Poultry Industry News

Low Path H5 Diagnosed in Turkey Flock in Kandiyohi County MN.


 The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has detected H5 low pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Kandiyohi County. According to State Veterinarian Dr. Beth Thompson, the case was diagnosed on routine surveillance prior to slaughter. The flock was placed under quarantine on November 22nd and appropriate monitoring of adjacent and contact flocks is in progress. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health is working with federal, state and industry partners in its response.


An investigation of the source of the infection is presumably in progress. Kandiyohi County was the epicenter of the initial turkey-associated phase of the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza epornitic in 2015.

Location of Kandiyohi County

Both H5 and H7 strains of avian influenza virus are capable of undergoing point mutation to become highly pathogenic as confirmed by numerous previous outbreaks including a case in Indiana in early 2016 and in the Carolinas in 2019.


The statement from Minnesota officials that turkey farmers exercise a high standard of biosecurity is less than reassuring given the occurrence of this index case. Whether additional cases emerge in coming days will provide an indication of the probability of a more severe problem in weeks to come given the reality that migratory birds serve as reservoirs and disseminators of infection.


This case coupled with the results of surveys denoting the recovery of AI virus from wild birds, recently disclosed in an APHIS webinar, are cause for concern.The need for effective structural and operational biosecurity is emphasized as opposed to a “going through the motions” approach since the events of 2015 have faded in memory.


H5 and H7 isolations of avian influenza virus irrespective of pathogenicity must be reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and will have trade implications.


Turkey Week


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices November 19th 2021


Poult Production and Placement:

The November 18th 2021 edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.5 million eggs in incubators on November 1st 2021 (25.6 million eggs on October 1st 2021*) and up 2.7 percent (0.73 million eggs) from November 1st 2020.


A total of 22.0 million poults were hatched during October 2021 (21.0 million in September 2021*), representing a decrease of 5.5 percent (1.28 million poults) from October 2020.


A total of 19.7 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in October 2021, (18.8 million in September 2021*), 1.9 percent (0.4 million poults) less than in October 2020. This suggests disposal of 2.3 million poults during the month (2.4 million in September 2021). Based on the proportion of 55 percent hens to 45 percent toms processed in September and October it is calculated that 1.0 million hen poults representing 4.5 percent of the October hatch and 1.3 million tom poults representing 5.3 percent of October hatch were not placed during the month.


For the twelve-month period November 2020 through October 2021 inclusive, 264.5 million poults were hatched and 245.9 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 18.6 million poults. Assuming an equal proportion of placements between toms and hens reared year to date, for the 12-month period, 7.0 percent of all poults were not placed. This is an unsubstantiated estimate with a fluctuating demand for processed toms and hens in a post-COVID affected market with toms predominating during the first quarter of 2021 and more hens placed in the third quarter. (See relative numbers of hen and tom poults processed under Production Data below).


* USDA revision from previous monthly report.


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


Turkey Production:

The November 19th 2021 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 68: No.46) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending November 13th 2021, 2.460 million young hens were slaughtered during the processing week at a live weight of 15.6 lbs. (last week 2,546 million hens at 17.1 lbs.). During the corresponding week in 2020, 2.560 million hens were processed, 4.0 percent more than the most recent week in 2021. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 30.9 million lbs. (14,501 metric tons), 2.7 percent less than for the corresponding processing week of 2020. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. In 2021 RTC hen production has attained 1,087 million lbs. (494,380 metric tons) to date, 1.3 percent less than for YTD 2020.
  • For the processing week ending November 13th 2021, 2,177 million toms were slaughtered at 44.0 lbs., compared to 1.979 million toms processed during the previous week at 44.9 lbs. For the corresponding week in 2020, 2.256 million toms were processed, 3.7 percent more than in the most recent week in 2021. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 77.2 million lbs. (35,081 metric tons), 2.4 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. In 2021 RTC tom product has attained 3,383 million lbs. (1,537,879 metric tons) to date, 7.3 percent less than YTD 2020.
  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 134.7 cents per lb., down 1.1 cents per lb. from the previous week and up approximately 36 cents per lb. from the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on November 19th 2021:-


Cracker Barrel Posts Q1 Financial Results


In a November 23rd release, Cracker Barrel and Old Country Store (CBRL) posted financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2022 ended October 29th 2020. This chain can be regarded as a bellwether for the casual dining segment of the restaurant sector.


For the period, net revenue was $33.4 million on total revenue of $784.9 million.  Comparable figures for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 ending October 30th 2019 were net income of $170.7 million on total revenue of $646.5 million.  EPS declined from $7.18 for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 to $1.41 for the most recent quarter. The large difference was due to a non-recurring gain on a sale and leaseback transaction valued at $217.7 million during Q1 of FY 2020.


At the end of the first quarter of FY2021 the company operated 660 Cracker Barrel and Maple Street Biscuit locations in 45 states. 


The company recorded a comparable same-restaurant sales increase of 1.4 percent compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Retail sales gained 17.6 percent for the most recent quarter. Off- premises sales increased by 168 percent representing 20 percent of revenue.


Commenting on the business, Cracker Barrel President and Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran said, "I'm pleased with the improvement we saw in our first quarter comparable restaurant sales and the continued strength of our retail sales. The progress we made on staffing and the incredible efforts of our operating teams contributed significantly to our sales results in the first quarter and positioned us well for the important holiday season and our second quarter generally. Although we still face an uncertain business environment, our sales trends give us confidence that we should see further improvement in our comparable store sales in the second quarter.  We believe that as our guests return to a more traditional holiday season and look to Cracker Barrel to be a part of their family gatherings and celebrations with friends, our dedicated and talented employees and leadership teams will meet their expectations, whether they visit our retail shops and dining rooms, or enjoy our food at home.


Cracker Barrel posted assets of $2,372 million against long-term debt and lease obligations of $1,208 million and the Company has an intraday market capitalization of $3,360 million. CBRL has traded over a 52-week period in a range of $123.74 to $178.82 with a 50-day moving average of $139.34.  Twelve-month trailing operating margin was 5.3 percent and profit margin 9.0 percent.  Return on assets over the past twelve months was 13.8 percent and the return on equity 47.0 percent. At 13H00 November 23rd CBRL traded at at $132.26 down 7.5 percent.


Broiler Week


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices, November 19th 2021.


Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on November 17th 2021 confirmed that a total of 240.4 million eggs were set during the week ending November 13th 2021, up seven percent from the corresponding week of the previous year and up 3.0 percent (7.0 million eggs) compared to the previous week in 2021.


A total of 174.2 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending November 13th 2021. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 182.4 million, up four percent from the corresponding week in 2020 and 2.6 percent (4.6 million) chicks more than the previous week. Claimed average hatchability was 79.7 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier, (79.4 percent for the previous week). Each 1.0 percent change in hatchability represents 1.8 million chicks placed per week with the current range of weekly settings.


Cumulative chick placements for the period January 9th 2021 through November 13th 2021 amounted to 8.34 billion chicks, up less than one percent from the corresponding period in 2020.


During the period October 9th through November 13th 2021 weekly placements were on average 0.8 percent higher compared with the corresponding six weeks in 2020 (with a range of two percent down to four percent up on corresponding weeks). Low chick placements during the past twelve weeks is attributed to setting a proportion of hatching eggs with depressed fertility that were derived from high-yield breed combinations placed by some integrators. Additional breeder flocks have been placed to compensate for reduced fertility and hence hatch but their contribution has yet to be realized based on age. The average 5.3 percent increase in eggs per week set over the past six weeks should be reflected in higher placements as recorded in mid-November and in broilers harvested during late-December onwards.


Broiler Production

According to the November 19th USDA Broiler Market News (Vol. 68, No. 46) for the processing week ending November 13th 2021, 165.4 million broilers were processed during the past week (previous week 164.6 million) at an average live weight of 6.38 lbs. (6.41 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76 percent. The number of broilers processed was 0.8 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 802.0 million lbs. (364,540 metric tons), (801.8 million lbs. last week), 0.4 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. In 2021 Processed (RTC) production has attained 36.24 billion lbs. (16,474,328 metric tons) to date, 0.4 percent less than YTD 2020.


Broiler Price

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on November 19th 2021 was up 2.8 cent per lb. compared to the previous week at 105.7 cents per lb., compared to 80.1 cents per lb. during the corresponding week of 2020; 103.0 cents per lb. for October 2021 and 85.0 cents per lb. for the three-year average. The industry is still impacted by contraction in the food service segment following imposition of COVID-19 restrictions, although universities and schools are generally functional and QSRs are using increasing quantities of breast meat for sandwiches, strips and nuggets.


Crop Progress


Status of 2021 Corn and Soybean Crops: November 22nd.

The USDA Crop Progress Report released on November 22nd documented progress in harvesting 2021 corn and soybean crops compared to 5-year averages. This past week 95 percent of the corn crop was “in the bin,” 3 percent ahead of the 5-year average. For soybeans 95 percent of the crop has been harvested, an advance of 3 percent over the week but one percent behind the 5-year average of 96 percent. Harvest in many Midwest states was previously impeded by wet weather contributing to high corn moisture values. For the second successive week ending November 21st, 5 to 6 days were suitable for field work among the major states producing corn and soybeans, contributing to harvesting approaching completion.


The ProFarmer Crop Tour completed six weeks ago, estimated corn yield to range from 175.2 to 178.8 bushels per acre with a mean value of 177.0 bushels per acre compared to the November WASDE value of 177.0 bushels per acre. The ProFarmer evaluation corresponded to a projected range for the 2021corn harvest of 14.965 to 15.265 billion bushels with a mean value of 15.116 billion bushels compared to the November WASDE value of 15.062 billion bushels.


The ProFarmer Crop Tour estimated the soybean yield to range from 50.2 to 52.2 bushels per acre with a mean value of 51.2 bushels per acre compared to the November WASDE value of 51.2 bushels per acre. The ProFarmer evaluation corresponded to a projected range for the 2021 soybean harvest of 4.347 to 4.525 billion bushels with a mean value of 4.525 billion bushels compared to the November WASDE value of 4,425 billion bushels.


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 November 9th WASDE Report #618, in this edition with a final projection of yields, ending stocks and markets.


  Week Ending


Nov 14th

Nov 21st

5-Year Avg

Corn Mature (%)

Corn Harvested (%)







Soybeans Mature (%)

Soybeans Harvested (%)








ASF Persists in Romania


USDA-GAIN report RO2021-0015 released on November 17th documents the impact of African swine fever (ASF) on domestic hog production.  In many respects, the situation in Romania reflects other Eastern European nations where ASF can be regarded as endemic given the proportion of feral hogs.


The National Veterinary and Food Safety Authority has recorded 4,255 outbreaks of ASF since 2019.  In addition, 5,895 wild boars have yielded ASF virus.  Since the July 2017 commencement of the outbreak, over one million hogs have been culled in an attempt to eradicate the infection.  At the present time, the swine population comprises approximately 220,000 breeding sows and 4.5 million growing hogs.  During 2018-2019 the annual reduction in breeding sows attained 10 percent but a recovery was recorded in 2021 with a population approximately 3.5 percent below the 2017 pre-ASF level.  Of the individual outbreaks, 90 percent have occurred in backyard operations with minimal economic impact other than for owners and villages.  The outbreaks occurring in commercial hog farms have reduced the supply of pork and resulted in severe economic loss to operators.


In the absence of an effective vaccine, Romania and adjoining countries can only suppress outbreaks by applying quarantine and depletion.  Cases are appreciably higher in 2021 than in 2020 attesting to the virulence of the virus and the lack of efficacy of current control measures.


Foster Farms Donates Turkeys to CA. Food Bank


Following a longstanding annual tradition, Foster Farms will donate two and half tons of Thanksgiving turkeys to the Merced County Food Bank.  The donation will feed 6,000 residents in a community of 80,000.  Foster Farms has already donated sufficient turkeys to food banks from San Diego, CA. to Seattle, WA. to feed more than 80,000 in need.


It is estimated that in California one out of every five residents comprising eight million suffer from food insecurity. This is a sorry situation for the Nation’s wealthiest state.


OSHA Suspends Vaccination Mandate


Following a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suspended enforcement of the vaccine mandate "pending future developments".  The Appeals Court ruled that the mandate grossly exceeded the authority of the Agency.


The subject of federal mandates is now in the hands of the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court in Cincinnati that is considering over thirty challenges that have been consolidated into a single action.  If the Sixth Circuit appeals Court rules in favor of a mandate, OSHA will limit the suspension and possibly extend the original deadline of January 4th, 2022. Ultimately the issue may be considered by the Supreme Court, given the jurisdictional and constitutional issues involved.


In the interim, employers would be well advised to offer vaccination and incentives as was the case with Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms and other processors. Complete vaccination with a range of safe and highly effective approved vaccines will reduce the incidence rate of COVID in employees and their communities. Vaccination will reduce absentism and in the event of infection will obviate hospitalization. At the end of the day, COVID is a public health situation and should be distinct from political considerations and mischievous misinformation.


China Again Placing Obstacles on Imports


According to the USAPEEC MondayLine customs inspectors are rejecting some shipments of U.S. poultry products resulting in either rejection and destruction of the contents of containers or return at a very high cost.  Items of concern include the quality of paws from the U.S. and other nations. Customs inspectors are also requiring absolute compliance with seals on containers and  documentation.  Any discrepancies result in rejection.


It is questioned whether recent actions of the General Administration of Customs are motivated by an imperative to conform strictly to regulations or whether creating impediments to importation is in fact a protectionist strategy motivated by the Government.




Koch Foods to Expand Gainesville Plant


Koch Foods intends to expand a processing plant erected in the 1960s and acquired in 2002.  The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board permitted the project that will be subject to final approval by the City Council of Gainesville on December 7th.


The land that will be used to expand the plant has been rezoned to heavy commercial and Koch will erect an additional 90,000 square feet for poultry processing and deboning, 24,000 square feet of office space and 63,000 square feet for cold storage. Ancillary projects will include parking, truck bays and loading docks.  Proposed updates and the expansion will double production volume and will generate additional jobs.


President Pardons Thanksgiving Turkeys


In an annual tradition since 1947 the National Turkey Federation (NTF) presents the White House with a Thanksgiving Turkey (and Vice-turkey). For 2021 Phil Seger Chair of the NTF presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey named “Peanut Butter” and his penmate “Jelly.” Both received an official pardon and will be housed for their remaining lifespan at the Purdue University Department of Animal Science.


Phil Seger commented “It is an honor to participate in this truly unique tradition, and I thank President Biden for welcoming the National Turkey Federation, my family and Peanut Butter and Jelly to the White House,” He continued “Thanksgiving is a special time for those of us in the turkey business, and it’s an opportunity to celebrate America’s turkey farmers and everyone in our industry.”


Perdue Farms Donates Product to KY. Healthcare Workers


Perdue Farms delivered 650 boxes of chicken to healthcare workers at Ohio County, KY.  Healthcare.  The donation follows the Perdue “Delivering Hope to our Neighbors” program.  Kyla Dockery, HR Manager at the Perdue Cromwell, Kentucky complex, stated “The COVID pandemic has illustrated the heroic efforts of so many people in our communities including first responders, healthcare, and other essential workers on the frontlines.”


Nutritional Value of Plant-Based Alternatives to Meat Questioned


A comprehensive review by Dr. Gary C. Smith of Colorado State University considered consumer perceptions of plant-based meat alternatives that apparently have acquired a “health halo”.  Protein is a current issue of interest among consumers with this attribute surpassing fat and caloric content as a measure of nutritional quality. 


Following introduction of plant-based burgers, discrepancies between the amino acid and total protein content compared to real meat were evident.  Notwithstanding the science and analytical data, consumers believed that plant-based meats were “healthier” in some non-defined way. Although the crude protein content of ground beef and two leading brands of alternatives are similar, ground beef has a more favorable amino acid profile.  In response to deficiencies in methionine, one producer of faux meat increased the essential amino acid content of their product.  Currently the nutritionally available protein content of ground beef is superior to most plant-based patties.

Dr. Gary C. Smith
Colorado State University

Dr. Smith reviewed surveys that disclosed that half of  consumers believe that plant-based alternatives are ‘healthier’ than real beef.  Most consumers are incapable of deciding on the nutritional value of a product from the Nutrition Facts label that does not specify individual amino acids.  Based on crude protein level and ignoring required daily allowance, plant-based patties appear equivalent in value. Deficiencies in amino acids and vitamins and differences in saturated and unsaturated fatty acids and salt between plant-based and real meat are evidently ignored by consumers.


The review concluded that the apparent “health halo” associated with plant-based alternatives to meat relate to incorrect perceptions of health and wellness but are also influenced by taste and convenience and receptivity to claims of sustainability and welfare. To date manufacturers of plant-based alternatives have targeted consumers of ground beef. Chicken products are now appearing and should be considered as competitors especially for heavily breaded nuggets and strips. Knowledge relating to the motivation to select plant-based alternatives should serve as a guide to the meat and poultry industries to devise appropriate promotional programs and to educate consumers.


Aviagen North America to Support UGA Poultry Science Building


In a November 16th release, Aviagen North America announced financial support for the proposed new Poultry Science building of the University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences


Dr. Todd Applegate, Head of the UGA Department of Poultry Science stated, "we highly value elevating UGA's relationship with Aviagen and are extremely thankful for their gift in helping make our new poultry science building a reality". He added “The building will help ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry and prepare students for careers in the poultry industry.


Dr. Marc DeBeer, President of Aviagen North America stated, "We are happy to contribute to this new development and are excited about the research and innovation that includes important field such as genetics, embryology, nutrition and agri-business".


Additional information can be obtained from www.poultrybuilding.caes.uga.edu. Or by clicking on to the Aviagen logo on the right side of the Welcome page.


NCBA Calls for Suspension of Beef Imports from Brazil


The National Cattleman’s Beef Association has petitioned USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to place a ban on fresh beef from Brazil.  The NCBA claims that Brazil has failed to meet the same consumer and food safety standards that pertain the U.S. and that are also applied to other nations exporting to the U.S.


Ethan Lane, Vice-president for Government Affairs at the NCBA stated, “It’s time to keep Brazilian fresh beef out of this country until USDA can confirm that Brazil meets the same standards that we apply to all our trade partners.”

Sen Jon Tester (R-MT) promoting legislation on beef imports from Brazil

The NCBA points to the delay in Brazil reporting an atypical case of BSE as a justification.  Without resulting to schadenfreude it must be remembered that spontaneous atypical cases of BSE can occur in any cattle population, as has occurred in both the U.S. and Canada.  Failure to report a diagnoses is however unacceptable among trading partners and contrary to regulation of the World Organization of Animal Health.


If in any way standards of operation and inspection are proven to be less rigid than in the U.S. a ban is justified. Brazil was subject to a suspension of exports from 2017 through 2020 due to shipping carcasses with abscesses to the U.S., denoting deficiencies in inspection. The beef industry of that nation was the subject of international rejection following disclosures of bribery of inspectors and falsification of export documentation in 2017. 


Restaurant Brands International Acquires Firehouse Group


Restaurant Brands International has announced acquisition of the Firehouse Restaurant Group in a $1.0 billion all-cash transaction.  The company release stated, “Firehouse Subs is a strong brand with attractive unit economics in a complementary category to the existing family of quick service Restaurant Brands chains including Tim Horton’s, Burger King and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen”.


Firehouse Subs was founded in Jacksonville, FL in 1994 and specializes in the QSR sandwich category, and has grown to 1,200 units and attained system-wide sales of $1.1 billion in 2021.


