Editorial

R-Calf Pressing for Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Meat.

In 2015, Congress repealed the Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) Rule for meat.  The World Trade Organization ruled that the law conflicted with international rules and placed Mexico and Canada at a disadvantage.  In the event, the application of COOL resulted in imposition of punitive duties on many U.S. products.

R-Calf is now agitating for a return of Mandatory COOL, despite the fact that the U.S. is an important member of the WTO and participates with the Organization to counter unfair trade practices by China and other nations.

 

In an attempt to resurrect MCOOL, beef-state Senators are supporting the proposed Labeling Act. The bill is supported by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), an avowed vegetarian and opponent of intensive livestock and poultry production. In all probability he recognizes the ultimate danger of COOL legislation to the beef industry for which he has little sympathy.

The approach by R-Calf is decidedly parochial and reflects self-interest, ignoring the realities of international trade.  The militancy demonstrated by R-Calf and their lobbying strength has implications for the USMCA Agreement in addition to international trade.

 

CHICK-NEWS reports regularly on the value of poultry trade with Mexico and Canada.  Any attempt to subvert the USMCA will result in a punitive response that would be to the decided disadvantage of the U.S. broiler, turkey and egg industries.

 

Poultry Industry News

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

Total exports of bone-in broiler parts and feet for the first seven months of 2022 attained 2,186,492 metric tons, 5.7 percent more than during the corresponding months in 2021 (2,067,857 metric tons). Total value of exports increased by 20.5 percent to $3,029 million ($2,513 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-July 2022 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 2,207,689 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $3,082 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,396 per metric ton, 12.0 percent higher in unit value than for January-July 2021 ($1,229 per metric ton).

 

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

 

  • Chicken parts 9%; Unit value $1,345 per metric ton ($1,170)
  • Prepared chicken 1%; Unit value $3,758 per metric ton ($2,936)
  • Whole chicken 0%; Unit value $1,297 per metric ton ($1,284) 

 

The outbreak of African swine fever in China and Southeast Asia from early 2019 onwards coupled with disruptions in chicken production and logistics thereafter due to COVID restrictions, increased demand for protein with international repercussions on trade in chicken and pork. The demand for pork imports to China has diminished as hog production is restored and mild overproduction is evident in the white-feathered broiler sector with implications for exports other than feet during the second half of 2022.

 

The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports for January-July 2022 with the corresponding months of 2021:-

 

PRODUCT

January-July

2021

January-July

2022

DIFFERENCE

Broiler Meat & Feet

Volume (metric tons)

2,067,857

2,186,492

+118,635 (+5.7%)

Value ($ millions)

2,513

3,029

+516 (+20.5%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)

1,215

1,385

+170 (+14.0%)

Turkey Meat

Volume (metric tons)

143,602

113,191

-30,411 (-21.2%)

Value ($ millions)

356

372

+16 (+4.5%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)

2,479

3,286

+ 807 (+32.6%)

 

COMPARISON OF U.S. CHICKEN EXPORTS FOR JANUARY-JULY

2021 AND 2022

 

BROILER EXPORTS JANUARY-JULY 2022

Total broiler parts, predominantly leg quarters but including feet, exported during January-July 2022 as compared with 2021 increased by 5.7 percent in volume and 20.5 percent in value. Unit value was 14.0 percent higher at $1,385 per metric ton.

 

The top five importers of broiler meat represented 53.1 percent of shipments during January-July 2022. The top ten importers comprised 72.9 percent of the total volume reflecting increasing concentration among the significant importing nations.

 

During July 2022 volume was <0.1 percent higher to 295,686 metric tons compared to July 2021. Value was 16.3 percent higher to $449 million attributed to a 16.0 percent increase in unit value to $1,517 per metric ton.

 

For the first seven months of 2022 exports of all broiler products to first-ranked China were 47.0 percent higher by volume at 369,623 metric tons and 44.5 percent higher by value at $662 million compared to January-July 2021. Average unit price for all exports to China in January-July 2022 was $1,792 per ton compared with $1,385 per ton for all exports, or excluding China $1,302 per ton, demonstrating the weighting of feet on export value.

 

According to USDA statistics during the first seven months of 2022 feet accounted for 75.0 percent of volume at 238,766 metric ton, valued at $487 million with a unit price of $2,039 per metric ton. Other broiler products exported to China during January-July 2022 included legs and leg quarters at 18.3 percent of volume with a unit price of $884 per ton; wings 2.0 percent at a unit price of $1,643 per metric ton and other products including edible giblets comprising 4.5 percent of volume at $1,656 per metric ton. 

 

During January-July 2022 Mexico was the second-ranked importer by both volume and value with 365,106 metric tons representing 16.7 percent of export volume down 12.3 percent from January-July 2021. Value at $448 million was 14.8 percent of the total for exported broiler products during the seven months and down 10.2 percent from the corresponding months in 2021, attributable to a 2.3 percent increase in unit price to $1,226 per metric ton. During July Mexico imported 48,537 metric tons valued at $64.4 million. These values were respectively 19.2 percent and 11.3 percent lower than in July 2021

 

Over the first seven months of 2022 nations gaining in volume compared to the corresponding period in 2021 (with the percentage change indicated) in descending order of volume were:-

 

China (+47%); Taiwan, (+71%); Canada, (+1%); Angola, (+1%); Haiti, (+13%); Congo-Brazzaville, (+81%) and UAE, (+38%).

 

Losses in January-July 2022 offset gains in exports with declines for:-

Mexico, (-12%); Cuba, (-14%); Philippines, (-3%); Guatemala, (-10%); Viet Nam, (-10%); Republic of South Africa, (-1%); Ghana, (-9%) and Colombia, (-22%).

 

TURKEY EXPORTS, JANUARY-JULY 2022

The volume of turkey meat exported during January-July 2022 decreased by 21.2 percent from the corresponding months in 2021 but value rose by 4.5 percent compared to January-July 2021 with an increase in average unit value of 32.6 percent from $2,479 per metric ton to $3,286 per metric ton.

 

For July 2022 volume declined 28.3 percent compared to July 2021 to 15,177 metric tons. Value was lower by 11.1 percent compared to July 2021 to $55.3 million due to an increase in unit value of 24.0 percent to $3,643 per metric ton.

 

For the entire year of 2021 volume declined by 3.9 percent to 249,045 metric tons compared to 2020 but value increased by 14.0 percent to $665 million reflecting a 59.1 percent increase in unit value to $3,321 per metric ton. This trend is apparent in 2022.

 

During January-July 2022 nations gaining in volume compared to 2021 (with the percentage change indicated) were China, (+37%) and Jamaica, (+11%). The 2022 gains were offset by losses in exports to Mexico, (-20%); Canada, (-9%); Benin, effectively Nigeria, (-22%); and the Dominican Republic, (-13%).

 

PROSPECTS FOR 2022

The September 16th 2022 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report, forecast a 2.5 percent decrease broiler exports in 2022 to 3.258 million metric tons (7,168 million lbs.) compared to the previous year. For 2023 exports of broiler products were projected to be 3.350 million metric tons (7,370 million lbs.). This value represents 16.1 percent of the projected production of 20.864 million metric tons (45,900 million lb.) of broiler RTC by the U.S. industry.

 

For 2022, the USDA forecast turkey exports to fall by 25.9 percent to 184,545 metric tons (406,000 million lbs.) representing 7.8 percent of production.

 

Projected export of turkey products in 2023 was raised to 186,363 metric tons, (410,000 million lbs.) or 7.3 percent of annual production of 2.564 million metric tons (5,640 million lbs.).

 

The Administration successfully re-negotiated NAFTA into a new trilateral USMCA on September 30th 2018.This agreement was ratified by legislatures of the three nations and took effect on July 1st 2020. It is important to recognize that exports of chicken and turkey meat products to our NAFTA partners amounted to $1,264 million in 2020, $1,264 million in 2021 and $1,023 million during the first seven months of the present year. It will be important to respect the terms of the USMCA since punitive action against Mexico or Canada on other issues will result in reciprocal action by our trading partners to the possible detriment of the poultry and dairy industries.

