format. The annual event scheduled for May 17th through 19th in Lexington, KY. typically attracts 3,500 attendees from 70 countries to explore innovative solutions across the global food supply chain.

 

In addressing the challenge of an escalating incidence of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO stated “our first priority remains the health and safety of attendees, our colleagues and the communities in which we live and work,” He added, “with that in mind, we have decided to host this year’s international conference on a virtual platform, allowing registrants from around the world to engage in industry-leading content in a way that is accessible for everyone.” 

 

 The Alltech ONE Virtual Experience will provide access to agricultural topics, including agri-business, aquaculture, beef, crop science, dairy, the future of food, pig and poultry. Live-streamed keynote presentations and on-demand video content from some of the world's leading industry experts, including the most impactful presentations from past years’ events, will be available beginning May 18th 2020.


 

Blue Apron Handed COVID-19 Reprieve in Fight for Survival

03/08/2020

In a last ditch attempt to maintain independence and a public listing, Blue Apron is developing a strategy to attract and retain customers energized by COVID-19 home confinement.  The company strategy is to provide more choice and flexibility.  Partnerships have been developed with Weight Watchers and The American Diabetes Association in order to extend demand. The Meal Prep option offered by Blue Apron has been introduced to allow consumers to prepare meals in advance with alternatives for dietary faddists including pescatarian, carb-conscious and other permutations.

 

The problem with Blue Apron initiatives is that the company with limited resources and mounting losses is attempting to be all things to all customers.  This is evident in the statement by CEO Linda Kozlowski who opined "while implementing expanded choice and additional flexibility in our products we were able to maintain our high animal welfare and responsible sourcing standards in our proteins, high quality product and dairy."


Linda Kozlowski CEO

Blue Apron

Recently Blue Apron has consolidated production locations and laid-off workers.  The hyenas are however circling and there is speculation that the company will be acquired and operated as a  private holding of an investment group. This would not have been a difficult scenario with a share price of $2.94 on Monday 16th March. Since this time APRON has been reprieved by the COVIND crises with a resultant demand for home delivery. Stock price surged threefold from a close of $3.44 on Tuesday to $14.30 at the close on Thursday March 19th. Market capitalization has advanced to $190 million but the 50-day moving average is $3.75. and 40 percent of the float is short. APRN has traded over the past 52 weeks in a range of $2.01 to $28.84.

 

Sales value declined 33 percent over the past year due to competition and customer disaffection. The Company posted a twelve-month trailing operating margin of -11 percent and a profit margin of -13 percent.

 

It remains to be seen whether the Company can capitalize on newfound demand. Based on a track record of losses, extreme competition and an anticipation of resolution of the COVIN-19 related reluctance to patronize supermarkets, APRN is expected to revert to form by midyear.


 

Hy-Line Technical Update on Egg Drop Syndrome-Corrected Link

03/08/2020

Hy-Line have issued a technical update on egg-drop syndrome long a worldwide problem but only recently been recognized as a problem in the U.S.

 

The technical bulletin includes a history of the infection, transmission, clinical signs, diagnosis and intervention strategies including biosecurity and vaccination.

 

The technical bulletin can be downloaded using this link https://www.hyline.com/userdocs/pages/TU_EDS_ENG.pdf

 


 

Blue Apron Fighting for Survival

03/08/2020

In a last ditch attempt to maintain independence and a public listing, Blue Apron is developing a strategy to attract and retain customers.  The company intends to provide more choice and flexibility.  Partnerships have been developed with Weight Watchers and The American Diabetes Association in order to extend demand. The Meal Prep option by Blue Apron has been introduced to allow consumers to prepare meals in advance with options for dietary fads including pescatarian, carb-conscious and other permutations.

 

The problem with Blue Apron initiatives is that the company with limited resources and mounting losses is attempting to be all things to all customers.  This is evident in the statement by CEO Linda Kozlowski who opined "while implementing expanded choice and additional flexibility in our products we were able to maintain our high animal welfare and responsible sourcing standards in our proteins, high quality product and dairy."

 

Recently Blue Apron has consolidated production locations and laid-off workers.  The hyenas are circulating and there is speculation that the company will be acquired and operated as a  private holding of an investment group. Not a difficult scenario with a current share price of $2.94 and a 50-day moving average of $3.60. APRN has traded over the past 52 weeks in a range of $18.86 down to $2.02.


Linda Kozlowski CEO

Blue Apron

 

Blue Apron (APRN) has a market capitalization of $39 million. Sales value declined 33 percent over the past year due to competition and customer disaffection. The Company posted a twelve-month trailing operating margin of -11 percent and a profit margin of -13 percent.