African Swine Fever Moderating in China


Since the first outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in Liaoning Province in early August 2018, outbreaks have been diagnosed in thirty-two provinces and special administrative regions.  The Year to date the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has recorded eleven outbreaks of African swine fever in eight provinces. The fact that only a claimed two thousand hogs were culled suggests that cases have occurred among backyard and subsistence units that will continue as reservoirs of infection.  Large commercial farms obviously have deployed adequate biosecurity that currently is the only effective prevention measure in the absence of an effective vaccine. 


The reliability of official statistics in China is always questionable, but it may be inferred from the sharply lower prices of piglets and processed pork that adequate supplies are available.  This contrasts to the situation in 2018 and 2019 with as many as 25 percent of growing hogs succumbing to ASF.  A fall in pork imports is also an indication of adequacy of supply.  This has allowed China to place embargoes on nations such as Germany that have reported ASF to the World Organization of Animal Health.


The implication of a recovery from ASF in the hog industry in China will be a reduction in imports of both pork and chicken meat to the disadvantage of Brazil and the U.S.



Smithfield Foods Pays OSHA Penalty


Following an inspection of Smithfield Foods Plants and specifically the Sioux Falls, SD facility, the company was fined $13,500 under then prevailing regulations relating to COVID. In the absence of an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), deliberately delayed by OSHA under the previous Administration, the Company was fined the maximum allowed for contravention of the General Duty Clause. In contrast the California State OSHA fined Smithfield Foods $58,000 for inadequate protection of employees at the Vernon, CA. Farmer John plant where 300 cases were diagnosed.


In August 2020 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited deficiencies in the physical design of facilities and plant layout as contributing to 900 cases of COVID out of 3,600 employees plus additional contact cases that occurred during March and April of 2020.  Of the affected employees, 48 were hospitalized with two fatalities.


As part of the agreement with OSHA, Smithfield Packaged Meat Corp. will develop an infectious disease preparedness plan for all 46 facilities in 32 states. It is a matter of record that competitors of Smithfield Foods including Tyson Foods were proactive in using available resources and knowledge to implement protective measures prior to the availability of a vaccine.  In contrast then CEO of Smithfield Foods, Ken Sullivan criticized both a U.S. Senate investigation and the media, claiming mischaracterization of the company and its values. Currently Smithfield Foods, a subsidiary of the WH Group of China, is spinning the slap-on-the-wrist fine and mandated agreement to belatedly introduce protective measures as a vindication of company policy in response to COVID.


Port Congestion Reviewed in Webcast


According to the November 15th USAPEEC MondayLine, a webcast Cool Cargos: Global Trends, Risks, and Opportunities considered challenges in maintaining international trade in frozen foods.  The program was hosted by Greg Knowler of IHS Markit for the benefit of shippers, operators of ports, financial institutions, and food producers.  Speakers included Jim Sumner, President USAPEEC, and executives involved in international logistics.


The important topics reviewed storage capacity at ports, shortages and positioning of containers, shipping rates, availability of long haul drivers, a shortage of chassis to convey containers, and tracking of shipments.


An unfortunate take-away from the webinar was that congestion will continue through the first quarter of 2022.


Poultry Meat Projection


Updated USDA-ERS Poultry Meat Projection for November 2021.


On November 16th 2021 the USDA-Economic Research Service released updated production and consumption data with respect to broilers and turkeys, covering 2020 (actual), a projection for 2021 and a forecast for 2022.


Broiler RTC production in 2021 updated from the October 2021 report reflected a 0.6 percent increase over 2020 to 20.376 million metric tons RTC (44,828 million lbs.). Per capita consumption in 2021 will be 0.2 percent lower compared to 2020 at 43.6 kg. (96.2 lbs.). Exports should represent 16.8 percent of RTC production in 2021 attaining 3.430 million metric tons (7,545 million lbs.) representing both RTC and feet. The projection for 2022 is for 20.564 million metric tons (45,240 million lbs.) with a per capita consumption of 44.0 kg (96.8 lbs.) and exports of 3.363 million metric tons (7,465 million lbs.).


Turkey production for 2021 compared to 2020 was reduced by 2.3 percent to 2.550 million metric tons RTC, (5,609 million lbs.). Per capita consumption is projected at 7.0 kg. (15.4 lb.) in 2021, 0.2 kg lower than 2020 despite extensive promotions and introduction of further-processed items. Export volume for 2021 is expected to attain to 0.257 million metric tons (565 million lbs.). Values for production and consumption of RTC turkey in 2021 are considered to be realistic, given the prevailing economy, lower poult placements, weekly production levels and inventories.


The USDA provided a long-term forecast for the turkey industry in 2022 comprising annual production of 2.591 million metric tons (5,700 million lbs.) with consumption of 7.1 kg (15.5 lbs.) per capita.


The export projections do not allow for a breakdown in trade relations with existing partners including China nor the emergence of catastrophic diseases including HPAI and vvND in either the U.S. or importing nations. Metric values for the broiler and turkey segments of the U.S. poultry meat industry are tabulated below:-









Difference %

2021 to 2022



Production (m. metric tons)





Consumption (kg per capita)





Exports (m. metric tons)





Proportion of production (%)








Production (m. metric tons)





Consumption (kg per capita)





Exports (m. metric tons)





Proportion of production (%)





Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook released November 16th 2020


The projection takes into account forecast exports to 2nd ranked China with imports of 512,587 metric tons of chicken products including feet during 2020 valued at $732 million. During the first nine months of 2021 China imported 330,885 metric tons of chicken products (feet, leg quarters and edible giblets) valued at $613 million. Average unit price for broiler exports including parts and feet but excluding imports by China, attained $1,101 per metric ton for the first nine months of 2021. Unit value to China was $1,851 per metric ton suggesting a high proportion of feet shipped.


Subscribers are referred to the weekly updates of production and inventories of broilers and turkeys posted weekly on CHICK-NEWS and the review of monthly export data under the STATISTICS tab.


Walmart to Establish Automated Fulfillment Centers in Texas


Walmart will locate a 1.5 million square foot fulfillment center in Lancaster, TX. near Dallas-Fort Worth to open in 2023.  A second 730,000 square foot automated grocery distribution center will also be located in the Dallas Fort Worth area and will open in 2024.  The two facilities will create 1,000 full-time jobs, 40 percent of which will require advanced training in technology and engineering.


Joe Metzeger, executive VP for Supply Chain Operations noted, “Walmart is excited to welcome two new high-tech facilities in the Dallas Fort Worth area to our expanding supply chain network.”  He added, “These facilities will include innovations that are radically disrupting the supply chain getting products into store shelves and items shipped to customers faster while saving time for our associates.”


Walmart operates 19 distribution centers, 593 retail stores and employs more than 171,000 in Texas.


Walmart is also testing autonomous box trucks supplied by Gatik of Palo Alto, CA.  The vehicles will shuttle grocery orders from a fulfillment-only dock store to nearby Walmart neighborhood markets in Bentonville, AR.



COVID Outbreak Closes Dalian Port


According to news reports, a cluster of COVID cases diagnosed in metropolitan Dalian has resulted in lockdowns and limits on inter-city travel.  On November 12th authorities reported 52 local cases, apparently higher than in any other city in China.  The population of Dalian, estimated at eight million is enduring cancellation of public transport and other disruptions.  The port is responsible for shipment of seafood and other chilled and frozen products.


China persists in maintaining that frozen foods can serve as a vehicle of infection for SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID.  This contention has no support from the World Health Organization or any reputable scientific institute or government agency.  Although the closure of the port in Dalian should have no immediate impact on shipments of U.S. poultry, the willingness of authorities of China to impose lockdowns in persuit of a zero-tolerence policy for COVID has the potential to restrict exports to that nation and further disrupt World supply chains.


Olymel LP Appoints President


Yanick Gervais was appointed President and CEO of Olymel LP, a pork and poultry processing cooperative operating in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and New Brunswick.


Gervais succeeds the late Rejean Nadeau who passed away on October 14th.  Gervais served as Interim CEO following the indisposition of his predecessor.  Gervais is a CPA with a Master’s degree in taxation from the University of Sherbrooke.  Prior to his promotion he served as Senior Vice President of Operations at Olymel, responsible for more than 30 pork and poultry processing plants, logistics and engineering.


In accepting the position, Gervais stated “I humbly accept the position to lead Olymel, Canada’s leading agri-processing company to further its growth and success which my predecessor Rejean Nadeau did with such passion.”  He added, “I will be attentive to our 14,000 employees who are critical to our success and will strive to keep having constructive discussions with our suppliers and partners in both the pork and poultry sectors in the future.”


U.S. Inflation Rate Rises to 6.2 Percent


The annual inflation rate for the U.S. rose to 6.2 percent in October, the highest since November 1990.  The increase was higher than the anticipated 5.8 percent with broad contribution from the energy, shelter and food categories.  Gasoline increased by 49.6 percent over October 2020, food increased 5.3 percent with food-at-home up 5.4 percent, new vehicles 9.8 percent, used vehicles 26.4 percent, apparel 4.3 percent and transportation services 4.5 percent.


The unadjusted Consumer Price Index for urban consumers is based on the price of a market basket comprising food (14 percent), energy (9.3 percent), commodities (19.4 percent) and services (57 percent).


Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen maintain the current price pressure is temporary and in large measure due to COVID-related factors impacting supply chains. Many economists consider that “inflation is getting clearly worse and will do so before it gets better”.


Pressure is amounting for the Federal Reserve to tighten but a rise in interest rates is not anticipated until at least the beginning of the second quarter of 2022 with the possibly two increases during the year.


Along with consumers, the poultry meat industry is experiencing obvious inflation in inputs including transport, labor, energy and packing materials. Fortunately ingredient prices have moderated from September and are offsetting the rise in other costs.


Salami Stick Alert Extended


The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced a public health alert for approximately 50 tons of salami stick products manufactured by Euro Foods in Freeland, PA marketed under the Citterio Brand.  A previous public health alert was issued on October 29th but additional investigations have shown that a large quantity of product distributed prior to October 25th was still available rto consumers.  The “Premium Italian-Style Salame Sticks” have best-by dates through January 23rd 2022.

Identification of the Citterio product as a vehicle of infection follows an investigation of a multistate outbreak of 31 cases of Salmonella serotype I 4, [5], 12:i: that began during mid- September and extended through mid-October.  Citterio Salami Sticks were implicated as a possible cause of infection by patients as determined from interviews.  Salmonella was isolated from unopened product during an investigation performed by the California Department of Public Health.


Outbreaks of HPAI to Impact Poultry Exports from Poland


According to USDA-FAS GAIN Report PL2021-0029 released on November 8th, nations that previously banned poultry meat and eggs from Poland will continue discriminating against product from the nation despite the September 25th declaration that the nation was free of avian influenza. Poland will now loose their current avian influenza-free status following confirmation of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza in two farms collectively housing 140,000 turkeys in the village of Strusy in Mazowieckie Province,


Poland recorded 360 outbreaks of HPAI between November 2020 and August 2021 mostly in free-living birds followed by consequential involvement of free-ranging backyard flocks. Inevitably commercial farms have now been exposed.  These outbreaks have resulted in importing nations including South Africa, China, South Korea and United Arab Emirates banning poultry products originating from Poland.  Many nations have however imposed embargos only on affected regions consistent with EU policy.


In 2020 Poland exported poultry meat valued at $3.2 billion destined to Germany ($624 million), the United Kingdom ($582 million), France ($354 million) and the Netherlands ($208 million). Despite bans due to avian influenza, the value of poultry exports from January through August 2021 attained $2.4 billion, an approximately 17 percent increase over the corresponding eight months in 2020.


7-Eleven to Serve Turkey Sub for Thanksgiving


Participating 7-Eleven stores will serve their traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Sub this month.  This menu item will feature Butterball turkey, cheddar cheese and cranberry mayo.  The roll is flavored with stuffing and will be priced at $4.99.


Vareesha Shariff, Fresh Food Product Director for 7-Eleven, stated “We know how much our customers look forward to our seasonal offerings and we are delighted to contribute to the fun and spirit of Thanksgiving with satisfying food.”


Kemin Food Technologies to Erect Plant in Verona, MO.


In a November 12th release, Kemin Industries announced that Kemin Food Technologies a subsidiary will erect a plant in Verona, MO. to manufacture the Proteus® range of protein ingredient additives.  Proteus was acquired by Kemin in April 2021 to expand the  food technology businesses of the holding company.  The plant will be 38,000 square feet in extent and will have a projected capital cost in excess of $40 million.


Dr. Chris Nelson, President and CEO of Kemin Industries, stated “With its technologically advanced, sustainable and clean-label attributes our Proteus line is in high demand with food processors that provide meat, poultry, and protein-based products to consumers”.




Infrastructure Bill Enacted


After intensive debate the watered-down compromise bipartisan bill was signed into law on November 15th. Although delays will be obviously associated with implementation benefits will accrue to the chicken and turkey industries. Projects will include extending rural broadband, repaired bridges, roads and waterways, enhanced power distribution. The bill includes $90 billion in agricultural spending with both direct and indirect benefit to poultry. Agricultural associations have generally welcomed the legislation.



Broiler Week


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices, November 12th 2021.

Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on November 10th 2021 confirmed that a total of 234.5 million eggs were set during the week ending November 6th 2021, up seven percent from the corresponding week of the previous year and down 0.9 percent (2.2 million eggs) compared to the previous week in 2021.


A total of 168.7 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending November 6th 2021. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 178.0 million, down one percent from the corresponding week in 2020 and 0.3 percent (0.6 million) chicks less than the previous week. Claimed average hatchability was 79.4 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier, (79.0 percent for the previous week). Each 1.0 percent change in hatchability represents 1.8 million chicks placed per week with the current range of weekly settings.


Cumulative chick placements for the period January 9th 2021 through November 6th 2021 amounted to 8.16 billion chicks, up less than one percent from the corresponding period in 2020.


During the period October 2nd through November 6th 2021 weekly placements were on average equal compared with the corresponding six weeks in 2020 (with a range of two percent down to four percent up on corresponding weeks). Low chick placements during the past twelve weeks is attributed to setting a proportion of hatching eggs with depressed fertility that were derived from high-yield breed combinations placed by some integrators. Additional breeder flocks have been placed to compensate for reduced fertility and hence hatch but their contribution has yet to be realized based on age. The average 5.0 percent increase in eggs per week set over the past six weeks should be reflected in higher placements during mid-November and in broilers harvested during late-December onwards.


Broiler Production

According to the November 12th USDA Broiler Market News (Vol. 68, No. 45) for the processing week ending November 6th 2021, 164.6 million broilers were processed during the past week (previous week 164.2 million) at an average live weight of 6.41 lbs. (6.36 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76 percent. The number of broilers processed was 3.2 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 801.8 million lbs. (364,449 metric tons), (793.8 million lbs. last week), 2.2 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. In 2021 Processed (RTC) production attained 35.44 billion lbs. (16,109,789 metric tons), 0.4 percent less than YTD 2020.


Broiler Price

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on November 12th 2021 was up 0.9 cent per lb. compared to the previous week at 102.9 cents per lb., compared to 75.0 cents per lb. during the corresponding week of 2020; 103.0 cents per lb. for October 2021 and 79.0 cents per lb. for the three-year average. The industry is still impacted by contraction in the food service segment following imposition of COVID-19 restrictions, although universities and schools are generally functional and QSRs are using increasing quantities of breast meat for sandwiches, strips and nuggets.


Turkey Week


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices November 5th 2021

Poult Production and Placement:

The October 15th 2021 edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.1 million eggs in incubators on October 1st 2021 (25.6 million eggs on September1st 2021*) and down 0.9 percent (0.24 million eggs) from October 1st 2020.


A total of 21.2 million poults were hatched during September 2021 (21.8 million in August 2021*), representing a decrease of 1.0 percent (186,000 poults) from September 2020.


A total of 19.3 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in September 2021, (21.8 million in August 2021*), 11.1 percent (2.4 million poults) less than in September 2020. This suggests disposal of 1.9 million poults during the month (0.3 million in August 2021). Based on the proportion of 45 percent hens to 55 percent toms processed year-to-date it is calculated that 0.9 million tom poults representing 4.3 percent of September hatch and 1.0 million hen poults representing 4.7 percent of September hatch were not placed in the month.

For the twelve-month period October 2020 through September 2021 inclusive, 265.9 million poults were hatched and 246.8 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 19.1 million poults. Assuming the proportion of placements corresponded to the respective numbers of toms and hens reared year to date (55:45), for the 12-month period, 7.2 percent of all poults or 3.2 percent of tom poults (8.6 million) and 3.9 percent of hen poults (10.5 million) were not placed. This is an unsubstantiated estimate with a fluctuating demand for processed toms and hens in a post-COVID affected market. (See relative numbers of hen and tom poults processed under Production Data below).


* USDA revision from previous monthly report.

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


Turkey Production:

The November 12th 2021 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 68: No.45) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending November 6th 2021, 2.546 million young hens were slaughtered during the processing week at a live weight of 17.1 lbs. (last week 2,474 million hens at 16.3 lbs.). During the corresponding week in 2020, 2.377 million hens were processed, 6.6 percent less than the most recent week in 2021. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 35.1 million lbs. (15,931 metric tons), 3.5 percent more than in the corresponding processing week of 2020. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. In 2021 RTC hen production has attained 1,056.7 million lbs. (480,330 metric tons), 1.3 percent less than for YTD 2020.
  • For the processing week ending November 6th 2021, 1.979 million toms were slaughtered at 44.9 lbs., compared to 2.031 million toms processed during the previous week at 43.4 lbs. For the corresponding week in 2020, 2.346 million toms were processed, 18.5 percent more than in the most recent week in 2021. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 71.5 million lbs. (32,521 metric tons), 10.4 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. In 2021 RTC tom product has attained 3,306 million lbs. (1,502,797 metric tons), 7.5 percent less than YTD 2020.
  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 135.7 cents per lb., down 5.3 cents per lb. from the previous week and up approximately 30 cents per lb. from the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on November 12th 2021:-


Crop Progress


Status of 2021 Corn and Soybean Crops: November 15th.

The USDA Crop Progress Report released on November 15th documented progress in harvesting 2021 corn and soybean crops compared to 5-year averages. This past week 91 percent of the corn crop was “in the bin,” 5 percent ahead of the 5-year average. For soybeans 92 percent of the crop has been harvested, an advance of 5 percent over the week but one percent behind the 5-year average of 93 percent. Harvest in many Midwest states was previously impeded by wet weather contributing to high corn moisture values. For the week ending November 14th, 5 to 6 days were suitable for field work among the major states producing corn and soybeans, contributing to harvesting approaching completion.


The ProFarmer Crop Tour completed six weeks ago, estimated corn yield to range from 175.2 to 178.8 bushels per acre with a mean value of 177.0 bushels per acre compared to the November WASDE value of 177.0 bushels per acre. The ProFarmer evaluation corresponded to a projected range for the 2021corn harvest of 14.965 to 15.265 billion bushels with a mean value of 15.116 billion bushels compared to the November WASDE value of 15.062 billion bushels.


The ProFarmer Crop Tour estimated the soybean yield to range from 50.2 to 52.2 bushels per acre with a mean value of 51.2 bushels per acre compared to the November WASDE value of 51.2 bushels per acre. The ProFarmer evaluation corresponded to a projected range for the 2021 soybean harvest of 4.347 to 4.525 billion bushels with a mean value of 4.525 billion bushels compared to the November WASDE value of 4,425 billion bushels.