 

 The emergence of H5N1strain avian influenza virus with a Eurasian genome in migratory waterfowl in all four Flyways was responsible for sporadic outbreaks of avian influenza in backyard flocks and serious commercial losses in egg-producing complexes and turkey flocks but to a lesser extent in broilers. The probability of outbreaks of HPAI over succeeding weeks appears likely but will be a function of continuous shedding by migratory and possibly some endemic birds. The extent of protection of commercial flocks at present relies on intensity and efficiency of biosecurity, representing investment in structural improvements and operational procedures. To date 2.5 million broilers on 12 farms and in excess of 5.9 million turkeys on 141 farms have been depleted as a result of HPAI.

 

The application of restricted county-wide embargos following the limited and regional cases of HPAI in broilers with restoration of eligibility 28 days after decontamination has facilitated export volume for the U.S. broiler industry. Exports of turkey products have been more constrained with plants processing turkeys in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Iowa impacted. Most nations are now eliminating embargos placed on counties and states as the WOAH (OIE) mandated post-decontamination period expires.

 

The live-bird market system supplying metropolitan areas, the presence of numerous backyard flocks, fighting cocks and commercial laying hens allowed outside access, potentially in contact with migratory and now some resident bird species, all represent an ongoing danger to the entire U.S. commercial industry. The live-bird segments of U.S. poultry production represent a risk to the export eligibility of the broiler and turkey industries notwithstanding compartmentalization for breeders and regionalization to counties or states for commercial production.


 

Monthly Turkey Production and Prices, September 2022

Poult Production and Placement:

The September 14th 2022 edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.16 million eggs in incubators on September 1st 2022 compared to 26.10 million eggs on September 1st 2021* The September set was Up 4.1 percent (1.06 million eggs) from September 2021 and 0.2 percent lower (53,000 eggs) than the previous month of August 2022.

 

A total of 23.55 million poults were hatched during August 2022 compared to 23.27 million in August 2021*. The August 2022 hatch was up 1.2 percent (289,000 poults) from the previous month of August 2022.

A total of 22.35 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in August 2022, compared to 22.01 million in August 2021*. The August placement was 1.6 percent, (342,000 poults) more than the month of August 2021. This data suggests disposal of 1.20 million poults during the month. Approximately 5.1 percent of the August 2022 hatch was not placed.

 

For the twelve-month period September 2021 through August 2022 inclusive, 270.02 million poults were hatched and 251.19 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 18.83 million poults over the 12-month period, corresponding to 7.0 percent of all poults hatched.

* USDA revision from previous monthly report.


 


Monthly Broiler Production and Prices, September 23rd 2022.

Chick Placements.

 

According to weekly USDA Broiler Hatchery Reports 0.967 million eggs were set over four weeks extending from August 27th through September 17th 2022

 

Total placements for the U.S. over the four-week period amounted to 0.775 million chicks. Claimed average hatchability for the period averaged 80.6 percent (80.2 percent last 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.  

 

For the period August 27th through September 17th USDA reported that average placements were 5.0 percent higher than the equivalent weeks in 2021. Cumulative chick placements for the period January 8th 2022 through September 17th amounted to 6.98 billion chicks, approximately one 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 September 21st edition of USDA Chickens and Eggs pullet breeder chicks placed during August amounted to 7.68 million down 12.0 percent from August 2021 but up 0.14 million chicks or 1.8 percent higher than the previous month of July 2022. Broiler breeder hen complement attained 63.0 million in August.

 

Broiler Production

According to the new format September 23rd USDA Broiler Market News Report for the processing week ending September 17th 2022, 173.3 million broilers were processed at 6.49 lbs. live. This was 1.6 percent more than the 170.6 million broilers processed during the corresponding week in the previous month of August 2022 and 3.1 percent more than the 168.1 million processed during the corresponding week in September 2021. Broilers processed year-to-date amounted to 6.26 billion, 1.9 percent more than for the corresponding period in 2021.

 

Ready to cook (RTC) weight for the most recent week was 854.7 million lbs. (388,536 metric tons).  This was 3.2 percent more than the 829.3 million lbs. processed during the corresponding week in August 2022 and 3.1 percent more than the 829.3 million lbs. during the corresponding week in September 2021. Dressing percentage was a nominal 76.0 percent. For 2022 to date RTC broiler production attained 30,235 million lbs. (13.744 million metric tons). This quantity is 1.7 percent more than the corresponding period in 2021.

 

Broiler Prices

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on September 23rd was down 4.0 cents per lb. or 3.1 percent compared to August 19th at 125.2 cents per lb., cents per lb. and an average during August of 130.4 cents per lb. The attached USDA figures denote three-year average prices for whole birds and breasts.


 


Updated USDA-ERS Poultry Meat Projection for September 2022.

On September 16th 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 1.3 percent in the September report to 45,474 million lbs. RTC (20.670 million metric tons.). Per capita consumption in 2022 will be 1.2 percent higher compared to 2021 at 97.7 lbs. (44.4 kg.). Exports will represent 15.8 percent of RTC production in 2022 attaining 7,168 million lbs. (3.258 million metric tons) comprising both RTC leg quarters, other products and feet.

 

The projection for 2023 is for 45,900 million lbs. (20.864 million metric tons) with a per capita consumption of 98.2 lbs. (44.6 kg.) and exports of 7,370 million lbs. (3.350 million metric tons).

 

Turkey production for 2022 compared to 2021 will be 6.2 percent lower at 5,214 million lbs. (2.369 million metric tons) RTC. The September projection of per capita consumption in 2022 was 4.6 percent lower than in 2021 at 14.6 lbs. (6.6 kg.), despite extensive promotions and introduction of further-processed items. Export volume for 2022 was reduced 25.9 percent to 406 million lbs. (0.185 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 September USDA forecast for the turkey industry in 2023 comprised annual production of 5,630 million lbs. (2.559 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

45,474

+1.3

45,900

Consumption (lbs. per capita)

96.5

97.7

+1.2

98.2

Exports (million lbs.)

7,355

7,168

-2.5

7,370

Proportion of production (%)

16.4

15.8

-3.7

16.1

Turkeys

Production (million lbs.)

5,558

5,214

-6.2

5,630

Consumption (lbs. per capita)

15.3

14.6

-4.6

15.7

Exports (million lbs.)

548

 406

-25.9

410

Proportion of production (%)

 9.9

7.8

-21.2

7.3

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook released September 16th 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 seven months of 2022 China imported 369,623 tons of broiler products valued at $662 million including feet at an average unit price of $1,791 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.


 

USDA Export Projections For Chicken

Based on the August 12th, 2022 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, USDA has projected chicken exports for 2022 with a forecast for 2023.

Broiler meat exports will amount to 3.3 million metric tons in 2022 valued at $4.2 billion.  For 2023, volume and value will be unchanged, representing a unit price excluding feet, which are not federally inspected, at $1,272 per metric ton.

 

The 2023 exports of all agricultural products will amount to $193.5 billion in 2023, balanced by imports of $197.0 billion resulting in a negative annual balance of $3.5 billion.


 

U.S. and Taiwan Negotiate on Trade Agreement

On August 17th the United States and Taiwan announced a roadmap in advance of trade negotiations to take place during the fall.  Sarah Bianchi of the Office of the Trade Negotiator stated, "we plan to pursue an ambitious schedule for achieving high-standard commitments and meaningful outcomes covering the eleven trade areas in the negotiating mandates that will help build a fairer, more prosperous and resilient 21st century economy".

 

 Areas that will be considered include trade facilitation, regulatory practices, anti-corruption standards, agricultural trade, removing discriminatory barriers to trade, labor and environmental standards and state-owned enterprises.

 

During the first half of 2022, Taiwan was ranked third among importers of broiler products attaining 140,967 metric tons valued at $159 million.  These values were respectively 64 percent higher in volume and 83 percent in value compared to the first six months of 2021.

Taiwan is not a noteworthy importer of either eggs or products but with appropriate pricing and ptpmotion this potential market should be developed


 

Thanksgiving Turkey Prices to be Higher than 2021

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, wholesale RTC prices for turkeys have increased from 2021 with hens at 180 cents per lb. compared to 145 cents per lb. in August 2021.  Skinless and boneless turkey breast meat is now close to $6 per lb.  Depletion of close to six million turkeys on 140 farms over seven months due to HPAI with sporadic outbreaks still occurring has reduced stock levels and intensified demand.  Hormel Foods, parent company of Jennie-O, a major producer has predicted that their production will be reduced by 25 percent during the 4th quarter due to reduction in supply.

 

Subscribers are referred to the monthly turkey report incorporating cold storage and production data for August and prices reflecting the third week of September.

