People, Places, & ...

AFIA Elects Officers

Jim Sullivan, president, International Ingredient Corporation, was elected American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) chairman at the group’s May board of director’s meeting. Sullivan has served on the AFIA board since 2004. He succeeds Mike Horn, president and chief executive officer, Pennfield Corporation.

Donald Orr, president, JBS United, Inc., was named chair-elect. Both Sullivan and Orr have long-standing relationships with AFIA, having been active leaders and participants in AFIA programs and meetings.

Also at the meeting, 16 nominees were elected to the AFIA Board of Directors, serving a three-year term until May 2010. They are: Scott Anderson, Midwest Packaging Equipment, LLC; William C. Barr, Bill Barr and Company; Cory Berg, Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc.; Paul F. Engler, Cactus Feeders; Alan Gunderson, Vita Plus Corporation; Ross Hamilton, Darling International, Inc.; Paul M. Kalmbach, Kalmbach Feeds; James E. Kieschnick, DeKalb Feeds, Inc.; David Kravis, Nutro Products, Inc.; John Langemeier, Alpharma, Inc.; Michael Manning, ADM Alliance Nutrition; Greg McLean, Murphy-Brown, LLC; Lars Reimann, Eurofins Scientific, Inc.; Stephen W. Riley, Triple Crown Nutrition, Inc.; Randall Schwalke, Blue Seal Foods, Inc.; and Jack Woelber, Interstates Companies.

FSIS Administrator Appointed

In late June, Alfred V. Almanza was appointed administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency that protects public health through inspection of domestically produced and imported meat, poultry, and egg products.

Almanza served most recently as the Dallas (Texas) district manager that includes more than 350 federally-inspected establishments. A Texas native, Almanza joined FSIS in 1978. Prior to becoming the Dallas district manager, he served in a variety of positions, including slaughter inspector, labor relations specialist, special assistant to the district manager, and deputy district manager.

Dr. David P. Goldman had been serving as acting FSIS administrator since January 2007. Goldman is a captain in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service and will resume his duties as the head of the Office of Public Health Science.

Haarslev Expands

Due it its rapid growth, the U.S. facilities of Haarslev, Inc., have moved into a larger warehouse, adding 5,000 more square feet to accommodate its inventory and growing demand for its equipment.

The new address for Haarslev is 9700 NW Conant Avenue, Kansas City, MO. Phone and fax numbers remain unchanged.

Maple Leaf Closing More Processing Plants

It’s a busy year for plant closures at Maple Leaf Foods, Inc., which will continue the trend by closing its primary pork processing operation located on Marion Street in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, in October 2007. This is a step in the company’s strategy to centralize its primary pork processing operations in Brandon, MB, by the end of 2009. The announcement came a few months after Maple Leaf disclosed it would close its secondary processing facility located on Kipling Avenue in Etobicoke, ON, also at the end of October 2007.

The Marion Street operation employs 145 people and processes 15,000 to 20,000 hogs per week. Employees will be given opportunities at Maple Leaf’s other regional plants and provided financial support and outplacement and employment counseling services.

Concurrent with the closure, Maple Leaf will be commissioning a second shift at its Brandon plant, which will support its further pork raw material requirements and value-added customers. The company will employ approximately 2,800 people in its Manitoba operations when the second shift expansion at Brandon is complete.

The Kipling Avenue plant is nearly 50 years old and was part of the Schneider Foods acquisition. The plant produces value-added red meat products, primarily for foodservice customers across Canada. Maple Leaf will be consolidating these operations into its recently acquired facility in Brampton, ON. The closure will affect approximately 100 employees who will be offered the same placement and counseling opportunities.

These closures are the third and fourth this year. Maple Leaf shut down its 50-year-old fresh poultry processing facility in Canard, NS, at the end of April 2007, and its primary pork processing operations at its 11th Street plant in Saskatoon on June 1, 2007. Products produced at both facilities were transferred to other Maple Leaf plants.

Nevada Renderer Destroyed by Fire

Reno Rendering, a subsidiary of Sacramento Rendering Company, Sacramento, CA, suffered an electrical fire on a Saturday afternoon in mid-June, destroying about 90 percent of the transfer station that included processing equipment for restaurant grease. Processing tanks and company trucks did not suffer any damage, allowing the renderer to continue servicing about 750 customers in the Reno, NV, area.

