Editorial

USDA Meat And Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program

The USDA has added $22 million to the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program that now has attained $54.6 million.  The latest infusion will fund 111 projects in 37 states.

 

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, stated, “The meat and poultry inspection readiness grants will help meat and poultry processors make necessary facility improvements, expand their businesses and strengthen the Nation’s food supply chain.”  He added, “These grants are one part of USDA meat and poultry supply chain initiatives and will contribute to a transformation of the food system”.

 

Recipients of grants can receive assistance through the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical program launched in March 2022. Improvements and expansion funded through the MPIRG will allow processors to qualify for federal inspection or a State Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.  This allows small processors to sell product across state lines to develop new markets.

 

The USDA release provided examples of grant recipients in states including Oklahoma, Maine, and South Dakota who have purchased equipment to modernize plants and conform to FSIS protocols.

 

Investment in excess of $55 million in small plants must be carefully monitored to ensure that expenditure is consistent with program objectives.  An even more difficult task facing USDA will be to evaluate the return on expenditure of public funds to producers, communities and the supply chain.

 

The USDA, under the current Administration, believes that disruption of the supply chain, as a result of COVID in 2020, was a consequence of concentration of red meat processing in a few large plants.  Sprinkling money among many small enterprises will not necessarily move the needle or provide the Nation with greater food security.  Supporting labor-intensive local facilities may make for good politics. Ultimately, economies of scale and logistics inherent in the model followed by the “Big Four” and most second-tier packers will be responsible for supplying the current and future needs of domestic and export markets.  The U.S. operates a free-market economy and attempts at manipulation by the USDA will ultimately be futile and wasteful.

 

Poultry Industry News

Turkey Month, November 2022

Monthly Turkey Production and Prices, November 25th 2022

 

Poult Production and Placement:

The November 17th 2022 edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 26.74 million eggs in incubators on November 1st 2022 compared to 26.50 million eggs on November 1st 2021* The November set was up 0.9 percent (240,00 eggs) from November 2021 but 90,000 eggs higher than the previous month of October 2022.

 

A total of 22.46 million poults were hatched during October 2022 up 2.8 percent compared to 21.85 million in October 2021*. The October 2022 hatch was up 0.9 percent (205,000 poults) from the previous month of September 2022.

 

A total of 20.47 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in October 2022, compared to 19.79 million in October 2021*. The October placement was 3.4 percent, (689,000 poults) more than the month of October 2021. This data confirms disposal of 1.98 million poults during the month. Approximately 8.8 percent of the October 2022 hatch was not placed.

 

For the twelve-month period November 2021 through October 2022 inclusive, 271.98 million poults were hatched and 253.17 million were placed. This documents disposal of 18.81 million poults over the 12-month period, corresponding to 6.9 percent of all poults hatched.

* USDA revision from previous monthly report.

 

 

Turkey Production:

The November 18th edition of the new format USDA Turkey Market News Report confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-


 


Broiler Month, November 2022

Monthly Broiler Production and Prices, November 24th 2022.

 

Chick Placements.

According to the November 23rd USDA Broiler Hatchery Reports 941.7 million eggs were set over four weeks extending from October 22nd through November 12th 2022, down four percent from the corresponding 4-week period in 2021.

 

Total placements for the U.S. over the four-week period amounted to 744.7 million chicks. Claimed average hatchability for the period averaged 80.2 percent (80.5 percent past four-week period) for eggs set three weeks earlier. Each 1.0 percent change in hatchability represents 1.9 million chicks placed per week with the current range of weekly settings. Placements were up 3.8 percent compared to the corresponding weeks in 2021.  

 

Cumulative chick placements for the period January 8th 2022 through November 19th amounted to 8.66 billion chicks, approximately two percent higher than the corresponding period in 2021.

 

Low chick placement during 2021 and the first quarter of 2022 was attributed to setting a proportion of hatching eggs with depressed fertility that were derived from high-yield breed combinations selected by some integrators. Additional breeder flocks were placed to compensate for reduced fertility and their contribution is reflected in broilers harvested during the second quarter of 2022 onwards.

 

According to the November 21st edition of USDA Chickens and Eggs pullet breeder chicks placed during October amounted to 8.78 million up 5.0 percent from October 2021 and up 0.6 million chicks or 6.7 percent higher than the previous month of September 2022. Broiler breeder hen complement attained 62.6 million in October 2022.

 

Broiler Production

 

According to the new format November 18th USDA Broiler Market News Report for the processing week ending November 12th 2022, 176.4 million broilers were processed at 6.49 lbs. live. This was 1.2 percent more than the 174.4 million broilers processed during the corresponding week in the previous month of October 2022 and 6.6 percent more than the 165.4 million processed during the corresponding week in November 2021. Broilers processed year-to-date amounted to 7.66 billion, 2.4 percent more than for the corresponding period in 2021.


 


Poultry Meat Projection

Updated USDA-ERS Poultry Meat Projection for November 2022.

 

On November 17th 2021 the USDA-Economic Research Service released updated production and consumption data with respect to broilers and turkeys, covering 2021 (actual), an update for 2022 and a projection for 2023.

 

Compared to 2021, broiler RTC production in 2022 was increased 2.4 percent in the November report to 45,974 million lbs. RTC (20.897 million metric tons.). Per capita consumption in 2022 will be 1.4 percent higher compared to 2021 at 98.8 lbs. (44.9 kg.). Exports will represent 15.7 percent of RTC production in 2022 attaining 7,212 million lbs. (3.278 million metric tons) comprising RTC leg quarters, other products and feet.

 

The projection for 2023 is for 46,825 million lbs. (21.284 million metric tons) with a per capita consumption of 100.6 lbs. (45.7 kg.) and exports of 7,370 million lbs. (3.350 million metric tons).

 

Turkey production for 2022 compared to 2021 will be 6.7 percent lower at 5,188 million lbs. (2.358 million metric tons) RTC. The November projection of per capita consumption for 2022 was 3.3 percent lower than in 2021 at 14.8 lbs. (6.7 kg.), despite extensive promotions and introduction of further-processed items. Export volume for 2022 was reduced 23.9 percent to 417 million lbs. (0.190 million metric tons) from 2021. Values for production and consumption of RTC turkey in 2022 are considered to be realistic, given the prevailing economy, variable weekly poult placements, production levels, losses from HPAI and inventories.

 

The November USDA forecast for the turkey industry in 2023 comprised annual production of 5,580 million lbs. (2.536 million metric tons) with consumption of 15.7 lbs. (7.1 kg.) per capita.

 

Production values for the broiler and turkey segments of the U.S. poultry meat industry are tabulated below:-

Parameter

2021

(actual)

2022

(update)

Difference % 2021

to 2022

2023

(projection)

Broilers

       

Production (million lbs.)

44,898

45,974

+2.4

46,825

Consumption (lbs. per capita)

96.6

98.8

+1.9

100.6

Exports (million lbs.)

7,355

7,212

-4.3

7,370

Proportion of production (%)

16.4

15.7

-4.3

15.7

         

Turkeys

       

Production (million lbs.)

5,558

5,188

-6.7

5,580

Consumption (lbs. per capita)

15.3

14.6

-4.6

15.7

Exports (million lbs.)

548

 417

-23.9

425

Proportion of production (%)

 9.9

8.0

-19.2

7.6

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook released November 17th 2022

 

The export projections do not allow for a breakdown in trade relations with existing partners including Mexico and China nor the impact of catastrophic diseases including HPAI and vvND in either the U.S. or importing nations.

 

The projection takes into account declining exports to China, ranked second by volume in 2021 with imports of 460,159 metric tons valued at $864 million with a unit price of $1,875 per ton. Average unit price for U.S. broiler exports including parts and feet but excluding imports by China, attained $1,139 per metric ton during 2021. For the first nine months of 2022 China imported 480,927 tons of broiler products valued at $855 million including feet at an average unit price of $1,778 per ton.

 

Subscribers are referred to the monthly update of production and cold storage inventories of broilers and turkeys and exports posted in each edition of CHICK-NEWS with the previous monthly data under the STATISTICS tab.


 

U.S. Meat Exports

U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports in January-September 2022

 

Total exports of bone-in broiler parts and feet for the first three quarters of 2022 attained 2,815,978 metric tons, 5.0 percent more than during the corresponding months in 2021 (2,681,327 metric tons). Total value of exports increased by 20.6 percent to $3,960 million ($2,916 million 2021).

 

Unit price is constrained by the fact that leg quarters comprise over 95 percent of broiler meat exports by volume (excluding feet). From the first quarter of 2021 to date unit value of leg quarters has increased consistent with international demand. Despite the recent welcome increase in unit price, leg quarters represent a relatively low-value commodity lacking in pricing power. Exporters of commodities are subjected to competition from domestic production in importing nations. Generic products such as leg quarters are vulnerable to trade disputes and embargos based on real or contrived disease restrictions.

 

During January-September 2022 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 2,840,671 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $4,027 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,418 per metric ton, 14.5 percent higher in unit value than for January-September 2021 ($1,239 per metric ton).

 

The NCC breakdown of chicken exports during January-September 2022 by proportion and unit price for each broiler category compared with the corresponding months in 2021 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-


 


Federal Maritime Commission Rules Criticized by Congress

Representatives David G. Valado (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Adrian Smith (R-NE) and other co-sponsors of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 have addressed a letter to the Federal Maritime Commission protesting the regulations framed by the Commission.