 


 

U.S. DOJ Dismisses Price-Fixing Charge

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed charges filed in May 2021 against Claxton Poultry Farms and Koch Foods Inc.  The DOJ noted that the case was dismissed "in an effort to conserve the resources of the Court, the parties and the public".  The filing to dismiss the two companies "will permit the United States to promote the Fair Administration of Criminal Justice and allow for the conservation of this Court’s time and resources.

 

This action by the DOJ follows dismissal of price-fixing charges against some executives previously with Pilgrim's Pride, although two defendants still face charges.

Failure of the DOJ to prove collusion among managers of two companies in three trials suggests the weakness of the DOJ case that was based on discovered memos and the testimony of an employee of one of the companies involved.  Notwithstanding the outcome of the trial an unfortunate perception exists that some form of either direct communication occurred or that indirect collusion through subscription to AgriStats provided unfair benefits to integrators. The cost of defending criminal charges and the uncertainty of the outcome of a jury trial motivated a number of companies to settle with the DOJ and to reach agreements in concurrent civil cases. It will be some time before reputations are restored and mutual trust is reestablished


 

FAS Reports On Broiler Production In Mexico

The USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Annual Report on the broiler industry in Mexico was released as MX 2022-0045 on September 6th.  It is anticipated that production in 2023 will increase by 2.6 percent from 3.9 million metric tons to 4.0 million metric tons.  Imports will increase by 20,000 metric tons to 950,000 metric tons, representing 19.2 percent of availability.  Exports are negligible at 8,000 metric tons.  Assuming a population of 132 million, per capita consumption will be 77.4 lbs.

The U.S. supplied 88 percent of 2021 imports followed by Brazil at 9 percent and Chile at 3 percent.  In contrast, in 2020 the U.S. supplied 95.0 percent of imports with Brazil at 1 percent and Chile at 4 percent.  Imports from the U.S. in 2021 comprised 44 percent leg quarters, 29 percent MDM, 17 percent added-value and 10 percent breasts.  In contrast, Brazil supplied 45 percent of their exports to Mexico as breasts, 38 percent MDM and 17 percent wings.

 

Of the projected 2022 exports amounting to 7,000 metric tons, 57 percent is destined for the U.S. with 30 percent to Central America.  The bulk (69 percent) of exporters will be as sausages and cold cuts with 6 percent added value.  At this time, the states of Sonora, Yucatan, Campeche and   Quintana are recognized as free of HPAI.

E

 

Hamlet Protein Serves as a Partner in Technology with Customers

Recently, a delegation of pork producers from Japan visited the Horsens headquarters of Hamlet Protein in Denmark.  The objective was to provide information on the Danish pig industry and the response to current and future challenges.  Topics reviewed included herd welfare, biosecurity, management and genetics.

Anders Hagemann, Sales Manager for Hamlet Protein stated, "we aim to be a knowledge partner for our customers.  Mutual learning deepens existing relationships and drives innovative ideas for both Hamlet Protein and our industry contacts".

 

Hamlet Protein supplies soybean-based ingredients for immature hogs, poultry and ruminants.  Hamlet Protein is processed in the E.U in addition to a U.S. facility in Ohio and is distributed directly to producers.
 


 

JBS USA Reaches Settlement On Alleged Price-Fixing Of Pork

Judge John R. Tunheim of the U.S. District Court of Minnesota has approved a $20 million settlement in a civil suit alleging price-fixing that affected consumers.

 

Previously, JBS USA settled with wholesalers for $25 million and with a class of indirect purchasers for $13 million.

 

Lawsuits filed in 2018 accused a range of meatpackers of collectively raising pork prices and exchanging cost data and other information disseminated by Agristats Inc.

 

Remaining plaintiffs include Clemens Food Group, Hormel Foods Corp., Indiana Packers Corp. Seaboard Foods, LLC., Triumph Foods, LLC., Tyson Foods, and Agristats, Inc.


 

Doug Ramsey COO Of Beyond Meat Suspended

Doug Ramsey recently appointed COO Of Beyond Meat was suspended by the Company following charges of felony battery and terroristic threats. According to local media, Ramsey was involved in a road (actually garage) rage incident on Saturday, September 17th.  He allegedly attacked the driver of a vehicle that apparently cut in on him smashing a rear window, punching the driver and biting his nose.  Witnesses reported that Ramsey threatened to kill the person before being restrained.

 

Ramsey was previously employed by Tyson Foods, where he was responsible for the McDonald’s account.

Either Ramsey has an uncontrolled temper and extreme sensitivity to driving infractions reflecting an unbalanced temperament or his association with Beyond Meat, promoting a vegetable product, has stimulated a blood lust.

 

Beyond Meat really needs a good COO, given the Q2 results released on August 4th.  The Company lost $97,000 on sales of $147 million. Beyond Meat has posted a 12-month trailing operating margin of -65 percent and a profit margin of -72 percent.  At peak after the IPO BYND traded at $160 but is now in the low $20s range with 41 percent of the float short in mid-July.


 

Tournament System Opposed by FTC

Lina M. Kahn, the Director of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has provided a written comment to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service with regard to the proposed rule entitled  “Poultry Growing Tournament Systems: Fairness and Related Concerns Supporting the Prohibition of the System”.  In her submission, Ms. Kahn noted that the Packers and Stockyards Act was modeled on the Federal Trade Commission Act.  The FTC is concerned over possible unfair practices that can result from market concentration. 

Kahn supports mandatory disclosure that is incorporated into the proposed AMS rule, but she asserts that this does not address the alleged lack of competition. She urged USDA to undertake additional policy development to address any existing contract terms and business practices that might be prejudicial to contract growers.

 


 

Valley Proteins Fined for Pollution

Valley Proteins LLC, a subsidiary of Darling Ingredients Inc. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $540,000 to settle violations of environmental laws in the state of Maryland.  The lawsuit involved illegal discharge of harmful pollutants including nitrogen, phosphorus and fecal coliforms into Transquaking River a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay for over a year. Commenting on the fine, Brian Frosh, Attorney General of the State of Maryland stated “These violations of our environmental laws threatened fragile ecosystems.” He added, "The settlement and penalty sent a strong message to Valley Proteins and others that they are not free to pollute Maryland's waters and air.

Horacio Tablada, Maryland Secretary of the Environment stated, "we are pleased to now have a strong enforcement agreement that will allow this important facility that serves the agricultural community to continue to operate while achieving environmental compliance and helping us to meet our water and quality goals".


 

Tyson Foods Donates $2.5 Million to Feeding America™

Tyson Foods announced on September 7th that it would donate $2.5 million to Feeding America food banks and in addition donate 2.5 million pounds of protein representing 10 million meals.

The Company confirmed the long-standing support of Feeding America, and the donations will assist rural communities that are under stress due to food inflation.  Tyson Foods will use $1 million to support Equitable Food Access Grants that concentrate on people with a high risk of food insecurity.

 

Erika Thiem Chief Supply Chain Officer of Feed America stated, “One in eight people including one in six children in America are food insecure.  As food banks continue to face increasing demand, we are thankful for partners like Tyson Foods whose ongoing food and fund donations are supporting our network’s efforts to increase access to protein.”

Since 2006 Tyson has donated $3.5 million to Feeding America and supplied protein products valued at $223 million to local member food banks.

 

It is questioned whether organizations and individuals that oppose intensive livestock production have made either equivalent or proportional donations to charities to support the nutrition and well-being of our less fortunate fellow citizens.

 


 

Tyson Foods Donates PPE to the Marshall Islands

Tyson Foods has donated masks and other items of PPE to the Marshall Islands following a severe outbreak of COVID that affected 15,000 islanders during August.

Hector Gonzalez, Head of Labor and Team Member Relations at Tyson stated, "Northwest Arkansas is home to one of the largest Marshallese populations in the continental U.S. and they are a vital member of the Tyson team and our community".  The donation followed a declaration of a health disaster by David Kabua, President of the Marshall Islands.

 

Eldon Alik, Consul General to the Republic of the Marshall Islands stated, "Tyson Foods has always been a great friend and supporter of the Marshallese people not only in Arkansas but also on the Islands".

 

Tyson Foods has previously collaborated with the Republic of the Marshall Islands on required COVID safety precautions and has contributed to the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, a non-profit organization involved in education, health and cultural activities.