Fire investigators said the age of the building, estimated to have been built in 1921, contributed to the spread of the fire from the machine shop area to the larger portion of the 100,000-square-foot facility. About 45 fire personnel, six engines, and three ladder trucks responded to the blaze. One firefighter suffered a shoulder injury.

The company will rebuild the facility, with an estimated completion by this winter.

New Animal Research Facility Dedicated

In early July, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation helped dedicate a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) high-containment large animal facility in Ames, IA, that combines several research facilities into one location. The new building is the second component of a multi-phase, $460 million project.

The high-containment designation means the building is designed for optimal safety and security because the scientists will work with a variety of endemic, zoonotic, and foreign animal diseases in what is called Biological Safety Level 3 space. This includes features such as airtight walls, filtered air, and liquid waste treatment technology. Construction took three-and-a-half years and cost approximately $85 million.

The new building contains more than 155,000 square feet and will house cattle, bison, elk, deer, reindeer, sheep, and hogs. There are designated areas for research by scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as well as for diagnostics-testing training and biologic product evaluation by employees of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Employees in the new facility will contribute to the nation’s $100 billion livestock industry by conducting research, diagnostics and training, as well as testing vaccines and evaluating veterinary biological products.

The center consolidates three units within the two USDA agencies:

• ARS’s National Animal Disease Center, which conducts research concerning animal health and diseases with an agricultural impact;

• APHIS’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories, which serves as a national and international reference laboratory and provides diagnostic services, reagents, and training; and

• APHIS’s Center for Veterinary Biologics, which regulates vaccines, bacterins, antisera, diagnostic kits, and other biological products for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of animal diseases.

A consolidated lab and a low-containment animal facility are still under construction. By 2009, when the project is expected to be complete, the Ames complex will be one of the largest animal health centers in the world.

Perdue Farms Awarded

Perdue Farms, the United States’ third largest poultry producer, was honored in July by the state of Georgia as its “Large Manufacturer of the Year.” The award recognizes the growth and success of Perdue’s operations in Perry, GA, and was presented as part of the state’s Manufacturers Appreciation Week. The nomination was made by the Houston County Development Authority, the chambers of commerce of Warner Robins and Perry, Middle Georgia Technical College, and State Representative Larry O’Neal (R-Warner Robins).

Perdue Farms bought the Perry plant from Cagle’s, Inc., in 2004. Since then it has increased employment from 1,110 to 2,500 and implemented $80 million in facility upgrades, expanding the plant from 600,000 square feet to more than one million square feet of space. The major expansion will continue through 2009, and when complete, will include a total investment of $155 million and a payroll that includes more than 4,000 associates.

In accepting the award, Perdue Farms Chairman Jim Perdue noted that the company’s partnership with the Georgia Quick Start Program and the Middle Georgia Technical College has been a major factor in Perdue’s ability to effectively train new associates and grow the plant rapidly.

Richard Jamison, director of operations for the Perry complex, expanded on that thought, saying, “We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with the state of Georgia and Houston and Forsyth counties. We’ve been able to significantly expand the operation and continue to increase capacity and capability to support our growth strategies. It’s a real honor for everyone working at the Perry facility to receive this recognition.”

Other factors noted on the nomination included that the company:

• was named its 2005 Employer of the Year by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Program for its commitment to hiring those with disabilities and those in need of injury-related career rehabilitation;

• was awarded an honorable mention in 2005 by the C. Everett Koop Health Award for its approach to employee wellness;

• has contributed more than 400,000 pounds of chicken to America’s Second Harvest during the last two years;

• provided additional financial support to local agencies including Houston County Schools, Houston County Community Clinic, National Safety Council, and Perry Little League;

• has very aggressive accident prevention and safety programs with nearly four million hours of work time with no time lost for accidents;

• provides tuition reimbursement to its associates for certain educational programs; and

• is a corporate sponsor of United Way.

Pork Board Unveils New Quality Program

To provide consumers with assurances about food safety and animal well-being while at the same time working with pork producers to keep solutions affordable and workable, the National Pork Board has unveiled Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus, an update to the industry’s flagship pork safety program initiated in 1989.

The check-off funded program is the result of nearly two years of collaborative work from members of all sectors of the pork industry chain, from producers and packers to restaurant and food retailers. It combines two existing programs, PQA certification and Swine Welfare Assurance Program, or SWAP, integrating into PQA Plus a focus on animal well-being including an on-farm assessment of animal well-being.