 

According to press reports, the regulations provide for undue latitude on the part of ocean freight companies to reject export cargos on the basis of “profitability and compatibility with business development strategy”.

 

Peter Friedmann, Executive Director of the Agricultural Transport Coalition, is urging the Federal Maritime Commission to revise the proposed rule and address issues that should have been resolved following passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.  During the COVID pandemic, shippers took advantage of U.S. demand to return empty containers to Asia, depriving U.S. agriculture and manufacturers of the opportunity to export goods.

 

Pork, Chicken paws and fruit are shipped westbound across the Pacific, requiring availability of refrigerated containers that are in short supply.  This reality coupled with the profit motives of ocean shippers has denied many exporters business opportunities and the resulting inflation in transport costs has limited markets in Asia for U.S. products.


 

NCC Appoints Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Manager

Joshua Ricken has been appointed to the position of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Manager for the National Chicken Council.  He will assist Dr. Ashley Peterson with issues related to the environment, workplace safety and welfare.

 

Ricken graduated from Elon University, NC. majoring in Environmental Science and Political Science.  He interned with the NCC in 2018 and went on to earn his JD from the Elon Law School and concurrently a master's degree in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.

In welcoming Joshua, Mike Brown, President of the NCC stated, "his education experience and background in the broiler industry will be an asset to our members and help advance NCC priorities".


 

Tyson Partnership with Tanmiah Receives Saudi Government Approval

The Government of Saudi Arabia has granted approval for Tyson Foods to purchases 15 percent of the Tanmiah Food Company subsidiary Agriculture Development Company and to purchase   sixty percent of the equity of Supreme Food Processing Company.  With the support of Tyson Foods, Tanmiah intends to expand within Saudi Arabia and to extend operations through the Middle East.


 

Essential™ Shows Potential Benefit for Drug-Free and Organic Turkey Production

As the U.S. broiler industry transitions to broiler growing programs devoid of antibiotic growth promoters and ionophore anticoccidials in feed, optimal intestinal function becomes critical to maximizing profit margin. The broiler industry in Brazil is in many respects ahead of the U.S. with implementation of NAE programs, based on the restraints imposed by importing nations. Broiler producers in Brazil have evaluated and selected phytogenic feed additives that modulate the intestinal microbiome and promote the integrity and absorptive capability of the duodenal and jejunal mucosa. 

 

Functional oils are extensively incorporated in broiler diets in Brazil based on laboratory and controlled field evaluation following a comprehensive appreciation of the mode of action at the molecular and microbiological levels.  Functional oils have been shown to demonstrate a biological activity that extends beyond their metabolizable energy values. 

 

Essential™ is a proprietary combination of castor oil and an extract from cashew nut shells, heat-treated to 200 C. Essential™ is patented in the U.S. and is now manufactured by Oligo Basics Inc. in Georgia. The parent company located in Cascavel, PR, Brazil was established in 1999 to develop and commercialize non-antibiotic growth promoters.

 

The active molecule in castor oil is ricinoleic acid representing over 90 percent of the fatty acid content.  This compound is antimicrobial, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory in its activity within the intestinal tract.  Heat-treated liquid extract of cashew nut shells contains cardanol a decarboxylated derivative of anacardic acid. Cardol, an alkylresorcinol is a second active component with selective anti-bacterial properties.  Laboratory and field evaluation have demonstrated synergistic activity when cashew nut shell liquid is combined with castor oil in a stable mixture formulated as a feed additive. The product enhances immune response with specific activity against subclinical coccidiosis that represents a challenge when growers are reliant on hatchery-administered vaccine.

 

It appeared likely that benefits from Essential™ obtained by broiler producers will be applicable to turkeys, Accordingly in 2020, Essential™ was evaluated as a feed additive for turkey toms by a research team led by Dr. Peter Ferket at the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University.  Essential™ was supplemented through 12 weeks of age and was compared to monensin at 66 ppm and non-medicated control poults in a replicate floor pen trial. 

 

At 12 weeks of age, body weight of controls was 18.90 lb. compared to the monensin treatment at 20.88 lb. and the Essential™ treatment attaining 19.71 lb.  Turkeys in both the monensin and Essential™ treatments were significantly higher than the control with monensin in turn significantly higher than Essential™.  There was no difference in feed intake, ranging from 37.25 lb. (control) kg to 38.50 lb. (monensin) with Essential™ at 38.06 lb.  There was no difference in mortality among treatments that ranged from 5.6 percent for Essential™ to 6.7 percent for the control.

 

At 21 days of age, the monensin treatment demonstrated the highest surface area of intestinal mucosa at 617 μm2 compared to Essential™ at 549 μm2 but this treatment was not significantly different from either the monensin or control treatments.

 

In evaluating the trial, the authors presumed that all poults were subjected to low-level coccidiosis, given that recycled poultry litter was placed in the pens.  Both functional oils and monensin improved weight gain over the first 12-weeks of the growing period but monensin contributed to the most favorable feed conversion ratio.

 

Monensin has both growth promoting and anti-coccidial properties and these actions contributed to the enhanced weight gain and feed conversion efficiency.

 

Although Essential™ was not as beneficial as monensin in promoting performance through 12-weeks, if turkeys are to be raised under drug free feeding systems, Essential™ may enhance performance and return over feed and other variable costs. This is possible through extending protection provided by day-old coccidiosis vaccine, thereby potentially reducing the emergence of clostridial enterotoxemia and histomoniasis. In a drug-free or organic production program, Essential™ will contribute to growth promotion through antioxidant and immunomodulatory action within the jejunum. Feed conversion efficiency may be enhanced by supplementing poult diets with Essential™ through increasing the absorptive surface area of the mucosa compared to non-supplemented controls.

 

For additional information contact Dr. Joan Torrent Technical director Oligo Basics jtorrent@oligobasics.com (952) 451-6968

 

Ferket, P. et al, Effects of Functional Oils on the Growth, Carcass and Meat Characteristics and Intestinal Morphology of Commercial Turkey Toms. Poultry Science doi/10.1016/j.psj.2020.03.050


 

Robert Lighthizer Receives Mansfield Award from USMEF

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has announced that Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative in the previous administration, will receive the Michael J. Mansfield Award.  This award named for the late Senator Mansfield (D-MT), Majority Leader of the Senate, recognizes exceptional dedication and commitment to the success of USMEF and hence the meat industry. As the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Lighthizer was involved in key trade negotiations including the Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement with China. 

 

In commenting on the award, Ambassador Lighthizer stated, "I am truly honored to receive the Michael J. Mansfield Award as I have known some of the other recipients and they all did a great job for this country".  He added, " Our office worked closely with USMEF through several negotiations and hopefully benefited the people USMEF represents".


 

USDA Extends Comment Period for Proposed PSA Regulations

Responding to Congressional pressure and requests by agricultural organizations, the USDA has extended, by six weeks, the comment period for responses to the proposed Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) regulations.  The initial deadline for comment for the proposed regulations was January 17th.

 

The “Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity under the Packers and Stockyards Act” initiative would represent a revision to the 1921 Act intended to “prohibit certain prejudices against market-vulnerable individuals that tend to exclude or disadvantage covered producers in those markets”. The intended regulations date from the Obama Administration. The USDA, under then and now current Secretary, Tom Vilsack, function under the misapprehension that contract growers and raisers of beef and pork are disadvantaged by integrators and packers.  Accordingly, he and the USDA intend to restructure the livestock industry to resolve nonexistent problems but with the likely potential of generating disruption through unintended consequences.

 

The socialistic programs and intentions of USDA will be curtailed by the 118th Congress that, among other activities, will have to frame the Farm Bill that will deprive a number of current and intended USDA programs of funding.


 

USPOULTRY Funds Research Projects

USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation have distributed $400,000 in research grants for five projects.

 

The projects approved by the Foundation Research Advisory Committee included:

  • Development of a live, attenuated vaccine for reoviral arthritis and hepatitis in turkeys – University of Minnesota with an endowing foundation gift from West Liberty Foods
  • Development of vaccines for the control of chicken spotty liver disease – Iowa State University
  • Detection and control of processing-tolerant Campylobacter on broiler carcasses – University of Georgia with a foundation gift from Mar-Jac Poultry
  • Developing a broad-spectrum bacterial vaccine to protect against chondronecrosis in broilers – University of Arkansas with a foundation gift from George’s, Inc.
  • Assessing the physiological stressors due to injection of nitrogen during ventilation shutdown – North Carolina State University

 

Sad Passing of Dr. Peter Woolcock

CHICK-NEWS notes the sad passing of Dr. Peter Woolcock who spent 22 years with the California Laboratory Diagnostic System in both Fresno and Davis before retirement in 2013.

 

A native of Great Britain, Dr. Woolcock received undergraduate degrees from Birmingham University and a doctorate in microbiology from Leeds University in 1974.  He immigrated to the U.S. in 1986 and assumed the position of Senior Research Associate at the Cornell University Duck Research Laboratory.  He joined CAHFS-Fresno as an avian virologist in 1991 transferring to the Davis laboratory in 2009.

 

He provided specialist virology services to the West Coast industry applying then current procedures.  Dr. Woolcock was noted for his expertise and willingness to assist poultry health professionals and academics with diagnostic virology and applied research projects. His expertise was in isolating viruses responsible for clinical outbreaks of disease followed by characterization applying classical laboratory techniques. His skills were instrumental in identifying a highly virulent strain of IBDV in the late 1980s facilitating eradication. Some of his isolates from field cases were used as vaccine candidates and for autogenous products.