 

Canada Restricts Imports of Fresh, Raw Poultry Products and Eggs

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a ban on private importation of raw, unprocessed poultry products or byproducts from any U.S. state that has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.  This requirement presumably relates to both commercial and backyard outbreaks within 28 days of the date of importation, if the nation is following WOAH rules.

Specified products include raw turkey and chicken meat, table eggs, cooked leftovers from restaurants, raw pet food and feathers.  Fully cooked poultry products can be imported irrespective of outbreaks reported in the state origin.  Acceptable products include rotisserie chicken, hotdogs, deli meats, hard-boiled eggs and cooked kibble or canned pet food.

>

Restrictions on commercial poultry products are subject to a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Canada in accordance with World Organization of Animal Health (WHOA) guidance including regionalization, compartmentalization, quarantine, depopulation and surveillance.

 


 

China Releases Pork from Strategic Reserve

Sharp escalation in the price of pork in China has occurred during the past three months.  An increase of 25.6 percent was recorded in July followed by 14.8 percent in June and 22.5 percent in August.  Food inflation more than doubled from 2.9 percent during the month of June to 6.1 percent in August. Concurrently the nationwide consumer price index remains at a moderate 2.5 percent.

Pork consumption has increased progressively since 1990 with an annual per capita value of 33 lb. to a maximum of 72 lb. in 2014. The emergence of African swine fever in 2019 reduced the availability of pork and consumption fell to 54 lb. per capita in 2019 remaining at about 52 lb. through 2021 despite recovery of the breeding and growing herds.  Total consumption of pork in China attained 40.3 million metric tons in 2020 according to USDA data.  There is now adequate production capacity with 2.1 million hogs slaughtered during the first six months of 2022 according to an official government agency. Greater availability of pork will reduce imports and impact demand and margins for domestic and imported chicken

 

In advance of the 20th National Meeting of the Chinese Communist Party beginning October 16th, authorities have released pork from the national reserve in an attempt to reduce retail prices and avert criticism of the central government.  Increased availability of pork was especially necessary during the mid-autumn festival and for events leading to the Meeting. It is anticipated that the 2,300 delegates attending will reappoint President Xi to an unprecedented third term.

 


 

Seaboard-Triumph Foods Hires HR Executive

It appears that Tyson Foods is emerging as a training ground for meat industry executives as denoted by appointments at Foster Farms. 

Recently, Seaboard-Triumph Foods announced the appointment of Deanna Weidner as Vice -president of human resources.  In her new position she will lead recruiting, employee relations, orientation and will attempt to change the culture of the Company with respect to personnel.  Ms. Weidner is a 30-year veteran of Tyson Foods having worked in the Waterloo, IA pork complex.


 

Tournament System Under Pressure

Despite the defense of the current grower compensation model by the National Chicken Council, both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice appear to be intent on eliminating the tournament system for broiler growers.  Based on requests the USDA has extended the public comment period through December 26th. 

 

Submissions responding to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be used to frame regulations and to set policies.  The NCC opposes rulemaking by the AMS that conflicts with the current contract system.  The Council considered that elimination of the tournament system would have “devastating financial impacts on the U.S. chicken industry by raising costs, contributing to increasing food prices for consumers and ultimately destabilizing a successful compensation system.”

 

On September 14th, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division organized a meeting in conjunction with the National Farmers Union to consider competition in agricultural markets and enhancing antitrust enforcement.

 

Assistant Attorney General, Jonathan Kanter of the DOJ Antitrust Division, stated, “Competition in agriculture is critical.  Too often, farmers and livestock producers have too few suppliers to buy from and too few buyers to sell to.”  He added, “Protecting competition and the rule of law in agricultural markets is core to the work of the Antitrust Division and we will vigorously enforce the antitrust laws in this area.”

 

The DOJ is working closely with the USDA to prevent monopolies, illegal mergers, collusion or other anticompetitive activities in agriculture.

 

Given recent statements by USDA and DOJ, it would appear that the current Administration is intent on eliminating the tournament system but has not indicated any alternative that would be more functional or more fair than the current system that works to the benefit of both contractors and integrators and indirectly reduces the cost of chicken to consumers.


 

Argentine Broiler Production To Increase in 2023

According to USDA-FAS report AR 2022-0014 released on September 2nd, broiler production will increase by 1.9 percent in 2023 to 2.380 million metric tons compared to calendar 2022.  Net exports will attain 7.8 percent of supply, an increase of 4 percent over the previous year.  Assuming a population of 47.3 million in 2022, per capita consumption will attain 50 kg. (111 lbs.) despite inflation, unemployment and the high price of protein.


 

Kalmbach Feeds Establishes Veritas Agrilabs™

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for Veritas Agrilabs™ during the past week on the campus of Kalmbach Nutritional Services in Carey, OH.  The facility will provide analyses of animal feed ingredients, and forages.  Veritas Agrilabs™ will be an independent accredited laboratory dedicated to providing accurate and timely results for the feed and livestock industries of the U.S. Technology offered will include NIR spectroscopy, mycotoxin assay and proximate analysis.

 

Veritas Agrilabs™ will be managed by Joy Fetter with extensive experience operating pharmaceutical and feed laboratories.  In commenting on her appointment Joy noted that the laboratory will provide accurate and consistent results, outstanding customer service and rapid turnaround time.

 

Paul Kalmbach Jr. president of Kalmbach Feeds stated, “This laboratory, in addition to the multiple research and innovation sites that Kalmbach has added over the last two years is a continuation of our desire to create value for our customers and be able to better serve them for years to come.

 

The facility will be completed in December 2022 with full laboratory services extended to the industry during the first quarter of 2023.

 


 

QC Supply Issues 2022 Fall Catalog

QC Supply with thirty U.S. locations has issued their 2022 Fall catalog detailing available equipment, installations, consumables, disinfectants and items required to maintain and optimize the operation of live bird facilities.

 

For additional information on lighting, ventilation, welfare, pest control and biosecurity, access the company website by clicking <here> or onto the QC Supply logo on the right side of the Welcome page.


 

Moy Park Closes Plant in England

Moy Park, a subsidiary of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation has announced that the Ashbourne plant in Derbyshire, England, will be closed, and that production will be transferred to Anwick, in Lincolnshire and to Ballymena in Northern Ireland.  The Ashbourne facility employees close to 900 but closure will also impact local industries and suppliers.

 

According to financial reports, Moy Park contributed $35 million to the income of the parent company on sales of $2 billion in 2021.  During the previous year contribution was $85 million on sales of close to $2 billion.

 

Moy Park operates eleven plants producing poultry and hog products in the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands.


 

Wayne-Sanderson Farms Develops New Logo

Following the recent merger of Wayne Farms with Sanderson Farms, the company has unveiled a new logo reflecting the values of the new company.

Clint Rivers, president and CEO of Wayne-Sanderson Farms stated, "poultry is in everything we do. While this rebranding is a big change, our core values and mission have not changed, this new logo portrays who we are as a team and what we bring to the market".

 

 According to the company release, prior to the merger when Wayne Farms was a major supplier to restaurants and food service Sanderson concentrated on the retail market.  This was a major consideration in justifying the transaction since complementary market concentration has established synergy for the combined company.

 


 

USDA-AMS Purchases

On September 2nd, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service announced purchase of 29 tons of boned chicken in pouches for child nutrition and related food assistance programs.  Product was purchased at $74 to $89 per 22.55 lb. box containing 36 ten-ounce pouches corresponding to $3.28 to $3.96 per lb.

 

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service also announced purchase of 1,198 tons of boned chicken in 12.5 oz. cans. Product was purchased for $3.31 to $3.53 per lb.

The two purchases amounted to $12.9 million with deliveries to be made from mid-September  through December 2022.

 


 

Bellinger Foundation to Celebrate Career of Dr. Gary Smith

Over the October 14th and 15th weekend, the Bellinger Foundation will honor Dr. Gary Smith, an eminent scientist at Texas A&M University and an innovator in the meat industry.

 

The program commencing Friday, October 14th will begin with an appreciation to Dr. Smith at the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio.  On Saturday, a seminar will take place in his honor reviewing pathogens, sustainability and regulatory issues.

 

John Bellinger stated, "whether they know it or not, Dr. Smith's work has benefited the lives of nearly every consumer from keeping people safe to standardizing the way the industry grades carcasses to mentoring today's preeminent meat scientists. The effect Dr. Smith has had on the industry cannot be overstated”. 

