07 MAR

Big birds are so 2017. The money is now in smaller, tender chicken

Some chicken companies are doing well despite recent rock-bottom prices. Others are facing losses. A lot of it comes down to the size of the bird they’re hawking.

A decades-long trend of increasing chicken size has come to a halt, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Big birds — of nine pounds or more — are more often plagued by so-called woody breast, a big turn-off for chicken lovers because it makes meat unusually tough. Prices of breast meat from those animals fell to record lows late last year and have only just started to recover.  Read more

25 FEB

China offers to buy $30 billion more U.S. ag imports a year

China is proposing that it could buy an additional $30 billion a year of U.S. agricultural products including soybeans, corn and wheat as part of a possible trade deal being negotiated by the two countries, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

The offer to buy the extra farm produce would be part of the memoranda of understanding under discussion by U.S. and Chinese negotiators in Washington, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are confidential. The purchases would be on top of pre-trade war levels and continue for the period covered by the memoranda, they said. Read more

25 FEB

USDA: Corn to be king again in 2019

For 2019, USDA predicts U.S. farmers will plant 92 million acres of corn, which is a 3.3% jump from last year. Alternatively, farmers will plant 85 million acres of soybeans, which is down 4.7% from last year, as shared this morning by USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson. With the large overhang in soybean stocks, soybean area needs to adjust to work down record large soybean carry-in stocks. As a result, soybean area is expected to fall 4.2 million acres, to 85 million acres in 2019,” says Johansson, who spoke at USDA’s 2019 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va.

Read more

25 FEB

Management key to preventing green muscle disease in broilers

Poultry production in the US is at record levels and expected to continue rising thanks to consumer demand,1 especially for white meat. The trend has led to a steady increase in the market weight of broilers – but this sometimes comes with unwanted consequences, such as deep pectoral myopathy, commonly called green muscle disease (GMD).

This condition isn’t new and it can occur at any age or weight. GMD is not to be confused with woody breast, which has been featured in a number of articles in recent years and is distinctly different.

GMD is closely associated with heavier weight birds grown for the debone market. As the percentage of birds grown to heavier weights for deboning has increased, so has the incidence of GMD showing up at processing plants.  Read more

14 FEB

Foster Farms appoints Dan Huber as Chief Executive Officer

Huber, previous Chief Operations Officer, has 23-year tenure with company

Foster Farms, the West Coast’s leading poultry producer, announced that its board of directors has appointed Dan Huber, 53, to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the privately-owned company, effective today. Huber has held several leadership positions at Foster Farms since joining the company in 1996, most recently serving as Chief Operations Officer. He replaces Laura Flanagan, who resigned to pursue other opportunities.
“Dan is uniquely qualified to lead Foster Farms,” said Terry Martin, Chairman of the Board, “He brings over 23 years of agribusiness, supply chain, food production, food safety, and branded sales management experience to this position. His depth of expertise and familiarity with Foster Farms’ business and community are strengths that will drive the company into the future. We thank Laura for her many contributions to Foster Farms and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

14 FEB

California Governor Gavin Newsom appoints farmer, conservationist Bill Lyons as special adviser on agricultural, water issues

By Mark Looker, Looker Communications Consultant
Governor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019 that William (Bill) Lyons, 68, of Modesto, has been appointed Agriculture Liaison in the Office of the Governor. Lyons, a third-generation farmer who served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture under Gov. Gray Davis from 1999 to 2004, oversees his family’s 95-year-old farming and cattle ranching operation in Stanislaus County and has received numerous awards for his environmental stewardship and conservation efforts.
Lyons was selected as the western regional finalist for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 2010 Conservationist of the Year Award and received the United States Department of Agriculture National Environmentalist Award. He has an extensive background in agriculture and water policy. This position does not require Senate confirmation.
Lyons said, “I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve Gov. Newsom and his Administration. I’m committed to exploring balanced, common-sense and science-based solutions for the critically complex water and agricultural issues facing the state.”  Read more
14 FEB

Five ways Gavin Newsom made it clear he’s not Jerry Brown

A month after being inaugurated, Gov. Gavin Newsom used his State of the State speech Tuesday to make his strongest showing yet that Jerry Brown is no longer in charge. He proposed scaling back two of Brown’s legacy projects-a high-speed train and a pair of tunnels to move water from north to south. He rescinded Brown’s deployment of California National Guard troops to the Mexican border. He voiced support for education and housing policies that Brown stayed away from.
All leaders want to distinguish themselves, so it’s no shock that Newsom is carving his own path. California’s last several governors took office vowing to right the perceived wrongs of their predecessors. Brown himself, in his first term, was a change agent.  Read more
13 FEB

Foster Farms announces multi-million dollar expansion of Livingston plant

Today, Foster Farms President and CEO Laura Flanagan announced a multi-million dollar capital investment project that will support an expansion and upgrade of the company’s poultry processing facility in Livingston.

The multi-million dollar investment will expand the facility’s product lines, which currently provide 2,032 jobs in Merced County. Additional jobs will be added as part of the expansion. Construction for the Foster Farms expansion project has already begun, with completion scheduled for September 2019. The expansion has been made possible by a $6.5 million economic incentive package, developed by state and local government leaders working in concert with Foster Farms executive staff.

Read more

13 FEB

UGA researchers use machine learning to identify source of Salmonella outbreaks

A team of scientists led by researchers at the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety in Griffin has developed a machine-learning approach that could lead to quicker identification of the animal source of certain Salmonella outbreaks.

In the research, published in the January 2019 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Xiangyu Deng and his colleagues used more than 1,000 genomes to predict the animal sources, especially livestock, of Salmonella Typhimurium.

Deng, an assistant professor of food microbiology at the center, and Shaokang Zhang, a postdoctoral associate with the center, led the project, which also included experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Translational Genomics Research Institute.  Read more