 

His enthusiastic cooperation with the profession will be missed.

 


 

Cooper Farms Generosity

Cooper Farms has donated more than $1 million in cash and products during the past year to local communities.  The company based in Oakwood, OH., is a major producer of turkeys and eggs with a long tradition of generosity. This is exemplified by donations during 2022 including 200,000 lbs. of product to food banks and $550,000 to area first responders and to fund student scholarships.


 

Cargill Dhttp://www.chick-news.com/images/Post_Images/8543image.jpgesignates President and CEO in Planned Succession

On January 1st, Brian Sikes will assume the titles of president and CEO.  He will replace David MacLennan who will become Executive Chair of the Board.  Sikes has served since 2013 and was involved in a number of strategic acquisitions including the partnership with Continental Grain to acquire Sanderson Farms.

 

Brian Sikes is a 31-year veteran of the company, and his appointment reflects the longstanding policy of appointing executives from within the company.

 

In commenting on his successor, MacLennan noted, “As Cargill continues to navigate dynamic global markets, both operational excellence and a clearly articulated vision driven by purpose and values will define the company’s success and there is no better person than Brian to lead Cargill.”


 

Tyson Charity Donation

According to the Enid News & Eagle, Tyson Foods donated 21 tons of chicken to the local community.  The event was organized by associates of the 51st Street Plant in Enid, OK. With good planning and the assistance of the City police force, waiting times for distribution to the needy were at a minimum.  Melissa Robrahn, H.R. Manager for the plant, stated, “I think it’s a great feeling to be able to provide back to your community. At Tyson we are really proud to be able to do this for our second year. So after the turnout we had last year, we felt there was a big need for it in our community.”


 

Class Action Lawsuit Against Turkey Producers to Proceed

U.S. District Judge, Virginia M. Kendall of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, has ruled that the class action lawsuit against major turkey producers, filed in 2019, will proceed.  The plaintiffs allege collusion and price fixing through exchange of information on turkey production either overtly or through subscription to the AgriStats benchmarking reports.

 

Defendants include Butterball, Cargill, Inc., Cooper Farms, Hormel Foods Corp. (owners of Jennie-O), House of Raeford, Farbest Foods, Foster Farms, Perdue Farms, Prestage Farms and Tyson Foods.  AgriStats is a non-producing defendant.

 

Previous lawsuits alleging price fixing by broiler integrators have been settled, suggesting a similar course for turkey producers.


 

Perdue Farms to Establish Pet Treat Plant

Perdue Farms will rehabilitate an existing food processing plant in Shelby, located in Western Michigan, to produce pet treats.  The project will involve an investment of $27 million and will employ 100 residents of Oceana County.  Products will be marketed under the Spot Farms™ and Full Moon™ pet treat brands.

 

Ron Maynard, Executive Director of the Oceana County Economic Alliance noted, "this is a great win for the village of Shelby and the County, we are pleased that Perdue Farms has chosen to invest in our community".


 

Pilgrims Pride Reports on Q3 2022

In a press release dated October 26th Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (PPC) announced results for the 3rd Quarter of FY 2022 ending September 25th. The report includes operations in the U.S., Mexico, the E.U. and the U.K.

 

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)

 

3rd Quarter Ending

September 25th 2022

September 26th 2021

Difference (%)

Sales:

$4,468,969

$3,827,566

+16.8

Gross profit:

$497,270

$371,843

+33.7

Operating income:             

$339,202

$120,777

+180.8

Pre-tax Income

Net Income / (loss)

            $324,748

            $258,999

$91,220

$60,835

+256.0

+325.7

Diluted earnings per share:

$1.08

$0.25

+332.0

Gross Margin (%)

11.1

9.7

+14.4

Operating Margin (%)

7.6

3.2

+137.5

Profit Margin (%)

5.8

1.6

+262.5

Long-term Debt and lease obligations:

$3,452,805

        $3,564,263

         -3.1

12 Months Trailing:

 

 

 

           Return on Assets    (%)

13.9

 

 

           Return on Equity    (%)

35.0

 

 

           Operating Margin   (%)

                    11.4

 

 

           Profit Margin          (%)

5.4

 

 

Total Assets ’22 22.7% / ’21 25.8% intangibles

$9,079,012

        $8,913,205

          +1.9

Market Capitalization  November 1st

$5,600,000

        $7,610,000

         -26.4

 

Notes for the 2nd Quarter:

SGA ’22 $158 million comprising 3.5% of sales compared to ’21 $251 million at  6.5% of sales

Foreign Currency loss $54 thousand ’22; $2.4 million ‘21

Tax payment $65.7 million ’22; $30.3 million’21.

Miscellaneous income ’22 19.8 million; $1.4 million ’21.

 

52-Week Range in Share Price:  $20.23 to $34.66     50-day Moving average  $24.79

Market Close Oct. 26th pre-release  $22.57;  Market Close Oct. 27th $23.27

Forward P/E 8.4             5-year Beta 1.0

 

 

 

In reviewing the relative revenue and contribution to operating profit, the following proportions of Company totals were derived from data presented:-

 

Geographic Segment     Proportion of Revenue    Contribution to Operating Profit

             U.S.                               63.5%                                      99.9%

             U.K. and  E.U.              26.9%                                        4.1%

             Mexico                           9.6%                                       (4.0)%

            

 

In commenting on Q3 results Fabio Sandri, CEO of Pilgrim's Pride Corp. stated, “During the third quarter, we experienced significant changes in market fundamentals. To navigate these challenges, our team members maintained their determination and focus on our operations.  Throughout the quarter, commodity cutout values in the U.S. declined from five-year highs while inflationary pressures continued to mount”.  

 

Sandri continued “Our strong performance in the U.S. highlights the strength and effectiveness of our strategy.   Our diversified portfolio offerings across multiple bird sizes helps mitigate volatility, whereas our Key Customer relationships cultivated profitable growth for all involved.   When these factors are combined with our relentless focus on operational excellence, we demonstrated our ability to drive strong performance throughout a challenging environment,”

 

In commenting on non-U.S. businesses Sandri opined “Despite continued inflationary headwinds and a challenging consumer environment, our U.K. and Europe business improved its adjusted EBITDA from the previous quarter and previous year.   Our Mexico business experienced a decline in sales and profitability relative to prior year and the prior quarter given seasonal changes in demand and continued issues with bird mortality due to disease. The Mexico business has historically experienced significant quarter-over-quarter earnings volatility. Nonetheless, we remain confident in the business and its long-term prospects,”

 

With respect to ESG Sandri stated “I am proud of our progress to date in sustainability and look forward to continuing our journey towards Net Zero, especially as it simultaneously strengthens our business and creates a better future for all of our team members and their communities.   I am very confident that these efforts, when combined with our team’s ability to consistently execute our strategy, will help drive our vision of becoming the best and most respected company in our industry, even under the most difficult circumstances,”


 

Passing of John Y. Brown, Jr.

One-time owner and developer of the KFC brand, John Y. Brown, Jr., an attorney by profession, died on November 22nd in his hometown of Lexington, KY at the age of 88.  In 1964, Brown purchased the technology and rights for Kentucky Fried Chicken from founder, Colonel Harland Sanders for $2 million, representing $20 million in current value.  Over a seven-year period, Brown promoted and franchised KFC, establishing 600 restaurants in the U.S and expanding internationally by 1971.  He sold the enterprise to Heublein, Inc., a liquor company, intending to diversify into food.  The sale that netted $30 million, (equivalent to $225 million in 2022 value) allowed Brown to enter politics. 

 

Following his marriage in 1979 to Phyllis George, a sportscaster and former Miss America. He won a single term as Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1979. He operated the state as a business, reducing expenditure by shrinking the bloated workforce of government employees and actively promoting Kentucky as a favorable business environment.  He withdrew from the 1984 Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat due to incapacitation following bypass surgery during the last year of his tenure as Governor.

 

His later career included investment in a number of enterprises, including a KFC clone, none of which achieved the stellar the success of the original brand under his ownership.


 

Seaboard Q3 Report Includes Butterball Profit

On November 1st Seaboard Corporation (SEB) filed SEC Form 10-Q reporting results for Q3 of FY 2022 ending October 1st.  The company is a conglomerate with segments dedicated to pork production, grain milling, commodity trading, marine transport and power generation. Seaboard owned 50 percent of the equity of Butterball LLC at the end of the first quarter with warrants to purchase an additional five percent of the shares, expiring in 2025.  On April 19th Seaboard exercised rights to purchase the additional equity thereby acquiring a controlling interest with 55 percent of the equity of the turkey producer.

 

For Q3 FY 2022 SEB earned $134 million on revenue of $2,895 million with an EPS of $125.78. Comparable values for Q3 of FY 2021 ending October 2nd were net income of $103 million on revenue of $2,276 million with an EPS of $81.50

 

On October 1st Seaboard posted total assets of $7,744 million with long-term debt and lease obligations of $1,375 million.  Seaboard had a market capitalization of $4,405 million on November 3rd with 79 percent of equity held internally. The 12-month trailing operating margin was 5.1 percent with a profit margin of 4.8 percent. Return on assets and equity were 4.8 and 10.6 percent respectively. During the past 52 weeks share price has ranged from $3,295 to $3,885 with a 50-day moving average of $3,669.