The program will raise money for the Gary'68 and Kay Smith Meat Judging Team Excellence Endowment.


 

Foster Farms Increases Starting Wage Rate At Farmerville, LA Complex

Foster Farms announced a raise in the entry-level wage from $12.70 per hour to $17.30 per hour at its Farmerville, LA plant.

David Alverson, Complex Manager, stated, “We want to hire and retain the best people in Union Parish and the surrounding region.”  He added, “That means ensuring that wages and benefits are competitive in our industry and our community, especially at a time when we are being impacted by inflation.”  Workers will also receive benefits, including vacation and health benefits.  The Complex employs 1,000 workers and will be hiring an additional 600 for extended shifts.  Workers in the Plant are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 455.

 

Foster Farms transitioned from family ownership to Atlas Holdings in June. Donnie Smith, previously with Tyson Foods, was appointed as Chairman and CEO.

 


 

Hormel Posts Results for the Third Quarter of Fiscal 2022: Jennie-O Profitable

In a release dated September 1st Hormel Foods (HRL) reported on the third quarter of fiscal 2022 ending July 31st 2022.  For the quarter the company earned $218.8 million on revenue of $3,034 million with a diluted EPS of $0.40.  Comparable values for third quarter of fiscal 2021 ending July 25th were net income of $176.9 million on revenue of $2,804 million with a diluted EPS of $0.32. Gross margin increased to 16.6 percent for the most recent quarter compared to 14.8 percent for the third quarter of 2021. Profit margin rose from 6.2 percent in the third quarter of  2021 to 7.2 percent for the most recent quarter.

For the third quarter of 2022 the Jennie-O Turkey Store Segment generated sales of $323.8 million with an operating profit of $37.4 million reflecting an operating margin of 11.5 percent.  For the third quarter of 2021, revenue and operating profit were $350.9 million and $5.8 million respectively yielding an operating margin of 1.6 percent.  Compared to the third quarter of 2021 volume for the Jennie-O segment was down 19.9 percent to 149.93 million lbs. as a result of losses due to HPAI Sales value was down 7.7 percent. Unit revenue increased from $1.87 per lb. to $2.15 per lb. for the most recent quarter. Segment contribution was however up 537 percent. Growth was derived from a return in food service, demand for whole birds and branded products. As in the second quarter of 2022 increases in feed and logistic costs detracted from earnings.

 

In commenting on Corporate results Jim Snee, Chairman and CEO stated "We delivered another quarter of record sales and double-digit operating income growth. In the current environment, delivering seven straight quarters of record sales and four consecutive quarters of earnings growth is a notable achievement and speaks to the effectiveness of our strategy and the importance of our brands in uncertain times. Our team's execution played a pivotal role in our growth this quarter, as together, we overcame significant challenges, including continued broad-based inflationary pressures, persistent upstream and downstream supply chain disruptions, limited turkey supply, and impacts in China from COVID-related restrictions and temporary plant shutdowns."

 

Snee continued "We continued to benefit from our balanced business model during the quarter, led by outstanding contributions from Jennie-O Turkey Store and Refrigerated Foods. The Jennie-O Turkey Store segment significantly outperformed our profit expectations for the quarter as the team managed limited turkey supply effectively and maximized operational performance. Refrigerated Foods delivered double-digit, value-added earnings growth on retail and foodservice items, more than offsetting lower commodity profitability. Similar to last quarter, impressive performance from these businesses helped mitigate higher input and supply chain costs across all segments”.

 

Snee concluded, "Consumers and operators continued to engage with our brands due to their value, convenience and versatility. Our strategy of building a portfolio with both premium and value offerings continued to serve us well as macroeconomic conditions pressure some of our customers, consumers and operators. Our teams remain keenly focused on the long-term needs of the business, our strategic priorities and protecting the equity of our leading brands." 

 

In relation to the Jennie-O Segment, Snee observed “As anticipated, volume and sales declined as a result of the supply impacts on the company's vertically integrated supply chain from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Foodservice and whole-bird sales increased due to favorable pricing, partially offsetting lower commodity and retail sales. Higher commodity prices and foodservice sales drove the substantial improvement in contribution”

 

Hormel Foods posted total assets of $13,140 million on July 31st of which $6,738 comprised goodwill and intangibles. Long-term debt was $3,448 against an intraday market capitalization of $27,660 million. HRL has traded over the past 52 weeks in a range of $40.48 to $55.11 with a 50-day moving average of $48.92.  HRL trades with a forward P/E of 24.2 and a beta of 0.1.  For the trailing 12-month period, operating margin attained 10.0 percent and profit margin 7.7 percent.  The company has generated returns on assets of 6.8 percent and on equity 13.7 percent. HRL closed at $50.38 on August 31st but fell sharply at the open following the release to $47.25 on September 1st.

 

Subscribers can review the financial performance of competitor Butterball by entering “Seaboard” into the SEARCH tab.


 

Pork Products Stolen from JBS Plant

On August 29th, thieves stole a semi-truck and three trailers loaded with pork products from the Ottumwa, IA. plant operated by JBS.  The empty vehicles were subsequently recovered, the thieves having transferred the loads. This presumes bringing tractors into the plant to haul away unhitched trailers. This denotes either a profound lack of security or an ‘inside job’ with collusion between employees and thieves. The purloined product was valued in excess of $100,000.

 

Previously CHICK-NEWS reported on a similar heist involving beef from a plant in Nebraska during July involving three tractor-trailers.  The report noted that theft of large loads presumes involvement of organized crime on a regional scale.  Theft of product resulting in illegal distribution of raw meat represents a potential food safety hazard.


 

NCC Celebrates National Chicken Month

In observance of National Chicken Month, the NCC has updated the Chicken Check In website to enhance the image of the industry among consumers.

 

Insights will include data on the volume of chicken consumed and the contribution of the industry to sustainability and nutrition.

 

The Chicken Check In website will also feature interviews with Georgie Cartanza a University of Delaware poultry extension agent and contractor producing 800,000 broilers annually.  Ms. Cartanza has received many awards including the Nuffeld International Farming Scholarship.

 

The website will also include information on outdoor cooking and food safety.

 


 

Unintended Consequences From Suspending Agricultural Quotas for Ukraine

In June as a concession to farmers in the Ukraine, the EU suspended quotas for agricultural products including a 70,000 metric ton limit on processed chicken.  Following the suspension of the quota, exports from the Ukraine to the EU increased by 54 percent in the second quarter compared to the corresponding period in 2021.  Chicken cooperative Anvol in France predicts that the total volume supplied by Ukraine to the EU will increase to a range of 130,000 to 180,000 metric tons.  French integrators are now faced with a 181 percent increase in imports from Ukraine.

 

Quoted by Reuters, Gilles Huttepain, Deputy Chairman of Anvol, stated, “We were tricked, we are willing to help Ukrainian farmers, but we don’t want to help just one company.”  He was referring to MHP, the largest producer in Ukraine committed to export sales.  Shipment westward to the EU is also necessitated by the ongoing war in the east of the country and a blockade of exports from Black Sea ports imposed by the Russian Federation and only recently lifted.

 

Producers in France would be in an even more difficult position were it not for the depopulation of over 19 million birds of various species due to HPAI that affected all-poultry production from November 2021 through June 2022.  Producers in France are also facing competition from low-priced Brazilian product that continues to gain in market share. Some relief was offered to domestic producers by the Government of France that imposed a ban on import of chicken derived from flocks receiving antibiotics in feed.


 

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


 

Impossible Foods Gains Entry to School Feeding

Following a 2021 approval by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, vegetable protein products produced by Impossible Foods will be incorporated into school meals.  California is to be the leading state in adopting alternatives to real meat.  Chicken nuggets and patties will be supplied by Impossible Foods who claim that 500 institutions have tried or are using their products. Given the differential in wholesale cost between vegetable-derived products compared  to hamburger and chicken it would be difficult for school administrators to justify selection of  alternatives to real meat.


 

U.S. Drought Leading to Herd Liquidation-Implications for 2024

A report from Oklahoma State University documented a two-percent decline in cattle inventory on July 1, 2022, compared to the corresponding date in the preceding year.  Dr. Derrell Peel stated, "there are indications that drought impacts have accelerated sharply in the southern plains during July".  He added, "Cattle producers are destocking at a rapid rate as pasture conditions deteriorate". 

