Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy in the Workforce. Responses to FAQs

During past weeks, CHICK-NEWS has emphasized the need for as many people as possible to be immunized as vaccines become available.  It is encouraging that successive population surveys denote a decline in the level of vaccine hesitancy. Unfortunately a solid core of vaccine rejectors will impede progress to acceptable levels of herd immunity estimated to be in excess of 80 percent of the population.


The following reasons for vaccine hesitancy have been assembled from recent news reports and evaluations.  Appropriate responses are provided that may be used by management to encourage acceptance of vaccination, benefiting the entire workforce in a plant, their families and the community.

  • COVID is an insignificant infection!

COVID is an extremely serious disease.  Since January 2020 there have been 30.8 million diagnosed cases in the U.S. with possibly four times that number actually infected.  Fatalities are now in excess of 556,000 of our fellow citizens as a result of COVID-19.  On April 6th, there were 42,000 people in hospital, 60,000 new cases were diagnosed and 900 died.  It is now evident that long-term effects of COVID may occur affecting brain function, endurance and an ability to enjoy life.


  • Young people are unaffected!

In the early stages of COVID, fatality rates in the elderly were far higher than in the 25 to 40 age group.  This was due to predisposing conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and long-term effects of smoking.  More recently, there has been an elevated incidence among people in the age group of 20 to 40. Younger patients now requiring require hospitalization.  This is especially the case in Brazil and is attributed to the emergence of variant strains of SARS-CoV-2 that have since appeared in the U.S.


  • The Covid pandemic is over!

Although there has been a decline in the number of incident cases of COVID in the U.S., the level currently is equivalent to the summer surge of 2020.  Cases are increasing in many states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions and specifically in urban areas in the mid-West.  The situation is complicated by emergence of variants that are more infectious and potentially more pathogenic. And there is the rest of the World .We are not in a bubble.


  • The vaccine is not safe!

Both the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines that are administered under emergency use authority (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration and CDC were subjected to extensive field evaluation to demonstrate both efficacy and safety. 


Generally side effects from any vaccine appear within two to three months of initiating a program of immunization.  Since early January 2021, 165 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered with almost no reports of adverse side effects.  The few cases that have been investigated relate to patients with previous history of allergic reactions to vaccines.  For other than a fractional proportion of the population, US citizens over the age of 16 can receive either of the two mRNA COVID vaccines with confidence. The J&J adenovirus vectored vaccine is under temporary suspension based on eight cases of blood clotting abnormalities among eight million receiving the single-dose vaccine. The fact that health authorities are alert to any clinical abnormality or adverse occurrence and are willing to take positive action to suspend distribution pending a scientific evaluation proves the high level of surveillance in effect and the integrity of the safety protocols for vaccines.


  • The vaccine was developed too quickly!

The basic science leading to the development of mRNA and adenovirus-vectored COVID vaccines has extended back over two decades.  The effective COVID vaccines were developed rapidly applying existing technology.  Investment in development and manufacture of vaccines requiring vast sums of money was a goal of the previous administration.  Essentially cooperation between the federal government, pharmaceutical companies and academia resulted in an unprecedented program of development and testing.  Unfortunately, the term "warp speed" was applied to the program, but although the goal of attaining a tested vaccine was achieved by the end of 2020 there was no compromise in safety or quality.


  • I could catch COVID from the vaccine!

The three approved COVID vaccines do not contain either a live or dead virus.  Only a fragment of the spike protein that is capable of stimulating antibodies is present in the product.


  • The vaccine is manufactured using tissue from aborted fetuses!

This is a misrepresentation. Research conducted as many as fifteen years ago used fetal cells, but vaccines are devoid of any inclusion of either animal or human components.  The Catholic Church has approved COVID vaccines and has established a moral principle for people to become protected and to prevent spread within the community.


  • I don’t want to get side effects!

Reactions to vaccines include mild transient pain at the site of injection no worse than any influenza vaccine.  A small proportion of recipients have experienced fatigue or flu-like symptoms of 1 to 2 days duration following the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.


It is hoped that this FAQ format will provide answers to satisfy the vaccine hesitant in the workforce of a plant when offered vaccination.  It is important to emphasize that a vaccination is a voluntary decision but becoming immunized not only protects the recipient, but limits spread within the workforce and the community. The faster we achieve high levels of immunity in our population the safer we will be from emerging COVID variants and will be able to resume our pre-2020 lifestyles.


Poultry Industry News

U.S. Meat Exports

U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports, January-February 2021.


Total exports of bone-in broiler parts and feet in January-February 2021 attained 580,115 metric tons, 3.2 percent more than for the first two months of 2020 (561,712 metric tons). Total value of exports increased by 4.4 percent to $611 million ($584 million 2020).


Unit price is constrained by the fact that leg quarters comprise over 96 percent of exports except feet. 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.


The extensive outbreak of African swine fever will sustain U.S. exports to Asia over the intermediate-term although China is rapidly increasing domestic hog production. All animal protein has risen in price as pork supply was restricted but will be reversed as supply is restored in 2021.


Direct comparisons between January-February 2020 and 2021 are confounded by the USDA combining export quantities of feet with chicken meat from April 2020 onwards.