 

Effective April 19th Seaboard was the majority shareholder of Butterball LLC., ranked as the second largest turkey producer in the U.S. The performance of this now-incorporated subsidiary, producing 850 million tons of RTC product in 2021 from four complexes, is reflected in the Seaboard Corp. SEC Q-10 submission. For Q3 FY 2022 Butterball posted sales of $552 million compared to $464 million in Q3 FY 2021. Net income attained $63 million generating a profit margin of 11.4 percent compared to a loss of $(18) million for the corresponding 3rd Quarter of 2021. As of October 1st 2022 Butterball LLC posted assets of $1,200 million.

 

The SEC 10-K report includes the following statement:- “The Turkey Segment, accounted for using the equity method, represents Seaboard’s investment in Butterball, LLC. The Turkey segment, accounted for using the equity method, represents Seaboard’s investment in Butterball, LLC. The increase in income from affiliates for the three month period of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 was primarily the result of higher selling prices due to product mix and grain-related mark-to-market derivative contract gains, partially offset by lower volumes of turkey products sold and higher feed costs.

Management is unable to predict market prices for turkey products or the cost of feed for future periods; however, management anticipates this segment will be profitable for the remainder of 2022”


 

Presidential Pardon for Thanksgiving Turkeys

In the 75th year of a tradition established in 1947 by President Harry Truman, President Biden granted a Presidential Pardon to two turkeys raised by Ronnie Parker, Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, on his farm in Monroe, NC.  The Toms named Chocolate and Chip, weighing in at 47 pounds, were transported to Washington for the White House event.

 

In his address, President Biden urged Americans to remember to feel and express gratitude during the holiday and to remember the reason for Thanksgiving.

 

The reprieved Toms will be housed at the North Carolina State University, Prestage Department of Poultry Science Farm where they will live out their remaining lifespan.

 

The annual turkey pardon reminds Americans of the importance of agriculture and the contribution of poultry to the Nation’s food supply.


 

Beyond Meat Reports on Q3 2022

In a press release dated November 9th Beyond Meat Inc. (BYND) announced results for the 3rd Quarter of FY 2022 ending October 1st. The Company disappointed on the top line with revenue of $82.5 million against a consensus of $93.6 million. The bottom line miss was a negative EPS of $1.60 against an expectation of a negative $1.15

 

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)

 

2nd Quarter Ending

October 1st 2022

October 2nd 2021

Difference (%)

Sales:

$82,500

$106,432

-22.5

Gross profit:

$(14,840)

$22,976

-164.6

Operating income:

$(89,741)

$(53,998)

-66.2

Pre-tax Income

Net Income / (loss)

$(92,932)

$(101,678)

$(54,244)

$(54,816)

-71.5

-85.5

Diluted earnings per share:

$(1.60)

$(0.87)

-83.9

Gross Margin (%)

(17.9)

21.5

-183.3

Operating Margin (%)

(108.8)

(50.7)

-114.6

Profit Margin (%)

(123.2)

(51.5)

-139.2

Long-term Debt and lease obligations:

$1,192,655

$1,152,715

+3.5

12 Months Trailing:

Return on Assets (%)

-16

Return on Equity (%)

-1,167

Operating Margin (%)

-76

Profit Margin (%)

-86

Total Assets July 2nd.

$1,141,287

$1,379,399

-17.3

Market Capitalization November 10th/August 5th

$828,950

$2,160,000

-61.6

 

Notes for the 3rd Quarter derived from data presented:

SGA ’22 $55 million comprising 64% of sales compared to ’21 $56 million or 53% of sales

R&D ’22 $13 million comprising 16% of sales compared to ’21 at $15 million or 14% of sales

 

Inventory: In Q3’22 represented 299% of sales compared to 227% in Q3 2021

In Q3 ’22 17.4 million lbs. sold compared to 19.9 million lbs. in Q3 ‘21

In Q3 ’22 Unit revenue attained $4.74/lb. compared to $5.35/lb. in Q3 2021

In Q3 ’22 each of claimed 188,000 outlets received an average of 92.5 lbs. product compared to 128,000 outlets receiving 155lbs. in Q3 ‘21

In Q3 2022 U.S sales represented 75 percent of revenue of which 74 percent was retail, the remainder, food service.

In Q3 2022 International sales represented 25 percent of revenue of which 55 percent was retail, the remainder, food service.

52-Week Range in Share Price: $85.44 down to $11.56. 50-day Moving average $16.24

Forward P/E 666

 

In commenting on Q2 2022 results, Ethan Brown Founder and CEO stated, “As we shared last month, Beyond Meat is executing a full force pivot to a sustainable growth model, emphasizing the achievement of cash flow positive operations within the second half of 2023. This transition is designed to fortify our business in the near-term as record inflation continues to pose a challenge for our brand and category, positioning Beyond Meat to endure and advance toward our long-term objective of being a major protein provider within the $1.4 trillion meat industry.”

 

Brown continued, “Though this quarter’s results are disappointing, with a sharp decline in revenues and associated knock-on effects across the income statement including gross margin driven by a challenging macro environment, we are implementing aggressive measures with urgency to positively impact our near-term operations. Our path forward comprises three key actions: significant reduction of our operating expenses; intensified focus on cash flow accretive inventory management activities; and sales and marketing programs that are tightly focused on opportunities and segments that strike the right balance between near-term growth and our most valuable long-term opportunities. We are focusing on the key drivers of our business and are committed to sharing our progress toward delivering them over the coming quarters.”

The report incorporated commentary on the third quarter that included:-

 

“The decrease in net revenue per pound was primarily attributable to strategic but limited price reductions in the U.S. and broader list price reductions in the EU implemented in the first quarter of 2022, increased trade discounts and unfavorable changes in foreign exchange rates. U.S. retail channel net revenues decreased 11.8% compared to the year-ago period primarily driven by an 11.8% decrease in pounds sold with net revenue per pound staying flat. U.S. foodservice channel net revenues increased 5.6% compared to the year-ago period primarily driven by a 32.2% increase in pounds sold, partially offset by lower net revenue per pound. The decrease in net revenue per pound was primarily due to changes in sales mix and, to a lesser extent, higher trade discounts. International retail channel net revenues decreased 52.3% compared to the year-ago period primarily driven by a 37.0% decrease in pounds sold and a 24.4% decrease in net revenue per pound. The decrease in net revenue per pound was primarily due to list price reductions in the EU implemented in the first quarter of 2022, unfavorable foreign exchange rate impact, changes in sales mix and increased trade discounts. International foodservice channel net revenues decreased 42.2%”

 

Guidance for 2022 included revenue of $400 to $425 Million

 

The reality is that the Company record includes:-

  • An accumulated deficit of $676.4 million.
  • Effective October 30th6 percent of float was short
  • News reports of mismanagement, departures from the C-Suite, failure to execute and deliver on products offered to food service prospects
  • Announced reduction of 19 percent in workforce.
  • Share price off 83.1 percent year-to-date compared to a decline of 21 percent for the S&P Index

 

BYND closed November 9th post release at $11.63 and closed inexplicably up 18% at $38.26. After Q2 results were released on August 4th David Trainer speaking on CNBC correctly pointed to flagging sales and losses recorded among the diverse manufacturers of vegetable protein with extreme competition in the market. (see Report on Maple Leaf Foods Q3 in this edition). Analysts see Beyond Meat running out of cash with a share price below $5. This will create an opportunity for a Grey or even a Black knight (the White knights have passed it over) to acquire and dismember the Company. Tyson Foods correctly assessed the prospects for Beyond Meat when they disposed of their equity before the IPO.


 

Ghana Restricts Poultry Imports

In USDA-FAS GAIN report GH2022-0019, dated November 23rd, announced that the Bank of Ghana will restrict foreign exchange required to import products considered “nonessential”.  On October 31st, the president of Ghana announced a six-month restriction on imported items in an attempt to stabilize the Cedi (national currency), that has lost half its value this year.  Currently, inflation is running at over 37 percent in Ghana.

 

Imports subjected to currency restriction include rice, poultry, vegetable oils, bottled water and a number of consumer items.

 

Over the first nine months of 2022, Ghana imported 39,974 metric tons of broiler products, presumably leg quarters, valued at $50.1 million.  These values were respectively 33 percent and 31 percent lower than the first nine months of 2021.  According to the FAS, the U.S. held 20 percent of the market share of poultry imports.

 

It is probable that either Togo or Benin may emerge as “importers” with illegal trans-shipment to Ghana to satisfy demand.

 


 

Maple Leaf Foods Reports on Q3 of FY 2022

In a press release dated November 8th Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI-TO) announced results for the third quarter of FY 2022 ended September 30th.

 

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 (conversion: CAN$1=US$0.79)

 

3rd Quarter Ending September 30th.

2022

2021

Difference (%)

Sales:

$973,165

$939,028

+3.6

Gross profit:

$65,144

$149,198

-56.3

Operating income:

$(16,068)

$53,637

-130.3

Pre-tax Income

Net Income1

$(183,129)

$(181,286)

$49,246

$35,138

-289.5

-415.9

Diluted earnings per share:

$(1.47)

$0.28

-625.0

Gross Margin (%)

6.7

15.8

-57.6

Operating Margin (%)

-1.7

5.7

-129.8

Profit Margin (%)

-18.6

3.7

-602.7

Long-term Debt and lease obligations:

$1,404,593

$1,311,593

+7.1

12 Months Trailing:

Return on Assets (%)

-0.1

Return on Equity (%)

-14.4

Operating Margin (%)

-0.1

Profit Margin (%)

-5.8

Total Assets

 Intangibles and goodwill as % of assets

$3,509,770

19.0

$3,410,099

23.8

+2.9

Market Capitalization November 11th

$2,315,000

  1. Restructuring charge of $2.3 million. Charge for impairment of goodwill (Plant Protein Segment) of $150.8 million in Q3

 

Q3 2022 Meat Protein Segment:

Sales, $943 million, up 3.8% from Q3 2021.

