People, Places, & ...

Agriculture Secretary Nominated

President George W. Bush has nominated Ed Schafer to be the 29th Secretary of Agriculture, a position that heads a U.S. White House Cabinet department of more than 100,000 employees. Schafer most notably served as governor of North Dakota from 1992 to 2000.

“I rely on the secretary to provide sound advice on issues ranging from our nation’s farm economy and food supply to international trade and conservation programs,” said Bush. “To carry out these responsibilities, the Secretary of Agriculture needs to be someone who understands the challenges facing America’s farmers, ranchers, and consumers. Ed Schafer is the right choice to fill this post.”

As governor, Schafer managed a $4.6 billion budget with 12,000 employees and directed state responses to eight statewide disasters, including drought, flood, and fire. He launched a successful pilot project to revive rural communities by using technology to deliver education, healthcare, and economic development, and led an agricultural trade mission from North Dakota to China in 2000 to help open new markets for the state’s farm products. Earlier that same year, Schafer represented the United States with Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman on a presidential delegation to China to promote Permanent Normal Trading Relations. Also as governor, Schafer oversaw initial development of the state’s biofuels industries and led in developing value-added products for agriculture. He was also co-founder and co-chair of the Governors Biotechnology Partnership established in 2000.

The grandson of Danish immigrants who farmed throughout their lives, Schafer also has extensive management experience in the private sector. Prior to his running for public office, he served as president of the Gold Seal Company from 1978 to 1985, a North Dakota-based household cleaning and personal care products company founded by Schafer’s father.

Schafer earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Dakota in 1969 and a master’s degree from the University of Denver in 1970.

If confirmed by Congress, Schafer will succeed Mike Johanns, who resigned from the position in September to pursue a Senate seat representing Nebraska.

AMI Elects Officers

The American Meat Institute (AMI) elected six officers to guide the organization through the next year.

David Miniat, president of Ed Miniat, Inc., was elected chairman. He has served on the AMI board since 1999 and succeeds Richard L. Bond, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Tyson Foods, Inc.

Rod Brenneman, president and CEO of Seaboard Foods, was elected vice chairman, and serving as treasurer for the next year will be Jeffrey Ettinger, chairman of the board, president, and CEO of Hormel Foods Corporation. Dennis Vignieri, president and CEO of Kenosha Beef International, Ltd., will serve as secretary. J. Patrick Boyle was reelected by the AMI membership to serve a nineteenth year as the institute’s president and CEO.

AOCS Announces New Leadership

Phil Bollheimer, president of Bollheimer and Associates, has been elected to a one-year term as president of the American Oil Chemists’ Society.

A member of AOCS for nearly 30 years, Bollheimer has worked on more than 40 edible oil and soybean processing facilities. In addition, he has designed and started up 10 grassroots plants. Today, his work is mostly biodiesel-related. Bollheimer has been on the AOCS board for seven years, and an officer of the organization for four years.

Chicken Council Names Officers

Mike Welch, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Harrison Poultry, was installed in October as chairman of the National Chicken Council. Michael Roberts, president of the Food Products Group of Perdue Farms, took office as vice chairman, and O.B. Goolsby Jr., president and CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, became secretary-treasurer.

Welch has been in the industry since 1967 and has held various management positions in several major poultry companies. He has been president and CEO of Harrison Poultry for 16 years.

Cook Elected Ag Export Council Chairman

Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association (NRA), was elected chairman of the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council (USAEDC) at its annual meeting in November.

The USAEDC membership consists of 75 state and national organizations that promote agricultural exports throughout the world. These member organizations participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s various promotion programs, including the Foreign Market Development and Market Access Programs.

The NRA has been a participant in these programs for almost 50 years with offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City.

Industry Veteran to Take Helm of Poultry Group

The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association Board of Directors has selected John Starkey to become the association’s new president. He joined U.S. Poultry as vice president of environmental programs in 2000. Starkey succeeds Don Dalton, who retired from the organization on November 30, 2007, after 18 years of service.

Starkey earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University and a master’s degree in sanitary engineering from Georgia Tech. He is a registered professional engineer. Prior to his U.S. Poultry service, he served as manager of environmental engineering for Gold Kist, director of environmental affairs for Hudson Foods, and as a principal in the engineering firm of Vaughn, Coltrane, and Associates. Starkey also served on the U.S. Poultry Research Advisory Committee from 1993 to 1999.

Dalton started at U.S. Poultry, then Southeastern Poultry and Egg Association, as vice president, government relations and trade shows in 1989, and moved into the president’s position in 1992. When he was general manager at Valmac Industries, Dalton served on the association’s board of directors and as chairman. Dalton has spent over 40 years in the poultry industry, and has had an extensive military career.

Meat and Poultry Facts Book Released

The American Meat Institute (AMI), in cooperation with Sterling Marketing, Inc., has released the 2007 edition of Meat and Poultry Facts, the industry’s leading statistical book.

This 36th edition contains the latest statistics on production, consumption, prices, imports, exports, employment, wages, and much more. The 62-page book was compiled by John Nalivka, president of Sterling Marketing.

“The production of alternative energy sources in the U.S. became a significant factor affecting the livestock and meat industry in late 2006 and 2007,” Nalivka says in his introduction to Meat and Poultry Facts. “Consequently, a growing usage for the U.S. corn crop is for ethanol production and corn prices have risen accordingly. Higher corn prices have affected every aspect of the food industry.”

In 2007, U.S. farmers planted the largest number of acres with corn since 1944, Nalivka noted. He also pointed out that the dynamics of the packing industry continue to evolve, noting that pork exports have grown nearly 300 percent between 1995 and 2007.

Nates to Chair Aquaculture Technical Committee

The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) announced during its Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership 2007 conference in late October that it will form a 12-member Standards Oversight Committee (SOC) to coordinate the development of its Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification standards for aquaculture facilities. In this revision of the BAP standards development process, the SOC will manage public input, oversee the process of developing standards, and coordinate revisions to BAP standards. Its members will include equal representation from three key stakeholder groups: nongovernmental conservation and social justice organizations, academic institutions and regulatory agencies, and industry.

Dr. Sergio Nates, president, Fats and Proteins Research Foundation, has been named chairman of the technical committee that is drafting BAP standards for feed mills. Nates has an extensive background in biological and chemical quality control, as well as aquaculture, feed formulation, and feed plant design.

OSHA Publishes PPE Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule on employer-paid personal protective equipment (PPE) in the November 15, 2007, Federal Register. Under the rule, all PPE, with a few exceptions, will be provided at no cost to the employee. OSHA anticipates that this rule will have substantial safety benefits that will result in more than 21,000 fewer occupational injuries per year.

The final rule contains a few exceptions for ordinary safety-toed footwear, ordinary prescription safety eyewear, logging boots, and ordinary clothing and weather-related gear. The final rule also clarifies OSHA’s requirements regarding payment for employee-owned PPE and replacement PPE. Essentially, employers are not required to reimburse employees if employees choose to use their own PPE. The employer, however, is responsible for ensuring that the equipment is adequate for the job.

The rule also provides an enforcement deadline of six months from the date of publication to allow employers time to change their existing PPE payment policies to accommodate the final rule. More information is available at

People, Places, and – December 2007 RENDER | back