22 JAN

Dalton Rasmussen new President/CEO of Squab Producers of California


Dalton Rasmussen, new President/CEO of Squab Producers of California


Dalton Rasmussen took over the reins this January as President/CEO of Squab Producers of California (SPOC). Squab Producers of California is a Modesto, CA-based co-op that is the nation’s largest processor of this kind of poultry, and a long-time member of California Poultry Federation. Bob Shipley, former President/CEO, has retired after 32 years as president of Squab Producers of California. Rasmussen comes to the organization with a Bachelor of Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, poultry industry education and a background in squab production. He served as a member of the SPOC board of directors for several years, further enhancing his knowledge of the organization. He has many years experience as a production manager for Supherb Farms in Turlock, CA, a grower and processor of fresh frozen culinary herbs, specialty vegetables, and other products for the foodservice industry and food manufacturers. In that role, he organized and administered the day- to-day activities including regulatory, plant safety, employee development, food safety issues, and more, while making positive improvements in production processes. The California Poultry Federation looks forward to working with Dalton on helping to maintain and improve the outstanding poultry products produced in California. CPF Chairman Richie King plans to appoint Rasmussen to the board at the March meeting in Fresno.

22 JAN

Jack Engle, long time CPF board member, to retire Feb. 1

Long time California Poultry Federation board member Jack Engle will retire effective Feb. 1, and his leadership and dedication to the poultry and egg JackConference industry will be honored during a reception in Modesto (see attached flyer) on Feb. 7. Another board member, Bob Shipley, will also be honored in retirement. (See the Shipley story in our

January 3 Update).

Engle served on the CPF board for almost 20 years, earning the coveted Allied Member of the Year Award in 2000, the second person to ever receive the honor. He was instrumental in bringing new allied members into the organization as well as promoting membership with poultry and egg farmers. His dynamic leadership has made our organization thrive particularly at times when industry challenges required dedication and determination. His love for his work and the people he served was always at the forefront, which is one of the many reasons why he was a beloved allied member.

Without reservation, the CPF board of directors will miss this man, who has meant so much to all of us, and to the success of poultry and egg people in the West. Congratulations Jack on a well deserved retirement, and we wish you well in all your future endeavors.

Click here for the retirement reception flyer.


22 JAN

Congressmen snag key assignments

This has been a good month for Valley congressmen seeking to represent local interests at a high level in Congress. First there was Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, being named to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, an unusual honor for a freshman. All expenditures for every federal agency go through the committee. Valadao is looking to have an impact on the Department of the Interior, which supplies water to many Kings County farms via the Central Valley Project. He’s also seeking leverage over the Endangered Species Act, which has been invoked to restrict critical water pumping from the Sacramento River Delta to local farmland.  Read More

22 JAN

Corn prices could soar or crash, Iowa State economist predicts

Corn ending stocks are projected by USDA at "dangerously low levels." Those low levels, coupled with ongoing drought, could send prices soaring or crashing just as they did in 2008 and 2009, when prices rose to record-highs only to crash following the Great Recession, according to Chad Hart, agricultural economist at Iowa State University, in an interview with AgWeb.com. USDA puts the stocks-to-use ratio for U.S. corn at only 5.3 percent, well below the historical average of 12 to 13 percent, and one of the lowest stocks-to-use ratios ever, Hart noted. Last year’s corn stocks-to-use ratio was 7.9 percent, and the year before that, the ratio was 8.6 percent. The "worrisome thing" about having such a low stocks-to-use ratio for corn is that subsoil moisture is short across most of the western Corn Belt, where drought still lingers, Hart said.

"The potential for price volatility is just as great in 2013 as we saw in 2008," said Hart. "With continued drought, we could have record-high corn prices." If the drought ends, and the U.S. crop is a bumper, the worry is then that corn prices could plunge. "And the threat of recession still hangs over the market as well," he added. Severe or extreme drought conditions now cover 86 percent of the Corn Belt region, with moderate drought covering 93 percent.  Read More

17 JAN

Rep. Nunes Appointed Chairman of Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade

Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) today was appointed by the House Ways and Means Committee as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade.  "It’s an honor to have been given this responsibility at a time when expanding trade is one of the vital ways to improve our sluggish economy," said Rep. Nunes.

The Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over taxes, international trade, Social Security, Medicare, and various welfare programs, among other areas. The jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Trade includes tariffs, import and export policies, customs, international trade rules, and commodity agreements. Read More 

17 JAN

Record US corn crop possible despite drought-Texas A&M economist

U.S. corn production, slashed dramatically by drought in 2012, could rebound to a record-large crop this year if yields improve moderately, said an agricultural economist from Texas A&M University on Monday.

The economist, David Anderson, also said pork production could top beef in 2014, pushing beef into third place in U.S. meat production. Poultry and pork production are on the rise while beef is held back by high feed costs and drought-damaged grassland. "What we’re trying to do is make it to the next crop," Anderson said, describing how livestock producers face several more months, at a minimum, of tight feed supplies.

Read More

17 JAN

USDA offers loans to farmers who grow for locals

With interest in locally grown food soaring, the federal government said Tuesday it has created a small loan program to help community farmers who might not be able to borrow money from banks.

Call it seed money. The low-interest "microloans" of up to $35,000 are designed to aid startup costs, bolster existing family-run farms and help minority growers and military veterans who want to farm. Over the last three years, there has been a 60 percent increase in local growers who sell directly to consumers or farmers markets, Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack said. Kay Jensen, an organic farmer who grows broccoli, strawberries and tomatoes in Sun Prairie, Wis., saw two immediate benefits from the program – paperwork would go from about 30 pages to seven, and it would be easier to borrow a manageable sum. She said she might consider a loan for $3,000 to $10,000 to expand her irrigation systems. Read More


17 JAN

Mexico: High Path Avian Influenza H7N3 Outbreak in Aguascalientes

SENASICA reported that the outbreaks were located in both the San Francisco de los Romo and Aguascalientes City municipalities. These areas are approximately 22 kilometers from one another. The notice indicates that signs of the event first occurred on January 3, 2013, when a San Francisco de los Romo producer noticed clinical signs of avian influenza and notified appropriate officials. On January 7, 2013, SENASICA officially confirmed through virus isolation that the problem was AH7N3 virus – with a 99 percent similarity in the genetic sequence to the June 2012 outbreak (See MX2040, MX2043, MX2044, MX2053). In addition, during this time SENASICA conducted active surveillance of the area and detected the outbreak in Aguascalientes City. Sanitary authorities proceeded to slaughter 284,755 layers and introduce other quarantine measures (e.g., restricted movement and disinfection). SENASICA has reported that they have intensified epidemiological efforts and issued 6 million doses of vaccines to farms located in the surrounding perimeter. (NOTE: There are reportedly 7 farms (2 layer and 5 broiler) in the close proximity to the 2 outbreak sites and an additional 15 farms (2 more layer and 13 more broiler) in the surrounding area.) Also, SENASICA established 7 verification and inspection points across the state to prevent unauthorized movements of live birds, their products, and by-products. Read More
15 JAN

Economic and financial conditions bode well for US agriculture

Bolstered by strong demand from developing countries, the falling dollar, and the growing importance of biofuels, U.S. agriculture enjoyed several years of high prices and strong demand prior to the 2008-09 recession. The same factors helped maintain high agricultural prices throughout the recession. Agriculture’s relatively strong balance sheets and low overall use of debt entering and exiting the recession provide a financial base for future growth.  Because of strong demand for agricultural commodities and products, real U.S. farm income has been robust since 2004. This period of growth enabled farmers to improve their overall liquidity and strengthen their balance sheets.  Read More