Adjusted operating earnings $42.3 million down 50.2% from Q3 2021.

 

Q3 2022 Plant Protein Segment:

Sales, $34.4 million, down 9.2% from Q3 2021.

Adjusted operating loss $(29.5) million 2% improvement from Q3 2021.

 

52-Week Range in Share Price: $14.89 to $25.75 50-day Moving average $16.80

Forward P/E 15.6 Beta 0.5

Market Close pre-release November 7th $15.46

Market Open close post-release November 8th $17.39

Insider shareholding 39.6%. Institutional shareholding 27.7%

 

In commenting on Q3 results Michael H. McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods stated, “We are at an important inflection point in our business, grounded in exceptional underlying strength and opportunity even though this is not immediately obvious in current performance or reflected in our share price.” He added “The post pandemic economy has been challenging, but the headwinds it has created are transitional and short term. Quite simply, if global pork markets and labor constraints normalized, we would be delivering above our 14% Adjusted EBITDA margin target in the third quarter of 2022 and expecting that to continue. The good news is we are seeing strong signs of improvement on these fronts, plus we are on track with our London Poultry and Bacon Centre of Excellence projects which will deliver $130 million annually in Adjusted EBITDA once we get through the normal start-up work and are ramped up to full commercial production."

 

Addressing the loss-making Plant Protein Segment McCain noted "In our plant protein business we are firmly on track to meet our Adjusted EBITDA neutral target in the latter half of 2023. Our plans are clearly working. We expect to cut our Adjusted EBITDA losses in the fourth quarter this year by half year-over-year, and we are now examining initiatives which have the potential to take us beyond our target on this path to profitability.

 

McCain concluded, “We do not believe the underlying strength and value of our business, including the significant returns that our major capital investment will soon be delivering, are currently reflected in our share price, yet are optimistic it will in time."

 

The Company provided the following comments on strategy and guidance:-

  • Meat Protein: Expect mid-to-high single digit sales growth in 2022, and Adjusted EBITDA Margin expansion to achieve a target range of 14% - 16% when market conditions normalize.
  • Plant Protein: Targeting to deliver neutral or better Adjusted EBITDA in the latter half of 2023.

 

In late 2021, the Company announced that it was re-evaluating its outlook for the Plant Protein Group and launching a comprehensive review of the overall plant protein category. This decision was driven by a pronounced slowdown in growth rates in the category, particularly in the second half of the year, which fueled the Company’s imperative to identify and thoroughly assess the causes, near and long-term trends, and overall implications. The Company’s analysis confirmed that the very high category growth rates previously predicted by many industry experts are unlikely to be achieved given current customer feedback, experience, buying rates and household penetration. Based on this evaluation, the Company believes that the category will continue to grow at more modest, but still attractive rates. Notwithstanding optimistic predictions in 2021 Maple Leaf Foods took a charge of $150 million on the Plant Protein Segment in Q3

 

The Company announced in May 2022 that it is moving forward with a planned leadership transition plan for the Board and Management. Michael McCain will serve as the Executive Chair of the Board and will continue as CEO for the next year as part of the management transition plan. Curtis Frank, currently the President and COO, will assume the role of CEO during Q2 of 2023.


 

Gary Hall Receives Canadian Poultry Service Industry Award

Gary Hall, Sales and Technical Service Representative for Hybrid Turkeys, was honored with the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canadian Poultry Service Industry at their first post-COVID Workshop held in Banff, Alberta.

 

Gary is a three-decade veteran of Hybrid Turkeys, having managed company farms and operating as an area supervisor.  He subsequently transitioned to full-time technical service, interacting with customers in Canada, the U.S., Latin America and Europe.

 

In commenting on the Award, Gary stated, “One of my greatest accomplishments while with  Hybrid Turkeys was working with a great team of employees and achieving Salmonella negative status on all our operations.

 

Poultry Service Industry Awards are presented annually at the Workshop and recognize outstanding service, dedication and contributions to the poultry industry.


 

ADM Posts Q3 FY 2022 Financial Results

In an October 25th release, Archer-Daniels-Midland Corp. (ADM) posted financial results for the 3rd quarter of fiscal 2022. This Company can be regarded as a bellwether for ‘Mega-Ag’ and the commodities sector. Along with competitors Bunge, Cargill, Cofco and Dreyfus, all are subject to the risks of currency fluctuation, geopolitical events, climatic extremes, and increased cost of ingredients, labor and transport in a competitive world environment still restrained by COVID.

 

For the 3rd Quarter of FY 2022 ending September 30th, net income was $1,031 million on total revenue of $24,683 million.  Comparable figures for the 3rd quarter of fiscal 2021 ending September 30th 2021 were net income of $526 million on total revenue of $20,340 million. Diluted EPS rose from $0.93 for the 3rd quarter of fiscal 2021 to $1.83 for the most recent quarter.

 

The report noted  “Animal Nutrition results were down versus the prior-year quarter. Pet results were lower in Latin America on lower volumes, partially offset by strong volumes and margins in North America. Softer animal protein demand affected feed volumes” For the 3rd Quarter the Animal Nutrition segment generated $31 million in operating profit out of a combined total of $1,559 million for all segments.

 

In commenting on results, Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano stated “I’m proud of our team for delivering yet another quarter of strong results by supporting the global food system and providing needed nutrition to billions,” said Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. “Global demand remains robust, and our adjusted EPS of $1.86 is a reflection of our team’s expertise in managing dynamic market conditions, as well as the unique benefits of our integrated global value chain and our product portfolio”.

 

Luciano added “Today’s ADM is a resilient company, with a broad global footprint and an array of innovative capabilities that are driving performance for customers, consumers and shareholders. And with strong cash flows, we’re advancing productivity initiatives to enhance cost efficiencies and returns; driving innovation efforts to build new capabilities and growth engines across all of our businesses; and continuing to return capital to our shareholders. We’re well positioned to end 2022 strong, and carry that momentum into 2023.”

 

On September 30th 2022, ADM posted assets of $36,437 million of which $6,364 million comprised goodwill and intangibles, against long-term debt of $8,559 million. The Company had an intraday market capitalization of $52,630 million on November 3rd. ADM trades with a forward P/E of 14.8 and has ranged over a 52-week period from $61.80 to $98.88 with a 50-day moving average of $87.77.  Twelve-month trailing operating margin was 4.3 percent and profit margin 4.2 percent.  Return on assets over the past twelve months was 4.8 percent and the return on equity 17.8 percent.


 

Service Company Injunction

Judge M Gerrard of the U.S. District Court of Nebraska has issued an injunction against Packers Sanitation Services Inc. at the request of the Department of Justice. The Company provides cleaning services for 700 plants using 17,000 workers.

 

The action relates to allegations that the company is employing minors to provide decontamination and cleaning services for plants operated by JBS USA., Tyson Foods and other processors. The injunction also requires Packers Sanitation Services to cooperate with the Federal investigation and illegal hiring. Evidence was presented of false social security numbers, altered records and other evidence of fraud relating to a preliminary review of 40 plants dating from August.

 

Federal investigators ascertained that approximately 30 minors between the ages of 13 and 18 were cleaning equipment in a Grand Island, NE plant and allegedly one employee suffered injuries from contact with corrosive compounds.


 

Wing Stop Posts Q3 Results

On October 26th Wing Stop (WING) released financial results for the 3rd Quarter of FY 2022 ending September 24th. The company generated a net income of $13.4 million on a sales volume of $92.7 million. Twenty one percent of revenue ($20.2 million) was derived from company-owned restaurants.  Net income during Q3 2021 attained $11.3 million on sales of $65.8 million. Diluted earnings per share increased from $0.38 in Q3 of FY2021 to $0.45 for the most recent quarter.

 

Gross margin for company stores was 22.0 percent for Q3 2022 compared to 12.5 percent in Q3 2021. Operating margin declined from 31.7 percent in Q3 2021 to 26.0 percent for the most recent quarter. Domestic same store sales growth attained 6.9 percent compared to 3.9 Percent in Q3 2021. Company owned stores attained 4.3 percent in same store sales growth in Q3 2022 compared to a loss of 0.2 percent in Q3 2021. Digital sales during the most recent quarter represented 62 percent of sales.

 

In commenting on Q3 results, Michael Skipworth, president and CEO stated “We delivered 6.9% domestic same store sales growth, with the majority of this growth driven by an increase in transactions, a demonstration of the momentum and underlying health of our business. This translates to 36.2% domestic same store sales growth on a three-year basis. "He added  "We've opened 167 net new restaurants through the third quarter and are on track to have a record year for restaurant development, enabled by significant bone-in wing deflation strengthening our brand partners' unit economics. This gives us confidence in our ability to deliver another record setting year for Wingstop."

 

Guidance for 2022 includes a low single digit increase in same store sales and 225 new store openings. The Wing Stop model involves franchising compared to Buffalo Wild Wings with a high proportion of Company-owned stores. All but 42 of the 1,898 System wide Wing Stop restaurants are franchised.