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 November 9th WASDE Report #618, in this edition with a final projection of yields, ending stocks and markets.


  Week Ending


November 7th

November 14th

5-Year Average

Corn Mature (%)

Corn Harvested (%)







Soybeans Mature (%)

Soybeans Harvested (%)








Tyson Foods Inc. Reports on Q4 and FY 20212


In a press release dated November 15th Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) announced results for Q4 and FY 2021 ending October 2nd.     

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

Donnie King CEO

Quarter Ending

October 2nd


October 3rd 2020

Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:             




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt and liabilities:




12 Months Trailing:




           Return on Assets    (%)




           Return on Equity    (%)




           Operating Margin   (%)




           Profit Margin          (%)




Total Assets




Intraday Market Capitalization





For FY 2021 net earnings for Q4 increased 47.8 percent on sales of $47.05 Billion, up 8.9 percent from FY 2020 and with a 47.9 percent increase in FY2021 EPS to $8.34 compared to FY 2020


52-Week Range in Share Price:  $60.52  to  $84.80  50-day Moving average  $80.26


Market Close: Friday November 12th $81.23 .

Market Monday November 15th 15H00 post-release $84.25 (+3.7 percent)

Forward P/E  12.3                  Beta 0.8





The Chicken Segment attained sales of $3,873 million ($3,433 million in Q4 FY 2020) representing 30.2 percent of Company revenue. Operating loss was $(136) million adjusted to $(113.0) million. In Q4 of 2020 operating income was $86 million.  (See below for explanation of Q4 loss in Chicken Segment).


For comparison among Tyson Foods’ business segments the adjusted operating incomes were respectively:- Pork, $78 million; Beef, $1,147 million; Prepared Foods $39 million.


In commenting on results Donnie King, president and CEO stated “We delivered double digit sales and earnings growth during the fourth quarter and full year, and our performance was supported by our diverse portfolio and continued strength in consumer demand for protein,” said and CEO of Tyson Foods. "We delivered a record performance in our beef segment and experienced share gains in our retail core business lines, which include our Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park iconic brands, while supporting the continued recovery in foodservice.”


King added, “To foster continuous improvement and faster decision making, we are launching a new productivity program designed to deliver more than $1 billion in annual savings by the end of 2024. The focus of this plan includes operational and functional excellence, digital solutions and automation and advanced technologies.


King concluded, “We have tremendous opportunity ahead as we work to fulfill growing global demand for safe and nutritious protein products. We’re entering fiscal 2022 with great momentum and are committed to delivering strong returns for shareholders into the future.”


In addressing the Chicken Segment the Company statement included “Sales volume decreased 5.9% during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, or increased 1.3% after removing the impact of an additional week in 2020, primarily due to increased demand in the foodservice channel. Sales volume decreased 3.3% for fiscal 2021, or decreased 1.5% after removing the impact of an additional week in 2020.


Despite a strong demand environment, volume decreased due to the impacts associated with a decline in hatch rate, a challenging labor environment and disruptions due to severe weather in the second quarter of fiscal 2021. Average sales price increased due to favorable sales mix and inflationary market conditions. Operating income decreased during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 primarily due to $325 million of higher feed ingredient costs, $75 million of net derivative losses in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 as compared to $45 million of net derivative gains in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, increased supply chain costs and a $23 million expense related to a fire at a production facility, partially offset by favorable product mix.


Operating income decreased during fiscal 2021 primarily due to a $626 million loss from the recognition of legal contingency accruals, $735 million of higher feed ingredient costs as compared to fiscal 2020, increased supply chain costs, $23 million of expenses related to a fire at a production facility, decline in hatch rate and disruptions due to severe weather. This was partially offset by favorable product mix, reduced direct incremental expense associated with COVID-19 and $65 million of net derivative gains in fiscal 2021 as compared to $50 million of net derivative losses in fiscal 2020”.


U.S. Department of Labor Issues Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor has issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 places the onus on employers to maintain a safe and healthful workplace for employees. The previous Administration failed to issue an appropriate ETS relating to COVID


 The ETS applies to companies with more than 100 employees.  Employers will be required to allow paid time for workers to be vaccinated and to provide paid leave to recover from any untoward effects.


The ETS requires:-

  • Employers to ascertain the vaccination status of each employee with proof of vaccination and to maintain appropriate records. 
  • Employees are required to inform their employer if they test positive for COVID.
  • Affected employees must be removed from the workplace in compliance with quarantine restrictions.
  •  If a worker is not fully vaccinated they are to be tested weekly. 
  • Non-vaccinated employees must wear a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with other employees. 
  • Employers will be required to pay for testing and to bear the cost of any relevant laws or regulations to suppress COVID.


Jim Frederick, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA stated, “While vaccination remains the most effective defense against COVID this Emergency Temporary Standard will protect all workers including those who remain unvaccinated by requiring regular testing and the use of face coverings by unvaccinated workers to prevent the spread of the virus.”


It is projected that the ETS will cover two-thirds of the nation’s private sector workforce comprising 84 million individuals.


The ETS has elicited a negative reaction from segments of the agricultural sector including the United Fresh Produce Association the members of which employ large numbers of field workers vulnerable to infection.  Their concern is that the ETS will result in labor and supply chain disruption.


The severity of coronavirus is confirmed by the deaths of at least 750,000 since the first quarter of 2020. OSHA projects that the ETS will save lives and prevent hospitalization of workers over an indeterminate period during which the ETS is in effect.


Chipotle Introduces Pollo Asado


Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing Pollo Asado, the first chicken menu item since its inception.  The test is underway at 95 restaurants in the Midwest and California.


Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer for Chipotle, noted that “chicken has long been the top protein choice among Chipotle guests.” The Pollo Asado dish is seasoned with cumin, peppers, coriander, and finished with garlic, chili peppers, lime juice, and chopped cilantro.


Chipotle claims that chicken served in the chain of 2,900 restaurants is “Responsibly Raised.”



Year-Round E15 Resurfaces


Governors of seven Midwest states have petitioned the EPA to evaluate reintroducing regulations to dispense E15 blend in all seasons.


 A decision of the D.C. Circuit Court previously overturned a 2019 regulation allowing year-round sale of E15.  In accordance with the Clean Air Act, the maximum inclusion of ethanol in gasoline is 10 percent from June 1st through summer. Mandating blends at or below10 percent ethanol restricts sales representing the “blend ceiling”. 

There is NO production of cellulosic ethanol

Eight contiguous states consume 13 billion gallons of gasoline annually and increasing the proportion of ethanol would expand consumption by 700 million gallons representing 225 million bushels of corn as calculated by the Renewable Fuels Association.


Control of ASF in China to Impact Imports


A recent report by RaboResearch, a division of Rabobank, confirmed continuing recovery of the hog industry in China as African Swine Fever (ASF) is controlled.  Ping Chew, Head of Research, Food and Agriculture for Asia, contrasted changes in pork and chicken production during January 2020 and October 2021 to illustrate the reciprocal movement in the price of animal proteins.  Pork has fallen over the period from $7 per lb. at retail to $2.20 per lb., live hogs have fallen from $2.80 per lb. to $0.70 per lb. at a price that is currently non-profitable for small and inefficient producers.  Weaned piglets have fallen from a high of $9 during the first quarter of 2020 to $2 in October 2021.


In documenting the fall in the price of white-feathered broilers, Rabobank notes that live mature broilers have declined from $0.83 per lb. to $0.35 per lb.  Day old chicks, a reliable indicator of demand and profitability, fell from $1.50 in 2020 to $0.25 in October 2021.  It is estimated by Rabobank that independent hatcheries are no longer generating positive margins. 


Placement of broiler parent flocks increased by 10 percent over the first ten months of 2021 adding progressively to the supply of day-old chicks.  Poultry imports for the first three quarters of 2021 amounted to 1.05 million metric tons, down four percent from the corresponding period in calendar 2020.  Wing imports are down 27 percent and bone-in meat, mostly in the form of leg quarters, fell 12 percent during the first nine months of 2021.


Over the first nine months of this year, China was ranked second by both volume and value among importers of U.S. chicken receiving leg quarters, feet and giblets.  China represented 12.0 percent of export volume and 18.6 percent of value at an average unit price of $1,850 per ton suggesting a high proportion of feet received.


2-Sisters Acquisition of Banham Poultry in U.K. Under Scrutiny


The Competition and Markets Authority of the U.K. Government (CMA) has advised the potential acquirer of Banham Poultry (2018) Limited to delay closing the deal.  The CMA has decided to investigate the transaction and issued an enforcement order on November 3rd in terms of Section 72 of the Enterprise Act of 2002. 


On October 22nd, Boparan Private Office, the holding company of 2-Sisters Food Group, announced acquisition of Banham Poultry based in Attleborough, Norfolk.  The company produces seven percent of U.K. chicken.  Banham Poultry was purchased in 2018 by Chesterfield Poultry, but the company was seriously impacted by COVID and was in danger of failure, owing over $52 million to suppliers including independent growers.  Acquisition by the 2-Sisters Group that also owns Bernerd Matthews, a major UK turkey producer, would save the company and as many as 1,000 jobs including the security of farmers.



Aviagen North America Supports Auburn University Poultry Center


Aviagen has committed funding to the Auburn University, Charles C. Miller Jr. Poultry Research and Education Center.  The company will provide financial assistance over a five year period that will include an endowed professorship and an annual fellowship for a graduate student.


Dr. Marc deBeer, President of Aviagen North America, stated “We are delighted to be able to contribute to the center, helping to further the important work that takes place there. Auburn research and innovation are vital to the sustainability of our industry and we share the Center’s mission to drive improvement that continually advances the industry and our ability to feed our ever growing local and global communities.”


Dr. William Dozier, Head of Auburn University Department of Poultry Science, added “We appreciate the support of Aviagen and the Company commitment to research and educating our future industry leaders.  At Auburn our goal is to help prepare our students to learn in an environment where production meets education.  What students learn during their time with us will ensure that their work impacts lives around the globe.”


The Miller Poultry Research and Education Center is located on a 30 acre site in North Auburn.  Facilities comprise of feed mill, pilot processing plant, hatchery, live bird housing and laboratories.



ASF Persists in Poland


According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, veterinary officials in Poland are reporting continuing cases of African Swine Fever (ASF).  From January 1st through October 29th 2021, 119 outbreaks of African Swine Fever have been diagnosed on hog farms and 2,278 individual cases involving wild boars.


The Chief Veterinary Officer of Poland noted that 57 percent of outbreaks in 2021 occurred on farms with less than 50 hogs while 5.9 percent of cases were diagnosed in commercial units with more than 1,000 hogs.


It is evident that the disease occurs on farms with ineffective biosecurity. Contributory factors include close proximity between infected and susceptible units, unrestricted movement of personnel, equipment and live hogs without due regard to either structural or operational biosecurity.





The concentration of cases in the west of Poland adjoining the border with eastern states of Germany has created problems for that Nation.  Fencing between Poland and Germany has been strengthened and programs are in place to eradicate wild boars in both nations.


Veterinary authority in Poland claim that restrictions due to COVID impeded control measures against ASF during 2020 contributing to the high incidence rate.




WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT: November 11th 2021.

  •  Commodity prices and volumes fluctuated widely this past week but two days after release of the November 9th WASDE, settled with the Thursday November 11th CME quotations for corn and soybeans up 1.6 percent and 0.6 percent respectively, compared to Thursday November 4th.


  • Factors influencing prices in either direction included:-
  • Release of the November 9th WASDE with 85 percent of the harvest completed. The report raised corn production 0.3 percent and lowered soybean production by 0.5 percent.  The November WASDE retained the projected ending stocks of corn and raised soybean ending stocks by 8.4 percent.  (transitory upward pressure);
  • Restoration of operation of most terminals on the lower Mississippi following Hurricane Ida. Installations have been repaired and are unloading barges and loading bulk carriers. (moderate upward pressure)
  • A pause in the recent upward trend in ethanol production (transitory downward pressure on corn)
  • Lower than anticipated export sales, especially to China (downward pressure);
  • Projections for new-crop soybeans in Brazil indicate a potential record. (moderate downward pressure on soybeans)
  • Central Government of China authorizes buying cycle for soybeans as crush margins improve. (upward pressure on soybeans)



  • U.S producers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers and ethanol refiners in the Midwest paid above $5.70 per bushel for corn and crushers paid $12.20 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis during the second week of November. Corn was up 1.6 percent this past week for December delivery. Soybeans were up 0.6 percent for November delivery. Soybean meal was up 2.3 percent for December delivery compared to last week reflecting domestic demand and the rise in the price of soybeans during past weeks.


  • The FAS Export Report released on November 12th for the week ending November 4th reflecting market year 2021-2022, confirmed that outstanding export orders for corn for the new market year amounted to 25.46 million metric tons (1,002 million bushels) with 6.61 million metric tons (260 million bushels) actually shipped. During the past week orders for the 2021-2022 market year amounted to 1.07 million metric tons (42 million bushels) with 0.72 million metric tons (28 million bushels) shipped.  For market year 2022-2023 outstanding sales amounted to 0.34 million metric tons (13 million bushels) with understandably negligible sales recorded this past week.


  • The FAS Export Report released on November 12th for the week ending November 4th reflecting market year 2021-2022, recorded outstanding export orders for soybeans amounting to 19.01 million metric tons (698 million bushels) with 14.28 million metric tons (525 million bushels) actually shipped. Weekly soybean orders attained 1.29 million metric tons (47 million bushels) with 3.70 million metric tons (136 million bushels) shipped.


  • For the week ending November 4th 278,000 metric tons of soybean meal and cake were ordered for the market year 2021-2022, up 22.7 percent from the previous week. With restoration of operation of most of the lower Mississippi terminals after damage from Hurricane Ida, 166,400 metric tons of meal and cake was shipped, down 21.2 percent from the previous week and representing 15.4 percent of the total 1,079,000 metric tons shipped during the current marketing year to date.


  • Projected harvests and ending stocks in the U.S. were incorporated in the November WASDE allowing almost complete clarity on quantities harvested and the effect of trade and domestic consumption on ending stocks.




The following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 14H00 on November 11th 2021, compared with values posted at 14H00 on November 4th 2021  (in parentheses):-





Corn (cents per bushel)

Dec.    568    (559)      

March ‘22.  577   (568)      

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Nov. 1,215   (1,208)

March ’22. 1,233 (1,232)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Dec.    344     (336)

March  ’22.  339   (333)



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



Corn:                  Dec. quotation up 9 cents per bushel                 (+1.6 percent)

Soybeans:         Nov. quotation up 7 cents per bushel                (+0.6 percent)

Soybean Meal: Dec. quotation up $8 per ton                                (+2.3 percent )

The USDA weekly wholesale feedstuffs prices per short ton, posted on November 9th (with previous week in parentheses) were:-

  • Corn: $196 ($203), Chicago
  • Soybean Meal: $350 ($344), Central Illinois
  • Meat and Bone Meal: $340  ($340), Central Midwest
  • DDGS: $180 ($180), Eastern corn belt


  • For each $1 per ton (2.8 cents/bushel) change in corn:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.11 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.06 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


The respective changes in the prices of corn and soybean meal for November 9th compared with October 29th USDA weekly quotations would decrease nest-run production cost for eggs by 0.5 cents per dozen. For broilers cost would be lowered by 0.3 cent per live pound.


Year-to-date, the algebraic escalation in the prices of major ingredients has added 4.2* cents per dozen eggs and 2.6* cents per live-weight lb. to broiler production cost

*(rounded to 0.1cent)


JBS SA Reports on Q3 of FY 2021


In a press release dated November10th multinational JBS SA (JBSAY) announced results for the 3rd Quarter ending October 30th


The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as US$ x 1,000 except EPS. Conversion US$1= BRL 5.27)


3rd Quarter Ending October 30th



Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt and leases:

Oct. 30 2021/Dec. 30 2020




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets Oct. 30 2021/Dec. 30 2020




Intraday Market Capitalization




52-Week Range in Share Price: $7.66 to $14.50 50-day Moving average $13.55

Market Close Pre-release Wednesday November 9th $13.77

Close Post-release Thursday November 10th $14.15

Forward P/E 13.7 Beta 0.3


Performance of subsidiaries:-


JBS USA Beef: Revenue $7.34B EBITDA $1.60B with margin of 21.8 percent


JBS USA Pork: Revenue $2.07B EBITDA $0.23B with margin of 10.8 percent


Pilgrim’s Pride: Revenue $3.80B EBITDA $0.46B with Margin of 11.8 percent


SEARA: Revenue $1.82B EBITDA $0.19B with Margin of 10.2 percent


JBS Brazil: Revenue $2.90B EBITDA $0.18B with Margin of 6.1 percent


JBS SA of Brazil Commitment to Sustainability


In a comment accompanying Q3 results Gilberto Tomazoni, Global CEO confirmed the Company commitment to Sustainability. He stated:- “We have devoted ourselves to guaranteeing the conditions needed to continue our future prosperity. And it is precisely because of this that we were the first major company in our sector to take on the Net Zero commitment. By 2040, we will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our entire value chain. This was why we were also present at COP26, in Glasgow, to learn and share what we have learned with global leaders who have also embraced the same concern: the search for a more sustainable future for everyone”.


Tomazoni continued “At COP26, alongside nine other of the world’s largest global companies that process and commercialize food, we issued a joint declaration undertaking to develop, by COP27, a sectorial roadmap for containing global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels. This declaration was articulated by the Governments of the USA and the United Kingdom, with the support of the Tropical Forest Alliance, linked to the World Economic Forum, and by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. We have also entered into a strategic partnership with Royal DSM to accelerate the reduction of bovine enteric methane emissions on a global scale by using a new feed supplement in the beef production value chain”.

JBS facilities in the U.S.


He continued “We have two urgent issues to tackle: slowing global warming and ensuring food security for the growing world population. In this respect we have two convictions: that these challenges cannot be tackled in an isolated manner, but only if we all unite; and that food production is a crucial part of the solution. Only with the transition to more sustainable production will our business thrive, while guaranteeing food safety and the preservation of the planet”.

Tomazoni concluded by averring, “With this in mind, and assuming the responsibilities that fit our role as global leaders, we will remain focused on helping to feed the people of the world with the best there is and in an increasingly sustainable manner”.


JBS SA has previously been criticized for acquiring cattle grazed on deforested Amazon Rainforest land and other alleged actions detrimental to the environment. Future activity monitored by international agencies will determine whether the Company is contributing to sustainability and even to environmental rehabilitation or is indulging in ‘greenwashing’ to enhance image in advance of a U.S. IPO in 2022.

Gilberto Tomazoni


Beyond Meat Reports on Q3 of 2021


In a press release dated November 10th Beyond Meat Inc. (BYND) announced results for the 3rd Quarter ending October 2nd.    


The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding 3rd quarter of the previous fiscal year ending September 26th. (Values expressed as US$ x 1,000 except EPS)

3rd Quarter Ending

October 2nd


September 26th 2020

Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:             




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt and leases:




12 Months Trailing:




           Return on Assets    (%)




           Return on Equity    (%)




           Operating Margin   (%)




           Profit Margin          (%)




Total Assets




Intraday Market Capitalization




1. Revenue segmentation:-

     Retail Channel: $73,752 with 70.9 percent U.S. (U.S. down 13.9 percent)

     Food Service Channel: $32,680  with 46 percent U.S. (International up 142.5 percent)

Claimed average unit revenue $5.35/lb.


