23 FEB

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)

This program, managed by USDA Nation Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), is designed to encourage veterinarians to participate in food animal/rural practice. The program will pay back up to $25,000 per year of a veterinarian’s educational loan debt if they make a three year commitment to practice in an area or category identified as  a “Veterinary Shortage Situation”.  Last year, NIFA awarded grants to 62 candidates nationally, one of which was in California.

The role of the State Veterinarian’s office is to review and submit shortage areas for you.  This program can be the equivalent of offering a veterinarian with school debt up to $25,000 more per year, so it is a great way to attract veterinarians into an area!!  

Please look at the attachments, talk to anyone that may be aware of a veterinarian shortage area, and ask them, or help them, to get nomination forms back to us by March 12, 2011.

Additional Information

Types of nominations accepted:

·         California is allowed up to eight nominations

·         Category I − Rural or non-rural area with sufficient work to support a difficult to fill need that primarily (>80%) consists of food animal medicine   

·         Category II – Rural area with difficult to fill food animal medicine need and in which a wider ranging practice, i.e. mixed animal general practice, may be needed for income stability

·         Category III – Public practice


Last Year:

NIFA’s committee decided that only five of the eight California nominated areas met their criteria. They accepted three public needs (CDFA Poultry, CDFA Tulare, CAHFS Laboratory) and two Category II private practitioner needs (Glenn/Colusa county area and eastern Riverside County).  They rejected needs described for Aquaculture, Dairy/Dairy Goat in Tulare area, and Food Animal Practice in Trinity County. We had additional areas suggested (Plumas County, Modoc County, Shasta County, Shelter Medicine, and a Food Animal Resident position) that were not strong enough to put forward last year.

Among the five that were put forward only one was filled. This was a poultry position for CDFA. One of the contributing factors to this low award rate is that VERY few candidates applied to the California shortage areas, which suggests the opportunity was not sufficiently advertised or approved areas are so difficult to fill that even $25,000 a year towards student loans could not attract candidates.

15 FEB

Arby’s Richmond Receives T.O.M. Award in “Fast Food” Category

TUCSON – Feb. 10, 2011 – The National Turkey Federation (NTF) named Arby’s Richmond as the recipient of its Ninth Annual “Turkey on the Menu” (T.O.M.) Award in the “fast food category.”  The award honors this chain for its volume of turkey specialty sandwiches that provide versatility across its menu.  The T.O.M. Award was presented today at NTF’s Annual Convention.

“One third of their [Arby’s Richmond] menu consists of turkey items and with continued positive results, the number of turkey items could be closer to half in the near future,” said Kerry Doughty, Butterball, LLC, executive vice president of sales and marketing, who nominated Arby’s Richmond.  “They understand and appreciate their customers’ affinity for a great turkey sandwich or a delicious turkey entrée.”

Accepting the award on behalf of Arby’s Richmond was Bill Lowe, president of the Restaurant Company, which operates 19 Arby’s Restaurants in the Richmond, Va.-metro area.  The average unit volumes are more than two times the system’s average.  The Restaurant Company has operated the highest volume Arby’s and six of the chain’s Top-10 sales leaders worldwide for the last two decades.

T.O.M. Award winners in other categories are:

Cracker Barrel – winner in the “mid-scale/casual dining category,” Cracker Barrel provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its 597 restaurants.  Nominated by Butterball, LLC, this foodservice operation was chosen for its application of turkey in refreshing salads and in the traditional Turkey n’ Dressing Platter.

Henry’s Markets – winner in the “supermarket foodservice category,” Henry’s Markets, was chosen for its diverse offering of ready-made and made-to-order turkey sandwiches in the service deli.  This California-based supermarket chain was nominated by Foster Farms.

Polly’s Pies – winner in the “full service category,” Polly’s Pies is a Southern California restaurant company that specializes in high-quality food made from scratch.  Nominated by Foster Farms, this foodservice operation was chosen for its variety of fresh, locally grown turkey menu options.

Quiznos – winner in the “quick casual category,” Quiznos offers toasty sandwiches, fresh salads and delicious soups.  Also nominated by Foster Farms, this foodservice operation was chosen for being a pioneer of the toasted turkey sandwich, along with a commitment to convenience and value.

“On behalf of NTF, it’s an honor to recognize these exemplary foodservice operations with our annual T.O.M. Award in recognition of their excellence in menuing turkey,” said Sherrie Rosenblatt, NTF’s vice president of marketing and communications.