 

Wing Stop posted $411.0 million in total assets, of which $100.6 million was represented by intangibles and goodwill. Long-term debt increased 50.8 percent from December 2021 to $708.2 million. There is an accumulated stockholders deficit of $406.6 million. WING has a market capitalization of $4,450 million. WING posted a 52-week range in share price of $67.67 to $178.68 with a 50-day moving average of $132.52. The share trades with a forward P/E of 78.1 percent. Trailing 12-month operating margin is 2.1 percent and profit margin 13.0 percent. The company generated a return on assets of 14.6 percent. WING closed at $134.77 on October 25th pre-release and closed at $155.38 on October 26th.


 

Meeting of the Tyson Foods Contract Poultry Farmer Advisory Council

On November 8th, members of the Tyson Foods’ Contract Poultry Farmer Advisory Council met to review issues relating to contract production.  The event held at the Company Headquarters in Springdale, AR brought together contractors from four states to discuss welfare and interaction, including information on the current business environment.

 

Tyson contracts with 3,600 independent poultry farmers in 18 states.  According to the company release, the average farmer has contracted with Tyson Foods for 17 years and a quarter of growers represent second or third generation farmers affiliated with the company.  Tyson operates in accordance with the Contract Poultry Farmers Bill of Rights and has worked in collaboration with contractors since the late 1940s.

 

Deena Morrison, a contractor who attended the Advisory Council meeting, noted, “We are proud to be contract growers for Tyson because they actively listen to their growers and support them in solving concerns.” David Bray, Group President of Poultry at Tyson Foods, commented, “The success of Tyson Foods depends on the hard work and dedication of our contract growers.  We appreciate that animal husbandry isn’t simply a job – it’s a way of life.”  He added, “The birds our farmers raise benefit consumers by providing a quality, affordable product from a brand they trust.”

 

The collaboration and extensive and mutually beneficial relationship between contractors and integrators, including Tyson Foods, is at variance with the claims of exploitation advanced by the USDA. This misperception has motivated the Agricultural Marketing Service to attempt to impose three new rules to resolve nonexistent problems by modifying the Packers and Stockyards Act.


 

Brazil Increases Value and Volume of Chicken Exports

For the ten months of 2022, Brazil increased the value of chicken meat exports by 29 percent and volume by 5 percent.  According to the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein the value for the first ten months of 2022 attained $8.195 billion and a volume of 4.060 million tons.  Unit value was therefore $2,018 per ton.  For comparison, for the first nine months of 2022 the U.S. exported 2,815 million tons of chicken comprising 96 percent leg quarters valued at $3,960 million with a unit value of $1,407 million.

 

For the ten-month period, Brazil exported 9.2 percent of product to the UAE, an increase of 23 percent over 2021; 5.2 percent of exports were to the Philippines, a 45 percent increase; 5.0 percent to the European Union, up 24 percent and 3.7 percent of exports to South Korea, an increase of 63 percent.

 

Average monthly shipments of chicken by Brazil attained 400,000 tons.


 

South Africa Reviewing of Anti-Dumping Duties

According to USDA-FAS report SF2022-0041 released on November 16th, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) has announced a Sunset Review of anti-dumping duties on frozen bone-in portions of chicken imported from the United States.  The ITAC is responding to an application to review anti-dumping duties from the South African Poultry Association.  The producer group in South Africa maintains that absent a dumping duty, frozen bone-in portions would continue to be imported from the U.S.  The South African Poultry Association claims that bone-in leg quarters are sold below cost, based on the U.S. preference for white meat.  The ITAC will consider whether dumping occurred over the period January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 to determine whether the anti-dumping duty imposed on imports above 71,290 tons will be either removed or retained.

 

Currently, ten nations are subject to anti-dumping duties, although in early August 2022 the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Competition suspended anti-dumping duties on product from Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain for twelve months justified by the increase in the price of food and specifically, protein.  Anti-dumping duties were retained for the United States.

 

As part of the Sunset Review, ITAC will review data submitted by importers, exporters and industry associations.  Completed questionnaires are required by December 9th, 2022. The subsequent investigation may take six months to conclude.


 

New Jersey Farm to Receive $4.2 Million from USDA

Goffle Road Poultry Farm located in Wyckoff, NJ. has received $4.2 million from the USDA Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program.  The money will fund renovations and expansion to produce Halal Chicken.

 

This company is provided as an example of the $223 million in grants and loans to encourage meat and poultry processing by small-scale enterprises. Along with Goffle Road Poultry Farm, 30 plants in 20 states have received funding, including Greater Omaha Packing in Nebraska and Pure Prairie Farms in Charles City, IA.

 

The USDA intends allocating an additional $375 million to “restructure the meat industry”. The benefits to U.S. consumers of scattering $600 million among numerous small producers is questioned.  The incoming Congress should review the basis on which grants are made and to determine whether appropriate controls are in place to establish that public funds are justifiably expended and that the recipients are able to repay loans.

 

It is questioned why the recipients of USDA grants and loans were unable in the first instance to be funded by commercial and agricultural banks on the basis of their business plans. It is also questioned whether recipients conform to the traditional banking criteria of character, collateral and capacity that would be required for a business loan. The USDA characterizes these grants as “investments” whereas in the absence of effective evaluation, scrutiny and pay back they should be regarded as giveaways of public funds.


 

Tyson Foods to Expand Walnut Grove, MS Hatchery

Tyson Foods has announced an expansion of the Walnut Grove, MS. hatchery that supplies their Forest and Carthage complexes.

 

Projected cost of the 16,000 square foot expansion and upgrade will be $18 million and will be completed in stages through the first quarter of 2024.  Last year, Tyson completed a $90 million expansion to the Forest processing plant, creating employment opportunities and adding to the income of the region.


 

Bipartisan Congressional Request for Extension on Proposed P&S Rules

Senators and representatives from agricultural states have addressed a letter to Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, requesting a six-month extension of the comment period relating to the suite of proposed Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S) regulations.  The letter noted that the “inclusive competition and market integrity under P&S requires responses to more than 40 technical issues that may not be adequately defined”.  Previously, the USDA-AMS published proposed rules relating to transparency in poultry growing and contracting and also fairness in relation to the tournament system.  Given the complexity of the responses to the proposed rule and its implications in terms of food production, the Congressional signatories to the letter are justified in requesting an extension for comments.

 

It is noted that many of the provisions of the intended rule were, in fact, developed during the Obama Administration and approved by Secretary Vilsack in his first term as USDA Secretary.  Many of the requirements were, in fact, set aside by his successor, Dr. Sonny Perdue, under the Trump Administration.


 

Alltech Establishes Organic Mineral Production Plant in Viet Nam

Alltech recently opened a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Dong Nai, Viet Nam. This is the eighth Bioplex® production facility worldwide and has a capacity of 7,000 metric tons, annually.

 

In commenting on the new plant, Dr. Mark Lyons, President and CEO of Alltech, stated, “Our organic mineral program reflects a focus on sustainability in all aspects, from the health of animals, the nutrition of meat, milk and eggs produced, the economic well-being of the producer and the impact we have on our planet’s land and water.”  He added, “Our investment in enhancing our mineral production in Asia reflects our confidence in the market’s continued growth and our alignment with our customers’ commitment to better nutrition from farm to market.”

 

Features incorporated into the design of the plant are consistent with the Alltech principle of working together for a “planet of plenty” ™.  Environmental considerations include:-

 

  • The use of natural gas as a fuel to reduce carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions compared to using fuel oil.
  • Installation of high-pressure clean-in-place pumps to reduce water use.
  • Incorporation of a highly efficient dust collection system.
  • Specifying invertor electric motors to reduce consumption.
  • Application of fluid bed drying to reduce thermal consumption in comparison to spray dryers.

 

The facility is certified by ISO to a 22000:2018, establishing food safety management standards.  In addition, the Alltech Q+ program will be applied to offer a global quality guarantee consistent with all Alltech production facilities that regulates analyses on raw materials and product.

 

Viet Nam produces 18.5 million metric tons of feed with a sharp increase in swine diets attaining 7.8 million metric tons in 2021.  Production of aquatic feeds increased by 40 percent in 2021 to 6 million metric tons.  Broiler feed advanced to 2.1 million metric tons and feed for egg producing flocks increased 11 percent to 2 million metric tons.


 

House of Raeford Completes Feed Mill in Louisiana

House of Raeford, based in North Carolina has completed construction of a feed mill to supply their Arcadia, LA. complex.  Built at a cost of $40 million, the facility has a grain storage capacity of 650,000 bushels and finished feed of 5,500 tons.  The new mill replaces a 1950's vintage plant operating seven days per week.  The 12,500-weekly tonnage from the new mill will supply the complex over 5 working days each week and will have sufficient spare capacity for expansion or unexpected events.


 

Progress in USDA $223 Million Giveaway

The USDA has dispersed the first round of $73 million across 21 projects in 19 states, using the vehicle of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program.  The second phase will comprise $75 million for eight projects through the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program.  A third component will comprise $75 million for four meat and poultry-related projects through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program.

 

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union representing workers in meat packing plants and retail locations, welcomed the USDA attempt to restructure intensive livestock production.  Marc Perrone, President of UFCW International, stated, “As America’s meatpacking and food processing union, UFCW applauds the Biden Administration and the Department of Agriculture for working to improve capacity and create a fairer, more diverse meat and poultry industry.” 

 

Predictably, the Union called for programs that promote training and advance worker welfare. Perrone noted, “Any attempt to expand or improve this industry moving forward must include specific provisions for fair labor standards that protect workers and safeguard the protections already won at unionized processing facilities around the Nation.”