The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports for January-February 2020 with 2021:-



Jan-Feb. 2020

Jan-Feb. 2021


Broiler Meat & Feet

Volume (metric tons)



+18,403 (+3.2%)

Value ($ millions)



+26 (+4.4%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



+12 (+1.2%)

Turkey Meat

Volume (metric tons)



-3,443 (-8.7%)

Value ($ millions)



-20.5 (-20.9%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



-331 (-13.3%)

Chicken Paws


Volume (metric tons)


Not disclosed

Value ($ millions)


Not disclosed

Unit value ($/m. ton)


Not disclosed

*See note concerning inclusion of feet in totals from April onwards in text above





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


  • The commodity market this past week diverged with corn and soybeans both higher continuing the trend from the previous week. The increase in corn was attributed to exports and recognition of lower ending stocks as forecast in the April 9th WASDE Report and the March 31st Grain Stocks update. Data on plantings and ending stocks will be updated in the May WASDE.



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



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


  • Corn advanced by 3.9 percent and soybeans were fractionally higher than the previous week although both commodities are at notably high levels. Soybean meal was up 0.2 percent for May delivery. These past two weeks were characterized by extreme fluctuation with corn and soy limit high on Wednesday March 31st following the release of the USDA Grain Stocks and Planting Intentions reports.


  • According to the USDA FAS Export Report for the week ending April 1st 2021 reflecting market year 2020-2021, outstanding export orders for corn amounted to 30.5 million metric tons (1,202 million bushels) with 36.0 million metric tons (1,418 million bushels) actually shipped. During the past week 0.8 million metric tons (31.5 million bushels) of corn were ordered, the same as the previous week and lagging the four-week average. A total of 2.1 million tons (82.7 million bushels) of corn was shipped.


  • Outstanding export orders for soybeans for the 2020-2021 market year attained 5.6 million metric tons (206 million bushels) with 55.2 million metric tons (2,026 million bushels) actually shipped. This past week some previously placed orders from China were cancelled reflecting in weekly sales of soybeans recording a net reduction of 0.1 million metric tons (3.7 million bushels) with 0.4 million metric tons (14.8 million bushels) shipped. During the past week 127,700 metric tons of soybean meal and cake were ordered and 249,600 metric tons were shipped, approximating 97 percent of the previous week.


The following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at14H00 on April 9th 2021 compared with values posted at 14H00 on April 2nd 2021  (in parentheses) reflecting specified months in 2021 for delivery.




Corn (cents per bushel)

 May    581        (559)      

July      565      (544)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

 May 1,405     (1,402)

July  1,400   (1,397)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

 May    402         (409)

July     406       (411)


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



Corn:                  May quotation up22 cents per bushel             (+3.9 percent)

Soybeans:         May quotation up 3 cents per bushel               (+0.2 percent )

Soybean Meal: May quotation down $7 per ton                        (-1.8 percent )


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

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

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


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

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

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


This week the changes in the prices of corn and soybean meal would increase nest-run production cost for eggs by 0.7 cent per dozen and for broilers 0.3 cent per live pound. Over the past 13 weeks, escalations in the prices of major ingredients have added 8.1 cents per dozen and 5.3 cents per live-weight lb.



According to the April 9th WASDE, corn harvested in calendar 2021 will attain 14,183 million bushels with ending stocks projected at 1,502 million bushels, unchanged from the March 2021 WASDE Report. Values will be updated reflecting production, ongoing export volumes and domestic use in the May WASDE. Compared with the April 2nd value, the CME quotation for corn at 14H00 on April 2nd was up 22 cents per bushel for May delivery to 581 cents. The USDA projected a 1.0 percent decrease in acreage planted to corn in 2021 not reflected in the April WASDE.


The social restrictions imposed in the U.S. as a result of COVID-19 will reduce ethanol demand by 1.5 billion gallons or 10 percent of projected 2020-2021 requirement accepting a nominal ten percent addition to gasoline. This past week 15 percent of the U.S. ethanol fermentation capacity was off-line or operating at lower than capacity. The outlook for increased production will depend on domestic demand with ten percent of production exported. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency for the week ending April 2nd the industry produced on average 975,000 barrels per day up 8.2 percent from the 965,000 barrels per day for the week ending March 26th 2021. Ethanol stocks stood at 20.6 million barrels, (approximately a 20-day reserve), down 2.2 percent from the previous week.


Ethanol was priced at $1.91 per gallon on April 9th unchanged since March 26th reflecting WTI crude and compared with a five-year low of $0.92 per gallon on March 26th 2020. Concurrently RBOB gasoline at $1.95 per gallon (quoted, New York Harbor) was down 3.5 percent from the previous week presumably due to WTI crude price and is 4 cents per gallon higher than ethanol but with a 63 percent higher BTU rating.  Relative prices of commodities, crude and ethanol might be

indirectly influenced through mid- April as a result of the one-week blockage of the Suez Canal that disrupted trade between Asia and Europe and exacerbated the current shortage of available marine shipping containers.


With more plants among the 201 operational on January 1st 2021, DDGS is freely available but commanded a higher price than in the fourth quarter of 2020. Eastern Corn-belt product was priced at $219 per ton on April 6th 2021, $11 per ton higher than the previous week but $14 per ton more expensive than on March 31st 2020.


 Soybeans continue to be the beneficiary of export demand by China. The CME price at 14H00 on April 9th rose 0.2 cent per bushel over the week to 1,405 cents per bushel for May delivery. The USDA documented a 2021 crop of 4,135 million bushels. Ending stocks according to the April 9th 2021 WASDE projection will attain 120 million bushels, unchanged from the March and February projections representing a seven-year low. The USDA Planting Intentions report indicated that soybean acreage would increase by 5 percent over 2020. This change was not reflected in the April WASDE. According to the National Oilseed Processors Association 155 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in February. This value was 6 percent lower than in January due to disruption caused by a shortage of natural gas attributed to severe weather.