R&D expense increased 79.5 percent from Q3 2020 to $14.8 million.


52-Week Range in Share Price:  $91.55  to  $221.00  50-day Moving average  $103.60

"it's been downhill from here"

Market Close pre-release Nov 10th $94.98 After Hours post-release $76.88 (-18.6 percent)

Beta 1.5


      Insiders 10.8 percent;  Institutions 55.4 percent.  Short of Float Oct. 25th 32 percent


Beyond Meat President and CEO Ethan Brown commented, "Our third quarter results reflect variability as we saw a decline from record net revenues just a quarter ago. Despite current disruptions, we remain focused on rapidly advancing key building blocks of long-term growth. Whether scaling products and infrastructure for our strategic quick serve restaurant partners, bringing new product to retail markets, or investing in innovation, commercialization, and production capabilities here in the U.S., EU, and China, we believe we are steadily executing against our vision of being tomorrow’s global protein company."


Brown added, "Near-term market and operating conditions notwithstanding, we remain committed to our long-term strategy. As we continue to advance the field of plant-based meat through innovation and bold investment in domestic and global operations, the consumer is only being made more aware of the relevance and urgency of our mission. And although we see continued uncertainty for the balance of this year, we look to 2022 with enthusiasm as we expect to bring to life, together with our strategic partners, product and production capacity that we’ve been steadfastly investing in throughout the pandemic."


Guidance for Q4 was restricted to a projection of revenue ranging from $85 million to $110 million.


U.S. Trade Representative Urges Moderation in Trade Issue with China


During the recent USAPEEC Annual Conference held during the last week of October, USAPEEC president Jim Sumner reviewed trade with China in a “fireside chat” with Ambassador Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).  Sumner expressed the concern of the chicken industry that a serious rift in relation between the U.S. and China could affect exports with deleterious effect on the U.S. chicken industry.


Ambassador Tai concurred, noting “How do we take down the temperature in this trade relationship?  The temperature has reached the point where I consider the entire relationship feels like a pile of dry tinder and a strained remark or misunderstanding is likely to spark a giant fire with really drastic implications for all of us.” 

USTR Amb. Katherine Tai


Since her confirmation as USTR, Ambassador Tai has taken a somewhat firm stand with regard to negotiations with China insisting on compliance with the Phase 1 Agreement.  Items of contention remain government support for industries exporting to the U.S. and other nations; coercive trade practices; neglect of intellectual property rights, industrial espionage and other restrictions.  It is considered noteworthy that the current Administration has not rescinded tariffs placed on a wide range of imports from China. This is a necessary strategy to maintain leverage in negotiations albeit at the expense of U.S. importers and consumers.


Aviagen Recognizes Exceptional Performance by Customer Complexes


In a November 2nd release, Aviagen recognized top achievers with a series of 2020 Flock Awards.  Four categories of excellence were defined including Top Egg Producer, Top Hatching Eggs, Top Production through 65 weeks, and Top Hatchability through 65 weeks. Awards were presented in the Ross 708 and Ross 308 categories in addition to the Ross 308 AP for the first time in 2020.

Awards are based on records for flocks depleted during the previous year with at least six flocks considered.

Dr Marc de Beer

president Aviagen NA


Dr. Marc de Beer, President, Aviagen North America stated, “The goal for the Flock Award program is twofold, to encourage growers throughout the region by showing them the breeder performance that is possible with Ross birds, and to provide customers with a helpful benchmarking tool. We are immensely proud of their accomplishments, and look forward to helping our customers achieve continued success.”


Frank Dougherty, VP of Sales for Aviagen North America stated, “We congratulate these high achievers, who are a shining example to the entire industry of the breeder performance that is possible through hard work, commitment, attention to detail and a true passion for what they do.”


Randall Vickery, Regional Technical Manager for Aviagen North America noted, “Our dedicated service teams work hand-in-hand with these high achievers and other valued customers throughout North America, providing management advice and support to champion their success.”


The Ross 708 Flock Awards for the Ross 708 strain for four categories were shared between Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms.  Ross 308 Flock Awards were earned by Pilgrim’s Pride, OK Foods and International Poultry Breeders.  Ross 308 AP awards in all four categories were earned by Pilgrim’s Pride complexes.


Zoetis Posts Q3 Results


On November 4th, Zoetis Inc (ZTS) posted results for the third quarter ending September 30th. For the period, the company earned $552 million on revenue of $1,990 million with an EPS of $1.16.  For the comparable third quarter of fiscal 2020, the company earned $479 million on revenue of $1,786 million with an EPS of $1.00.


In commenting on results, Kristin Peck, CEO stated, "we delivered strong results again this quarter with ten percent operational growth for both revenue and adjusted net income driven by our innovative portfolio of pet care, parasiticides, and dermatology products".  The executive commentary dwelt entirely on companion species including market acceptability of monoclonal antibody therapy for osteoarthritis. Zoetis increased guidance with anticipate revenue for fiscal 2021 between $7.70 billion and $7.75 billion.  Diluted EPS will range from $4.23 to $4.29.


In reviewing revenue as to source, the U.S. represented 53.5 percent and the international market 45.4 percent.  Companion animal products represented 60.0 percent of revenue compared to 55.7 percent in Q3 of 2020.


Of the $767 million revenue from livestock, poultry represented 16.2 percent unchanged from the corresponding quarter in Q3 2020.  Poultry products including vaccines, pharmaceuticals and Embrex in ovo vaccination equipment and services represented 6.2 percent of total Zoetis revenue for the quarter.


Zoetis posted an operating margin across all products of 36.2 percent and a profit margin of 25.8 percent.  The company generated a return on assets of 12.4 percent and 51.9 percent on equity.


Lawsuit against Tyson Foods on Mandated Vaccination to Remain in TN. Federal Court


The Federal vaccine mandate issued by the Administration is on hold. This follows a ruling by the Federal Appeals Court for the 5th Circuit. The temporary interdict follows a petition by a range of retail business associations and the Attorneys General of the States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah. The Administration was ordered to respond by 17H00 EST on November 8th justifying the mandate applicable to all employers with over 100 employees.


In earlier and separate litigation, Chief Judge Thomas Anderson of the U.S. District Court in the state of Tennessee has denied a plaintiff motion to transfer a case in which Tyson Foods is the defendant back to the Dyer County court.


At issue is an objection to the Tyson Inc. vaccination mandate. The three plaintiffs allege that the company violated the Tennessee Human Rights Act requiring employees to be either vaccinated or to be placed on unpaid leave. Obviously, it would be in the interest of the plaintiffs for the case to be heard before a local jury rather than in a Federal court where rules of evidence and technical submissions conform to a higher standard than in county courts. Tyson Foods maintains that it is operating in accordance with the Presidential Executive Order of April 28th 2020, requiring processors and packers to maintain the supply of food in accordance with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


It is a matter of record that 96 percent of Tyson Foods line employees are fully vaccinated against COVID following the Company mandate in mid-August. Tyson Foods has made exceptions for sincere religious objections and for health reasons in accordance with the relevant disability acts of the state and conforming to relevant federal and state disability legislation.


It is in the interest of employees of all companies to be vaccinated especially where social distancing is impractical. This not only protects the vaccine recipient but also families, fellow workers and the local community.  There is no constitutional right to generate anxiety over COVID or to disseminate the infection.


Impossible Foods Enters Australian and New Zealand Markets


Following approval of soy leghemoglobin as an ingredient for plant-based meat substitutes, Impossible Foods has now entered markets in Australia and New Zealand.


Dennis Woodside, President of Impossible Foods stated, "our launches in Australia and New Zealand are another huge step towards bringing delicious, sustainable options to every market in the world".  The company has announced that Impossible Foods products are available in Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.


Following a listing of Impossible Foods, the profitability of the company will be revealed and potential investors and industry observers will be able to assess the potential for growth and profitability. Both parameters are in question based on the Q3 releases by Beyond Meat (BYND) and Maple Leaf Foods (MFI-TO)


The question arises as to why the company wishes to ship product halfway around the world when it apparently has a growing market in the U.S? Is Impossible Foods seeking “low-hanging fruit” by appealing to the curiosity factor among the affluent environmentally conscious demographic in foreign markets in response to flagging sales and competition in the U.S.?


Upside Foods Promotes EPIC Center for Cell-Cultured Meat


As with many startup and aspirant companies claiming expertise in cell-cultured meat, Upside Foods formerly Memphis Meats is promoting their "Engineering, Production and Innovation Center (EPIC) located in Emeryville, CA.  The facility regarded as a pilot plant, is equipped with fermenters apparently capable of producing 50,000 pounds of product annually.  On initial glance this may be regarded as an impressive volume but represents an output of 140 pounds of product per day, given that fermenters operate 24/7 except for loading and unloading.  This quantity probably corresponds to the daily beef sales of any large urban supermarket.


Upscale Foods and its predecessor, Memphis Meats is obviously a legitimate, well-established concern with support from venture capital concerns and some large producers of conventional meat.  The fact that Tyson Foods or Cargill has invested in any specific company is not necessarily an endorsement of the technical or financial viability of cell-cultured meat. These companies are investing in the leading pioneers among about 70 world startups mainly to observe progress in technology and to assess future demand.  


Despite the hype and rosy projections for cell-cultured meat, there is neither an E.U. nor U.S. Federal approval for cell-cultured meat.  The previous Administration in a decision reminiscent of King Solomon and the baby of disputed parentage, inadvisably divided responsibility between the USDA-FSIS and the FDA. This will delay framing of regulations for at least two years given the Washington penchant for jurisdictional competition and the absolute lack of experience of either Agency in the technology of cell-cultured meat. The situation would have be different if approval were to be assigned to an established and functional unified and appropriately staffed Federal Food Safety Agency.


McDonald's Corp. Divests Technology to IBM


Recognizing that they are great at fast food, and that IBM is a high-tech company with a brainy employee named Watson, McDonald's Corp. has decided to divest McD Tech Labs. to their strategic partner. The McD Tech Labs subsidiary was established in 2019 following acquisition of start-up Apprente Inc. a developer of automated order-taking software.  The intention was for McDonald's to incorporate these systems into the Accelerating the Arches initiative to provide convenience and speed in filling orders.


In past months, IBM has developed AI-driven solutions using their Watson platform to benefit a wide range of businesses.


Following closure of the transaction in December, McD Tech Labs. will be integrated into the Cloud and Cognitive Software segment of IBM.


African Swine Fever Persists in the Caribbean


According to a USDA November 1st posting, African swine fever (ASF) was diagnosed on 136 farms in the Dominican Republic through October 31st.  This has resulted in depletion of close to 10,000 hogs, mainly in small subsistence operations. 


In neighboring Haiti, five outbreaks have been confirmed by the USDA with differentiation of ASF from classical swine fever based on PCR performed at the Plum Island USDA-APHIS laboratory.  Given restraints in resources and personnel and the high concentration of backyard hog units, persistence of ASF in Haiti is anticipated representing a danger to Puerto Rico.



Legal Firms Seek $60 Million in Fees in Broiler Case


The two law firms that negotiated settlements from Tyson Foods Inc, Pilgrim’s Pride Corp, and other major processors alleging collusion in pricing, have submitted fee requests to the Court amounting to $59.7 million with $8.8 million as reimbursement for expenses. The civil case is grinding steadily through the courts and has now exceded five years under litigation. 


An interesting outcome will be whether AgriStats or its then owner Elanco Animal Health settle or go to trial.  Given that a number of major defendents have negotiated settlements, it is inevitable that smaller integrators will seek accommodations  since defending the action involves ever growing costs dilutes the effectiveness of management in addition to reputational loss.



Smithfield Foods Again in Conflict with USFW Local 304A


The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 304A claims that Smithfield Foods is increasing line speeds at the Sioux Falls, SD plant.  In addition, the Union claims that measures to prevent transmission of COVID have been relaxed and that relations with management has deteriorated.


The USFW represents 3,500 workers at the facility who operate in accordance with a four-year contract concluded in June.


Jim Monroe, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Smithfield Foods, stated “We are disappointed to get this feedback through the media, it is the first we are hearing of these concerns and we disagree with the portrayal of conditions in our facility.”  He added, “Worker safety and a supportive work environment are top priorities.  We remain in full compliance with all health and safety recommendations and are dedicating resources in an effort to vaccinate our entire workforce.”  Monroe characterized the claims by Local 304A as “inaccurate and unfair”.


Public Health Alert for Citterio Salami Sticks


The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services has issued a public health alert based on CDC findings relating to potential Salmonella infection.  21 cases of Salmonella Serotype I 4,(5),12:i were diagnosed in eight states with onset from September 18th through October 3rd 2021.  A formal recall has not been issued as FSIS has not been able to isolate the pathogen from product in any specific lot.  Products were prepared in a Freeland, PA plant (Est 4010) and shipped extensively in the U.S. as evidenced by cases in eight states.


Maple Leaf Foods Reports on Q3 of FY 2021


In a press release dated November 4th Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI-TO) announced results for the 3rd Quarter ended September 30th.


The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as US$ x 1,000 except EPS (conversion of CAN$1=US$0.80)





3rd Quarter Ending September 30th.



Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Pre-tax Income

Net Income1







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:




           Return on Assets    (%)




           Return on Equity    (%)




           Operating Margin   (%)




           Profit Margin          (%)




Total Assets

Intangibles and goodwill % of assets






Market Capitalization





Note 1. $0.772 million non-recurring income Q3 2021; $1.102 million non-recurring expenditure Q3 2020.


Meat Protein Segment:

Sales, $920.2 million, up 13.1% from Q3 2020.

Adjusted earnings $84.5 million up 32.0% from Q3 2020.


Plant Protein Segment:

Sales, $38.4 million, down 6.5% from Q3 2020.

Adjusted earnings $(30.1) million 12.8% improvement from Q3 2020.



52-Week Range in Share Price:  $18.85  to  $24.74   50-day Moving average  $21.53

Forward P/E 17.3      Beta  0.3

Market            Close pre-release November 3rd $21.97.  

Market            Close post-release November 4th  $24.50 (+11.6%). 


Insider shareholding 39.3%. Institutional shareholding 24.6%


In commenting on Q3 results Michael H. McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods stated "Our meat protein business delivered exceptional results in the third quarter. Our revenue grew by over 13% and our Adjusted EBITDA grew by 22%, driven by a 90 bps improvement in margin to 13.0%, the result of outstanding execution of our strategies to become the most sustainable protein company on earth. I am grateful for the tireless commitment of our teams who are consistently delivering, and confident in achieving our near-term targets.


In relation to alternatives to meat McCain noted "We are seeing a marked slowdown in the plant-based protein category performance which may suggest systemic change in the extremely high growth rates expected by the industry."  He continued "While our overall focus to create long-term value for all stakeholders remains unchanged, and investments to date have been well calculated, well executed and have delivered underlying value, we have always been prepared to re-examine that investment thesis if circumstances change. He concluded “Given current category performance, such a review is underway which will either affirm or adjust our strategies and investment thesis going forward."


HPAI Outbreaks in Europe


The Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture has reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) two outbreak of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza during the last week in October. The first case was diagnosed on a farm of laying hens near the town of Zeewolde in the Province of Flevoland in Central Holland.  A total of 36,000 hens were housed on the farm that is being depopulated. Given that the farm was designated as an organic unit it is presumed that flocks had outside access and were vulnerable to infection from migratory waterfowl.  Appropriate restrictions have been place on movement of birds within a six-mile area around the index farm and intensive surveillance is in progress involving six other farms within 1.9 miles and nine other farms within six miles of the affected premises.


The most recent outbreak occurred on a farm housing 107,000 broilers in three adjacent buildings. In addition to depleting the farm in the Municipality of Alkmaar, and imposing the quarantine restrictions as required by the OIE, preemptive depletion of a flock of 18,700 broilers was carried out based on proximity to the larger farm and presumably some biological connection.


The Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten has mandated confinement of all poultry flocks to limit transmission of influenza virus from migratory waterfowl. Residents of the Netherlands have been requested to report dead wild birds to agricultural and veterinary authorities to be sampled for the presence of influenza virus.


Other nations in Europe are experiencing cases of avian influenza. On October 22nd, authorities in Germany reported on an outbreak involving 633 geese on a farm in Brunsbuttel in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.  Isolates of H5N1 were obtained concurrently  from free-living birds in the states of Bavaria and West Pomerania. A second outbreak in Germany involved a small multi-species poultry farm with 224 chickens, geese and ducks in the state of Brandenburg


A farm holding 27,600 turkeys in Sjaeland, Denmark was diagnosed with H5 avian influenza on October 30th followed by depletion and quarantines.


Russia reported an outbreak of H5N1involving 422,000 “birds” (type not specified) on a farm near Kirov The widespread distribution of cases suggests extensive infection among waterfowl with implication for non-confined poultry flocks in Western Europe.


England recorded mortality in swans on the River Avon at Stratford and in waterfowl at the Wychbold Rehabilitation Center, also located in Worcestershire. A separate outbreak in a small farm was diagnosed in Wrexham, Wales concurrently with isolation from dead wild birds.


The following extract from a September 29th E.U. report on avian Influenza is provided to illustrate the magnitude of the problem of interaction between migratory waterfowl serving as reservoirs and disseminators of virus and both backyard and commercial flocks in Europe:-


The occurrence of HPAI A(H5) virus incursions in commercial farms
even where birds are kept indoors raises concern about the capacity of
applied biosecurity measures in effectively preventing virus exposure.
Biosecurity standards should be revised and reinforced, and their
implementation regularly checked, primarily in poultry production
systems at high risk of avian influenza. 

"The 2020-2021 epidemic with a total of 1,298 outbreaks in poultry,
22,9 million birds affected, 85 detections in captive birds, and 2,394
events in wild birds in 31 European countries appears to be one of the
largest HPAI epidemics that has ever occurred in Europe. Note that the
number of reported wild bird events is an underestimate of the total
number of wild birds that have died from HPAI during this epidemic."


Amazon Imposes Delivery Fee on Orders


Amazon is now imposing a $9.95 delivery fee on orders from Whole Foods Market placed through Amazon Prime.


Amazon delivered three times as many orders in 2020 compared to 2019 attributed to home confinement during the COVID pandemic.


Walmart has responded by offering a $9.95 rebate for joining Walmart +.  This service offers free grocery delivery, free shipping with no order minimum and contact-free checkout.  The subscription is $12.95 per month or $98 annually.  This compares to Amazon Prime at $12.99 per month or $119 for one year.  Walmart operates Go Local, an in-house delivery service.  Recently Walmart announced a partnership with Home Depot to deliver items from the home improvement chain.


HPAI Outbreak in Israel


ProMed reported on an outbreak of HPAI strain H5N1 in a flock of breeding turkeys on Kibbutz (a communal farming enterprise) Maayan Tzvi.  According to the report submitted by Dr. Nati Elkin the outbreak involved 35-week old breeders that experienced 90 percent morbidity within 24-hours on October 29th.


Dr. Elkin noted that the affected farm is in close proximity to an aquaculture enterprise with extensive ponds that attract migratory waterfowl.


Seaboard Corp Posts Q3 Results


On November 2nd Seaboard Corporation (SEB) published results for the third quarter of FY 2021 ending October 2nd. Seaboard is a conglomerate with interests in pork, shipping, milling, commodity trading, power generation, ethanol production and is a fifty percent shareholder in Butterball LLC.


For the period, the company earned $194 million on revenue of $2,276 million with an EPS of $81.50.  Corresponding values for Q3 of fiscal 2020 ending September 26th included net earnings of $151 million on revenue of $1,645 million with an EPS of $132.58.