 

If the USDA funds small plants the UFCW will not in fact benefit as these facilities will not be unionized.


 

Impossible Foods Appoints CMO

Peter McGuinness, CEO of Impossible Foods has announced the appointment of Leslie Sims as Chief Marketing and Creative Officer, effective January 1, 2023.  She is currently Chief Creative Officer at Deloitte Digital. 

McGuinness noted, "The plant-based meat category is in its infancy and despite our growth, most of the country still hasn’t heard of us.  We have a real opportunity to create and build not just our own brand but the entire category through greater awareness, approachability and accessibility”.

 

Ms. Sims has worked with restaurants and food manufacturers and has received awards for creativity and public service.


 

IPPE to Incorporate AFIA Biosecurity Program

USPOULTRY announced on November 8th that a special educational program focusing on biosecurity in feed production will be presented at the IPPE.  The event is hosted by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and will take place 09h30 to noon on Wednesday, January 25th.  Registration fee is $65 before January 6th.

 

The program entitled "Biosecurity: Preparedness Must Be Perpetual" will include presentations by experts stressing the need for continued biosecurity with reference to African swine fever and highly pathogenic avian influenza.

 

Dr. Paul Davis, Director of Quality Animal Food Safety and Education for the AFIA stated, "this program will be very valuable to feed manufacturers because we will walk through what steps should be taken in the event of animal disease outbreaks". He added, "the feed industry can play a big role in animal disease prevention and with highly pathogenic avian influenza spreading and African swine fever at our back door, it is important we come together to make biosecurity a priority".


 

Ban on U.S. Exports from Mississippi Following HPAI Diagnosis

Following confirmation of a diagnosis of HPAI in a broiler breeder flock in Lawrence County, MS, Mexico has agreed to limit restrictions on exports to the County. China and Taiwan have imposed statewide bans on poultry products from the entire state of Mississippi.

 

As of November 10th, HPAI has been diagnosed in 262 commercial flocks and 352 backyard flocks.  Close to 45,000,000 birds have been depopulated in 46 states.


 

Sioux Falls, SD. Ballot Opposing Wholestone Plant Fails

A ballot initiative that would have prevented Wholestone Farms from erecting a hog plant in Sioux Falls, SD was rejected by a margin of 52 to 48 percent with 72,000 ballots cast.

 

Luke Minion, Chair of Wholestone Farms Board, expressed gratitude to the voters in Sioux Falls for support, noting that the proposed plant would employ 1,100 workers and process 6 million hogs annually.  Wholestone Farms is owned by 200 family-farms producing hogs.

 

The ballot was initiated by a citizens’ group, Smart Growth Sioux Falls, that received over $1 million from POET, a biofuels company. It is difficult to understand why the Company vigorously opposed the project given that POET is a producer of DDGS fed to hogs. Obviously this was not simply a business decision and was motivated by extrinsic factors. 

 

Approval for the plant has progressed over the past four years, culminating in the ballot initiative.


 

American Proteins, Inc. to Continue Litigation with Tyson Foods

American Proteins, Inc., previously a major renderer in the southeastern states, has sued Tyson Foods alleging violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.  At issue is the alleged monopoly created by Tyson Foods by contracting with Wayne Farms and Koch Foods to acquire raw material to the detriment of API.  Pressure was apparently exerted by Tyson Foods to purchase the four plants owned and operated by API at a discounted value.

 

Tyson moved to dismiss the complaint by API, but Federal Judge Richard W. Story ruled that there was sufficient substance to the claims by API, allowing the lawsuit to continue.


 

Hormel Foods Chairman Earns 2022 Award

Jim Snee, Chairman, President and CEO of Hormel Foods Corporation is the 2022 recipient of the Responsible CEO of the Year, award created by 3BL Media.  The award recognizes CEOs with proven records of bold leadership on environmental social and governance (ESG) commitments.

 

In presenting the award, David Armon the CEO of 3BL Media, noted, "We congratulate the  Responsible CEO Award honorees for leading with purpose and values alongside financial objectives and running their businesses”.

 

In accepting the award, Jim Snee stated, "We are incredibly proud of the role we play in creating equity and education, building food-secure communities and developing food systems to be more sustainable".

 

Hormel Foods has received a number of awards for ESG innovations having been named to the Newsweek 2022 list of Americans Most Trusted Companies. Forbes has recognized Hormel Foods as a world's top female-friendly company and the Company has received Impact Awards from Progressive Grocer.


 

Maple Leaf Foods Victim of Cyber Intrusion

Maple Foods Inc. was a victim of a cyber intrusion on November 6th. In-company IT personnel and third-party experts are working to maintain business continuity and restore service.  Maple Leaf has developed “manual workarounds” to continue operations. In a press conference CEO Michael McCain did not indicate the extent of damage or disruption or when the problem will be resolved but assured customers and stakeholders that the companywill take all possible steps to maintain production and to deliver product to customers.


 

Succession Program for Hubbard Managers Announced

David Fyfe, Global Sales Director of Hubbard, will retire at the end of December 2022.  His tenure with the industry extended over 41 years.

 

Bruno Briand will assume responsibilities for global commercial activities, assisted by Mark Barnes in the Americas and Thomas Verrey in the AMEA Region.  Bruno joined Hubbard in June 2004 and in 2016 was promoted to Commercial Director of the EMEA Region.

 

Mark Barnes is responsible for Hubbard, LLC operations in the Americas, based in Walpole, NH. Thomas Verrey has worked in the Middle East since 2008 and will now extend his activities to Africa and Asia.

 

In commenting on these personnel changes, Olivier Rochard, Managing Director of Hubbard commented, “David Fyfe has dedicated a large part of his life with passion to our company, our customers and our teams.  He has always been able to share his experience and knowledge with professionalism, kindness and humor.” 

 

The Hubbard breeding enterprise was established in Walpole NH. in 1921 by brothers Ira and Oliver Hubbard.  The company was acquired by Merck in 1974 but was divested in 1997 to the ISA-Group of France.  Groupe Grimaud acquired Hubbard in 2005.  In 2018, Hubbard was integrated into the Aviagen Group but continues to operate as an independent company.  Hubbard has a presence in 100 nations, supported by R&D, production sales and marketing.


 

Pure Prairie to Receive Federal Grant

As part of a $223 million allocation of funds to a wide range of meat and poultry processors, Pure Prairie Farms located in Charles City, Iowa will refurbish a chicken processing facility.  The Simply Essentials plant closed in August 2019 and was purchased by Pure Prairie Farms following approval by a state bankruptcy court.  The company intends to process chickens produced under either the certified organic program or from flocks fed all-vegetable diets.

 

The company includes management from GNP company that was acquired by Pilgrim's Pride in 2016.  The operation was planned to be functional during mid-2022.  It remains to be seen whether the infusion of capital by USDA will resuscitate this plant that has had a checked history as a hen plant with a number of financial failures.


 

Koch Foods Settles in Alleged Price-Fixing Lawsuit

Koch Foods has agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed against eleven major chicken integrators.  Koch Foods denied any wrongdoing and agreed to the settlement as the "best practicable under the circumstances".  The action by Koch Foods follows a $21 million settlement by Tyson Foods Inc. and a $14.8 million payment by Perdue Farms.  The first two defendants agreed to cooperate against other class action defendants including Pilgrim's Pride and other top-ten companies.


 

Foster Farms Recalls Chicken Breast Patties

A recall of 70 tons of cooked frozen chicken breast patties was implemented by Foster Farms.  Product was prepared in the Farmerville, LA., plant operated by the company.  The recall was due to the potential presence of plastic fragments as reported by consumers.  Product was processed on August 11th and shipped to Costco distribution centers in five western states.

 

During the past three years, there have been extensive recalls of chicken and red meat products contaminated with plastic, presumably from damaged or deteriorated components of processing machinery.  Enhanced inspection and regular maintenance are obviously required to avert recalls and degradation of brand and company image.


 

Authorities Arrest Gang Believed to be Responsible for Theft of Meat

During recent months, CHICK-NEWS has reported on the theft of trailers containing beef and pork from a number of plants in the Midwest including a major heist at a Grand Island, NE. plant.

 

Following an extended investigation, the Florida Highway Patrol arrested three suspects in the Miami area acting on information supplied by the Sheriff in Lancaster County, NE.  The raid led to the recovery of three tractor trailers with stolen merchandise.  Total losses to date amount to $9 million. 

 

The extent of the robberies and the volume of product stolen suggested an organized crime ring.  It is hoped that the arrest will bring to an end the episode of thefts involving packing plants in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.

 


 

Economic Impact of the U.S. Poultry Industry

In an October 31st release, USPOULTRY, the National Chicken Council United Egg Producers and the National Turkey Federation presented the results of economic studies on the contribution of the major segments of the U.S. poultry industry.

 

It is calculated that the chicken, turkey and egg industries are an important sector within U.S. agriculture.  Collectively, the poultry industry provides 2.01 million jobs, generates $125.6 billion in wages, $556 billion in economic activity and $33.7 billion in government revenue.

 

The chicken industry provides 1.52 million jobs, $94.9 billion in wages, $417 billion in economic activity and $25.5 billion in government revenues.  The turkey industry provides 362,437 jobs, $22.7 billion in wages, $99.5 billion in economic activity and $6.1 billion in government revenue.

 

The Economic Impact Study was funded by USPOULTRY and conducted by John Dunham and Associates.  The Study was updated using data from 2022 and applied the most current methodology available.