On April 6th` 2021 Meat and Bone meal quoted Central U.S. attained $415 per ton, down $10 per ton from the previous week and compared to $255 per ton on March 31st 2020 when a surplus prevailed due to COVID-related disruption of packing operations requiring euthanasia of hogs.


On April 9th the BRL exchange with the CNY was 0.86, (down CNY 0.01 from the previous week). The conversion of the US$ to the CNY was set at 6.55 up CNY 0.02, from the previous week.


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


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


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


Subscribers are referred to the April 9th 2021th WASDE #611 in this edition


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


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


Broiler Week

Weekly Broiler Production and Prices, April 9th 2021.


Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on April 7th 2021 confirmed that a total of 240.3 million eggs were set during the week ending April 3rd 2021, fractionally lower than the corresponding week of the previous year and 0.9 percent (2.0 million eggs) more than the previous week.


A total of 178.3 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending April 3rd 2021. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 187.5 million, two percent less than the corresponding week in 2020 and <0.1 percent (<0.1 million chicks) less than the previous week. Claimed average hatchability was 80.1 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier, (79.2 percent for the previous week). Cumulative placements for the period January 2nd 2021 through April 3rd 2021 amounted to 2.43 billion chicks, two percent lower than the corresponding period in 2020. The 5 million drop in chick placements during the week of March 13th was attributed to weather-related disruption in egg collection and hatchery operations in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi in mid-February.


Broiler Production

According to the April 9th USDA Broiler Market News for the processing week ending April 2nd 2021, 161.9 million broilers were processed during the past week (previous week 166.0 million) at an average live weight of 6.23 lbs. (6.14 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76 percent. The number of broilers processed was 1.7 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 766.7 million lbs. (348,505 metric tons), (791.2 million lbs. last week), 0.7 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. In 2021 Processed (RTC) production attained 10.84 million lbs. (4,925,790 metric tons), 3.3 percent less than YTD 2020.


Broiler Prices

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on April 9th 2021 was up 6.5 cent per lb. from the previous week to 98.8 cents per lb., compared to 50.5 cents per lb. during the corresponding week of 2020; 86.7 cents per lb. for March 2021 and 85.0 cents per lb. for the three-year average. The industry still is impacted by the contraction in the food service segment following imposition of COVID-19 restrictions.


The USDA Southern States (SS) benchmark prices in cents per lb. (rounded to nearest cent) as documented in the Broiler Market News Reports April 9th 2021 are tabulated with a comparison with the previous week:-


Turkey Week

Weekly Turkey Production and Prices April 9th 2021


Poult Production and Placement:

The March 16th 2021 edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.0 million eggs in incubators on March 1st 2021 (26.2 million eggs on February 1st 2021) and down 3.4 percent (0.9 million eggs) from March 1st 2020.


A total of 21.4 million poults were hatched during February 2021 (21.5 million in January 2021), and representing a decrease of 5.2 percent (1.1 million poults) from February 2020.


A total of 19.6 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in February 2021, (19.8 million in January 2021), and 5.0 percent less than in February 2020. This suggests disposal of 1.8 million poults during the month (1.7 million in January 2021). Assuming all tom poults were placed, up to 16.8 percent of February-hatched hen poults or 8.4 percent of all February-hatched poults may not have been reared. This is an unsubstantiated estimate in a fluctuating demand for processed toms and hens in a COVID-affected market. (See relative numbers of hen and tom poults processed under Production Data below).


For the twelve-month period March 2020 through February 2021 inclusive, 272.3 million poults were hatched and 249.4 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 23.0 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed, (representing a broad assumption as above), 16.9 percent of hen poults or 8.4 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.


To be updated in mid-April 2021 following release of monthly USDA data


Turkey Production:

The April 9th 2021 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 68: No.14) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-


  • For the short processing week ending April 2nd 2021, 1.210 million young hens were slaughtered during the processing week at a live weight of 16.4 lbs. (last week 1.773 million hens at 17.4 lbs.). During the corresponding week in 2020, 1.657 million hens were processed, 36.9 percent more than the current week. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 16.0 million lbs. (7,265 metric tons), 25.5 percent less than the corresponding processing week of 2020. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. In 2021 RTC hen production attained 287 million lbs. (130,692 metric tons), 6.4 percent less than for YTD 2020.
  • For the short processing week ending April 2nd 2021, 1.593 million toms were slaughtered at 45.1 lbs, compared to 2.244 million toms processed during the previous week at 45.6 lbs. For the corresponding week in 2020, 2.371 million toms were processed, 32.8 percent more than in the past week. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 57.8 million lbs. (26,276 metric tons), 30.6 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. In 2021 RTC tom product attained 1,081 million lbs. (487,083 metric tons), 10.4 percent less than for YTD 2020.
  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 115.3 cents per lb., down 1.7 cents per lb. from the previous week and up approximately 25 cents per lb. from the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on April 9th 2021:-





The April 9th 2021 USDA WASDE Report reflecting the anticipated 2021 growing season was basically unchanged from the March 2021 edition except for exports and ending stocks. This is normal given uncertainties regarding the future crop that has yet to be planted. The USDA ERS will make changes to projected ending stocks in May and June depending on planting in the U.S., export trends and harvests in Brazil and in the Southern hemisphere. There was no change in either U.S. corn or soybean harvest areas from the March WASDE report but this may be altered subsequently by world prices and weather considerations. The corn acreage to be harvested is currently estimated at 82.5 million acres and soybeans will be harvested from 82.3 million acres.


