10 JAN

Mexico reports bird flu outbreaks at two egg farms

Mexico reported outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu virus at two egg farms and that these had been resolved after the culling of nearly 300,000 birds, world animal health body OIE said on Wednesday.  A total of 740 poultry have died from the virus which emerged in the two egg farms located in the central state of Aguascalientes, said a report by the Mexican agriculture ministry to Paris-based OIE.  The virus, reported to be the highly pathogenic avian influenza serotype H7N3, is different from the deadly H5N1 strain, which has devastated duck and chicken flocks and caused hundreds of human deaths after it was first detected in 1997 in Hong Kong.  Read More 
08 JAN

FARM BEAT: President of Modesto-based squab processor to retire

Bob Shipley meant to go to law school but ended up in the company of young pigeons favored by fine chefs.

He will retire Friday after 32 years as president of Squab Producers of California, a Modesto-based outfit that is the nation’s largest processor of this kind of poultry.  Shipley has seen it through good times, when a strong economy built demand, and tougher times more recently with the rising cost of corn, which is 90 percent of the birds’ diet.

"This company is healthy and comfortable, but not as profitable as it was in the ’80s, ’90s or early 2000s," he said Thursday at the plant, just east of Crows Landing Road.  The company is a cooperative owned by 65 squab growers, most of them in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and others as distant as Marysville and Fresno. It was founded in the Bay Area in 1943 and moved to Modesto in 1983. Dalton Rasmussen, a Hughson-area squab grower with experience in food processing, will be the next president. Read More

08 JAN

Perception of healthy eating shifts

Consumer attitude toward healthy eating has changed, according to a new trend report from market research firm Technomic. While more consumers prize proper nutrition, their perception of what is healthy has shifted toward products labeled: local, natural, organic or sustainable.  "More consumers than ever before tell us that eating healthy and paying attention to nutrition is important," said Darren Tristano, vice president of Technomic. "However, there’s a shift happening in terms of what actually defines healthy for them. We’re seeing more consumers gravitate toward health-halo claims – such as local, natural and organic, as well as whole-wheat and free-range. Operators can leverage this growing interest in the health halo by developing the kinds of menu offerings that can underscore health without detracting from the taste perception."  Read More

08 JAN

Secretary Vilsack highlights USDA achievements

In a series of January 3rd postings on the USDA website (www.usda.gov) Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack outlined achievements of his Department and the Administration during the first term of President Obama. Separate sections dealt with 12 specific areas comprising conservation, energy, organic farming, local and regional food systems, civil rights, global food security, nutrition, trade, rural development, food safety and (I almost lost it among the more pressing issues) — agriculture. Read More

08 JAN

Three New Year’s resolutions to reduce feed cost

If this new year is anything like the previous one, and there is no indication it will be any better, most pig and poultry producers will continue to face the challenge of paying an increasingly expensive feed bill. In times of crisis, such as these, we must consider how to reduce the out-of-pocket money paid for feed, in addition to improving animal performance and (or) feed efficiency. For some operations, the lack of liquidity to pay the feed bill might be the breaking point and the end of a family business! Read More

07 JAN

Canada: Salmonella in 13% of feed despite zero tolerance

A CBC News team carried out an investigation into salmonella in animal feed and found that 2 out of 12 bags of animal feed were contaminated despite Canada’s zero tolerance policy. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said they take any detection very seriously, but confirmed that it finds salmonella in 13% of the feed it routinely tests. They purchased 12 bags for animal feed from retailers around Winnipeg which were then tested. 

Rick Holley, a food science professor at the University of Manitoba said, "We can’t possibly hope to reduce the frequency to which these animals that we use as food shed salmonella with the hope that [our food] will not be contaminated unless we stop feeding [salmonella] to our animals." He said that animals contaminated with salmonella produce contaminated manure, which farmers then spread on fields as fertilizer and that there is a link between salmonella contamination in animal feed and contamination in meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  Read More 
07 JAN

Higher corn prices hit stores, chicken farms

On November 11, the Desert Condor steamed into the port of Brunswick and unloaded 40,000 tons of Brazilian corn – the first time corn has ever been imported into Georgia.