For the most recent quarter, the Pork Segment attained revenue of $527 million out of total Company earnings of $2,276 million. The Pork segment contributed $52 million to Company earnings out of a total for all segments amounting to $116 million.


Seaboard Corporation holds 50 percent of the equity of Butterball LLC valued at $245 million.  For the quarter, based on the Seaboard Corporation SEC Q-10 posting, Butterball represented a loss to Seaboard of $10 million for Q3 FY 2021 and a loss of  $19 million as reflected on the income statement of Seaboard Corporation.  Butterball attained revenue of $464 million in Q3 with an operating loss of $15 million and a net loss of $18 million. Total assets of Butterball were valued at $1,200 million. The Seaboard 10-Q report ascribes the loss in the Butterball subsidiary as due to higher feed and production costs offset by an increase in sales volume and higher unit revenue. Seaboard anticipates a profit for Butterball in Q4 attributed to seasonal sales and higher prices.


Seaboard Corporation posted a November 3rd intraday market capitalization of $4,470 million. The 52-week share price has ranged from $2,870 to $4,470 with a 50-day moving average of $4,077.  On a trailing 12-month basis, operating margin was 5.1 percent and profit margin 9.5 percent.  The company generated a return on assets of 4.0 percent and 20.3 percent on equity Of the shareholding, 78 percent is held by insiders.


Sad Passing of Dr. Gordon Miller


Dr. Gordon Proffit Miller, Sr., passed away on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at the age of 90 in his home in Wilksboro, NC. He was born December 24th, 1930 in Wilkes County to William Reece and Nettie Proffit Miller.  He grew up on a dairy farm in Laurel Springs.  He earned a baccalaureate degree in Animal Industry from North Carolina State University and a DVM from the University of Georgia in 1963. He joined Holly Farms Poultry Industries after graduation and served successively in positions of increasing responsibility including Vice President of Live Production Services. He transitioned to Tyson Foods in 1989 following the purchase of Holly Farms, rising to Senior Vice President of Live Production and Senior Veterinarian until his retirement in 2004.


Among many honors, Dr. Miller received the C.A. Bottorff Award from the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) in 1996 in recognition of his significant contributions as an avian pathologist to poultry health programs in North America. Dr. Miller was a life member of the AAAP, and a life member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. In 2006, Dr. Miller was inducted into the North Carolina Poultry Hall of Fame.


Gordon was uniquely qualified to advance chicken production, combining his veterinary knowledge with extensive practical experience. He was an early advocate of in ovo vaccination contributing to the successful adoption of the technology, now an industry standard.


Dr. Miller was well-known and respected in his local community.  He was a charter member of the North Wilkesboro Rotary Club and served as its President from 1987-88.  He was a Paul Harris Fellow Recipient.   Dr. Miller was a military veteran having served a 2-year tour in South Korea.


Dr. Miller is survived by his wife of 63 years, Myrtle Jean Hudler Miller of the home; one son, Dr. Gordon P. “Chip” Miller, Jr. of Springdale, AR. and five grandchildren


Officers of the National Chicken Council Installed


In an October 28th release the National Chicken Council, reported on installation of officers for the 2021-22 year.  Mark Kaminsky, CEO of Koch Foods, was installed as Chairman, his second term, previously serving from 2018 to 2019.  A certified accountant by profession, Kaminsky has gained considerable experience in the operational aspects of the company.


Kevin Garland, CEO of Mountaire Farms, will serve as Vice Chairman.  A member of the Cameron family that established and operates Mountaire, Garland was a managing partner at the Sterling Group and has expertise in financial management.


Randy Day, CEO of Perdue Foods and affiliated companies, will serve as Secretary-Treasurer.  Day has been associated with Perdue Farms since 1980 occupying positions of increasing responsibility.


Mike Brown was elected to an 11th term as president of the National Chicken Council.  He stated “2021 has been a challenge for many industries across the United States and the world.”  He added, “The determination, innovation, and fortitude of this industry is evident especially during a year with labor shortages, inflation, high input costs and shipping challenges.”


Foster Farms to Continue Annual Hunger Relief


Foster Farms will donate 64,000 pounds of turkey products to West Coast food banks continuing a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition. 


Ira Brill, Vice-president of Communications for Foster Farms stated, “We remain dedicated to fighting hunger in our local communities and are proud to continue our tradition of donating Thanksgiving turkeys, especially this year, as families return to more traditional celebrations.” 


Tanis Crosby, Executive Director of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank stated, “We are grateful to Foster Farms for its continued generosity, especially during the holidays. Their donation will be a hand-up again this year to the thousands in Northern California who are struggling to make ends meet.”  The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank will feed 10,000 people with four tons of the turkeys donated by Foster Farms.


It is estimated that one out of every five residents in California, representing eight million of the state population are in need of support based on food insecurity.


Perdue Farms Donates 20 Tons of Chicken to Food Bank of the Albemarle


Perdue Farms has donated 20-tons of chicken that will feed up to 33,000 people through the Food Bank of the Albemarle, located in Elizabeth City, NC.  The donation is part of the Perdue Farms Delivering Hope to Our Neighbors initiative.  Bill See, Senior Manager of Community Relations noted, “At Perdue Farms, we are passionate about our efforts to alleviate hunger, especially among the most vulnerable and underserved populations.”  He added, “We’re hopeful this donation will deliver some much-needed relief to our neighbors and inspire others to engage in the fight against hunger.”


Liz Reasoner, Director of the Food Bank of the Albemarle stated, “This generous donation from Perdue Farms comes at a time when individuals and families continue to struggle amid the Covid-19 pandemic. We are extremely grateful for their continued support of our mission.”


Foster Farms Evaluating Strategic Alternatives


In an October 27th release, Foster Farms acknowledged that it was considering strategic alternatives, ‘business-speak’ for a sale.  Helen Kurtz, Chief Marketing Officer noted in a statement, “We are confident in our strategic plan, and will determine if partnerships further enhance our competitive position.”


Foster Farms ranked 11th by volume of production in both the U.S. broiler and turkey segments has an annual revenue approaching $2.5 million and employs 12,000 in plants in Livingston, Fresno, Turlock, Porterville, CA and facilities in Louisiana, Alabama and Colorado. 

The company was established by Max and Verda Foster in 1939 and has developed into a dominant regional producer of broilers and turkeys in the Pacific Coast states. 


In February 2019 there were rumors based on visits construed as due diligence evaluations that Tyson was evaluating a possible purchase but no definitive or formal offer was announced.  Acquisition of Foster Farms by one of the major broiler producers will encounter resistance on the basis of potential concentration of production capacity. This is a hot topic in Washington at present as both Senate and House committees are investigating the apparent lack of competition within red meat packing sector. It is possible that Foster Farms could be acquired by either a private equity firm or an agribusiness company that currently has no assets in the poultry industry.  In August a consortium of Cargill Inc. and Continental Grain Company struck a deal to buy Sanderson Farms Inc. ranked third among U.S. broiler producers for $4.5 million in a cash transaction resulting in a consolidation of the acquisition with Wayne Farms.



OSHA to Propose Rule to Reduce Heat Injury Among Workers


U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has indicated that it will publish an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking covering heat injury and illness prevention in both outdoor and indoor work settings.


Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh stated, “As we continue to see temperatures rise and records broken, our changing climate affects millions of America workers who are exposed to tough and potentially dangerous heat.”


Jim Frederick, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health commented, “The Advance Notice is an important part of our multi-prong initiative to protect indoor and outdoor workers from hazardous heat.”


The Advance Notice and Proposed Rulemaking will initiate a comment period to gather diverse perspective and expertise on topics such as heat-stress thresholds, heat-acclamation, planning and monitoring exposure.


Increase in Consumer Prices


According to a recent release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices increased from September 2020 to September 2021.  All food increased by 4.6 percent with food away from home higher at 4.7 percent.  Within the food at home segment, beef and veal increased by 12.6 percent, pork by 17.6 percent and poultry 6.1 percent.  Eggs increased by 12.6 percent although the comparison is based on a low base in 2020 with over-production relative to demand. 


In forecasting food price increases in 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates all food will increase in a range of 2.0 to 3.0 with food at home from 1.5 to 2.5 percent.  Red meat will increase by 2.5 percent, poultry by 1.5 percent and eggs will be stable in price.


Washington State Attorney General Enters Broiler Conspiracy Lawsuit


According to news report in the Seattle Times, Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General has entered the ongoing lawsuit alleging collusion among broiler producers to adjust production volume and enhance price.


The suit was filed in the King County Superior Court alleging illegal anticompetitive conduct to coordinate, supply and manipulate pricing.  Attorney General Ferguson maintains that industry activities violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act.  The suit names 19 broiler integrators and AgriStats as plaintiffs.


At issue is the use of AgriStats benchmark price and production data.  As with the claims advanced by direct and indirect purchasers of chicken, the lawsuit maintains that integrators were able to restrict supply based on information contained in monthly AgriStats reports.  The Washington State lawsuit alleges that companies coordinated placement and depletion of breeder flocks to adjust the supply of broilers in order to maximize unit revenue and hence profit.


A second component of the claim relates to the presentation of AgriStats data that allowed individual integrators to identify data submitted by their competitors. The lawsuit claims that this led to an indirect exchange of business information that could be construed as anticompetitive.


It is a matter of record that a number of lawsuits have been settled with institutional purchasers eligible to receive damages.  The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ferguson is intended benefit up to 7 million residents of Washington State together with hospitals, colleges and other institutions that it is claimed paid more for chicken had there not been alleged indirect collusion.  If the State of Washington claim is isolated, legal costs to defend the action will be relatively limited. If more states attorneys general file claims, the cost of defending or settling lawsuits will attain immense proportions. 


Many attorneys general are facing reelection within two years and initiating litigation may be more to burnish their individual and collective images rather than attempting to correct spurious losses that will be difficult if not impossible to quantify.  The tenor of the office of the attorney general is characterized by a statement issued by A/G Ferguson, “This conspiracy cost middle-class and low-class income Washington families more money to put food on their table.  I will hold these companies accountable for the profits they illegally made off the backs of hard working Washington families.”


Tyson Claims 96 Percent Workforce is Vaccinated Against COVID


In an October 26th release, Tyson Foods announced that 96 percent of its workforce has been vaccinated against COVID.  This follows an early August directive requiring 120,000 workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated by November 1st.


Dr. Claudia Coplein, Chief Medical Officer for Tyson Foods stated, “Getting vaccinated against COVID is the single most effective thing we can do to protect our team members, their families and their communities.” On August 3rd Dr. Coplein stated “With rapidly rising COVID case counts of contagious, dangerous variants leading to increasing rates of severe illness and hospitalization among the U.S. unvaccinated population, this the right time to take the next step to ensure fully vaccinated workforce.”


Donnie King, president and CEO congratulated the Tyson workforce noting that since August 3rd the company is close to a goal of complete vaccination of those eligible.  Thanking Tyson workers for their cooperation, he stated “We appreciate the dedication and courage to thousands of our team members who stepped up and signed up to keep themselves, their families and their communities better protected against this deadly virus.”


The vaccination mandate was supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union representing 250,000 meat packing and food processing workers including at least 25,000 employed by Tyson.  The company provided workers with a $200 bonus when fully vaccinated, taking advantage of the 150 vaccination events organized by Tyson Foods since the August mandate.


King concluded, “I would also like to say to those who remain unvaccinated, this is your choice and we respect that choice.  If you change your mind and want to rejoin Tyson let us know.  Our doors are open.  The pandemic is not over and we haven’t yet won the race but we know we’re in it together and our future is bright.”


African Swine Fever in a Large Russian Complex


ProMED MAIL reported on Tuesday October 26th that an outbreak of African swine fever was confirmed on a farm operated by Miratorg, the largest pork producer in Russia.  The farm is located in the Belgorod Province in Central Russia.  This is the second Miratorg case following a previous outbreak on a complex in Belgorod Province in September.


As yet there have been no report on how the farms were infected but some deficiency in biosecurity must have been responsible.  African swine fever can be regarded as endemic in large areas of Russia. The infection is carried by feral hogs with outbreaks spreading to backyard and subsistence units with the possibility of subsequent extension to commercial farms.


U.K. Sees Surge in Buying of Christmas Necessities


Faced with fuel and labor shortages and rapidly increasing prices, shoppers in the U.K. are activity buying turkeys, Christmas puddings and paper goods in anticipation of the festive season.  There is no evidence of panic buying as in the early stages of the 2020 COVID outbreak and retailers characterize the current wave as “a steady demand”.  Sales of frozen turkeys have doubled compared to late October 2020 and prestige supermarkets and butchers have waiting lists for fresh turkeys.


According to the British Poultry Council, turkey production is down 20 percent compared to 2020 mainly due to a shortage of processing labor.  The supply of carbon dioxide is regarded as inadequate adding to problems in processing.


The question arises as to whether there is a market opportunity for export of frozen product to the U.K. given protectionist policies relating to antibiotics and chlorine immersion.


Tyson Foods Introduces Air Fried™ Chicken Bites


Following the introduction of Air Fried™ products in 2019, Tyson Foods has now launched a range of Air Fried™ Chicken Bites available in spicy and Parmesan flavors. It is claimed that the snacks have 75 percent less fat and 35 percent less calories than conventional deep-fried breaded nuggets.


Lauren Talbert, Senior Brand Manager stated, “We are excited to extend our Air Fried line of products”.  She added, “Whether tailgating, hosting a few friends or snacking alone Air Fried Chicken Bites are easy, crispy and better-for-you protein snacks.”  Tyson Air Fried Chicken Bites are available in 20 oz. packages with seven servings per bag and are available in the frozen aisles of supermarkets nationwide.


Brinker International Q1 of FY 2022 Disappoints Market


On October 19th, Brinker International (EAT) reported on the first quarter of fiscal 2022.  For the period, net earnings were $13.2 million on revenue of $859.6 million with an EPS of $0.28.  Comparable values for Q1 of the previous fiscal year were net earnings of $10.7 million on revenue of $728.2 million with an EPS of $0.23.  Brinker International reported a 17 percent increase in same store sales for Q1 2022 compared to Q1 2021.  Chili’s gained 13 percent and Maggiano’s 63 percent. The company cited increased labor costs and inflation in food inputs as reasons for a decline in operating margin.


The market responded negatively to the release with EAT falling 10.6 percent from the close on October 19th at $48.70 to $44.21, down 9.7 percent at the close on Wednesday October 20th. Over a 52-week period, EAT has ranged from $40.73 to $78.33 with a 50-day moving average of $50.58.


On a trailing 12-month basis, the company generated an operating margin of 6.5 percent and a profit margin of 3.9 percent with a 5.8 percent return on assets.  Wyman Roberts, CEO noted, “The COVID surge starting August exacerbated the industry-wide labor and commodity challenge and impacted our margins and bottom-line more than we anticipated.”  He added, “We have taken immediate incremental pricing actions, increasing our full year target to 3 percent to 3.5 percent to offset inflationary costs and protect margins as we move forward.”


USDA ERS Forecasts Agricultural Exports


The Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade AES-117 released August 26th 2021, documents exports of agricultural products during the period October through June of fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The report includes projections for fiscal year 2021 and 2022 respectively.  Major categories including grains, oilseeds, livestock, poultry and dairy are tabulated as to volume and value.


Broiler meat exports will attain $3.4 billion in value for the fiscal year ending August 2021 but will remain constant at $3.4 billion for the corresponding months ending in August 2022. For both periods the USDA projected a volume of 3.4 million metric tons shipped.



With respect to corn, in August 2021, 72.5 million metric tons were shipped valued at $18.1 billion.  For the corresponding month in 2022, USDA predicts exports of 61.0 million metric tons valued at $17.1 billion.


For soybeans, 61.5 million metric tons were shipped in August 2021 valued at $29.0 billion.  In August 2022, volume will decline to 55.9 million metric tons, but value will increase to $32.3 billion based on a projected rise in unit value.


In August 2021, agricultural balance of trade will amount to a positive $16.0 billion with exports at $173.5 billion and imports valued at $157.5 billion.  The projection for August 2022 shows an increase in the net positive balance of trade to $18.0 billion with exports increasing to $177.5 billion with a disproportionate increase in imports of $159.5 billion.  The increased value of exports is attributable to higher livestock, poultry and dairy exports and inclusion of ethanol and manufactured tobacco products consistent with definitions of the World Trade Organization.


USDA-AMS Purchase of Chicken


On October 22nd, USDA-AMS announced purchase of chicken for programs including child nutrition and domestic food assistance.  On October 21st the following purchases were made for delivery during December 2021:-

  • 7,002 tons of large chilled chicken in bulk at a price range of $1.02 to $1.07 per lb.
  • 1,008 tons of chilled chicken legs in bulk at a price of $0.41 to $0.51 per lb.



Ocean Shippers Responding to Port Congestion


A representative of shipping company Maersk, speaking at the South Atlantic International Trade Conference acknowledged challenges facing ocean shippers and their customers.  He noted that Maersk has added more vessels to the Asia to West-coast routes.  The company will also increase service to East-coast ports. Maersk is attempting to improve integration among ports, warehouses, inland transporters and re-loading their vessels with containers.


Maersk intends transforming from simply an ocean carrier to an integrated supplier of comprehensive services extending from containers, ocean freight, port operation and land transport to provide a seamless logistic service.


Registration & Hotel Reservations Open November 8th for 2022 Midwest Poultry Federation Convention


Registration and hotel reservations for attendees to the 2022 Midwest Poultry Federation (MPF Convention) will open November 8th 2021 at www.midwestpoultry.com. Exhibitors will be given a different schedule for their registration and hotel reservations and will be emailed details directly by MPF’s exhibits manager. 


Show dates are March 22nd to 24th 2022 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 


  • The Pre-Show Nutrition and Poultry Health Symposium will be held Tuesday afternoon, March 22nd.
  • Education tracks for turkeys, egg layers, broilers, and processing (all species) will take place across all three days of the show (March 22nd to24th).
  • The MPF Welcome Reception will be held Tuesday, March 22nd from 4:30–5:30 pm. 
  • MPF Unhatched: An Evening of Eats and Entertainment will take place on the opening night of the MPF Convention at the Hilton Minneapolis– Tuesday, March 22nd starting at 6:30pm. $50 per ticket.


The Exhibition Hall will occupy new space on the first floor of the Minneapolis Convention Center and run 10am-5pm on Wednesday, March 23rd and 9am–12pm on Thursday, March 24th. 


“We are ready to welcome our exhibitors and attendees back to the 2022 MPF convention for our 51st year. We are working closely with our partners at the Minneapolis Convention Center and our hotels to provide a safe and secure experience,” said MPF President Scott Waldner, who represents the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota on the Board of Directors. 


Partnering events include the North Central Avian Disease Conference (March 21st-22nd) and the Organic Egg Farmers of American Symposium (March 22nd) – both events will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center.


Details on all MPF Convention events, education program, and the list of exhibitors are available at www.midwestpoultry.com.  Contact MPF with any questions at info@midwestpoultry.com or (763) 284-6763.


Pilgrim’s Pride Reports on Q3


In a press release dated October 27th Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. announced results for the 3rd Quarter ending September 26 th.


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







3rd Quarters Ending September 26th/27 th



Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets




Market Capitalization



52-Week Range in Share Price: $16.24 to $29.70 50-day Moving average $28.74

Forward P/E 11.9 Beta 1.1

In commenting on results Fabio Sandri, CEO stated “On the strength of our product portfolio, we performed well in the third quarter with adjusted EBITDA up substantially over the third quarter of 2020 and the more normalized results of Q3 2019, despite the ongoing challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic.”