NTF members nominated the foodservice chains that exemplify the criteria of the T.O.M. Award.  Entrant applications address questions regarding turkey menu applications, the items’ consumer appeal, how the chain promotes the menu items through marketing and turkey’s food cost percentage.  A panel of foodservice professionals rates the entries on consumer appeal, versatility, taste, value, and how the turkey applications benefits the chain operation.  Only the winner that received the most overall points from the judges received the award at NTF’s Annual Convention.

About the National Turkey Federation
The National Turkey Federation (NTF) is the national advocate for all segments of the $14 billion turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for its members’ products by protecting and enhancing their ability to profitably provide wholesome, high-quality, nutritious products. Its award-winning website,
www.EatTurkey.com, offers consumers, food professionals and the media an extensive library of information including healthy eating and restaurant trends, turkey cuts and purchasing tips, turkey nutrition and cooking techniques, and turkey facts and trivia. Additionally, the site presents a searchable database of more than 1,800 recipes, offers a recipe E-mail program and provides special seasonal and holiday ideas. The National Turkey Federation is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

14 FEB

New NTF Chairman Tells Industry to “Do the Right Thing” When Facing Numerous Challenges

TUCSON – Feb. 13, 2011 – The National Turkey Federation’s (NTF) Board of Directors elected Rick Huisinga to serve as the federation’s 2011 chairman. Huisinga is executive vice president of Willmar Poultry Company in Willmar, Minn.

“I’m a pragmatic person and I believe that using common sense and simply doing the right thing will serve us well to mitigate the numerous regulatory and legislative issues our industry will continue to face in this strange political climate,” Huisinga said during his acceptance speech. “Whether it is talking about environmental stewardship, the responsible use of antibiotics or food safety practices, we can all do the right thing by being a part of the public affairs process.”

Huisinga discussed in detail those regulatory and legislative challenges that will confront the turkey industry – antibiotic use in animal agriculture; food safety; environmental regulations; the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration proposed marketing rule; and renewable fuels policy.

During the conclusion of his acceptance speech, Huisinga spoke about the importance of being engaged in NTF by saying, “The best way to ensure we do the right thing is to continue to collaborate, communicate and coordinate on many of the items I’ve just discussed.”

During NTF’s Annual Convention, the Board of Directors also elected Steve Willardsen, president, Cargill Value Added Meats, as vice chairman; and John Burkel, director, Northern Pride, Inc., as secretary-treasurer. Yubert Envia, vice president of turkey and prepared foods, Foster Farms, assumes the position of immediate past chairman.

Huisinga began his career at Willmar Poultry Company in 1983 in the research and development department after attending school in California and at the University of Minnesota. At Willmar Poultry, Huisinga’s passion and dedication are focused on providing the turkey industry with innovative products, technologies and techniques for the future.

In addition to serving on NTF’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Huisinga is also on Minnesota Turkey Growers Association’s Breeder Hen and Research Funding committees and is a member of the General Conference Committee on the National Poultry Improvement Plan.

Since 1945, Willmar Poultry Company has been in the business of breeding, hatching, growing and processing turkeys, as well as developing and producing hatchery automation machines and food safety vaccines.

During the convention, the Board also reelected Gary Cooper, Cooper Farms; Jihad Douglas, Aviagen Turkeys; Paul Hill, West Liberty Foods; Ron Prestage, Prestage Farms; John Reicks, Sara Lee Food and Beverage; Ted Seger, Farbest Foods, Inc.; and Carl Wittenburg, Protein Alliance, Inc., to the Executive Committee (EC).

The Board elected Jim Leighton, Perdue Farms, Inc., to his first term as an EC member.

After the Board meeting, the elected EC members appointed Jeff Sveen, Dakota Provisions, to the Executive Committee as at-large members.

About the National Turkey Federation
The National Turkey Federation (NTF) is the national advocate for all segments of the $14 billion turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for its members’ products by protecting and enhancing their ability to profitably provide wholesome, high-quality, nutritious products. Its award-winning web site, EatTurkey.com, offers consumers, food professionals and the media an extensive library of information including healthy eating and restaurant trends, turkey cuts and purchasing tips, turkey nutrition and cooking techniques, and turkey facts and trivia. Additionally, the site presents a searchable database of more than 1,900 recipes, offers a recipe E-mail program and provides special seasonal and holiday ideas. The National Turkey Federation is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

07 FEB

Bill’s Blog: World-Renowned Animal Welfare Expert, Dr. Temple Grandin, Visits Local Family Farm

Dr. Temple Grandin is the real queen (and for that matter “king”) of animal welfare guidelines in the world, and she continues to lend her expertise and guidance to many animal facilities throughout the United States. Even if you don’t know much about her, I’m sure you have heard of her; HBO completed an award winning movie about her last year, and today she enthuses audiences with her frank discussions of animal care. Read More.