 

Reports of COVID-19 Motivate Fear-Buying

03/07/2020

According to reports by members of the Food Marketing Institute, shoppers are buying large quantities of canned and boxed foods, beans, coffee, bottled water, hand soap and paper towels.

 

This reaction by consumers is predictable and will probably decline in intensity, providing the incidence rate of COVID-19 does not materially increase. Unfortunately, with the deployment of PCR test kits, it is anticipated that a large number of mildly affected or asymptomatic cases in diverse areas will be diagnosed. The quicker that these cases can be identified and quarantined, the sooner the epidemic will be controlled.

 

It will be interesting to determine both the extent and duration in demand for eggs and egg products as a result of concern over COVID-19. Increased volume and hence price are based on the prediction that there will be a pronounced trend to eating at home, as consumers avoid restaurants and other public places.

 

There is naturally a limit to the volume of eggs purchased in response to "refrigeration stuffing"

 


 

COVID-19 Shutdowns in China may Restrict Availability of Drugs

03/07/2020

It is apparent that closure of pharmaceutical plants in China has reduced world supply of antibiotics and basic compounds used to manufacture both OTC and prescription drugs.  Currently there is no emergency, but the flow of basic ingredients to India where compounding and packing of generics takes place, has obviously been impacted.  India announced a restriction on export of 25 ingredients used in antibiotic and analgesic formulations.  The cost of statins have already risen, given restriction in the supply chain.

 

Providing plants in China can soon resume operation, inventory should ease any major shortages.  Should problems persist through early Spring, problems will occur impacting multinationals in Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium, the major converters of Chinese ingredients into packaged pharmaceuticals.

 

In a March 6th article in The Wall Street Journal, Nathaniel Taplin and Charley Grant note that reliance on China, with their concurrent health problem, demonstrates the disadvantages of centralized production and globalization.


 

USDA: Annual Egg Industry Channels of Distribution

03/07/2020

The USDA released data on channels of distribution in 2019 compared to previous years, as posted by the AEB
The trajectory of the Retail category since 2015 is higher than for breaking that has shown a slight increase. 
In contrast Institutional and Export categories have remained static despite the activities of the AEB and USAPEEC.


click for graph and table


 

Scramblers Omelet Bars Introduced

03/06/2020

Deliciously Different LLC has introduced protein bars with the texture and nutrition of an omelet under the Scramblers® brand.  The Omelet Bars are available as either with ham-and- cheddar or spinach-with-feta flavors.

 

The Omelet Bars contain organic free-range eggs produced by Pete and Gerry's.  Matt Tolnick, CEO of Deliciously Different stated "for those who have the good sense to eat the most important meal of the day, many settle for quick eats which aren't healthy or healthy eats which aren't always convenient.  Our vision was to deliver superior nutrition and superior convenience."


 

COMMODITY REPORT: March 6th 2020.

03/06/2020

Corn and soybean prices diverged this past week, with corn up 3.3 percent and soy lower by 0.2 percent. Anticipated increases in price have not occurred after signing the Phase-One of the trade agreement with China and ratification of USMCA by Congress. Prospects for commodity exports to China are currently restrained by the logistic restrictions imposed by the ongoing VOVID-19 outbreak.

 

Uncertainties still include:-

  • The extent and timing of soybean purchases by China in 2020. The U.S - China Phase-1 agreement incorporating U.S. tariff rescissions, promised purchases of agricultural commodities, concessions on some structural issues by China and strengthened enforcement provisions
  • The market is now less optimistic that future shipments of soybeans to China will take place according to the quantities promised by the Administration after signing the Phase-One agreement. Total soybean shipments YTD have amounted to 1.13 million tons, (41.5 million bushels), approximately 22 percent of the quantity consigned during the corresponding period in 2019.
  • Justifiable uncertainty regarding the extent of the coronavirus epidemic in China and its effect, in addition to the extent of spread to other Asian nations, Europe and North America.

Questions still exist:-

  • Traders are reviewing projected ending stocks and taking into account the relative sizes of both corn and soybean harvests in 2019. The volume of exports of soybeans to China is still uncertain.
  • Brexit is now a certainty following legal departure of the U.K. from the E.U. on January 31st 2020 and a final customs break scheduled for the end of January 2021.
  • 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. A bilateral agreement appears in jeopardy over disagreements over the use of Huawei communications equipment by the U.K.
  • The relationship with the E.U. is tenuous especially with the threat of retaliatory tariffs by the U.S. on food products from France and auto imports from Germany.


 


Kudos to Dr. Jill Biden for Inadvertent Security Role.