Sandri stressed availability of labor as a headwind noting “Labor shortages continue to be our most pressing issue. Staffing challenges, have hindered our ability to achieve the ideal product mix with efficient processes. We will continue to make adjustments on a plant-by-plant basis to improve staffing levels and optimize our mix.”


Expanding on the operating environment Sandri stated “In our U.S. business, demand and pricing have been robust, driven by ongoing high levels of demand at retail and the continued recovery in commercial foodservice. Prepared Foods volume was up 7% overall and 16% in the consumer channel as we purposefully grow our Pilgrim’s® and Just Bare® brands at retail in response to the continued growth in interest in our brands in that segment.”


Referring to operations outside the U.S. Sandri commented “In the third quarter in Mexico, our business continued to perform well, and grain pricing began to moderate as we come off of the seasonally strong summer months and head into fall. Moy Park and Pilgrim’s U.K. both faced shortages of labor and truck drivers as E.U. workers left the U.K. following Brexit. In addition, rising fuel costs put pressure on both these businesses”.


YUM! Brands Reports on Q3


In a press release dated October 28th Yum! Brands Inc. announced results for the 3rd quarter ending September 30th.


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


3rd Quarter Ending September 30th



Difference (%)





Gross profit company units:




Operating income:             




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin  company units (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt and lease obligations:




12 Months Trailing:




           Return on Assets    (%)




           Return on Equity    (%)




           Operating Margin   (%)




           Profit Margin          (%)




Total Assets



v +9.6

Market Capitalization





Notes: 1. $77 million tax benefit.  2. $33 million tax payment

            3. 33.1% intangibles and goodwill.


System wide: Sales +8.0%; Same-store sales growth 5%.


KFC Division: Sales $7,876 million; Operating margin 45.4%; Operating profit $101 million; 26,222 units.


Pizza Hut Division: Sales $3,170 million; Operating margin 40.6%; Operating profit $314 million; 18,007 units.


Taco Bell Division: Sales $3,143 million; Operating margin 34.6%; Operating profit $184 million; 7,619 units.


52-Week Range in Share Price:  $92.22  to  $135.77   50-day Moving average  $125.58

Market            close pre-release 27th October $125.80

Market open post-release 28th October  $124.22

Forward P/E  25.5                  Beta 1.0


In commenting on Q3 results, David Gibbs, CEO, said “Our third quarter results, led by record-breaking unit development and sustained momentum in digital sales, are a testament to the strength of our Brands and the unmatched commitment and capability of our best-in-class franchise partners. I am proud that each of our global divisions contributed to delivering 760 net-new units in the quarter. Our 5% same store sales growth for the third quarter, or 3% same-store sales growth on a 2-year basis, demonstrates the resilience of our diversified global business model despite the headwind of the Delta variant in certain key markets.


During the quarter, we advanced our digital capabilities with the acquisition of Dragontail and its AI-based integrated kitchen order management and delivery technologies that strengthens store operations, enhances the customer experience and makes it easier for team members to run a restaurant” He concluded, “As we continue to navigate the short-term uncertainties of the COVID recovery, we are incredibly confident in the ability of our iconic brands and our world-class talent to drive growth and maximize stakeholder value by delivering on our long-term growth algorithm.”


Bachoco Reports on Q3, FY 2021


In a press release dated October 25th Industrias Bachoco S.A.B. de C.V. (IBA), announced results for the 3rd quarter ending September 30th.


The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year. Values expressed as US$ x 1,000 except EPS (conversion of 20.64 pesos =US$)


3rd Quarter Ending September 30th



Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:




           Return on Assets    (%)




           Return on Equity    (%)




           Operating Margin   (%)




           Profit Margin          (%)




Total Assets




Market Capitalization





Of total revenue 26 percent is derived from the U.S. through OK Foods

Of total revenue 87.8 percent is derived from broilers and eggs the remainder from livestock and other agricultural enterprises.


52-Week Range in Share Price:  $36.20  to  $48.47  50-day Moving average  $44.43

Trailing 12-month  P/E   8.3                   Beta 0.8


In commenting on Q3 results Rodolfo Ramos Arvizu, CEO of Bachoco, stated: “This was a typical third quarter for the Company, in terms of seasonality, with chicken prices at their weakest as compared to the first half of the year. In Me´xico, we observed lower demand that negatively affected our prices, unlike the U.S., where majot commodity prices remained strong for most of the quarter.


In terms of cost of sales, prices of corn and soybean meal remained high when compared to previous years, fully impacting our cost in Me´xico and the U.S. As a result, our cost of sales was 16.6% higher than reported in Q3 of 2020. Despite the challenging conditions of this quarter, the Company remained in a healthy financial condition which will allow us to continue to support our growth plans.”


Mountaire Farms Responds to Biased News Report in The Counter


An activist publication The Counter reported on alleged complaints by workers at the Lumber Bridge plant claiming exposure to an "unknown chemical" that produced respiratory symptoms.  On October 20th, Mountaire Farms issued a rebuttal claiming: -


  • The Lumber Bridge plant is fully staffed refuting the allegation that employees have resigned in large numbers.
  • The company has not changed the concentration or altered the application of ammonia or chlorine compounds in the plant and no leaks have been detected.
  • OSHA inspected the plant in late August following allegations of "chemical contamination" without detecting any abnormality or requiring any any changes in operations.
  • There have been no responses to the plant Conduct and Compliance hotline that allows workers to make anonymous comments and complaints

As a participant in the food industry, Mountaire Farms emphasizes worker safety and welfare.  The company installed air-filtration systems in response to the COVID outbreak. The Human Relations Department encourages employees to file any complaints relating to work conditions or to consult with onsite medical teams.  Employees may request reassignment to other workstations within the Lumber Bridge plant.


The recent rebuttal clearly indicates that the complaints as posted by The Counter were apparently spurious and lacking in foundation.  The Counter and other publications and websites that have reproduced the allegations have rendered Mountaire Farms a disservice in attempting to deprecate both the company and the industry. The Counter, previously The New Food Economy is published by a non-profit IRS 501(c)(3) organization established in 2017 by contributions from foundations and individuals including philanthropist S. Donald Sussman.


Beyond Meat Revises Third Quarter Revenue Downwards


In an October 22nd release, Beyond Meat Inc. announced a downward revision of third quarter revenue from a previous value of $130 million to $106 million.  The Company attributes the projected decline to "ongoing macro and microeconomic factors" including the Delta strain COVID-19 variant, a drop in retail orders and cancellation of sales associated with a major distributor.  The company also cites "operational challenges" including severe weather resulting in the loss of potable water in a Pennsylvania plant. 


Earnings for the third quarter will be released on November 10th. For the second quarter of FY 2021, Beyond Meat posted a loss of $19.7 million on revenue of $149.4 million.  For the comparative quarter of fiscal 2020 the company lost $10.2 million on revenue of $113.3 million. 


Reviewing past results for Beyond Meat and other manufacturers of plant-based alternatives to real meat, it is noted that the trajectory in gross margins are now proportional to increases in sales.  For the second quarter of fiscal 2021 gross margin was 29.7 percent increasing to 31.7 percent in the third quarter of FY 2021. For the two consecutive quarters, revenue increased by 31.9 percent. 


The announcement of the decline in revenue resulted in a sharp drop in share price.  On October 21st BYND closed at $108.51 but opened the following morning at $91.99.  Over fifty-two weeks, BYND has traded in a range of $91.55 to $221.00 with a fifty-day moving average of $108.00.  On a trailing twelve-month basis, operating margin was -15.8 percent and profit margin -20.1 percent.  Over the same period the company generated returns of -4.5 percent on assets and -28.3 percent on equity.


High Freight Rates to Persist Through Q1 of 2022


According to an analysis conducted by DAT, freight rates will continue to increase through the first quarter of 2022.  Quoted in The Packer Chris Caplice of DAT noted that strong consumer demand and supply chain bottlenecks coupled with proactive shipping have boosted demand and strained capacity.  In September, the DAT Truckload Volume Index was down one percent compared to August but the highest for any September.  The index includes dry van, refrigerated and flatbed loads.


The national average rate for van freight increased 9 cents to $2.85 per mile, the fifth consecutive monthly high during 2020.  In September 2020, the index was $2.37 per mile.  The spot reefer rate was $3.25 per mile up 10 cents from August and 68 cents over September 2020.  The spot flatbed rate averaged $3.09 per mile up one cent from August 2020.  The national average contract van rate was $2.85 per mile and the contract reefer rate rose to $2.97 per mile. 


Highway diesel has increased to $3.38 per gallon representing six consecutive monthly rises.  Accordingly, spot and contract rates now include a fuel surcharge.


Hotraco Agri Appoints Chief Commercial Officer


Ard Zweep, CEO of Hotraco Agri has announced the appointment of Berta Danielsdottir as Chief Commercial Officer.  In her new position Berta will be responsible for developing and executing global sales strategy for Hotraco with an emphasis on increasing market share. 


Berta was previously the CEO of Iceland Ocean Cluster, assisting national startups.  She has gained considerable experience in international management as an executive with Marel over an18-year tenure.  Ms. Danielsdottir earned a Master’s degree in Management and International Business from the University of Akureyri in her native country of Iceland.


Broiler Antitrust Litigation Lawsuit Claims Dismissed


U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin dismissed claims against Tyson Foods in the ongoing Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation case.  Virtually all U.S. supermarket chains have sued most U.S. broiler integrators alleging collusion in pricing. 


In early October, Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride and Mar-Jac Poultry agreed to pay $93.5 million to settle price-fixing charges initiated by the Department of Justice.


UAE Chicken Consumption and Prospects for the U.S.


According to the October 14th USDA-FAS GAIN Report TC2021-0011, domestic chicken production in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will represent 11.2 percent of total supply in calendar 2022.  Due to high feed costs and COVID-related restraints on expansion of the economy, production will remain at 56,000 metric tons in 2022, unchanged from 2021.  The UAE will import 445,000 metric tons of chicken in 2022 up 7.2 percent from 2021. Given the UAE population of 10 million, per capita consumption is 100 lbs. 


It is noted that only 20 percent of population of the UAE are Emiratis with the remaining population comprising close to 100 nationalities predominately from India (28 percent) and Pakistan (12 percent) with Westerners comprising 5 percent of residents.  With the current decline in construction estimated at 45 percent from 2019, many temporary workers at the low end of the socio-economic scale have returned to their homelands in Pakistan and Bangladesh.  The level of reverse migration is significant with respect to U.S. exports since leg quarters are mostly consumed by this demographic.  The U.S. market share of chicken imports declined from 17 percent in 2020 to 11 percent in 2021, attaining 24,000 metric tons.


The import market is dominated by Brazil with a 70 percent market share over the first half of 2021 amounting to 148,000 metric tons mostly whole birds at 2.2 to 2.7 lbs. The UAE benefited from the precipitous ban by Saudi Arabia on exports from a number of plants in Brazil in May 2021.  This forced exporters in Brazil to divert product to the UAE presumably at a reduced unit price. The quantity exported by the U.S. to the UAE declined by 41 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year with Brazil losing 4 percent over a considerably larger quantity.  Ukraine holds a five percent market share in 2021 but was down 55.3 percent due to outbreaks of avian influenza.  Neighboring Saudi Arabia increased exports to the UAE by 23 percent to capture four percent of the market.


The FAS post Dubai noted that Brazil packs whole birds and portions in 12 kg cartons compared to 20 kg for U.S. product.  Local distributors find the smaller pack more convenient as they are able to service restaurants.  In comparison to Brazil and the Ukraine, U.S. legs are generally too large for single plate servings in restaurants.


Marketing chicken in the Mideast requires close conformity to standards imposed by authorities in importing nations.  These include strict halal requirements that in fact vary from nation to nation, freedom from antibiotics and animal protein in feeds and specific labeling.  The U.S. is at a disadvantage in making available leg quarters from birds weighing over 7 lbs live since this is a commodity product frequently failing to meet specifications of both consumers in importing nations and ever changing health and quality regulations.  Notwithstanding the restraints of marketing a commodity, the National Chicken Council breakdown of exports during the first eight months of 2021 recorded a volume of 2,395,519 metric tons up 5.3 percent from the equivalent period in 2020. Unit value was up 17.8 percent for “chicken parts,” predominantly leg quarters, at $1,139 per metric ton.


Consolidation in U.K. Chicken Production


In an October 20th announcement, Boparan Private Office a holding company for broiler producer 2-Sisters Food Group and turkey producer Bernard Matthews announced acquisition of Banham Poultry.  The company was purchased by Chesterfield Poultry in 2018 and operates from a base in Attleborough, Norfolk, near the headquarters of Bernard Matthews. 


Banham Poultry produces in the region of 650,000 birds per week and generates $195 million annually in revenue. During 2020 Banham Poultry recorded a pre-tax profit of $500,000.  Product comprises 55 percent whole premium chicken and 45 percent tray-pack portions distributed to major U.K. supermarkets.


Boparan Private Office noted that the acquisition of Banham Poultry will safeguard employment for more than 1,000 workers and will extend the company supply chain including growers and suppliers through distribution.


Italy Reports H5N1 Avian Influenza in Turkeys


In a replay of previous avian influenza outbreaks, veterinary authorities have diagnosed highly pathogenic avian influenza strain H5N1 in a flock of 13,000 growing turkeys in the Province of Verona.  The outbreak was reported to the World Organization for Animal Health and appropriate quarantine and depopulation has been effected.


During 1999 and 2000, H7 strains of avian influenza were responsible for severe losses in Northern Italy. The extensive outbreak was eventually controlled by a combination of depopulation of affected flocks, restriction on movement of live birds. The outbreak was effectively eradicated by the application of inactivated vaccines using DIVA technology devised by Dr. Ilaria Capua, to differentiate among infected and vaccinated flocks.  Given recent advances in diagnosis including PCR, application of inactivated H5 and H7 vaccines using a DIVA approach is no longer necessary.


Tyson Foods to Expand Seguin, TX. Plant


In an October 20th release, Tyson Foods Inc. announced an expansion of the Seguin, TX. plant located west of San Antonio on I-10.  It is intended to add 40,000 square feet to the existing facility and to install modern equipment to improve throughput and efficiency.  The plant currently employs 550 workers and contributes materially to the Seguin community and to growers supplying the complex.  The intent of the expansion and upgrade will be to supply both food service and retail segments of the chicken market with further-processed products in response to growing demand.


Dollar Tree to Deploy Optimization Software


Dollar Tree Inc. has established an alliance with Relex Solutions to introduce logistics and information transfer between stores and to assist teams responsible for central planning.


Andy Paisley, Chief Information Officer for Dollar Tree stated, "Relex has proven to be more configurable than other solutions in its field allowing our planners to have full visibility into and control of our supply chain".


Frank Lord, Chief Revenue Officer at Relex stated, "We have deep experience with the challenges specific to price-point retailers and we look forward to sharing our expertise as we help them improve in-store availability while lowering inventory balances across their supply chain". 


Currently Dollar Tree is expanding the Dollar Tree Plus initiative and establishing combo store formats with Dollar Tree and Family Dollar locations combined.  Shortage of labor since the onset of COVID, supply chain disruptions and competitive factors have created an environment in which retailers and chains are more receptive to automation and mechanization.


Dollar Tree operates 15,700 stores in 48 states and five Canadian provinces and is ranked 30th on the Progressive Grocer PG100 list.


Walmart to Establish Mechanized DC.


Walmart intends establishing a high technology distribution center (DC) near Spartanburg, SC.  According to an article by Bridgette Goldschmidt in Progressive Grocer the facility will extend over 720,000 square feet and will handle grocery items, produce, eggs, dairy and frozen foods for delivery to Walmart stores.  The distribution center will incorporate advanced technology including automation, robotics and machine learning and will represent competition to the Kroger-Ocado fulfillment centers and the Swisslog units to be used by Ahold-Delhaize distribution centers.



It is clear that supermarket chains recognize the need for mechanization to reduce dependence on labor, to expedite orders and achieve rapid turnover of inventory especially produce and perishables.


It is understood that the technology to be applied in the new South Carolina DC was developed in-house as part of a strategic plan to apply robotics, automation and artificial intelligence to all aspects of the company operation.  Walmart has four distribution centers, 122 retail stores that employ close to 34,000 in South Carolina.


Canadian Research on Delta Strain SARS-CoV-2 (COVID)


A recent publication in the peer-reviewed Canadian Medical Association Journal documents the enhanced virulence of the Delta strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus.  The study was based on 212,326 cases of infection with a non-variant of concern virus and approximately 800,000 patients with a variant virus of concern including Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta strains.  The Delta variant emerged in Canada in April at the midpoint of the study that extended from the first week of February to the last week of June 2021.


Patients infected with a variant of concern demonstrated a 52 percent increased risk of hospitalization, an 89 percent increased risk of admission to an intensive care unit and a 51 percent increased risk of death.  The Delta variant doubled the risk of infection and resulted in a 235 percent increased risk of ICU admission and a 133 percent increased risk of death.  Patients infected with a variant of concern including Delta were younger and were without co-morbidities compared to earlier admissions infected by the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The study determined that vaccination sharply reduced hospitalization and death, although vaccinated patients were susceptible to infection.


Belcampo’s to Terminate Business


In June 2021, a disaffected employee of the Santa Monica store operated by Belcampo posted an exposé on the origin and quality of meat and deceptive marketing practices.  Based on a poorly implemented crisis response, Belcampo’s lost its affluent clientele and recently announced that all operations would be ended.


Belcampo’s charged eye watering prices for meat claimed to be organic, grass-fed, humanely raised and consistent with rigid environmental standards. According to the whistleblower this was not always the case representing misrepresentation. Belcampo’s serves as a lesson on commercial integrity and truth in advertizing.


Smithfield Foods Receives Profit with a Purpose Environmental Award


The Profit with a Purpose award sponsored by World Sustainability was presented to Smithfield Foods at a ceremony on October 13th.  The company was honored for developing a system of capturing methane from hog waste lagoons to be used to generate power.  Smithfield Foods has entered into a joint venture agreement with Roeslein Alternative Energy and Dominion Energy to produce 5.3 million dekatherm equivalents of gas that would represent removal of 600,000 vehicles from roads when fully implemented.


In commenting on the award, Stewart Leeth, Chief Sustainability Officer for Smithfield Foods stated, “As a leader in the food and agriculture industries, Smithfield has worked to ingrain sustainability across its value chain over the last two decades.”  He added, “Through our RNG and agronomics programs we are responsibly using our resources, expertise and market access to amplify proven technologies that benefit the environment and simultaneously foster growth for our company and our partners, suppliers and communities.”


It is a matter of record that Smithfield Foods has been the subject of adverse verdicts in Federal lawsuits in North Carolina resulting from allegations of nuisance arising from conventional waste lagoons.  Development and implementation of the methane capture technology has turned a situation with profound financial implications into a positive outcome with benefits to hog farmers, residents of the communities in which they operate and the environment.


Activists Attempt to Regulate Chicken Production in North Carolina


A Bill to require chicken farms to submit waste management plans to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) failed in the most recent legislative session.  In addition to the waste management program, the proposed law would have limited erection of chicken and turkey houses on land located within a 100-year flood plain.



Poultry is the largest agricultural industry in North Carolina generating $40 billion in 2020 with 5,700 farms raising 920 million broilers and 30 million turkeys.  Since litter from chicken and turkey houses is regarded as “dry” according to a 1993 rule, chicken operations fall under a “deemed permitted” category. Accordingly grow-out and breeder farms only require building permits. 