The April 2021 WASDE estimate of corn yield was held at 172.0 bushels per acre, (175.8 bushels per acre in 2020). The estimate of soybean yield was maintained at 50.2 bushels per acre. (50.7 bushels per acre in 2020)


The April 2021 USDA projection for the ending stock of corn was lowered by 10.0 percent to 1,352 million bushels based on export trends. Despite ongoing exports the ending stock for soybeans was held at 120 million bushels but may subsequently be downsized.


Projections for ending stocks of both corn and soybeans have influenced recent CME price quotations concurrently with increased exports in accordance with the needs of China rather than compliance by that nation with the Phase-One trade agreement. The April 2021 WASDE retained the corn price at $4.30 per bushel. Soybeans were raised 0.9 percent to 1,125 cents per bushel.


It is accepted that projections are based on the reality that China sharply increased purchases of commodities partly to cover disruptions in imports during the first quarter of 2020 caused by COVID. China booked substantial orders for corn and soybeans to be delivered through August for the 2019-2020 market year in addition to large quantities booked from September onwards for the 2020-2021 market year. Reports on volumes of commodities exports to China will be included in upcoming weekly editions of CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS in subsequent mailings as data becomes available.



The corn harvest for 2021 projected in the April 2021 WASDE Report #611 is unchanged at 14,183 million bushels consistent with planting intentions. The projected 2021 harvest can be compared to 14,507 million bushels in 2020 and is 6.4 percent lower than the previous 2016 record harvest of 15,148 million bushels. The “Feed and Residual” category was increased by 0.9 percent to 5,700 million bushels. The “Ethanol and Byproducts” category was increased by 0.5 percent to 4,975 million bushels in anticipation of higher domestic demand for E-10 and E-15 due to relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and increased demand from the export market. Corn exports increased 2.9 percent to 2,675 million bushels despite intense competition from Brazil and Argentine and high world domestic coarse grain production relative to demand. Ending stocks were lowered by 10.0 percent to 1,352 million bushels.

The forecast USDA farm price for corn was maintained at 430 cents per bushel. At 14H00 on April 9th after release of the WASDE the CME quotations for May corn was 581 cents per bushel, up 5.2 percent from the quotation on March 9th and currently 35.1 percent above the April USDA projection for 2021.


Crop Progress

Status of 2020 Corn and Soybean Crops


The USDA Crop Progress Report released on April 12th documented the commencement of corn planting to date compared to the 5-year average. Subsoil and surface moisture levels were generally lower on average than the corresponding weeks in 2020 due to drought in Western states and the Dakotas. CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA through the end of the 2021 harvest in November.


Reference is made to the April 9th WASDE Report #611 accessible under the STATISTICS tab for projected 2021 acreage and yields.




April 4th

April 12th

5-Year Average

Corn Planted (%)

Corn Emerged (%)







Soybeans planted (%)

Soybeans Emerged (%)








Crop Condition

Awaiting germination

V. Poor





Corn 2021 (%)

Corn 2020 (%)

Soybeans 2021 (%)

Soybeans 2020 (%)



V. Short




Topsoil moisture %: Past Week*





Past Year





Subsoil moisture %: Past Week





Past Year






* States with categories of “Very Short and “Short” Topsoil moisture combined:-


NM 93%

SD 83%

ND 80%

TX 70%

CA 65%

WY 65%

OR 57%


Amazon Workers Reject Unionization

Employees at the Amazon distribution warehouse in Bessemer, AL voted two to one against unionization.  The National Labor Relations Board counted 1,798 votes against 738 to remain union free.  Organizers for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union that would have represented workers devoted considerable time and publicity to their effort promoting pro-Union and anti-Amazon messages.


In a statement following the election, Amazon noted, "our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union. Our employees are the heart and soul of Amazon and we have always worked hard to listen to them, take their feedback, make continuous improvements and invest heavily to offer great pay and benefits in a safe and inclusive workplace.  We are not perfect, but we are proud of our team and what we offer and will keep working to get better every day."


The Union is calling for a review of ballots and has criticized Amazon for spreading misinformation issuing text messages and home robo-calls and taking advantage of their location in a right-to-work state.


The margin of rejection indicates support for Amazon. The Company emphasized job creation, competitive wages and health care benefits and an attractive work environment as reasons for the union rejection. It remains to be seen whether unions can make inroads into large corporations in states south of the Mason-Dixon line. Thus far the foreign automobile manufacturers have avoided unionization and Walmart as the largest non-government U.S. employer has consistently remained independent with respect to workers.



Pilgrim's Pride Corporation to Offer Sustainability-Linked Bond

Pilgrim's Pride Corporation has announced a $1 billion offering covering a sustainability-linked bond to reduce greenhouse gas emission across global operations. The company announced a commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 conforming to the long-standing commitment to responsible environmental stewardship.  It is intended to reduce emissions 30 percent by 2030 using 2019 as a base.


Fabio Sandri, Global Chief Executive Officer noted, "the announcement firmly ties our financial strategy to our long-term commitment to address climate change, the defining issue of our time."  He added, "we are confident that our unique global production platform coupled with our diverse portfolio of sustainably-produced foods in our commitment to the fight against climate change will lead to increased shareholder value."


KFC Donates to Meals on Wheels America

KFC franchisees across the U.S. will support senior citizens in local communities dedicating a case of chicken per restaurant.  The initiative is part of the Meals on Wheels "make-good-go further" program.  It is anticipated that KFC will provide one million pieces of chicken through their franchisees.