The PQA Plus program comprises three steps: (1) an individual certification through education; (2) an assessment of sites where pigs are being raised; and (3) an independent third-part audit to assure continuous improvement goals of the program are being implemented in the industry. The program will have a three-year implementation period.

Swift Sold

JBS S.A., Latin America’s largest beef processor, has acquired Swift and Company, the world’s third largest processor of fresh beef and pork products, from HM Capital Partners, LLC, a Dallas-based private equity firm, and Booth Creek Management Corporation in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $1.5 billion. As a result of this acquisition, the consolidated JBS Swift Group will be the largest beef processor in the world. HM Capital and Booth Creek Management acquired Swift from ConAgra Foods, Inc., in September 2002.

“This is a win-win transaction for everyone involved,” said Edward Herring, a partner of HM Capital. “For HM Capital, the proceeds from this transaction, coupled with our earlier leveraged recapitalization of Swift, will together produce a very attractive return for our investors.

“This transaction also will benefit Swift’s customers, employees, and business partners by creating a combined Swift-JBS enterprise in which Swift will retain its organizational identity, customer and supplier relationships, and substantially all of its employees and leadership team while becoming part of the world’s largest beef processor,” Herring continued.

“We are thrilled to acquire Swift and Company and to be able to create a combined enterprise that will be the world’s leading processor of fresh beef and pork products,” commented Joesley Mendonca Batista, chief executive officer (CEO) of JBS S.A. “It is a major step for our group in establishing a global presence. More importantly, Swift will provide us with access to the Pacific region.”

Swift leadership will change under the new acquisition. Wesley Mendonca Batista will become Swift and Company’s new president, CEO, and a director. Sam B. Rovit, president, CEO, and a director of Swift since July 1, 2005, relinquished all executive and director responsibilities immediately upon completion of the transaction in mid-July.

“I am very proud of Swift’s achievements over the past two years, namely the dramatic improvement in our U.S. beef business while maintaining our industry leading positions in U.S. pork and Australian beef,” Rovit remarked. “I am confident that Wesley and the entire JBS/Swift team can collectively take the company to the next level as a leading global provider of beef and pork.”

Batista previously served as executive director of operations of JBS and the vice president of its board of directors. He is a member of the JBS founding family and has been employed in the beef industry his entire career, having served in various capacities at JBS since 1987.

USAHA Moves Offices

The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) has relocated its headquarters to St. Joseph, MO, from Richmond, VA. The organization added three positions as a result of the move and expects to add more in the future.

Established in 1897, the USAHA aims to protect animal and public health by eliminating livestock disease. Its 1,400 members include state and federal animal health officials, national allied organizations, regional representatives, and individual members.

St. Joseph lies within the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, which represents one-third of global animal health industry sales. The St. Joseph Area Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Area Development Council, KC Animal Health Corridor, the Institute for Applied and Industrial Life Sciences, and other community members provided support for USAHA’s transition.

Former NRA and FPRF President Passes

Robert “Bob” J. Fleming died on July 25, 2007, in Iowa. He had served as president of the National Renderers Association (NRA) from 1959-1960, and was the founder and first chairman of the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF) in 1960.

Fleming was born in Des Moines, IA, December 7, 1921. He lived his early years in Des Moines but moved to the Carlisle, IA, farm of his stepfather in 1936. Fleming was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Iowa State University. He served during World War II as an officer in the U.S. Army Field Artillery.

During his business career Fleming served as president and chairman of National By-Products, Inc., president of Danamere Farms, and president of the Greater Des Moines Committee. He also served as a director of Holly Farms, Inc.; The Federal Company; Pioneer Hi-Bred International; the Equitable of Iowa Company; the F.M. Hubbell, Son, and Company; the Financial Security Insurance Company; the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce; the Iowa Manufacturers Association; and Bankers Trust Company.

During his public service career Fleming served as chairman of Iowa Methodist Medical Center, president of Living History Farms, president of the Des Moines Art Center, and president of the Des Moines Child Guidance Center. He also served as vice president of the Des Moines United Community Services and the Polk County Mental Health Association. In addition, Fleming served as director of the United Way Foundation of Central Iowa, the Central Iowa Health Association, and the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation.

Fleming is survived by his wife, Ann Wallace Fleming, three sons, five granddaughters, and four great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation or the Greater Carlisle Community Foundation.

People, Places, & – August 2007 RENDER | back