 

In commenting on the report, John Starkey, President of USPOULTRY, stated, “We are pleased to continue providing this valuable tool across the industry that shows the positive economic impact the poultry industry has in our Nation and communities.”


 

Tyson Foods Settles Washington State Price-Fixing Lawsuit

Tyson Foods is the third broiler integrator to settle with the state of Washington over allegations of conspiracy to raise the price of chicken.

 

Washington Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, filed lawsuits against 19 processors in October 2021.  Tyson has agreed to pay $10.5 million to settle the case without acknowledgement of wrongdoing.  The company was preceded in the settlement by Mar-Jac Poultry and Fieldale Farms, each for under $1 million.  The remaining 16 companies will either have to negotiate a settlement with the State of Washington or face trial.

 

The outcome of the case could be expensive for the broiler industry, given that other Attorneys General may decide to file similar suits. This would make alleged collusion a valuable contribution to state coffers and the advancement of political careers.

 

Central to the allegation is the fact that all of the implicated companies subscribed to AgriStats®, a benchmark costing system that, in the opinion of plaintiffs in civil cases, represented a form of collusion derived from the information on cost and production values.


 

USAPEEC Presents Seminar for Border Inspectors

The Mexico Office of USAPEEC recently presented a seminar to personnel of the Department of Food, Animal Health Inspection of Mexico.  The program entitled “Technical Aspects of Day-Old Chicks, Fertile Egg and Export Protocols from the USA to Mexico” was coordinated by Ms. Tannya Yee.  The speakers included Dr. Alberto Torres of Cobb-Vantress and Dr. Pilar Castaneda of the Mexican Poultry Institute.

 

The focus of the program involved care of day-old chicks and fertile eggs at points of entry.

 

The program included customs inspection protocols, transportation, temperature requirements and best practices including health certificates.


 

Olymel Eliminates Administrative Positions.

Following appointment of a new CEO and restructuring, Olymel, a large Canadian cooperative based in Quebec, producing pork and poultry, has announced elimination of 177 management positions.  This is in response to market restraints and costs.  The need to rationalize and optimize margins was highlighted by the advent of COVID and labor action in a number of operations.

 

Olymel operates facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick and employs more than 14,000.


 

Aviagen Expands Facilities in Brazil

The Aviagen Group has invested close to $10 million to extend facilities at the Luziania Complex located in Goias State in Brazil.  Expansion will double production of the Hubbard® Efficiency Plus male.

 

In commenting the development, Carlos Antonio Costa, General Manager of Hubbard® do Brazil, noted, “We are committed to our Hubbard® Customers in Brazil and throughout Latin America and the expansion will help further secure the supply of broiler breeding stock.”  He added, “The poultry industry in Latin America has a future of continuous growth and our investment in this region will be ongoing to keep pace.”

 


 

World Trade in Broiler Meat

The October 12th USDA Livestock and Poultry Report documented global and U.S. production and trade in broiler meat. Total production for 2023 should attain 102.7* million metric tons with the U.S. at 20.6 percent of the total with 21.2 million metric tons. USDA forecasts a 1.5 percent increase in RTC production by the U.S. from 2022 to 2023.  Domestic consumption in the U.S. will increase by 1.6 percent and exports will increase by 2.7 percent.

 

The next three nations or groups in descending order were Brazil with 14.5 percent of production at 14.9 million metric tons; China with 13.9 percent production at 14.3 million metric tons and the European Union with 10.7 percent at 11.0 million metric tons.

 

 In determining the proportion of chicken consumed in relation to domestic production, China will consume 99 percent of output in 2023, the European Union 92 percent and Brazil 68 percent.  The U.S. will consume 17.9 million metric tons or 84.6 percent of production with the difference in each case representing exports.

 

Top importing nations for 2023 will be Japan with 9.7 percent of world import volume at 1.1 million metric tons, Mexico at 8.1 percent with 930 thousand metric tons and the United Kingdom at 7.6 percent with 875 thousand metric tons imported.

 

Among the exporting nations for 2023, the leader will Brazil with 34.0 percent of all exports totaling 14.1 million metric tons followed by the U.S. with 23.7 percent of volume at 3.4 million metric tons; the European Union, 12.2 percent at 1.7 million metric tons and Thailand, 7.1 percent at 1.0 million metric tons.

* All values reflect ready-to-cook equivalent weight excluding feet rounded to one decimal place.


 

COVID Lawsuit by Tyson Workers Returns to Federal Court

The U.S. Court Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has returned to a federal court a lawsuit alleging that Tyson Foods was negligent in providing COVID protection for workers.  The three-judge panel reversed the ruling of a district court dismissing workers’ claims.

 

At issue are the complaints by 41 employees of the Tyson Foods Inc. Amarillo, TX plant claiming that the Company continued slaughter operations despite an ascending incidence of COVID and was negligent in not supplying adequate personal protective equipment.

 

Tyson Foods claimed that it was acting under the direction of the federal government, a decision rejected by the Appeals Court. In their ruling the judges stated, “We concluded that Tyson was not acting under the direction of the federal government and that the federal officer removal jurisdiction thus did not exist over claims materially identical to those at issue here.”  The Appeals court added, “We reason that although the food industry is designated as critical infrastructure, the federal government’s guidance to critical infrastructure industries was nonbinding.”

 

As a matter of record, Tyson Foods was proactive in providing protection for workers at a time when there was minimal guidance from the CDC or the USDA concerning in-plant       transmission of COVID.  The Company was a pioneer in establishing employee testing through third-party providers and granted liberal benefits and support for those contracting the infection. Tyson Foods promptly arranged for mass immunization of employees when COVID vaccine was approved and released, subsequently mandating vaccination as a condition of employment. Through September 2020 Tyson Foods incurred $700 million in costs associated with protection and remuneration of workers following the emergence of COVID.


 

Boneless Chicken Lawsuit Against Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. to Proceed

A federal judge in Washington State ruled that a case alleging mislabeling of chicken burgers could proceed.  At issue is the lawsuit filed by Innovative Solutions International alleging that chicken burgers sold to Trader Joe’s contained bones and cartilage.

 

Pilgrim’s Pride had petitioned the U.S. District Court to dismiss the lawsuit alleging breach of contract, negligence, misrepresentation and violation of the Consumer Protection Act of Washington State.

 

Following confirmation of bone fragments in a sample of raw product, Innovative recalled a batch of chili lime chicken burgers during November 2021. In addition purchase of the product by Trader Joe’s ceased resulting in losses to the processor.


 

RaboResearch on Status of World Hog Production

Chenjun Pan, Senior Analyst for Animal Protein with RaboResearch recently published an overview of the world `hog industry.  Consumption of pork and world trade has a direct impact on U.S. broiler exports since the markets are closely related.  Ms. Pan commented that feed and energy costs are declining in some markets but will stay high for the remainder of 2022.  On the consumer side of the equation, demand will be mixed remaining strong in North America, the EU, South Korea and Japan.  It is anticipated that with a slowing economy during the second half of 2022 demand may decline with considerable uncertainty over China. 

 

Currently in China hog prices are rising due to an imbalance between supply and increasing demand. It is anticipated that the Government will intervene in an attempt to stabilize prices.

 

Hog production remains profitable in North America despite relatively high feed costs, but demand may fall with if the economy enters a recession with unemployment. This does not seem probable given job vacancies despite a fall in consumer spending.

 

In Brazil, margins are improving, but exports have declined given the reliance of Brazil on China.  In most nations in Southeast Asia, African swine fever is uncontrolled since there is no effective vaccine, requiring increased imports to compensate for the shortage.

 


 

Shane Commentary

FDA Concludes Voluntary Pre-Market Consultation on Cell-Cultured Chicken

Following discussions, Upside Foods was informed by the FDA that the Agency accepts data supplied by the company and that there are no further questions at the current time concerning safety considerations.  It is emphasized that the conclusion of the review is not an FDA “approval” for either the product or cell-cultured meat in general. 

 

Despite optimistic predictions by the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation (AMPS), the industry group representing cultivated meat and protein products, final approval has yet to be granted by both the FDA and the USDA-FSIS, the Agency that will oversee production.  In addition, there are no definitive regulations that would be applied to govern the production of cultivated meat and seafood.  The AMPS noted that the Association “looks forward to continued progress by Upside and other companies to help expand safe and delicious food options for consumers and help support a more sustainable food supply”. 

 

It is far too early to phone a broker to buy shares in cultured meat startups even if they were available.  At this time relevant considerations include:-

 

  •  A realistic projection of the volume of cultivated meat and seafood that can be produced, especially in relation to the conventional meat products that they intend to displace.
  • An indication of the cost of items as delivered to the food service and consumer sectors.
  • An appraisal of organoleptic considerations including taste and the appearance and texture of both raw and cooked product.

 

Plant-based meat substitutes were intended to displace beef based on claims of welfare, sustainability and convenience.  A review of the financial performance of Beyond Meat and the Plant Protein segment of Maple Leaf Foods suggests that after an initial spurt of consumer interest, the curiosity factor that stimulated market growth was soon outweighed by non-competitive cost.  Even a two-fold differential between ground beef and the plant-based alternative has suppressed sales that peaked within three years after introduction, then plateaued and is now declining. 

 

There is a limited clientele for expensive boutique foods whether in the U.S. or in Singapore.  If cultivated meat is to make any impact on global warming, it will not be achieved through serving product to the affluent in Michelin-starred restaurants but in selling to consumers in supermarket display cases.

 

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