Staci Rawls, KFC Chief Communications Officer stated, "we want to do our part to help ensure the safety and well-being of older adults during this difficult time.  Meals on Wheels America has a support system in place to reach senior citizens in need."


Administration Infrastructure Package Includes Allocation for Broadband Service

As part of the proposed $2 trillion infrastructure initiative, the Administration intends making available $100 billion for reliable broadband service that will benefit rural residents.  An additional $5 billion will be assigned to the Rural Partnership Program addressing the economic needs of rural residents. 


Secretary Vilsack Advocates for Renewal of Trade Promotion Authority

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack considers that renewal of the Trade Promotion Authority is critical to maintaining exports.  Legislation funding the Trade Promotion Authority expires in June.


Vilsack is a supporter of the U.S. joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This would help U.S. agriculture given the lost opportunities following withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) within days of the previous Administration assuming office.  The eleven remaining members of the TPP then formed the successor CPTPP that effectively excluded U.S. from trade benefits enjoyed by member nations.


The USDA also favors a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom in addition to establishing new markets in Africa and Asia.



ADM Resuming Ethanol Production at Two Facilities

Following a 12-month closure, ADM is resuming ethanol production in their Cedar Rapids, IA. and Columbus, NE. plants.


Reopening of the economy with consequential demand for domestic ethanol production in addition to exports has justified this action.  A company statement pointed to the Administration support for the renewable fuel standard (RFS) and increasing exports to China.



ADM Cedar Falls IA Ethanol Plant

ADM Columbus NE Ethanol Plant
ADM operates 17 corn-processing plants including dry mills where corn is ground and rolled for both fuel and animal feeds.


Shell Egg Academy goes Virtual

Registration Open for Shell Egg Academy


Contact: Lara Durben, lara@empoweredeventsllc.com



The Shell Egg Academy-Virtual Edition from Purdue University Extension is open for registration!


Join us virtually on June 21 - 25, 2021 for the Shell Egg Academy (SEA), which will provide interactive class sessions on egg quality and food safety for farmers and egg companies producing and processing table eggs. Sessions will be held on Zoom.


Virtual SEA will provide online learning from experts around the U.S. as well as engaging participants through a Lab-In-A-Box (LAB). The LAB will involve materials needed for hands-on activities over the courses. All participants will need access to shell eggs during the courses. Closed-captioning will also be available in real-time. 


Shell Egg Academy is divided into two courses:

·      Course 1: Live Hen Production (June 21 - June 23)

·      Course 2: Egg Processing and Food Safety (June 23 - June 25)


Participants may select either course or select both courses. All participants will receive the LAB box with course materials prior to the start of the academy. Because the class is virtual, participants also have the option to make a deposit or purchase a candler, which is needed for the academy. If you already have access to a candler, you may purchase the course(s) without that add-on.


At the end of each course, participants take an exam to earn a competency certificate.


View full schedule (note the appropriate time zones)


Sponsorships are also available at a variety of price points for companies wishing to show their support of the egg industry.


To register and/or pledge your sponsorship, please visit: https://empoweredeventsllc.regfox.com/shell-egg-academy-virtual


Program questions about the academy may be directed to Dr. Darrin Karcher at dkarcher@purdue.edu. 


For assistance with registration, please email info@empoweredeventsllc.com or call 763/284-6763. 


Shell Egg Academy | a Purdue University Extension education opportunity with planning assistance from Empowered Events LLC,.


Infrastructure Plan Includes Tax Credits for Renewables

The proposed Infrastructure Investment Program will incorporate a 10-year extension of existing tax credits for solar and wind energy introduced in 1992 and 2005 respectively. Since this time the capital cost of power generation has declined sharply with innovations and scale of manufacture. 


The Infrastructure proposal also includes an investment tax credit for high-voltage transmission lines that are required to distribute power generated by wind in the Midwest and Plains states  to areas of high demand.


Rabobank Emphasizes Effect of COVID and Overproduction on Global Chicken Industries

According to a report prepared by Nan-Dirk Mulder, Senior Analyst-Animal Protein for Rabobank, prospects for the global chicken industry are improving.  Current challenges include:-


  • Depressed production due to COVID restrictions and economic decline


  • Avian influenza has resulted in severe losses in Asia, Russia and in some eastern E.U. nations.  Countries relying on imports of fertile eggs or chicks have experienced disruption in their supply chains.

Nan-Dirk Mulder


  • Overproduction persists in South Africa, Thailand and in the European Union.


  • Feed prices will remain at elevated levels attributed to demand including imports of soybeans and corn by China and lower yields attributed to the effect of a dwindling La Nina event.


Mulder pointed to high competition and depressed trade, requiring producers to carefully plan production levels and expansion.  There are limits to cost reduction given the ingredient situation exacerbated by market speculation.


Broiler Production in Japan in 2021 to be Unchanged from 2020

According to USDA-FAS GAIN Report JA2021-0042 released March 30th, production of broilers in Japan will remain at 1.765 million metric tons, the same as in 2020.  Imports will increase by 5,000 metric tons to 1.01 million metric tons or 34 percent of total supply.  Domestic consumption of 2.775 million metric tons represents a per capita consumption of 48.2 lbs assuming a population of 127 million.


FAS ascribes the static production to losses sustained from avian influenza, although the layer industry has suffered disproportionately with over 9 million layers or 5 percent of the total population having been depopulated.  Spent layers are however processed in Japan and represent 10 percent of the total number of birds slaughtered annually.