03/05/2020

Dr. Jill Biden successfully tackled an animal-rights activist at a political rally on Tuesday night during a speech by her husband former VP Joe Biden.

 

Quick-thinking, determination and physical strength overcame a nutty protester opposed to the dairy industry. The message—don’t mess with professors of English literature.


 

Michael Foods Loses Aviary Barn to Fire

03/05/2020

On the afternoon of February 26th, a fire erupted in a relatively new barn equipped with an aviary installation holding 400,000 hens.  Local fire departments responded to the conflagration on the complex located near Bloomfield NE.

 

All employees were evacuated although the barn and flock were a total loss. Hens in adjoining houses were in all probability exposed to smoke inhalation. The Bloomfield complex holds close to four million hens and was recently converted from conventional cages.  Michael Foods with a total flock of approximately 13 million laying hens in the Midwest, Oregon and Washington states is owned by Post Holdings.

 

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined but based on the investigation of previous fires, faulty electrical wiring, overheated control panels or malfunctioning ventilation fans are suspects.


 

Egg Production in Mexico

03/05/2020

According to the USDA GAIN-Report MX 2020-007 dated February 21st, egg production in Mexico will increase by 3.5 percent to 4.5 million dozen.  Imports will represent 2.5% of total consumption.  Exports in the form of heat-treated egg products will amount to 740 metric tons with Japan taking 54 percent and with most of the reminder exported to Cuba.  Per capita consumption will attain 393 eggs including both in-shell and processed form.

 

 

 


 

Kroger Reports on Q4 and FY 2019

03/05/2020
In a press release dated March 5th The Kroger Company (KR) announced results for the 4th Quarter and FY 2019 ending February 1st 2020.

 

The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as US$ x 1,000 except EPS)


Rodney McMullen CEO The Kroger Co.

4th Quarter Ending

2019

2018

Difference (%)

Sales:

$28,893,000

$28,286,000

+2.2

Gross profit:

$6,386,000

$6,331,000

+0.9

Operating income:

$537,000

$391,000

+37.3

Pre-tax Income

Net Income

$390,000

$327,000

$317,000

$259,000

+23.0

+26.3

Diluted earnings per share:

$0.40

$0.32

+25.0

Gross Margin (%)

22.1

22.3

-0.9

Operating Margin (%)

1.9

1.4

+35.7

Profit Margin (%)

1.1

0.9

+22.2

Long-term Debt:

$12,136,000

$12,072,000

+0.5

12 Months Trailing:

     

Return on Assets (%)

3.7

   

Return on Equity (%)

17.7

   

Operating Margin (%)

2.1

   

Profit Margin (%)

1.3

   

Total Assets

$45,164,000

$38,118,000

+18.5

Market Capitalization

$26,900,000

   

For FY 2019 Kroger posted a net profit of $1.66 billion on revenue of $122.29 billion with an EPS of $2.04. Corresponding figures for FY 2018 were a net profit of $3.11 on revenue of $121.85 with an EPS of $3.76.

52-Week Range in Share Price: $ 20.70 to $33.70: 50-day Moving average $28.57

Market Close: March 4th $30.95. Post release, close March 5 th 33.39

Forward P/E 11.8 Beta 0.8


In reviewing results for the 4th Quarter Rodney McMullen, CEO, stated, “We are pleased with our 2019 results and improving trends in our supermarket business. We delivered on our commitments for ID sales without fuel, adjusted FIFO operating profit, and cost savings in addition to generating over $100 million of incremental operating profit through alternative profit streams in 2019. We also delivered strong adjusted free cash flow during the year, consistent with the total shareholder return model outlined at our Investor Day”.

He added “More importantly, the way that we delivered the year is consistent with our long-term financial model and sets us up to connect with customers in a deeper way. Restock Kroger is the right strategic framework to position the company for sustainable growth in the future, continue to improve the core business, and deliver strong total shareholder return. This transformational foundation supports our competitive moats today – Fresh, Our Brands and Personalization - as well as building a seamless ecosystem of the future."


 

Walmart Developing Rival to Amazon Prime

03/04/2020

Industry sources indicate that Walmart is close to deploying a service paralleling Amazon Prime. Testing of Walmart+ will commence this month and will be an extension of Walmart Delivery Unlimited. This program involves an annual $98 fee for no-cost orders of $30 or more. This option is available through 1,600 Walmart stores. It is understood that the Walmart+ service will include placing orders using text messaging and will include discounts on pharmacy and fuel purchases. 

 

eMarketer estimates that Amazon dominates U.S. retail ecommerce with a 39.0 percent share, followed by Walmart at 5.0 percent, eBay at 4.7 percent, and Apple at 3.7 percent.


