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.



28 JAN

Over 20,000 Attendees and 900 Exhibitors at the International Poultry Expo and International Feed Ex

The 2011 International Poultry Expo and International Feed Expo drew over 20,000 poultry and feed industry leaders from all over the world. In addition, the show had over 900 exhibitors, almost a 12% increase from last year. Sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the American Feed Industry Association, the annual Expo is the world’s largest poultry and feed industry event of its kind.



"We were excited about the number of exhibitors and attendees on the exhibit floor," said 2011 USPOULTRY chairman Gary Cooper, Cooper Farms, Oakwood, OH. "We were up in numbers in both areas from last year. We are very pleased with the great turn-out for this year, and the excitement on the floor has been tangible."


The large exhibit floor was the central attraction. Exhibitors presented the most current innovations in equipment, supplies, and services utilized by industry firms in the production and processing of poultry, eggs, and feed products. Many companies use the annual event to introduce their new products. All phases of the poultry and feed industry were represented, from live production and processing to further processing and packaging.


Complementing the exhibits, a variety of education sessions kept industry management informed on current issues. Renewed from 2011, the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit examined the challenges and solutions of environmental stewardship. Industry keynote speaker Donnie Smith, CEO and president of Tyson Foods, shared his firm’s sustainability philosophy and described the four “Ps” of sustainability for Tyson as people, planet, products and profits.


New for this year, the Hatchery-Breeder Clinic discussed rising hatching costs, along with a variety of other time-sensitive topics. Also new for this year, the Salmonella and Campylobacter Reduction Conference drew a large crowd and reviewed changes in industry practices and shared updates on research and policy initiatives.


Another popular program for 2011, the Market Intelligence Forum, was also renewed this year. Mike Donohue, Agri-Stats, Dr. Paul Aho, Poultry Perspective, and Jim Sumner, USAPEEC, reviewed what is ahead in 2011 for the poultry industry.


The College Student Career Program attracted 285 students from 23 universities throughout the United States. The graduating students interview for jobs and internships with industry and allied firms. And they visit the exhibit floor to see the real-time technology used in today’s poultry industry.


New product launches, organization meetings, TechXChange, publisher-sponsored programs, the Pet Food Conference, technical sessions on a variety of industry-specific topics, and once-a-year networking opportunities made the International Poultry Expo and International Feed Expo the place to be.



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.



21 JAN

E15 Decision “Another Giveaway to Ethanol Interests,” National Chicken Council Says

A spokesman for the National Chicken Council said today that the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow 15 percent ethanol in motor gasoline for older-model cars and light trucks is “another giveaway to the ethanol interests” that could lead to higher food prices due to increased demand for corn, the principal feedstock for ethanol.

“EPA’s decision is another giveaway to the ethanol interests and again demonstrates EPA cannot or will not balance the broad national interests on this issue,” said Bill Roenigk, senior vice president and chief economist for NCC.

“E15 may be good for ethanol producers and corn farmers, but it is clearly detrimental to all other interested parties,” he added. “To the extent EPA and the ethanol industry actually manage to force more ethanol into the nation’s motor gasoline, they will put even more pressure on the already very tight supply of corn. When consumers ask why their food costs are higher, it will be difficult for EPA to explain that today’s decision had no impact on the food shopper’s dollar,” Roenigk said.

Chicken producers are major users of corn, which has more than doubled in price in recent years as the federal ethanol mandate has kicked in. EPA’s decision today responded to a petition from Growth Energy, an association of ethanol producers.

The National Chicken Council represents 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.