Thai workers prepare presentations for Japan


In evaluating the proportions of animal meats consumed in Japan, out of 7.73 million metric tons, chicken represents 36 percent, beef 13 percent, pork 51 percent. Consumers in Japan derive a significant proportion of their protein from pulses, seafood, finfish and eggs.


Of the exporters to Japan, Brazil represented 39 percent, joint ventures in China 16 percent and Thailand 42 percent with 3 percent from other suppliers.  With a reduction in import duty effective April 1st 2021, in terms of the bilateral U.S.-Japan trade agreement, the U.S. might become competitive.  The problem lies in presentation since products from Thailand and China comprise prepared forms requiring a high level of manual labor.


Sales and hence production of chicken in 2020 was constrained by COVID with full service Izakaya-restaurants severely impacted.  In recent months, Japanese and western style fast food establishments have increased sales with traditional Yakiniku restaurants failing to reestablish sales other than by offering pickup and delivery.


Chore-Time Appoints Broiler Products Manager

According to an April 6th press release, Daniel Morehouse has been appointed as product manager for Chore-Time with specific responsibilities for broiler systems.  Prior to this promotion, Daniel functioned as an engineer for Chore-Time working on floor feeders.  He is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in biological and agricultural engineering.


USDA to Implement CFAP 2

Effective April 5th, the USDA will implement the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) that was frozen in January with $2.3 billion set aside for the program.  Farmers now have 60 days to apply or to modify previously submitted CFAP 2 applications.


Although final details have yet to be announced, the CFAP updates will include payments for cattle to 410,000 producers to the value of $1.1 billion.  Row-crop farmers will receive $20 per acre with $4.5 billion potentially distributed to 560,000 producers.  USDA will also assign $6 billion for new programs using funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed in December.


Socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers will receive $2 million and proposals are now solicited to provide outreach and technical assistance to minority and small-scale farmers.

On April 12th USDA announced that $60 million was disbursed the previous week.


Taiwan on Alert for ASF Emanating from China

The Agricultural Minister of Taiwan, Chen Chi-chung confirmed that a hog that washed ashore in his nation on Sunday, April 4th yielded ASF virus consistent with the strain circulating in China.  The event resulted in a program of surveillance among eleven hog farms within a 6-mile radius of where the dead pig was discovered.  Restrictions on movement of hogs and farm quarantines have also been placed over the area and veterinarians are intensifying pre- and post-mortem inspections of hogs in packing plants.


The presence of a dead hog with ASF washed up on a foreign shore suggests improper disposal of infected animals in China.  Previous cases of dead hogs being discovered in rivers and waterways in China have been documented and are contrary to official reports that ASF is under control and that appropriate biosecurity measures are in effect.

ASF Surveillance, Taiwan


Aviagen Executive Elected to USPOULTRY Board

Dr. Marc de Beer, president of Aviagen, North America was elected to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association to serve a 2021.


A native of the Republic of South Africa, Dr. de Beer earned a doctoral degree in animal nutrition from the University of Arkansas and served as a nutritionist for Aviagen in 2007, subsequently being promoted to Global Head of Nutrition after a period with a major nutritional products company. In April 2020 he returned to Aviagen as president of the North America operating subsidiary.


2021 MPF Virtual Convention - 50th Anniversary


MPF's education program is ready for viewing 

on our website


Today we bring you a preview of our four core education tracks -- these speakers will be presenting live at the times listed (unless otherwise noted) and their content will stay on-demand through May 31.


In addition to these live sessions, your MPF registration gives you access to:










Dr. Jon Moyle, University 

of Maryland

Dr. Zac Williams, Michigan State University

9:30 am - 10:00 am - Windrowing 101

  • Dr. Casey Ritz, University of Georgia


10:00 am -10:30 am - Brooding

  • Dr. Conie Mou, Jones-Hamilton


1:30 pm - 2:00 pm - Being a Good Neighbor

  • Jennifer Rhodes, Principal Agent & Commercial Poultry Grower, University of Maryland Extension


2:00 pm - 2:30 pm - Beetle Best Management Practices

  • Dr. Cassie Krejci, MGK


On-Demand Presentation (available starting May 18)

Feeding Chickens Hemp Feed 

  • Andrew Bish, Hemp Feed Coalition










Dr. Deana Jones, 


Dr. Manpreet Singh, University of Georgia

9:30 am - 10:00 am - FSIS Overview of the Egg Products HACCP Rule

  • Dr. Erika Stapp-Kamotani, USDA-FSIS


10:00 am -10:30 am - Industry perspective on the Egg Products HACCP Rule

  • Kim Rice, Vice President of Food Safety and Quality, Rose Acre Farms


1:30 pm - 2:00 pm - Developing and implementing SSOPs

  • Dr. Christine Alvarado, Arm & Hammer


2:00 pm - 2:30 pm - Regulatory & Trade Update

  • Lisa Picard, Senior Vice President of Policy, Trade and Regulatory Affairs, National Turkey Federation


2:30 pm - 3:00 pm - Title to be announced

  • Dr. Brian Bowker, Research Food Technologist, USDA-ARS










Dr. Darrin Karcher, Purdue University

Dr. Ken Koelkebeck, University of Illinois

9:30 am - 10:00 am - Egg Production in the U.S.