The Department of Environment Quality is unaware of the location and size of individual farms although this information is held by the Department of Agriculture to be used in the event of a disease outbreak.  North Carolina law prevents transfer of information among departments.  Currently state law requires growers to maintain records of dry litter produced and removed from farms covering a three-year period but this data is not submitted to the NC DEQ.


Activist organizations including the Water Keeper Alliance, North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and the Cape Fear River Watch are ratcheting up pressure on the Department of Environmental Quality to be more transparent and to investigate more thoroughly complaints relating to odor and nutrient pollution including algae blooms attributed to broiler and turkey farms.


Given the importance of the chicken industry and its lobbying strengths, it is doubtful that restrictive legislation will be passed in the foreseeable future.  In the interim, integrators should counsel their contractors in the eastern counties of Duplin, Sampson and Roberson to apply practices that limit nuisance and to prevent as far as possible runoff of nutrients into waterways. Long-term alternative procedures to dispose of dry litter will be required as on the Eastern shore to obviate environmental degradation and to derive value from the waste material.


HPAI Diagnosed in Turkeys in Israel



According to a Thursday October 14th posting on the World Organization for Animal Health information system, an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza was diagnosed in a farm holding 42,000 growing turkeys aged 13 weeks.  The diagnosis was confirmed by application of  rRT-PCR by the Northern Poultry Health Laboratory followed by gene sequencing at the Kimron Veterinary Institute. This is the first outbreak of H5N1 in Israel since 2015.






Investigations are currently in progress to determine the source of infection. During October, migratory birds pass over Israel in their route from Europe to Africa.  There are a number of open water points near the affected farm in Nahalal.


Highly pathogenic avian influenza strain H5 has been reported from five regions in Russia and one in the Ukraine during the past week. Infected flocks varied in size from 50 to 7,000 with presumably appropriate control measures implemented consistent with OIE directives.


Research Model for Intestinal Parasite of Turkeys Developed


Dr. Robert Beckstead, of the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, has developed a challenge model to evaluate potential treatment for Cochlosoma anatis, a protozoan parasite of turkeys and free-living birds.  The parasite is generally accepted as a cause of stunting resulting from enteritis with malabsorption.  Dr. Becksted is currently investigating whether Cochlosoma is a primary pathogen or exerts its effect in the presence of other pathogenic protozoa, viruses or bacteria in the intestinal tract, possibly compounded by immunosuppression or environmental and nutritional factors.


The disease challenge model to evaluate candidate treatments is based on counting the number of parasites in a defined section of the small intestine from treated poults and comparing their number and viability compared to untreated controls.


Field research to extend the initial laboratory findings were limited by COVID restrictions during 2020 and through 2021. It has yet to be determined whether C. anatis has a reservoir host and research is necessary to determine the duration of survival on commercial turkey farms.


Research was funded by USPOULTRY Foundation as Project BRF010.



Wayne Farms Sells Laurel Plant to Amick Farms


Following the acquisition of Sanderson Farms in a $4.5 billion transaction, the consortium comprising Continental Grain, owners of Wayne Farms Inc. and partner Cargill Inc. are evidently rationalizing the structure and operation of the combined facilities of Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms.  Accordingly, Wayne Farms has agreed to sell their Laurel, MS. plant to Amick Farms since this will be a redundant operation, given the larger Sanderson Farms plant in Laurel. In 2020, Wayne Farms invested $17 million on upgrades to the Laurel plant including new cutting, deboning, portioning, and packing operations.


Clint Rivers, President and CEO of Wayne Farms, stated “While the decision to sell the Laurel facility was not easy for Wayne Farms this is an important step in completing our proposed transaction with Sanderson Farms.”  He added, “We have a very long and positive relationship with the Laurel Community and we are glad we have been able to reach an agreement with a solid operator like Amick Farms who will continue that community partnership.” 


Amick Farms, owned by the OSI Group, is ranked 11th among broiler producers with an approximate production of 3.0 million broilers per week through plants in Hurlock, MD and Batesburg, SC. In commenting on the transaction, Ben Harrison, President of Amick Farms, noted that the acquisition will allow the company to expand the customer base and product range.


HSUS to Sue Smithfield Foods Over Gestation Crate Claims


Major integrators and packers in the U.S. hog industry are requiring sows to be transitioned from gestation crates to group housing.  Smithfield Foods as a prominent hog producer has reported on progress, claiming that three quarters of pregnant sows were held in group housing by the end of 2014 in their North Carolina, Murphy-Brown LLC subsidiary.  The company also claims to have embarked on a worldwide transition with complete conversion by the end of 2022, although it is doubtful whether this includes the parent company WH Group facilities in China and other countries in Asia. The HSUS is challenging these claims perhaps in ignorance of the distinction between farrowing stalls and gestation crates.


At issue is the definition of systems to confine sows.  Obviously farrowing stalls are necessary to prevent overlying of piglets between birth and weaning.  Whether or not Smithfield Foods still uses gestation crates will be a matter of evidence.  If in fact that HSUS wishes the hog industry to abandon farrowing stalls they will be responsible for an untenable situation with heavy mortality of piglets.


Since the distinction between farrowing stalls and gestation crates is misunderstood, it would be appropriate for the hog industry to select new terms for housing sows in the lactating period. Industry associations should post on websites and on social media appropriate descriptions and illustrations, including the purpose of post-natal confinement.


JBS to Purchase Sunnyvalley Smoked Meats


JBS USA has announced that Swift Prepared Foods Inc. a subsidiary, will acquire Sunnyvalley Smoked Meats Inc. based in California for $90 million.  The company produces smoked bacon, ham and turkey products under the Sunnyvalley Brand.  The purchase includes the production facility in Manteca, CA.


Tom Lopez, president and CEO of Swift Prepared Foods stated, “Today’s announcement is consistent with our company long-term strategy to increase our value-added and branded portfolio to provide even more diverse product offerings to customers and consumers.”


Swift Prepared Foods operates seven plants located in Mississippi, Indiana, Iowa and Vermont in addition to a new facility to prepare Italian meats to be located in Columbia, MO.



Administration Announces End to Workplace Immigration Raids


Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has instructed the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service and the Customs and Border Protection Service to cease raids on plants and factories and to shift emphasis to promote a fair labor market.


In an October 14th release, Mayorkas stated, “We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.  Employers engaged in illegal acts compel the focus of our enforcement resources.  By adopting policies that concentrate on the most unscrupulous employers we will protect workers as well as legitimate American businesses.”


The Department of Homeland Security release noted, “Under the previous Administration resource-intensive operations resulted in simultaneous arrest of hundreds of workers and were used as a tool by exploitative employers to suppress and retaliate against workers’ assertion of labor laws.”


Activist Groups in Denmark File Suit against Danish Crown over Environmental Claims


In late 2020, Danish Crown, the leading pork producer and exporter in Denmark initiated a promotional campaign claiming “pigs are more climate-friendly than you think”. Following challenges and criticism this claim was withdrawn but the company maintains that hogs produced in Denmark are reared according to “climate-controlled (friendly?)” systems.


Three activist groups comprising the Vegetarian Society of Denmark, the Climate Movement and the Green Student Movement have now filed a lawsuit against Danish Crown. Green Peace of Denmark considers that the claims by Danish Crown constitute “greenwashing” despite claims that the Company intends to become the world most sustainable and successful meat producer by 2030.  The company also holds that farmers have reduced the carbon footprint of pork produced for Danish Crown by 25 percent since 2005.  The claim was based on a study conducted by Aarhus University but has been faulted for not including emissions from land use.  There is evidence that previously Danish Crown and industry groups influenced studies conducted by the University of Aarhus.


The lawsuit has the potential to create a playbook for environmental claims opposing livestock producers.  The intent of the plaintiffs in the current case is to discourage competitors of Danish Crown from burnishing their respective environmental credentials to maintain consumer acceptance.


It is self-evident that activist groups including those with vegan agendas will play the environmental card having exhausted public sympathy derived from welfare that has a narrower influence among consumers.


The same tactics used in Denmark and other E.U. nations will certainly be adopted by U.S. environmental activists and animal rights organizations.


USAPEEC Urges FSIS to Expedite Inspection of Cold Storage Facilities


Restraints impacting chicken exports include availability of refrigerated shipping containers, port delays and documentation. Inspection of product in cold storage facilities has recently been identified as a new pinch point.  The USAPEEC has addressed a letter to Paul Kiecker Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service urging action to alleviate problems at ports and specifically Savannah, GA. responsible for a considerable volume of U.S. broiler exports.


UASPEEC has suggested a review of the re-inspection program as outlined in FSIS Directive 9000.1.  This program would require re-inspection of only a small proportion of pallets consigned and not every container.  In the letter to Paul Kiecker, USAPEEC suggested using retired FSIS inspectors and establishing a cooperative program with the Agricultural Marketing Service until new inspectors can be recruited and trained.  It is considered essential to coordinate inspection of products in cold storage facilities to conform to the scheduled departure time of vessels in order to move product and reduce demurrage and port congestion.


McDonald’s Corp. to Test Vegetarian Burger


McDonald’s Corporation has announced that a test will be conducted in the U.S. on a plant-based McPlant™ Burger developed in cooperation with Beyond Meat.  The burger will be tested from November 3rd over a limited period in eight outlets.  McDonald’s is currently marketing the McPlant Burger in the U.K. and Scandinavia.


Lightlife ® Brand to be Available in Walmart Stores


Green Leaf Foods, a subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods, has negotiated with Walmart to sell a range of Lightlife ® and Field Roast™ products.  They will include burgers, breakfast links, and patties to be offered in the refrigerated breakfast-meat section.


Lightlife® plant-based burgers are based on pea protein and the company claims fewer ingredients than competing plant-based alt-meat products.


Couple Supplying Labor for Mar-Jac Plant Found Guilty of Conspiracy


On Wednesday, October 13th a federal jury convicted Delvin Escalante and Crystal Escalante, residents of Haleyville, AL. of a series of crimes arising from a Department of Homeland Security raid on a Jasper, AL. Mar-Jac plant. 


The Escalante's were found guilty of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, money laundering and related charges.  According to court records, the Escalante's supplied Mar-Jac with undocumented contract labor using false identities.  Over a three-year period, the defendants apparently earned more than $16 million.


The Escalante’s face up to 10 years in prison on the illegal aliens charge and considerably longer for money laundering. In addition to incarceration and fines, the Government will seize assets including property and vehicles.


Butterball Recalling Seven Tons of Ground Turkey


Approximately seven tons of ground turkey packed in 2.5 and 3-pound trays and distributed under the Butterball and Kroger brands have been recalled.  Product may be contaminated with plastic remnants introduced into the recalled batch derived from the Mount Olive, NC plant 7345.

The recall was initiated following consumer complaints but there have been no confirmed reports of injuries.




Domestic Chicken Production in the U.K. Falling


According to the USDA-FAS GAIN report, UK 2021-0084 released October 7th chicken production in the U.K. fell 1.4 percent from market year 2020 to 1.75 million metric tons in 2021.  For the upcoming market year beginning October 2021, an additional two percent decline in production is projected.  The reason for the successive lower output relates to reduced demand commencing in 2020 following the emergence of COVID and continuing with restrictions in 2021.  Currently producers are faced with high feed costs and availability of labor.  Although not as critical as in red meat processing, both turkey and broiler producers have experienced difficulty in recruiting U.K. citizens following the departure of temporary workers from Eastern Europe.  The U.K. Government has granted short-term visas for 5,500 poultry workers through December 24th, 2021, mainly for turkeys.


In 2022, the U.K. will be a net importer of 300,000 metric tons of processed broiler meat.  Imports will be up eight percent to 675,000 metric tons and exports will fall 25,000 metric tons to 375,000 metric tons.  Consumption by a population of 67 million will attain 66.5 pounds per capita.


The U.K. poultry industry has yet to recover from the impact of Brexit involving an increase in certification and paperwork and delays at ports of entry into the E.U. The precarious financial state of chicken producers in the U.K. is exemplified by intensive opposition to a bilateral trade deal that would allow U.S. broiler products to be shipped to the U.K. Opposition to an agreement is based on spurious justifications relating to washing or immersing carcasses in chlorine solutions and claimed administration of “hormones” and antibiotics. Essentially onerous regulations that may be included in a trade agreement are directed to protection of producers and not a valid public health consideration.


Hamlet Protein Presents Nutrition Seminars in Germany


Following suspension of in-person technical meetings as a result of COVID in 2020, Hamlet Protein has reestablished the platform bringing together nutritionists, from academia and industry to interact in an in-person event. 


Welcoming participants to a program on poultry nutrition, Dr. Jan Kamphof, Director for the Europe Middle East and African Region commented, "we are very happy to be able to meet with our customers again and to exchange ideas on the latest developments in the German as well as global markets.  Hamlet Protein has made significant investments in product development in scientific research in the past year". 


Presenters at the poultry nutrition seminar included Dr. Elizabeth Satin discussing gut health and sustainability: Dr. Maarten de Gussem on maintaining performance in broiler chickens vaccinated against coccidiosis; Dr. Alfred Blanch, Category Manager for Poultry with Hamlet Protein reviewing recent findings on dietary anti-nutritional factors in chicken diets.


In commenting on the seminar, Dr. Kamphof noted, "research shows that the inclusion of high-quality ingredients in starter and pre-starter feeds results in improved gut health, better digestion and absorption of feed components and a more active immune system".  He added, "that in turn leads to better returns for producers".


Despite Inflation Consumers Continue Buying Meat and Poultry



The Consumer Price Index for September issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics documented a 17.8 percent in the retail unit price for beef and veal compared to September 2020.  Pork was up  12.7 percent and chicken was 7.6 percent higher compared to the corresponding month in 2020.


Studies conducted by IRI in collaboration with market research group 210 Analytics noted a fractional decline of 0.7 percent in dollar value of meat purchased by consumers at retail.  Average expenditure on refrigerated meat and poultry was $14.38 per grocery trip over the first three quarters of 2021.  The pattern of purchases varied according to region with a decline of 6.1 percent in the plains states, down 5.1 percent in the northeast but only 0.4 percent in the mid-south.


It was determined that 98.1 percent of U.S. households purchased fresh meat at some point during the nine-month period in 2021, approximately 0.5 percent lower than for the first three quarters of 2020.


During September, the value of pork sold increased by 9.9 percent over September 2020 and was 23.1 percent higher than in September 2019. For the September 2020 to 2021 comparison, dollar sales of fresh beef were up 6.1 percent and chicken by 6.6 percent.  Given the general inflation in energy, rent and food, consumers are justifiably seeking deals and discounts in all supermarket departments.


SCOTUS Denies Certiorari for PR Cock-Fighters


The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will not hear an appeal from petitioners in Puerto |Rico regarding the banning of cock fighting in all fifty states and territories.  Animal activist organizations including Animal Wellness Action have campaigned for legislation that now appears constitutional with respect to interdicting movement of fighting cocks among states and to territories including Guam and Puerto Rico.


The difficult part will be enforcing the law since cock fighting has considerable support in southern states where birds are bred and multiplied and in territories and states where cock fighting is entrenched in the local culture.


Movement of fighting cocks has the potential to maintain erosive diseases and to spread catastrophic infections and places in jeopardy the export eligibility for poultry products from numerous states or even the entire U.S.


Chr. Hansen Reports on Fiscal Year


In a company release dated October 14th Chr. Hansen reported an 11 percent increase in revenue for fiscal 2020/2021 to $1.25 billion. The Company generated an EBIT of $346 million approximately nine percent lower than the previous financial year.  Chr. Hansen benefited from acquisitions but was negatively impacted by currency exchange.  The Food Cultures and Enzymes Segment posted eight percent organic growth followed by the Health and Nutrition Segment with five percent organic growth.


In a statement accompanying the results, Mauricio Graber, CEO stated, "a prolonged impact from the COVID pandemic increased the complexity of transitioning Chr. Hansen to a fully-focused bioscience company.  Limited customer access, delayed registration times and general macroeconomic uncertainty restrain growth opportunity.  Our Human Health business disappointed in the second half of the year due to that part of the business serving traditional sales channels.  In 2021/2022 we will be focused on commercial execution and anchoring the new businesses while making progress in our 2025 strategic priorities.


In providing guidance, Chr. Hansen expects an increase in revenue in the range of five to eight percent and an increase in EBIT of 27 percent. During the recently completed fiscal year, Chr. Hansen divested Natural Colors and acquired HSO Healthcare, UAS Labs and Jennewein.


Justice Department to Scrutinize Labor Practices


Richard Powers, Acting-Head of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, noted that in accordance with the Presidential Executive Order on competition the Division will scrutinize labor practices.  Powers stated, “The Division has become increasingly alert to and concerned by business conduct and transactions that harm competition for working people.” 


At issue are violations of antitrust law that suppress wages including collusion among employers, no-poach agreements, and requiring employees to sign agreements not to take employment with a competitor. Powers deprecated practices that restrict wages and salaries referring to them as analogous to agreements to fix prices of products and commodities that are also subject to prosecution.


Sad Passing of Rejean Nadeau of Olymel


Rejean Nadeau, CEO of Olymel, a major meat cooperative based in Quebec, died of cancer this past week at the age of 71.  Nadeau assumed the presidency of the cooperative in 1996 and embarked on an expansion program, including acquisition of competitors and branding of products for national distribution in Canada.


Ghislain Gervais, Chair of the Boards of Olymel and the Solio Cooperative, expressed appreciation for his achievements.  Yanick Gervais, Senior Vice President of Operations, has assumed the duties of CEO until a successor is appointed.


River Otters at Brevard Zoo Die of Necrotic Enteritis


Two otters, respectively aged four and six years, died of necrotic enteritis at the Brevard, FL. Zoo. According to a report in the October 13th AVMA Newsletter, the animals were infected with coccidiosis followed by clostridial enteritis approximately one week later.


It is evident that the combination of coccidiosis followed by clostridial enterotoxemia can result in mortality in carnivores following the same pathogenesis as in chickens. 


U.S. EEOC Extracts Settlement from Meat Processors


Chicago Meat Authority Inc. (CMA) has agreed to pay $1.1 million to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit initiated in 2018.  At issue is the contention that the company discriminated against black applicants and favoring Hispanic employees.  A number of workers complained to the EEOC beginning in 2013 and the Company allegedly retaliated against those complaining of racial harassment.


The founder and president of the company noted that CMA functions as an Equal Opportunity Employer and agreed to the settlement without admitting fault in order to resolve the issue without additional dilution of management effort and legal costs.


Soft Robotics Receives Funding from Tyson Ventures


Soft Robotics Inc. recently announced a $10 million series-B extension from Tyson Ventures.  The company is developing equipment capable of deboning with high precision and speed to replace manual labor.  It is evident that workers are disinclined to perform repetitive labor that is becoming more costly with higher wage rates and benefits.  Disruptions caused by COVID have stimulated demand for equipment and installations that can displace workers.


Boehringer Ingelheim to Increase Investment in Vaccine Plant


Boehringer Ingelheim announced that an additional $120 million will be invested in the vaccine plant currently under construction in Lyon-Jonage in France.  Previously the company announced that the initial phase would cost $240 million, representing the largest veterinary vaccine facility in the E.U. and is scheduled to produce vaccines in early 2023.