 

2020 IPPE by the Numbers

03/04/2020

In a February 27th announcement, the co-organizers of the IPPE, comprising the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, the American Feed Industry Association, and the North American Meat Institute, announced final statistics relating to the 2020 event. Total attendance attained 31,504 with 8,063 international visitors from 129 nations. The number of attendees was eight percent higher than in 2019. The enlarged show floor extended over four halls with 573,000 square feet occupied by 1,377 exhibitors.

 

The weeklong program included 200 hours of educational sessions including meat and poultry quality, biosecurity, and antibiotic-free production.

 

The 2021 International Production and Processing Expo will be held January 26th through 28th at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Information on exhibitions and other details are available at <www.ippeexpo.org>.


 

Serologic Tests for Covid-19 Developed

03/03/2020

Scientists at the colaborative Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School have developed a highly specific serologic assay for Covid-19 infection. The research team, led by Dr. Linfa Wang, created synthetic viral proteins that will react with antibodies in patients recovering from Covid-19 infection. The assay is specific to Covid-19 and there is no interference from other coronavirus infections including SARS and MERS.

 

The test procedure was used to demonstrate that an asymptomatic individual showed antibodies to the causal virus, while the partner of the patient yielded the virus from a nasal swab subjected to PCR assay.

 

A number of laboratories are developing serologic tests, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Euroimmun announced in mid-February that a specific assay for Covid-19 virus to detect antibodies to Covid-19 virus is effective but is currently awaiting approval.

 

A sensitive and highly specific serological assay is required to conduct epidemiologic investigations and to understand the mode of spread of Covid-19. To date, incidence rate is based on either clinical signs, including CT scans of lungs, or PCR assay or their combination. As the infection has progressed in many nations, the case definition has changed leading to an apparent increase in the number of cases. It will be some time before extensive field surveys deploying effective serologic assays provide results to indicate the number of individuals in a population that were infected, many of whom probably did not demonstrate clinical signs of sufficient severity to warrant medical intervention and confirmation of a diagnosis. The number of individuals in a population that were actually infected [the denominator] is essential to determine both incidence and fatality rates. Serologic assays can also be used to identify previously infected individuals when conducting retrospective investigations.


 

USDA DATA ON CAGE-FREE PRODUCTION

03/02/2020

February 2020 data was unchanged from January. This month marked the first decline in total cage-free hen population consistent with saturated demand relative to lower-priced generic eggs from caged flocks.

 

Based on the importance of cage-free production, the USDA-AMS issues a monthly report on volumes and prices 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 or a significant increase in the cage-free flock for a specific month. It is suggested that a quarterly report with more accurate and consistent data would be suitable for the industry.

 

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

 

The USDA Cage Free Report for the month of February 2020 released on March 2nd 2020 documented an unchanged population of hens producing under both the Certified Organic seal and as generic cage-free production (Accepting USDA data). 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 maintained at 76.0 percent for both categories of non-caged hens reflecting the advancing age of flocks placed as chicks during August 2019 in anticipation of the Christmas market offset by higher production from October 2019-placed chicks for Easter 2020.

 

Flock size January and February 2020

(million hens)

Dec. 2019

Av. Q3 2019

Av. Q2 2019

   

Certified Organic 15.7

16.2

16.2

15.8

   

Cage-free hens 54.0

54.6

54.5

52.0

   

Total non-caged 69.7

70.8

70.7

67.8

   

 

Average weekly production (cases), Jan. and Feb. 2020 (December 2019)

Certified Organic

231,294 (240,580 Dec.)

Cage-free

797,498 (809,417 Dec.)

Total non-caged

1,028,792 (1,049,997 Dec.)

 

Average Wholesale Contract Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.53/doz. ($1.53 Sept. through Dec 2019)

Range:

$1.15 to $2.10/doz. (unchanged)

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

Price range $0.77 to $0.92 per dozen

Average Value of $0.86/doz. (was $0.81 Jan.)

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

$2.73/doz. (was $2.51 Jan. 2020)

USDA 6-Regions

High: NE

$3.19/doz. $2.92 (NE.)

 

Low: SC

$2.20/doz. $2.26 (S.W.)

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.


 

Riehl Pleads Guilty to Ponzi Scheme Involving Trickling Spring Creamery

03/02/2020

Phillip Riehl the majority owner of Trickling Spring Creamery in Chambersburg, PA. has pleaded guilty to fraud involving $60 million and accordingly faces a prolonged prison sentence.