  • Dr. Nicole Widmar, Associate Head and Graduate Program Chair, Purdue University


10:00 am -10:30 am - Vegetative Buffers for Pullet and Hen Production

  • Dr. Paul Patterson, Professor, Penn State University


1:30 pm - 2:00 pm - Ventilation Basics of Cage-Free Aviaries

  • Dr. Richard Gates, Director / Professor - Ag Engineering Department; Egg Industry Center / Iowa State University


2:00 pm - 2:30 pm - Strategies for Achieving Egg Weight to Meet Your Market Needs

  • Isa Ehr, DVM, MS, Manager of Veterinary Services and Nutrition, Hendrix-ISA, LLC


ON-DEMAND PRESENTATIONS - Titles to be announced soon! 










Dr. Robert Beckstead, 

North Carolina 

State University

Mr. Ron Kean, University 

of Wisconsin

9:30 am - 10:00 am - Coccidiosis

  • Dr. Lisa Bielke, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University


10:00 am -10:30 am - Optimizing Immunization through Proper Vaccination in Turkeys

  • Dr. Kelli Jones, Manager Technical Services/Veterinarian, Ceva Animal Health


11:00 am - 11:30 am - An Ecological Approach to Manage Gut Health in Turkeys

  • Dr. Peter Ferket. William Neal Reynolds Professor — Nutrition and Biotechnology, North Carolina State University


11:30 am - 12:00 pm - Flip Overs

  • William Alexander, Technical Service, Hybrid Turkeys


On-Demand Presentations (available starting May 18)

An Overview of Histomoniasis Challenges Facing the Turkey Industry

  • Lesleigh Beer, University of Arkansas

Salmonella reading in Commercial Turkeys - Why Now and How? 

  • Thaina Barros, University of Arkansas

Turkey Dermatitis / Cellulitis: Where are We Headed? 

  • Danielle Graham, University of Arkansas


Tyson Foods Inaugurates Humboldt, TN. Complex

On Thursday April 8th a formal ceremony attended by Tennessee officials inaugurated the Humboldt Complex in Gibson County.  The $425 million project comprises a 370,000 square foot processing plant, a hatchery and a feed mill with a capacity of 14,000 tons per week. Workers are undergoing training and plant operations are anticipated to commence in late April.


The investment in the Humboldt complex follows the  $84 million expansion of the Union City, TN. operation in 2017.


Donnie King, COO and Group-president for Poultry for Tyson Foods stated, “The demand for Tyson chicken products continue to grow and this plant will help us meet the needs of our customers and consumers.”  He added, “We are excited to start this new chapter with the people of western Tennessee who have been extremely supportive of the project since day one.”


Tyson Foods now operates five facilities in Tennessee employing 5,000 with an annual payroll of more than $226 million.  Tyson collectively has a financial impact on the state exceeding $400 million including payrolls, taxes, utilities and purchases of feed ingredients.



ASF Forces Philippines to Reduce Import Duty on Pork. Prospects for Increased chicken Exports

The Wednesday April 7th edition of CHICK-NEWS noted the inability of the Government of the Philippines to control African swine fever (ASF) resulting in a shortage of pork especially in metropolitan areas.  As a result, pork prices have soared with shortages appearing immediately after the government ham-handedly (no pun intended) placed a temporary cap on retail prices.  Apparently President Duterte has not learned the reality that a cheap food policy immediately devolves into a no-food policy. As a result of ASF, pork production has dropped 20 percent with culling of 300,000 hogs based on unreliable government data understating the magnitude of the problem.

"This little Piggy went to Market"

Bowing to pressure, the Philippine Government reduced the import duty on pork from 30 percent to 5 percent effective immediately for three months with a rise to 10 percent thereafter.  It is estimated that the Philippines will have to import 400,000 metric tons of pork in 2021, double the 162,000 tons predicted at the beginning of the year. Despite the heavy import duty, the shortage of pork in the Philippines resulted in a 600 percent increase in shipments from the U.S. during the first quarter of 2021.  According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, pork shipments to the Philippines attained 15,000 metric tons through March 25th


The Department of Agriculture intends initiating a repopulation program for hog farms.  This will be playing King Canute in the absence of an effective and safe vaccine that at present is unavailable. As with China, commencing in 2018, interim control of ASF required a radical restructuring of pork production moving from small family-operated farms to larger commercial units capable of imposing strict biosecurity.  The current system of production in the Philippines involves family farms selling to dealers who in term aggregate hogs to be sold and shipped to packing plants. This requires extensive movement and obvious dissemination of ASF virus.


Not only will the Philippines have to import pork over the intermediate and long term, the domestic broiler industry will not be capable of providing additional animal protein The Philippines will represent a potential market for U.S. leg quarters subject to the government further relaxing restrictions on imports. This is resisted by the domestic industry that has lobbied for exclusion. The Philippines increased imports of broiler parts rising to 6th in rank among importers from the U.S. over the first two months of 2021. A total of 28,102 metric tons was shipped, valued at $22.1million with a unit value of $786 per ton. Exports were 31 percent higher in volume compared to the first two months of 2020.


Hyperimmune Immunoglobulin Ineffective in Treating COVID

A recent study monitored by the National Institutes of Health-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH-NIAID) demonstrated that hyperimmune immunoglobulin administered by the intravenous route to patients with COVID in hospitals was ineffective.


The immunoglobulin designated CoVIg-19 was developed by Takeda Pharmaceuticals of Japan in cooperation with other multinational companies.  Dr. Bill Mezzanotte Executive Vice president and Head of Research and Development for the CoVIG-19 Alliance stated, “While the results of this particular clinical trial are disappointing we are proud that as an industry we proactively and collaboratively pursued this work and that the program may contribute to a growing understanding of this challenging virus and strategies for patient care.”