 

Dr. David Anderson of Texas A&M noted, "We haven’t had this kind of movement of cows to market in a decade since 2011 that was our really last big drought".  Regional cow slaughter plants have experienced high volume of sales in both Oklahoma and Texas.  This has implications for the availability of slaughter stock from pasture and feed lots in 2024 when additional packing capacity is projected to come on line together with the existing and expanded production from the four major packers.

Since the 2020 restrictions on output imposed by COVID that demonstrated vulnerability in the beef supply chain, a number of entrepreneurs and production groups have proposed establishing beef packing plants. Small regional establishments will receive funding from USDA and from state agencies.  Major plants processing up to 2,000 head per day and costing between $0.5 to $1.0 billion have been proposed.  Critics have noted that if these facilities are erected and commence production in 2024, they will have difficulty in sourcing live animals given the current depletion of the beef cow herd.  Industry insiders have also pointed to restrictions on availability of labor for large beef plants.  Promoters of new facilities may have underestimated the competitive aspects of the beef industry with domination by the four major packers with established markets and the possibility of predatory pricing to the detriment of industry newcomers.


 

Popeye’s Faced With Lawsuit Over Tenderloin Claim

An example of a contrived “shakedown” lawsuit was filed in a Federal New York Court on July 29th, alleging that a chicken tender sandwich offered by Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen contained less-desirable breast meat.  The complaint alleges that the plaintiff expected chicken tenderloins as the only meat component of the sandwich, as advertised, based on superior organoleptic properties. 

 

The lawsuit claims, “The perception that the product’s actual chicken was made from chicken tenderloins is material to consumers.”  The suit argued that customers of Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken paid a premium price for chicken tenders and that they would have paid significantly less if they had been aware that breast meat was included in the filling.  The complaint continued, “By the use of misleading representations, Popeye’s created increased market demand for the product and increased its market share relative to what its demand and share would have been had it marketed the product truthfully.”  The attorneys representing the plaintiff based in Los Angeles, CA. requested a jury trial with statutory and punitive damages.


 

Bill to Allow Livestock Auction Markets to Invest in Meat Packing Operations

The Packers and Stockyard Act prevents owners of livestock auction markets from owning or managing packing plants to avoid conflicts of interest.  A bill sponsored by Senators Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) proposes an amendment to the Packers and Stockyards Act to allow integration.  Senator Ernst stated, “Allowing livestock auction owners to invest in local and regional meat packers will expedite the safe processing of meat, increase competition within the industry, and ultimately lower meat costs for consumers.”

 

The legislation is supported by a number of livestock groups including the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association.

 

Bob Noble, President of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, stated “Daily slaughter capacity in Iowa falls short of our fed-cattle production.  We recognize the value of livestock auction markets in our supply chain, representing the interests of both sellers and buyers.”

 

The USDA is extremely conscious of the disruption caused by COVID that affected a large number of workers in plants with capacities in excess of 2,000 head per day.  In April and May of 2020, hog and beef slaughter was almost halved by a shortage of workers highlighting the vulnerability of the red meat industry to a highly transmissable disease.  For various reasons, the poultry industry was affected to a lesser degree compared to red meat plants with product supplied to stores albeit with sharp increases in price for chicken products.

 

It is questioned whether fragmentation of the packing sector is advisable or will, in any way, contribute to a temporary problem which has now been resolved.  Including the concept of “safe processing of meat”, to support the legislation may be an unrealized objective.  Although the proposal may appear politically expedient, it would be advisable to consider unintended consequences and to revisit why the restriction was considered necessary in the first instance.


 

Judge Grants Class Certification Following Tennessee Plant Raid

In 2018, agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) raided Southeastern Provision Inc. beef plant in Morristown, TN.

The National Immigration Law Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed for class-action status on behalf of 100 workers. U.S. District Judge Travis McDonough granted the motion allowing the case to proceed against the two federal agencies.

 

It is alleged that agents used excessive force and violated workers equal protection rights by targeting those with an evident Hispanic identity.

 

During the previous Administration a number of raids were conducted on meat-processing plants in Georgia accompanied by expensive publicity.  There have been no public reports of raids over the past two years suggesting a change in ICE policy and a higher level of compliance with immigration regulations by processors and packers.

 

Notwithstanding the approach by ICE, it is evident that Congress should resolve problems of availability and issue of H-2A visas and improve security on our southern porous border.


 

Vaccine Efficacy Questioned After ASF 'Break" in Viet Nam

The National Veterinary Laboratory of the Republic of Vietnam produced an African swine fever (ASF) vaccine that was intended to protect domestic flocks and to create an export market.  According to Reuters, administration of the vaccine has been suspended as 600 hogs in the central Province of Phu Yen died following immunization presumably from ASF.

 

The Agriculture Ministry has not disclosed whether this was an adverse effect from the vaccine or whether the hogs died of ASF post-inoculation suggesting inadequate immunity.  ASF has been endemic in Vietnam since 2019 and is present in 47 provinces.

 

The USDA has developed an effective ASF vaccine understood to be under test in Vietnam and the Philippines where the disease is  regionally endemic. It is at this time unclear whether the presumed  failure of protection was attributed to the U.S. vaccine or a product developed in Viet Nam, both of which were manufactured locally. It is also possible that the problem may have been associated with improper handling or administration of vaccine.

Control of ASF will not be possible without a safe and effective vaccine that provides immunity to recipients with transfer of maternal antibodies to farrowed piglets.

 


 

Whole Foods Market Sued Over Antibiotic-Free Beef Claim

Activist organization, Farm Forward has filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, CA., alleging deceptive advertising by Whole Foods Market, a subsidiary of Amazon Inc.  The plaintiffs including three bellwether consumers and Farm Forward allege that antibiotic and drug residues were detected in beef purchased from Whole Foods in San Francisco, Chicago, and Salt Lake City over a two-year period.

 

Whether the detected residues were at or below FDA limits is probably irrelevant to the claim since Whole Foods explicitly advertises specific beef products as “no antibiotics ever”.  Whole Foods Market charges a premium in excess of 25 percent for claimed antibiotic-free beef compared to other categories.

 

The complaint included, “Whole Foods markets beef with the slogan ‘no antibiotics ever’ and reinforces this promotional message that it beef is antibiotic-free with other similar representations at retail stores, through online marketing and on product packaging.” 

 

The plaintiffs require Whole Foods to amend marketing claims if supply chains include animals receiving antibiotics. As expected, both compensatory and punitive damages covering a large class of consumers is demanded.

 


 

Canadian Producer Recalls Frozen Chicken Entrees

Connoisseur’s Kitchen, located in Surrey, BC, Canada has recalled almost one ton of frozen ready-to-eat entrees.  The recall follows isolation of Listeria monocytogenes.  Product was prepared on August 3rd and exported to Alaska and Washington states on August 8th.

 

Contamination was detected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on routine sampling.  There have been no confirmed reports of illness, although product may still be in domestic refrigerators.


 

Impossible Foods Changes Formula For Beef Substitute

According to a company release, Impossible Foods has reduced saturated fat by 25 percent from 8g to 6g per serving.  Protein as a proportion of daily value has increased to 38 percent from 31 percent, although the company has not provided any information on amino acid profile. 

The ingredient list for their faux beef is far from “clean” as required by their affluent consumer base concerned over heath, sustainability and welfare. Ingredients listed include soy protein concentrate, sunflower oil, coconut oil, natural flavors, methyl cellulose, cultured dextrose, food starch, yeast extract, soy leghemoglobin (a GMO), salt, tocopherols, L-tryptophan, and soy protein isolate in addition to vitamins and minerals.

 

The company has also changed the name from Impossible Burger™ to Impossible Beef ™ as burger patties and containers of the beef substitute are now sold in separate packages.

 

Peter McGuinness the newly appointed CEO claims a repeat purchase rate of 45 percent by consumers.  Optimistic pronouncements are at variance with successive quarterly reports issued by competitors all of whom document either static or declining sales volume and shrinking or outright negative gross, operational and net margins.

 

The state of vegetable-based meat substitutes can be appreciated by reviewing quarterly reports of Maple Leaf Foods and Beyond Meat by entering the names of these companies in the SEARCH block to retrieve financial data.


 

Chemical Spill Mitigated By Prompt Action

During the afternoon of August 25th, a chemical spill occurred at the Perdue Farms plant in Washington, IN.  According to news reports, a forklift carrying a pallet of chemicals (unspecified) overturned, resulting in dispersal of liquid.