The ship’s arrival, followed a month later by the Genco Predator, underscores how last summer’s severe Midwestern drought sent prices skyrocketing and hurt industries – North Georgia poultry, in particular – that use corn as a raw material. Chicken growers, producers, retailers and consumers suffered the higher prices.

"Pain is the right word," said Tom Hensley, president of Fieldale Farms in Baldwin 75 miles north of Atlanta. Fieldale spent an extra $50 million on chicken feed last year. "We now have more days between flocks which means, over the course of a year, we make less money. And the price of beef and chicken is at an all-time high." Read More 

07 JAN

China shuts poultry farms over use of excessive antibiotics

China’s agriculture authority today shut down poultry farms in an east province where the chickens were reported to have been given excessive amounts of antibiotics.

Last week, Chinese media reported that some poultry farmers in Shandong Province had given their chickens excessive amounts of antibiotics, including amantadine and ribavirin, to help them survive in overcrowded chicken farms, triggering nationwide concern about food safety. Bi Meijia, the chief economic engineer as well as the spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, said relevant poultry raisers and processors have been shut down and are under close investigation. The ministry attaches great importance to the case. The ministry has dispatched a group of experts to Shandong and ordered local authorities to properly handle the case, he said, adding results will be released to the media in time. Read More 

07 JAN

State ban on arsenic in poultry feed takes effect

Maryland’s ban on the use and sale of poultry feed containing roxarsone or any other additive that contains arsenic went into effect this week.

Last year, Maryland became the first state to pass a bill banning use of the additive.

Poultry producers have used roxarsone, or 3-Nitro as sold by Pfizer subsidiary Alpharma, to protect the health of their flocks since the 1940s. But in June 2011, the company decided to discontinue sales following an FDA study of 100 broilers detected inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, at higher levels in chickens treated with 3-Nitro compared with untreated chickens.  Read More 

07 JAN

Two CPF leaders step down from the board of directors

Two CPF leaders step down from the board of directors

bobrichardTwo of California poultry’s most dynamic and inspirational leaders recently have withdrawn from the California Poultry Federation (CPF) board of directors after many years of commendable service. Because of their hard work and dedication to CPF and its mission, they have left behind an organization that is successful, engaged and results oriented. Both of these leaders encouraged CPF members to direct their efforts in marketing poultry products that California and U.S. consumers not only wanted, but could be proud of, including the development of animal welfare programs, which is top-of-mind in animal agriculture.

Richard Zacky has left the CPF board after almost 20 years of successful leadership, serving a number of years on the Executive Committee and at least two terms as Chairman. As the Zacky poultry company will soon find new ownership, Richard will maintain ownership of the established feed business. He and his wife, Kathy, have provided leadership for the California Poultry Federation, and established many meaningful relationships among our leaders in Sacramento and Washington, DC. Thanks to their efforts, the California poultry industry is better off today than when they first joined the organization. We congratulate them on their new ventures and the many opportunities that lie ahead. We expect them to be available for consultation as business partners but also as friends of our industry.

Another long time board member and former Chairman of the Board Bob Shipley also left the organization, officially retiring from Squab Producers of California in early January. He leaves behind a legacy of leadership and was, without a doubt, the most active small poultry company leader this organization has ever seen. Whether it was Washington, DC, Sacramento or Atlanta, Shipley was on hand to promote the niche poultry market for his squab company, along with many other CPF chicken, turkey and duck companies that reach a unique market. He fought with USDA over issues that helped small companies, and went to bat for anyone who needed support, whether they were his competitors or not. While Bob wasn’t afraid to take the lead on any effort, he was also okay standing back and helping others move forward. He and wife Kathy will soon be living in the Palm Springs area where they also plan to consult and work with poultry members in the coming years.

Photo caption corrections

bobpioneeraward BillDCTrip0412

Bob Shipley, second from right Richard Zacky, far left

While we know the much appreciated work and friendship of these two members will be missed, we expect them to be close enough to support California poultry interests when needed. I would never hesitate to bring them out of retirement for a trip to Sacramento or Washington, DC if necessary. They deserve a hearty round of applause!!!

Bill's Signature