 

Prosecutors alleged that Riehl supported the loss-making creamery by using the contributions of new investors, principally member of the Amish and the Mennonite communities in a classic Ponzi scheme.  The Riehl Investment Program and Trickling Spring Creamery collectively lost $60 million of investors’ money.

 

U.S. Attorney General William McSwain stated, “In some cases the defendants swindled individuals out of millions of dollars.  It is only natural for member of a tightly knit community to want to take care of one another but Riehl wasn’t concerned with taking care of anyone but himself and he doesn’t deserve the loyalty of his victims now.” McSwain added, “Riehl victims trusted him to handle their investments with honor and integrity.  Instead, he took advantage of their trust based on their mutual religious affiliation.”


 

MFP May Be Required in 2020 if Exports to China do not Eventuate

03/02/2020

Despite optimism demonstrated by the White House regarding exports of agricultural commodities to China there is a possibility that a 2020 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) will be necessary.  Bill Northey, USDA Under-Secretary noted that no final decision has been made on MFP but the anticipation is that sufficient trade will take place that payment to farmers will be unnecessary.  Interviewed at the Commodity Classic on February 27th Northey noted, “I believe China is committed to Phase-One.  We have seen them reduce some tariffs.  We have seen them encourage domestic buyers to purchase from the U.S.”  He added “I would say later this year, looking at the 2020 crop, we will get a sense as to whether we are seeing trade step-up in a way that it feels back to a normal situation.”

 

While President Trump did indicate the possibility of MFP payments Northey noted that there is no assurance of a program in 2020 and a decision will depend on market performance.

Under-Secretary of the USDA. Bill Northey


 

Sweden Reports Salmonellosis From French Cheese

03/02/2020

Following an outbreak of Salmonella Dublin in France attributed to Morbier cheese produced from raw milk by Jean Perrin SA., authorities in Sweden have identified the same strain from patients in that nation. The EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed confirmed that the now-recalled product was distributed to Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

 

Recognition of outbreaks and attribution to source is now facilitated by routine application of whole genome sequencing.  In addition to the EU network, the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) publicizes recalls associated with food products.  In the case of the implicated Morbier cheese, Japan also received a notification.

 

Cases in France involved 13 confirmed diagnoses in seven regions with nine patients requiring hospitalization with three fatalities.

 

This outbreak illustrates the benefits of databases and the application of whole genome sequencing to support epidemiological investigations and traceback involving trans-boundry distribution of contaminated products.


 

Prospects for Increased Corn and Soybean Planting

03/02/2020

The January 2020 USDA Farm Futures Survey of over 750 respondents suggests that U.S. farmers will plant 96.6 million acres to corn, approximately eight percent more than in 2019. Assuming this acreage in 2020, and accepting a five-year average of 173.4 bushels per acre, the survey predicts a 15.3 billion bushel crop. The question is whether the projected volume of corn will be planted given the likelyhood of a wet spring, reminiscent of 2019. Prices for may be depressed given competition from Latin America also influencing decions on crop selection.

 

The Survey suggests that 80.6 million acres will be planted to soybeans, up six percent from 2019. Optimism, based on conclusion of the Phase-One Agreement with China and the hope that African Swine Fever will be controlled, have contributed to the responses by farmers concerning their intentions for the 2020 crop.


 

Publix To Build Distribution Center in Greensboro, NC.

03/02/2020

Publix has broken ground on the tenth Company distribution center, the first to be located in North Carolina. The facility, extending over 940,000 square feet, will be completed by the end of 2022. Publix operates 123 stores in the Carolinas and Virginia, justifying the erection of the distribution center to service the operating region.


Existing Publix DC

 

McDonald's Upstages Wendy's Breakfast Debut

03/02/2020

McDonald's declared Monday March 2nd National Egg McMuffin Day.  Patrons downloading an offer obtained a free Egg McMuffin® over the breakfast hour extending from 06hh to 10h30.  It is not simply a coincidence that McDonald's initiated the promotion on the day that Wendy's opened stores to serve breakfast.

 

At least we now have an additional chain serving breakfast contributing to more eggs consumed.

 

 


 

Position Opening –Packing Plant Maintenance Technician

03/01/2020

Lathem Family Farms has an opening for a qualified maintenance technician with extensive experience on MOBA graders.

 

This position reports to the General Manager of Processing and the incumbent will be responsible for coordinating and performing routine maintenance, repairs and optimization of processing equipment.

 Lathem Family Farms, located in North Georgia offers a competitive salary and benefits.

 

Applicants should submit an application with a CV documenting training and experience to Robb Williams – rwilliams@lathemfarms.com or phone (706) 693 4336


 




































































































































































































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