 

Contingency planning and drills resulted in an orderly evacuation of 350 workers without incident. Designated and trained plant response personnel with appropriate equipment were activated to respond to the incident. Approximately eight workers complained of shortness of breath and headaches and were evaluated on site or in a medical facility and were released.

 

The plant resumed operations within two hours.

 

This episode demonstrates the benefit of planning for a possible accident, incident or severe weather event.  It is anticipated that after an investigation, appropriate corrective action will be taken to avoid a reoccurrence.


 

USAPEEC Presents Promotional Seminars in Columbia on Duck Meat

With sponsorship from the Indiana Soybean Association, USAPEEC presented two seminars for chefs in the major cities of Bogota and Cartagena, Columbia during August.

 

Approximately 130 chefs attended with most affiliated to the hotel and restaurant sector.  Demonstrations on preparation of duck meat were led by Chef Danielle Riveros. Angelica Rangel, Sales Manager for Maple Leaf Farms in Latin America provided information on commercial availability.

 

For the first half of 2022 exports of duck meat attained 1,925 metric tons up 46 percent compared to the first six months of 2021. Value in 2022 was $6.9 million, 61.0 percent higher than for the first six months of 2021. Unit price in 2022 was $3,605 per metric ton up 10.1 percent from the first half of 2021. Major importers were Mexico with 44.8 percent of export volume followed by Canada at 19.4 percent during the first half of 2022.

 

 The concentration of the duck industry in a few counties in Indiana imposes risks for future exports by this sector of the poultry industry given exposure to HPAI during the 2022 epornitic. Applying the WAHO principle of regionalization duck exports were up 88.2 percent in July 2022 compared to the corresponding month in 2021. This attests to the promotional activities of USAPEEC and its influence on phytosanitary trade rules.   


 

Aviagen Recognized at Tennessee Poultry Association Meeting

During the 2022 Tennessee Poultry Association (TPA) Meeting in Nashville on August 19th two Aviagen employees were recognized for contributions to the North American broiler industry.

 

Jeremy Martin was honored by the Association as the Workhorse of the Year and was appointed as the first Vice-president.  Martin has participated in the Tennessee Poultry Association for close to 25 years and has served on the Board since 2019.  He also chairs the Scholarship Committee and has been active in the Live Production Committee.

Rachel Breeding, the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Manager for the Aviagen Pedigree Operation in Crossville, TN. received the Tennessee Poultry Association Next Gen Young Leader Under Thirty Award.  This recognizes a young professional involved in poultry production or processing with the potential to advance the industry through dedication and enthusiasm.  Clara Goldman who nominated Ms. Breeding noted, "She excels in her roles with the QA and Regulatory Team showing careful attention to detail and an unmatched ability to work with people.

 

Dr. Marc de Beer, President of Aviagen North America who was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting noted, "Aviagen is proud of both Rachel and Jeremy and we appreciate the TPA honoring our employees.  We value our close and longstanding relationship with the TPA and share with them a vision to equip farmers with everything they need to put healthy chicken meat on the tables of families in Tennessee and North America”.


 

KFC Introduces Low-Price Combo Meals

KFC will offer a two-piece dark meat (drum and thigh) combo meal for a limited time at $6.00.  The meal will also include mashed potatoes, a biscuit and a small beverage.  The special offer will be available as either Original Recipe® or Extra Crispy™. Availability will include in-restaurant, drive-thru, on-line order or delivered via the KFC mobile app.

 

Nick Chavez, the CMO of KFC noted, "we know consumers are feeling the pinch in their pocketbooks and these affordable meal deals make it easy for them to enjoy the KFC favorites they love". 

 

In addition to the two-piece meal, KFC is offering a free half gallon beverage bucket for each twelve piece or larger meal purchased.


 

Tennessee Poultry Association Recognizes Aviagen Award Winners

TPA honors “Workhorse of the Year” and “NextGen Young Leader Under 30” at annual meeting

Aug. 30, 2022 HUNTSVILLE, Ala. This year the Tennessee Poultry Association (TPA) hosted its Annual Meeting and Summer Getaway on Aug. 19 and 20 in Nashville. Aviagen® shares with the association a commitment to the success and sustainability of the poultry industry. Aviagen was a sponsor of the meeting, and the company’s President of North America Dr. Marc de Beer was there to present the keynote address. During the meeting, the TPA recognized two Aviagen employees for their dedication and contribution to North American poultry.


Workhorse of the Year
At the event, Aviagen’s Regional Business Manager for North America Jeremy Martin received two separate accolades. Based on his tireless service to the Association and to the industry, he was honored with the TPA 2022 Workhorse of the Year award. And, serving as second vice president in 2021, Martin was appointed as first VP during this year’s annual meeting. Jeremy has served Aviagen North America for nearly a quarter century, and has been on the TPA Board since 2019. He also chairs the TPA Scholarship Committee and has been active on the Live Production and Auction committees. He also supports the service meetings, the scholarship reviewing and selection process, the annual meeting and events and various fundraisers. Additionally, he works closely with Tennessee universities to help develop their poultry programs and get more students excited about the
industry.


“Jeremy has been extremely active with TPA, and makes himself available to us whenever his skills and advice are needed. He is energetic, enthusiastic and supportive and knows how to get things done,” said Dale Barnett, Executive Director of the TPA. “More importantly, he was chosen for his passion for poultry and going above and beyond to contribute to the sustainability of the industry in Tennessee and beyond.

 

NextGen Young Leader Under 30

Rachel Breeding, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Manager at the Aviagen pedigree operation in Crossville, Tenn., was presented with a TPA 2022 NextGen Young Leader Under 30 Award. The intention of the award program is to encourage up-and-coming professionals who work for TPA-member poultry companies directly involved in poultry production or processing. Breeding was nominated for the award by her manager Clara Goldman for her leadership qualities, dedication and enthusiasm for the industry. “To breed the best, we need the best, and Rachel is certainly among our best talent,” explained Goldman. “She excelled in her roles with the QA and Regulatory Team from her first day on the job, with a careful attention to detail and quality, and an unmatched ability to work with people. Rachel is an excellent example of Aviagen’s core values of integrity, positive attitude, customer focused and more!


“I am proud of both Rachel and Jeremy and appreciate the TPA for honoring our employees. We value our close and longstanding relationship with the TPA and share with them a vision to equip farmers with everything they need to put healthy chicken meat on the tables of families in Tennessee and throughout North America,” added Marc de Beer, President of North America.

 

Aviagen supports future of Tennessee poultry
Aviagen sponsors a scholarship for students at Tennessee universities who are pursuing a career in the poultry industry. Bethany Priest, an Animal Science student at Tennessee Tech University, was awarded the 2022 Aviagen scholarship and was presented with a check at the meeting.


“We congratulate Bethany and wish her all the best for a fulfilling career in poultry,” commented de Beer. “The sustainability of our industry in Tennessee and around the world depends on our ability to attract bright, innovative people like Bethany, who have a passion to make a difference in feeding the world with a sustainable, affordable and readily available source of protein.”
 

About Aviagen
Since 1923, Aviagen® has been a preferred global poultry breeding company with a mission to help its customers -- the world’s chicken meat producers -- supply sustainable, affordable and nutritious protein to their growing communities. Putting into practice its corporate value of “Breeding Sustainability,” Aviagen implements efficiencies that make commercial chicken production environmentally and socially responsible and economically beneficial to producers, while at the same time promoting bird performance, health and welfare.


To meet varied market demands, Aviagen offers a full portfolio of breeding stock under the Arbor Acres®, Indian River® and Ross® brand names. The Rowan Range® and Specialty Males® target slower-growing and other niche market needs. Aviagen is based in Huntsville, Alabama, US., with operations across the UK, Europe, Turkey, Latin America, India, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the US, and joint ventures in Asia. The company employs close to 8,000 people, and serves customers in 100 countries.
 

For more information, please visit Aviagen.com, or follow Aviagen on LinkedIn.


 

Compassion in World Farming Enrolls Nine New Customers

Compassion in World Farming organized the U.S. Working Group for Broiler Welfare in 2021 with seven founder businesses.  This group supports enterprises to develop programs to enhance welfare in intensive livestock production. Following recruitment of nine new members the Working Group comprises sixteen companies. These include manufacturers such as Nestle USA, retailers, (Target, Sprouts and the Whole Foods Market subsidiary of Amazon ) and food service companies, (Aramark and the Compass Group).  Collectively the sixteen members purchased 540 million pounds of chicken in 2021.