The results of the controlled evaluation demonstrate the need to follow scientific principles to establish and quantify the value of a specific medication or therapy.  During mid-2020, a series of therapies were advocated by the previous Administration, basically as politically expedient “quick-fixes” despite the caution and counsel of experienced scientists affiliated to the NIH and academia.  The results of sequential trials on candidate therapeutic agents in the U.S. and in the E.U. have shown little or no benefit to hospitalized patients with the exception of the antiviral Remdesivir.


It is evident that vaccination with either of the two mRNA vaccines approved by the FDA will suppress the incidence rate of COVID although the CDC recommendations relating to masking, avoiding crowds and restricting travel are still applicable given the current low level of population immunity.  The CDC points to 30.8 million diagnoses of COVID since the outbreak commenced in January 2020 with possibly four times this number based on serologic surveys and given the low rate of testing.  More than 555,000 U.S. have died from the disease and currently there are 42,000 patients in hospitals.  Effective April 6th, 33 percent of the U.S. population has received one vaccine with 20 percent having completed the course of two mRNA vaccines. Approximately 8 million people received the single-dose J & J vaccine through temporary suspension on April 13th.  Vaccines are now administered at rates of 3 to 4 million per day.


Positive Sentiment by Farmers Improved in March

On April 6th Purdue University released the Ag. Economy Barometer initiated in October 2015 and extending through March 2021.  Sentiment rose to 177 in March 2021up from 165 in the previous month and compared to 95 in March 2020. The Index comprised 75 for Current Conditions and 110 for the Future Expectation sub-indexes.


Optimism is based on:-

  • Current high and rising ingredient prices,
  • Increasing land values.
  • Administration support for the ethanol industry,
  • Trends in exports of commodities,
  • Prospects for reopening the economy following acceleration of vaccination against COVID



USAPEEC Present Promotional Event in Chengdu, China

The USAPEEC participated in the U.S.-China Agricultural Friends of Southwest China Event held at the Hyatt Hotel in Chengdu.  More than 50 U.S. agricultural producers exhibited at the event that attracted hundreds of attendees.


The U.S. is recapturing markets for poultry products following a five-year suspension of exports allowing Brazil, Argentina, Thailand and Russia to gain market share.  Products promoted included appropriately-sized chicken feet, large wing tips and chicken leg quarters suitable for further processing and packaging for the market in China.  The exhibition featured U.S. chicken paws weighting 35 grams (1.1 ounce) packed in a vacuum pouch with pickled peppers as a delicacy in Southwest China.  Specialist chefs served Cajun-flavor leg quarters and “tiger-skin” jumbo chicken paws. Promotional material was distributed in anticipation of increased interest and demand for U.S. products.


McDonald's Corp and Subway Withdrawing from Walmart Stores

McDonald's Corporation will close 325 units during 2021 that are located in low sales volume  Walmart stores. At the peak of cooperation between the two companies, McDonald's operated 1,000 units in Walmart stores.


Walmart is turning to alternatives including Taco Bell and Domino's pizza that has 30 existing units operating in Walmart stores.  A second alternative to in-store restaurants are Ghost kitchens.  Walmart customers in suitably equipped locations can order from a limited menu with pickup and delivery service provided.


FSIS Health Alert Over Raw Ground Turkey

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a health alert relating to raw ground turkey products.  Approximately 105 tons of ground turkey produced by Plainville Brands in Pennsylvania may have been contaminated with Salmonella Hadar.  The implicated batch of ground turkey was produced from mid-to-late December 2020 in establishment P-244 located in New Oxford, PA and shipped to retail.  A formal recall has not been issued since it is presumed that most of the product will have been consumed other than possibly some still in freezers.


The public health alert follows an investigation by CDC of twenty-eight cases of S. Hadar infection occurring in twelve states that implicated product from Plainville Brands.  Ground turkey collected from the home of a patient yielded the pathogen that was closely related to the isolates from patients.


Shane Commentary

Impossible Foods Launches National Advertising Campaign

Impossible Foods will launch an intensive TV campaign to encourage traditional consumers of meat to switch to the Company’s vegetable-based alternatives.  The program will be entitled “We are Meat” and will feature the Impossible Burger in five spots.


In commenting on the campaign Jessie Becker, Senior Vice President of Marketing stated, “Once people try Impossible Burger they are blown away by its taste although consumers are skeptical based on years of sub-par experiences with conventional, plant-based products.”


Click here for video

Competition among alt-Meat Brands

The campaign is obviously an attempt to increase sales and follows successive price reductions, although Impossible Foods products still exceed the price of ground beef at retail.  It is possible that Impossible Foods and other alt-meat producers are experiencing saturation of the vegetarian demographic and have yet to generate repeat sales among conventional meat eaters who represent the bulk of the U.S. consumers.


Impossible Burger has increased its penetration of the retail distribution channel with most major supermarkets stocking their burgers and sausages.  A review of display counters in supermarkets confirms extreme competition with both local and national brands presented.

Dr. Patrick O. Brown, founder of Impossible Foods claims that substitution of real meat can be achieved without compromising taste, nutrition or convenience.  This commentator will accept some benefits relating to sustainability and the environment but consumers can appreciate the difference between real meat and vegetable-based alternatives. The wide range of available beef, pork and poultry presentations provide variety and a wide choice for home-cooked meals. Alt- meat presently only competes with ground beef.


Dr. Brown, Impossible Foods products are not “meat” despite the intent of the TV spots and the creativity of Weiden + Kennedy.  The advertising campaign claiming equivalence with real meat will only stimulate additional restrictive legislation on labeling, onerous litigation and will generate unflattering comparisons with the “real thing”.



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