The extension will allow the facility to satisfy the demand for vaccines especially for catastrophic diseases that transcend boundaries.  The executive responsible for animal health at Boehringer Ingelheim stated, “Our business is positioned to be at the forefront of innovation in protecting animals and subsequently humans from trans-boundary and emerging diseases.  This additional investment in our production capabilities will help governments around the world as well as other customers ensure a rapid response to new threats”.


USDA Considering an Increase in Hog Line Speeds


According to a report by Reuters, the USDA is evaluating restoration of line speeds above 1,106 head per hour as previously allowed under the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS).  Faster line speeds were introduced in 2019, but were disallowed by a U.S. district court in Minnesota as the result of a lawsuit brought by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union on a procedural issue. 


The court ruling is currently under challenge by three packers. As of early October 70 members of Congress have requested the USDA and the Department of Justice to restore line speeds in accordance with the NSIS.


JBS SA Acquiring Cattle from Non-Approved Farms


The Office of the Federal Prosecutor in the State of Para, Brazil, has documented that approximately one third of cattle purchased by JBS SA in the state were derived from “irregular farms” using Amazon Rainforest land.  “Irregular farms” are defined as those that have been developed with illegal deforestation and in conflict with environmental regulations and lacking regular land tenure. 


The audit conducted by officials showed that 32 percent of cattle purchased by JBS SA between 2018 and 2019 were from irregular farms.  In contrast, competitor Minerva SA attained 100 percent compliance and Marfrig achieved 96 percent.  JBS has apparently intensified surveillance of cattle purchases by introducing blockchain technology as part of the company Transparent Livestock Platform.


Plant-Based Alternatives Represent Two Percent of Supermarket Meat Sales


According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) based in Chicago, during 2020, plant-based alternatives to meat represented two percent of fresh and frozen sales in supermarket meat departments.  For the 26 weeks ending June 27th 2021, sales of meat alternatives totaled $1.4 billion, an increase of 14 percent over the corresponding first six months of 2020.  IRI determined that 20 percent of consumers purchased a plant based product at least “occasionally”.


Realizing forecasts of growth will however depend on the relative prices of plant-based and real meat and their quality attributes as perceived by consumers.  At the present time, alternatives to ground beef are more expensive than USDA-inspected product.  Enigmatically despite the differential at retail, it appears that manufacturers of plant-based meats are unprofitable as denoted by quarterly reports of public-quoted companies.


Tyson Foods to Expand and Update Vicksburg Cooked Chicken Plant


Tyson Foods will invest $61 million to upgrade their Vicksburg, MS. plant producing fully-cooked chicken products for food service and retail markets.


The Vicksburg facility employs 500 with a 2020 wage payment of $17 million into the local community.


The Mississippi Development Authority will support infrastructure improvements with additional contributions from Warren County and Entergy, a major Mississippi utility.


Sanderson Farms Increases Pay Scales for Hourly Workers


Following a September 26th announcement, Sanderson Farms will increase wage rates for hourly line operators to a minimum of $16.70 per hour with additional increases based on years of service.  Truck drivers will receive an increase of up to $25 per hour and maintenance technicians can earn up to $29.77 per hour.


In addition to the revised pay scale, Sanderson Farms offers liberal medical coverage for individuals and families with a 75 percent contribution to premiums.  The company operates a 401(k) plan with a restricted company match.  Sanderson Farms provides continuing education programs including tuition reimbursement.


Broiler Collusion Case to Proceed


Chief Judge Phillip A. Brimmer of the U.S. District Court of Colorado has denied a motion to dismiss indictments against ten managers accused of collusion to fix prices, a contravention of the Sherman Antitrust Act.


In his opinion, Judge Brimmer explained "the indictment does not allege that because defendants shared pricing information they participated in a conspiracy.  Rather, it states that the defendants  agreed to rig prices and to that end shared pricing information. 


A preliminary trial hearing will take place within a week and the trial is scheduled to begin on October 25th.  Those indicted were at the time of the alleged offences, affiliated with Pilgrim's Pride Corp, Claxton Poultry and Tyson Foods.


Production of Animal Feed in China


The September 30th release of USDA-FAS GAIN report CH2021-0115 indicates the relative status of the major sectors of animal production in China.  For the period January through July 2021, production of animal feed expressed in million metric tons comprised: -

  • Swine: 72.9m.metric tons; 44.1 percent of total
  • Egg production:  18.3 m. metric tons; 11.1 percent
  •  Broilers: 51.3m. metric tons; 31.0 percent
  •  Aquaculture: 12.6 m. metric tons; 9.5 percent
  • Ruminants 8.0 m. metric tons; 4.3 percent
  • Total 163.1 m. metric tons


Notable changes were:-

  • Swine feeds increased by 66.4 percent for the first seven months of 2021 compared to the corresponding period in 2020 consistent with rebuilding herds after losses from African swine fever. 
  • Egg production feeds declined by 10.1 percent
  • Broiler feed was lower by 3.8 percent.


2021 Poultry Processor Workshop


The 2021 Poultry Processor Workshop sponsored by USPOULTRY will take place November 16th-17th at the DoubleTree by Hilton Downtown in Nashville, TN.


Chair of the program Juanfra DeVillena, Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety at Wayne Farms stated, “The aim of this workshop is to provide information that allows industry professionals to keep their plants running efficiently and push their productivity to the next level.”


Program topics will include a regulatory update, breast myopathies, chemical versus non-chemical interventions for Campylobacter, optimizing meat quality and diverse case studies.


USPOULTRY Accepting Pre-Proposals for Research Funding


USPOULTRY and the Foundation are soliciting research pre-proposals through November 1st for the 2022 Spring Research Competition.  Pre-proposals comprise a one-page synopsis of the potential research project to be reviewed by the USPOULTRY Foundation Research Advisory Committee. Subject to acceptability in relation to meeting current industry needs an invitation will be extended for a comprehensive proposals.


The current list of priorities include flock welfare, management of turkeys and broilers, commercial egg production, employee safety and health, environmental management, food safety, genetics, nutrition, and processing.


Over four decades USPOULTRY has invested more than $34 million in research grants extended to 50 universities, federal and state facilities.


Additional details can be accessed on www.uspoultry.org/research


USDA Announces Grants for Sustainability Research


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced 15 projects which are being funded at $10 million each under the Sustainable Agricultural System Program.  Research will address replacement of labor, promoting land stewardship, and reversing climate change.


According to Dr. Carrie Castille, Director of the NIFA, “Investments and research projects such as these awarded today will result in long-term improvements in agricultural practices that will benefit consumers, farmers, and the environment.” 


Examples of projects funded include: -

  • University of California will evaluate irrigation in the Southwest U.S. creating models to adapt management strategies in the face of climate change
  • The University of Hawaii will develop a Children’s Healthy Living Food Systems Model and evaluate supply chains, reduce food waste, and improve diets for children
  • Central State University will evaluate hemp as an aquaculture feed ingredient and aspects of improving sustainability for seafood production
  • Colby College, in collaboration with cooperating institutions, will evaluate algae as a feed ingredient for dairy cows including mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions


China Tariffs to Remain in 2018


The U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai has determined that in accordance with Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 that policies and practices exercised by China with respect to technology transfer and intellectual property were unreasonable and discriminatory and have restricted U.S. commerce. The previous Administration imposed four rounds of tariffs comprising two-thirds of U.S. imports from China with some Section 301 tariffs subject to specific exclusions to reduce the burden on U.S. consumers. Tariffs will remain based on the statements by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai in a Monday October 4th address to the Center for Strategic International Studies on U.S.-China trade relations. Katherine Tai regards tariffs as a “mechanism for creating the kind of effective policies as something for us to build on and to use in terms of defending to the hilt the interests of the American economy, the American worker, and American businesses and our farmers.”


Despite representations from domestic trade groups to relax tariffs, the Administration is intent on maintaining leverage on China.  Ambassador Tai considers that China has not complied with the requirements of the February 2020 Phase-One Trade Agreement and will negotiate with China from a position of strength and firmness. This was made clear in discussions between Ms Tai and her counterpart Vice-President He in a virtual meeting this past week when a relaxation of tariffs was requested.


U.S. economists, including the National Bureau of Economic Research, maintain that U.S. consumers who purchase items imported from China have experienced higher prices, belying the previous contention that “China is paying”. The tariff issue is no longer a manifestation of simple economics but is now clearly a political issue with national security overtones.  The situation has been complicated by COVID which has further disrupted the supply chain of goods from Asia.


Irrespective of pre-election rhetoric, the current Administration is justifiably following many of the principles and actions of their predecessors.  Our trade representative is experienced, knowledgeable, and above all understands the motivation and mentality of her adversary.  This is to our benefit and will hopefully motivate China to live up to their international agreements.


Angola Continues to Import from the U.S.


The USDA-FAS GAIN Report on poultry production in Angola, AO2021-0004 was released on September 29th. Domestic production will attain 32,000 metric tons in 2022, approximately 6.5 percent higher than in 2021. In the coming year, Angola will rely on imports for 88 percent of consumption, estimated at 277,000 metric tons. Based on a population of 33 million, per capita consumption will be 18 lbs. Given that only 20 million of the population are economically active, effective consumption is in the region of 30 pounds per capita. Major exporters to Angola comprise the U.S. with 54 percent of the market, Brazil at 28 percent, the E.U. at eight percent, the U.K at four percent, and other nations, six percent.


In July 2018 the Government introduced a Production Support, Export Diversification, and Import Substitution program aimed at weaning the economy from a dependency on oil exports.  With respect to the chicken industry, this initiative has made little impact on domestic output.  Restraints to expansion include a ban on GM grains and soybeans and a lack of domestic cultivation requiring importation of GM-free feeds.  Virtually all imports, including pharmaceuticals, biologics and equipment are subjected to freight costs and significant markups. This situation increases the cost of production estimated at close to $1 per lb. for a live 3.3 pound bird.  The largest chicken producer has an output of 80,000 broilers per week and is located in Luanda Province close to the capital.  This company dominates domestic production with two other units processing chicken.  Most households in rural areas maintain backyard birds.


For the first eight months of 2021, Angola, ranked eighth among importers from the U.S, receiving 80,533 metric tons valued at $66 million with a unit price of $823 per metric ton.  Import volume and value for the first eight months of 2021 exceeded the corresponding period in 2020 by 42 and 54 percent respectively.  In 2020, Angola imported 115,827 metric tons valued at $81 million with a unit value of $699 per metric ton.  Imports in 2020 were 30 percent lower and value was 45 percent less compared to 2019.


Angola has a long history of mismanagement and corruption that has not changed materially since the previous dos Santos regime that ruled the country from 1979 to 2017.  According to Transparency International, Angola ranks 142nd in corruption among 180 nations with New Zealand ranked least corrupt and Somalia, along with other failed states, ranked from 150 to 179.


President Joao Lourenco is attempting to stamp out corruption  by enacting legislation  aimed at preventing money-laundering, allowing repatriation of stolen assets, imposing transparency in procurement of assets and contracts in the public sector, eliminating the need for foreign businesses to have local “partners” and criminalizing private corruption with severe penalties. It is doubtful whether Lourenco will be able to reverse 40-years of  gasosa conduct of business in Angola within a decade. 


U.K. Farmers Oppose Trade Deal with Australia


Coming to terms with Brexit, farmers in the U.K. are now realizing that bilateral trade agreements will be to their potential disadvantage.  A trade agreement with Australia will allow importation of 35,000 metric tons of beef free of tariff during the first year following initiation increasing to 110,000 metric tons by the tenth year of the agreement.  Mutton will be imported duty free in quantities of up to 25,000 metric tons per year.


Meat-producing associations in the U.K. are mounting a rearguard action invoking health considerations, sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions and any other conceivable justification to oppose the agreement that is essentially a done deal.


The U.K. Government is looking beyond the interest of farmers noting the potential to export “iconic” British products such as Bentley and Rolls Royce cars.  Enigmatically these products are owned by holding companies in Germany but with wide international investment.


Following Brexit, the U.K. will need to develop alternative markets for the approximately $450 billion in goods and services previously destined for the E.U.  The trade deal with Australia is the first of many agreements including a proposed bilateral trade pact with the U.S.  It is clear that the current Administration in the U.K. will be content to sacrifice the interest of farmers to the greater value of international trade and specifically export substitution.


Port Congestion and Container Shortage Limit Agricultural Exports


Year to date, the Port of Los Angeles has processed 30 percent more incoming cargo than during the corresponding period in 2020. An added complication is that shipping companies are returning empty containers from West-coast ports to Asia to be refilled with goods.  This is depriving the agriculture sector of the opportunity to fill containers with agricultural products.  Exports from the Port of Los Angeles were down 23 percent from 2020 according to Gene Scroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.  He noted that repositioning costs for containers are soaring and shipping companies require a 24-hour turnaround to be loaded on a westbound vessel. It is estimated that due to port delays 350,000 twenty-foot container equivalent units are aboard vessels awaiting unloading berths.


U.S. is not the only nation experiencing problems with high shipping costs and logistic restraints. The Australian grape harvest has been impacted by non-availability of containers.  The nation is expected to produce 210,000 metric tons in marketing year 2021-2022, up five percent from 2020-2021 but will be unable to achieve the forecast export volume of 130,000 metric tons compared to an export record of 150,000 metric tons for the 2019-2020 season.


USPOULTRY Approves Research Grants


On October 4th, USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation approved three research grants dealing with aspects of poultry meat production.  Research funding was approved by the Boards of Directors of both organizations following evaluation by the Research Advisory Committee.  The three grants comprised:-




  • Evaluating vertical transmission of the Salmonella Reading outbreak strain in turkeys using bioluminescent imaging: Mississippi State University with a grant from Cargill Inc
  • Increasing the efficiency of avian reovirus characterization via real-time sequencing: University of Georgia with a grant from Pilgrim’s Pride Corp
  • Identifying genetic determinants of Campylobacter jejuni that promote bacterial survival during processing and storage: University of Tennessee funded by Koch Foods


USDA-ARS Announces Effective ASF Vaccine


In a major breakthrough, scientists affiliated to the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA announced the development of a vaccine to protect hogs from African swine fever (ASF). This infection has caused serious disruption on hog industries in Asia and Eastern Europe since the emergence of the infection in the nation of Georgia in mid-2007. 


To date the research group located at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center have developed and patented five experimental vaccines and have entered into license agreements with biologics manufacturers.  The latest vaccine provides moderate protection two weeks after administration and full protection within four weeks and is effective against challenge with European and Asian strains of ASF virus. 


The vaccine will be evaluated under commercial conditions in Vietnam through a contractual relationship with Navetco National Veterinary Joint Stock Company, since proof of efficacy will depend on field exposure. An effective and safe ASF vaccine is critical to the eventual control of the infection that is now endemic in most nations of Asia, parts of the Russian Federation and contiguous eastern European nations, affecting commercial, subsistence and feral hogs.  The most recent outbreak in the Caribbean points to the urgency of a vaccine to protect herds in North and South America.


Approval of the vaccine by the USDA and presumably other national agencies will depend on submission of statistically evaluated results of field trials that confirm both safety and efficacy. This will be followed by large-scale production by licensed multinational manufacturers of biologics with a vaccine ready for deployment during mid-2022.


USDA-AMS Purchases 507 Tons of Breast Fillets


On September 28th, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service announced the purchase of 507 tons of frozen chicken breast fillets for child nutrition and related food assistance programs.  Product was purchased at prices ranging from $3.50 to $3.69 per lb. with delivery to be made from November 1st through December 31st 2021.


U.K. Hog Farmers Face Supply Chain Disruption and Euthanasia


Following the relaxation of COVID restrictions, many thousands of workers in hog, poultry and beef plants in the U.K. are returning to their native countries in Eastern Europe. Over the past two decades, the U.K. red meat industry has become dependent on guest workers in much the same way as in the U.S. Currently there are approximately 150,000 hogs in the U.K. that are ready for slaughter without available facilities and may be subject to euthanasia paralleling the U.S. COVID experience in March through May of 2020.


In the short term, processing plants are offering bonus incentives and increased wage rates to retain workers and to attract local residents. As a longer term approach processors are evaluating installation of automation and robotics as in plants in Denmark.  This unfortunately will require time and commitment of capital.  In the interim, farmers are feeding retained hogs resulting in the evaporation of potential margins.  It is anticipated that the plight of U.K. hog farmers will be to the benefit of producers in the E.U. who operate with lower costs of production and can compete with U.K. pork despite the additional transport cost.


Tyson Reports on Uptake of COVID Vaccine


Of the 120,000 U.S. Tyson Foods workforce, 91 percent have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine. The Company announced a mandatory vaccination policy with appropriate exceptions, requiring compliance by November 1st.


The Company stated “We believe that getting vaccinated is the single most effective thing our team members can do to protect themselves, their families, and the communities where we operate”.  It is a matter of record that Tyson has spent over $700 million on preventing COVID among workers in plants and other facilities since the onset of the infection.  Tyson Foods was proactive in establishing on-site testing as soon as it became available, installation of partitions between workstations, rescheduling shifts to limit the possibility of infection in change rooms and break areas, instituting paid quarantine leave, and using outside specialist resources for testing and education of workers.


Tyson Foods has paid workers a $200 incentive bonus to receive a vaccine and is operating lotteries at plants with $10,000 prizes to encourage vaccination.


Koch Foods to Expand Fairfield, OH. Plant


Koch Foods has announced an investment of $220 million to expand their Fairfield, OH. plant.  Located approximately 25 miles north of Cincinnati, the facility will be expanded by 400,000 square feet and will add 400 positions within three years of completion scheduled for December 2022.  Buildings and installations will cost $140 million with an additional $80 million for equipment including two new processing lines.


The decision to expand the existing facility was based on a number of factors including central location to markets, use of common installations and also by significant tax concessions, including a proposed ten-year 75 percent property rate incentive.  The Fairfield City Council will spend an additional $1.5 million on improvements to water and sewer installations.  Koch Foods is the largest employer in Fairfield with close to 1,200 full-time employees working at the plant


Risk Factors Quantified for Hospitalization After COVID Vaccination


According to an October 1st posting on ProMED mail a study was conducted in the U.K. on hospitalizations and fatality in recipients of a single dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine. The purpose was to identify and quantify the effect of predisposing factors to select among alternative treatment plans. 


Of 2.6 million people vaccinated, 883 (0.03 percent) required hospitalization with 541 fatalities (0.02 percent).  The high fatality rate among those hospitalized (61.3 percent) confirms the pathogenicity of SARS-Co-V virus in patients with comorbidities, even if vaccinated.


Risks factors included age exceeding 80 years, having five or more comorbidities, having been hospitalized during the previous four weeks, resident in a care home, current or ex-smoker and socioeconomic deprivation.


The results of the study indicate priorities for potential recipients of a third booster dose of a mRNA vaccine or for those receiving a single dose adenovirus vector vaccine.  In the U.S., a booster dose is currently available for those having received the two-dose Pfizer sequence six months previously if over 65 years in age, engaged in a high-risk occupation or suffering from one or more predisposing conditions.


H5 Avian Influenza Diagnosed in Laos


According to an October 1st ProMED posting, authorities in Laos reported a diagnosis of H5N1 avian influenza affecting a flock of 400 chickens.  Highly pathogenic avian influenza is endemic in Laos and adjoining nations and will persist given that a high proportion of the rural population estimated at 5 million, maintain poultry under subsistence and semi-commercial conditions with live-bird marketing and distribution through wet markets.


The population of chickens and ducks in Laos is estimated at 20 million with 80 percent in subsistence village flocks.


Copyright © 2021 Simon M. Shane