 

The U.S. Working Group for Broiler Welfare collaborates with Perdue Farms to establish and implement welfare initiatives with a program of improvement since 2016.  Many Perdue animal and flock-care practices are consistent with the Better Chicken Commitment including controlled atmosphere stunning, natural daylight in houses and enrichments.  According to Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, Senior Vice president for Technical Services and Innovation “Perdue will continue to collaborate with Compassion in World Farming and the Working Group to ensure that existing and future new customers can offer products from animals raised according to the Better Chicken Commitment standards.”

 

 “The expansion of the Working Group reflects a demand for meaningful change and how animals are farmed” according to Tessa Hale, U.S. Head of Food Business, at Compassion in World Farming.  For additional information on the Better Chicken Commitment access www.chickentrack.com

 


 

National Meeting on Poultry Health, Processing and Live Production

The Delmarva Chicken Association will host the 57th National Meeting in Ocean City, MD. October 3rd to 5th 2022.  A total of 35 speakers on relevant topics have confirmed their participation. The following key issues will be addressed by leading scientists:

 

 

  • Dr. Mary Pantin-Jackwood, High Path Avian Influenza Overview
  • Dr. Kenneth Anderson, Comparing Methods of Mass Depopulation
  • Dr. Mike Kogut, Dr. Greg Mathis, Dr. Cori Robinson and Dr. Tyler Gamble, Additives and Broiler Health Challenges with NAE Production
  • Dr. Juan De Villena, Labor Shortages and Automation Solutions
  • Dr. Stewart Ritchie, Brooding.

 


 

DOJ Required to Provide Additional Evidence in Collusion Trial

U.S. District Judge, Daniel Domenico, has granted a defense motion for a bill of particulars requiring the Department of Justice to specify alleged events relating to collusion.  Jason McGuire and Timothy Stiller will face trial on an alleged conspiracy to fix prices and unlawful restraint of interstate trade and commerce with Stiller having to answer to obstruction of an official proceeding.

The Department of Justice has been singularly unsuccessful in proving that collusion occurred over three trials with two ending in hung juries and the third in an acquittal of five defendants.  In early August, charges were dismissed against Wesley Scott Tucker and Justin Gay formerlly of of Pilgrim’s Pride.


 

American Foods Group To Establish Beef Plant

American Foods Group, based in Green Bay, WI., has secured financing for a beef processing plant to be located in Warren County, MO.  The plant will extend over 500,000 square feet and will have a capacity of 2,400 head per working day and will employ 1,300. Despite concern and opposition to the plant that was announced in November 2021, final approval was granted in May 2022 by the Warren County Commission.

 

Steve Van Lannen, CEO of American Foods Group, stated, “The state of Missouri and the people of Warren County have been outstanding partners and we look forward to becoming a member of their community.”  He added, “Consumer demand for beef is growing and we are investing in this project to fill an industry need for additional hook space while meeting the needs of our partners, customers and consumers.”


 

Chick-fil-A Wins Georgia Business Award

Chick-fil-A is the winner of the 2022 goBeyondProfit Award.  This distinction recognizes business leaders and their companies that value service, customer goodwill and generosity.

In responding to the announcement, Dan T. Cathy CEO, of Chick-fil-A stated, “We have a mission statement to be the world’s most caring company. We know that really it’s the subtleties with a lot of behaviors that consistently happen all over the organization.”  He added, “This impacts customers in drive-thru lanes, in our dining rooms and other places where they feel cared for through a lot of little things that we do.”

Megan McCamey, President of goBeyondProfit, stated, “Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy offer a road map for excellence in business generosity from daily operations to the contributions they make to improve the lives of everyone that comes in contact with their company.”


 

McDonald’s To Test Big Mac Chicken Sandwich

Following a successful trial in the U.K., McDonald’s Corp. will trial a “Chicken Big Mac”® in Miami, FL.

 

McDonald’s is late to the market with a premium chicken sandwich and will have to compete with Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.

 

In commenting on chicken as a filling for sandwiches, Chris Kempczinski the CEO, noted, “Chicken continues to be a significant opportunity for McDonald’s.”  He added, “We’ve got some great global equities already in our McNuggets® and with McChicken® and we think we’ve got an opportunity to do more with chicken globally.”


 

Beef Prices Motivate Theft

With the value of a trailer load of beef approaching $200,000 depending on product, hijacking of loads have occurred in Nebraska.  Authorities are investigating three heists with two tractor- trailers recovered and a third still unaccounted for.

 

Although the value of beef in a semi-trailer may exceed $200,000, distribution of the purloined contents in 20-ton loads presumes the involvement of organized crime on a regional or even national scale.  Counter-measures including apprehension of those responsible at all levels will require the involvement and resources of the federal government.  Theft and illegal distribution of raw meat also represents a potential food safety hazard.


 

Shane Commentary

National Pork Producers’ Council Claim Financial Impact of California Proposition#12

In advance of the oral hearing by the Supreme Court of the United States on the constitutionality of Proposition#12, the National Pork Producers Council has submitted a financial projection purporting to represent the cost of the regulation to pork producers.  The Council has estimated a cost of $3,500 per sow to transition from gestation crates to group housing.  The Council maintained that Proposition#12 will add millions of dollars in costs to producers who will be required to construct enclosures that allow for 24 square feet per sow.

 

In July, EGG-NEWS reported on the amicus brief, submitted by Dr. Richard Sexton and Dr. Daniel Sumner in which they pointed to the inherent flaw in the pork producers’ claim of an immense investment required to comply with Proposition#12.  As distinguished agricultural economists at the University of California, Davis, Drs. Sexton and Sumner calculated that the cost of conversion would amount to $5 per weanling pig produced for the market in California. This represented a retail value of three cents per pound to consumers of pork in the state, equivalent to 7.7 percent of their pork purchases at retail and amounting collectively to $320 million annually.

 

The amicus brief noted that the analysis submitted by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation "rests on the unsupported and plainly incorrect assumption that all pork producers nationwide will be forced to comply with Proposition#12 and that the cost of complying will be passed on to all pork consumers nationwide.  The level of conversion to group housing to date more than satisfies the requirement for California. Sumner and Sexton also emphasized that there is no imperative on any hog producer to comply with Proposition#12.

 

The question before SCOTUS relates to the constitutionality of Proposition#12 in relation to interstate commerce.  The Justices will be disinclined to consider economic factors, welfare issues or other peripheral considerations other than the dormant commerce clause.

 

Irrespective of the outcome of the case, pork producers will have to transition from gestation crates for sows based on the intermediate term commitments of customers in the food service, restaurant and retail sectors all of whom will require group housing for sows in their sourcing of pork. The train has left the station for this segment of the intensive livestock industry.

 

Meat Industry Comments On Proposed Kingsbury Beef Plant in South Dakota

Kingsbury and Associates, in conjunction with Sirius Realty have announced their intention to establish a new beef plant in South Dakota.  The proposed facility would slaughter approximately eight thousand head per day, will employ 2,500 even with advanced mechanization and will cost over $1.1 billion.

 

Critics have noted that the company would be at a disadvantage in competing with the Big Four comprising Cargill, Tyson Foods, JBS USA and National Beef Packing that collectively supply 85 percent of the U.S. market.  Analysts note that the plant may have difficulty in finding sufficient labor, despite the intention to use automation and mechanization.  Agricultural economists believe that the new plant would be of benefit to cattle producers providing more competition for live animals.  Due to ongoing drought and low prices, the national herd has declined.  This may not be a problem, given that if the promoters break ground in 2023, production will only commence in early 2026, allowing time for contracts to be developed in order to establish a supply of live cattle.  According to Megan Kingsbury, the plant will be financially feasible, given that the promoters represent a fourth-generation of cattle production.

 

Investment of $1.1 billion illustrates the commitment required to make any meaningful impact on beef supply.  Recent USDA announcements of grants to establish small, local packing plants pale in comparison with the projected capacity of eight thousand head per day.  Economies of scale are necessary to be competitive and to show an acceptable return on investment.  It is inadvisable for the current Administration to attempt to run counter to establish free market principles and support enterprises that would otherwise be non-viable.

 

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