31 JAN

Bill’s Blog: Mitchell Family Awarded for Environmental Efforts; Tons of Wings to be Sold in Coming W

31 JAN

Football Fans to Chow Down More Than 1 Billion Chicken Wing Portions This Weekend, NCC Says

About 1.25 billion chicken wing portions – more than 100 million pounds of chicken wings — will be consumed by enthusiastic football fans and chicken lovers on the weekend of professional football’s championship game, making it the biggest time of the year for chicken wings, according to the National Chicken Council.

“The Super Bowl just wouldn’t be super without chicken wings,” said Bill Roenigk, NCC senior vice president and chief economist. “Whether you call them Buffalo wings, hotwings, party wings, or wing things, chicken wings have gained enormously in popularity in recent years. They are among the most popular offerings when friends and family get together at home or patronize quick-service carryouts, sports bars, casual dining restaurants, or other establishments that serve tasty, fun foods.”

While Super Bowl weekend is undoubtedly the peak weekend for chicken wings consumption, they are popular throughout the year. Roenigk said he estimates that, in the year 2011, more than 13.5 billion chicken wings (over 3 billion pounds) will be marketed as wings (as opposed to the wings left on whole chicken or breast quarters). Of these, about 9.5 billion wings (2.2 billion pounds) will be sold through foodservice channels – restaurants of all types. Another 4 billion wings (800 million pounds) will be sold in retail grocery stores.

Production of chicken has been running slightly ahead of the levels seen a year ago as the industry and its customers in the foodservice business pull out of the economic slump, Roenigk said. Wholesale prices for wings have been relatively stable for several months, according to price quotes kept by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, without the run-up in wholesale prices often seen late in previous years as major customers stocked up to meet Super Bowl demand. Retail prices for cooked wings in grocery stores were most recently reported at a nationwide average of about $5 per pound by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

“Price-conscious shoppers can also buy fresh wings and use some of the great recipes from www.eatchicken.com,” Roenigk noted. The USDA recently quoted fresh, whole wings at an average retail price of around $2 per pound. Individually quick-frozen wings are available at about the same price, according to USDA. The recipes on www.eatchicken.com are, of course, free.

The National Chicken Council represents vertically integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

28 JAN

George Watts Recipient of Harold E. Ford Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

George Watts, retiring president of the National Chicken Council, was honored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association during the 2011 International Poultry Expo, where he received the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award. This prestigious honor was presented to Watts by Don Dalton, recipient of the 2008 Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award and past president of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.


The Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual whose dedication and leadership over the years have far exceeded the ordinary and impacted both the poultry industry and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association in an exemplary manner. The award is presented non-annually and when the Awards and Recognition Committee unanimously recognizes and endorses the need for occasional, unique recognition for exceptional contributions.

"For almost four decades, George has made definable contributions that have helped advance the broiler industry," remarked Don Dalton. "George has labored diligently and efficiently on behalf of the industry, and his touch can be seen and felt on many of the initiatives and programs that have contributed to the industry’s success. He has been a visionary in evaluating the industry’s future needs and has acted to address those needs. George is well respected and thought of within the industry; and his legacy will be felt for many years to come."

Comments John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY, "George has been influential in leveraging industry effectiveness through the development of partnerships and collaborations with other trade associations. Under his direction, a single Environmental Committee and Human Resources and Safety Committee now represent the interests of NCC, NTF, and USPOULTRY. George’s determination to enhance these partnerships extended beyond making the National Chicken Council successful, to making the entire industry and affiliated organizations successful. The hallmark of George’s career has been the integrity which forms the foundation of every relationship he cultivates. George’s voice is heeded, respected and trusted by friend and opponent alike, in good times and in bad."

A graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism and a minor in political science, Watts served as Administrative and Legislative Assistant for two Members of Congress, both of whom served on the House Committee on Agriculture, before joining the National Chicken Council (formerly National Broiler Council) in 1972. He is past president of the Georgia State Society, a former member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Food and Agriculture Committee, a former president and director of the Commodity Club of Washington, former chairman of the Food Group, former out-of-state vice president and director of the University of Georgia Alumni Society, and a member of the American Society of Association Executives. He served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board from 2006-2009.

Watts currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Poultry Development Program joint-venture broiler project in Russia (Elinar Broiler). He received the Poultry Industry Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Poultry and Food Distributors Association in January 2002 and the Merial Distinguished Poultry Industry Career Award at the 2009 Poultry Science Association Annual Meeting.

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is an all-feather organization representing the complete spectrum of today’s poultry industry, with a focus on serving member companies through research funding, education, communication, and technical assistance. Founded in 1947, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is based in Tucker, GA.