People, Places, & ...

Agriculture Secretary Resigns to Pursue Senate

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns resigned from his position on September 19, 2007, to “pursue a new opportunity to serve this great nation,” namely the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by outgoing Republican Chuck Hagel (NE) in 2008. Johanns was appointed secretary of agriculture in early 2005, succeeding Ann Veneman.

“It has been a great honor to serve you and the American people as secretary of agriculture for nearly three years,” Johanns wrote in his resignation to President George W. Bush. “Under your leadership and vision, American agriculture is stronger than ever before in history.”

Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner was immediately appointed acting secretary of agriculture upon Johanns’ resignation. He was appointed deputy secretary in May 2005. Conner grew up on his family’s farm in Benton County, Indiana, raising corn, soybeans, and cattle. He has served on various agriculture committees within the U.S. government and was president of the Corn Refiners Association, Inc., from 1997 to 2001.

APHIS Administrator Selected

Cindy J. Smith has been appointed administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). She had been serving as acting administrator since August 3, 2007, when Dr. Ron DeHaven retired from the position, and as APHIS’ associate administrator since April. In her new position, Smith will further APHIS’ mission of protecting American agriculture and ensuring the health and care of animals and plants.

Smith began her career with APHIS in 1979 and has advanced through the ranks, holding various administrative, supervisory, and executive leadership positions in the agency. Throughout the years, she has gained diverse experience in a broad range of APHIS programs, including plant protection and quarantine, wildlife services, biotechnology regulatory services, and the former biotechnology, biologics, and environmental protection unit.

In 1983, Smith completed her bachelor of science degree in microbiology from the University of Maryland, and went on to earn her master of science degree in business management in 2000.

AVMA Spreading News on Vet Shortage

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has launched a new Web page in an ongoing effort to help bolster the ranks of those who practice food animal veterinary medicine. The Web page, at, is geared toward the varied stakeholders in the food animal veterinary medicine field, including practitioners, colleges of veterinary medicine, and state and industry associations. It will also help inform the general public, government officials, and the media about the importance of veterinarians in maintaining a healthy and wholesome food supply.

A key component of the Web page is a series of maps AVMA created to provide a unique look at each state and how a lack of practitioners is hitting some areas of the country much harder than others.

In a separate announcement, the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and Fort Dodge Animal Health are establishing a new scholarship program – the Fort Dodge Animal Health Legacy Scholarship – to assist veterinary school students. Through producer participation, Fort Dodge Animal Health will sponsor five scholarships of $5,000 each; three will be directed to veterinary school students who have designated an emphasis in beef production, and two will be directed to undergraduate students enrolled in an animal science program.

“Looking forward to the next five to 10 years, there will be many challenges facing the cattle industry,” said Dan Ellsworth, senior product manager for Fort Dodge Animal Health. “Working together with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation to help prepare our young people is one of the best ways to ensure a successful future.”

Fort Dodge Animal Health will be contributing three percent of each submitted qualifying purchase made by cattle producers from September 1 through November 30, 2007, to the scholarship fund, with an overall total of $25,000. More information about the program is available at

Canadian Pacific Railway Acquires U.S. Railroad

Canadian Pacific Railway, Ltd., has reached an agreement to acquire Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern (DM&E) Railroad Corporation and its subsidiaries for $1.48 billion. With this transaction, Canadian Pacific expands its current network by approximately 2,500 miles and increases its access to U.S. Midwest markets including agri-products, coal, and ethanol. The deal consists of a $1.48 billion cash payment at closing and future contingent payments of up to approximately $1 billion.

The DM&E is the largest regional railroad in the United States and the only Class II railroad that connects and interchanges traffic with all seven Class I railroads, connecting with Canadian Pacific at Minneapolis and Winona, MN, and Chicago, IL. DM&E is headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD, and has approximately 1,000 employees, 2,500 miles of track, and rolling stock that includes 7,200 rail cars and 150 locomotives. It serves eight states: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming with access to Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Kansas City, and key ports.

Based in Calgary, AB, the 120-year-old Canadian Pacific Railway is a Class 1 North American railway providing freight transportation services over a 14,000-mile network in Canada and the United States.

The transaction, which is subject to review and approval by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, is expected to be completed this fall.

CPM Acquires Crown

CPM, a supplier of process equipment and technology for the animal feed, oilseed, biofuels, and human food processing industries, has acquired Crown Iron Works. Based in Minneapolis, MN, Crown is a supplier of thermal, mechanical, and chemical process equipment for the oilseed extraction, edible oil refining, oleochemical, and biodiesel industries.

“Crown and CPM have a long history of collaboration on customer projects to deliver the most efficient and productive systems in the oilseed industry,” said Cliff Anderson, Crown Iron Works president. “The marriage of these companies will be a great benefit to our customers and employees as we strive to continue our legacy of providing superior process solutions.”

The transaction includes Europa Crown, Ltd., based in Hull, England, and majority joint venture interest in Crown Friendship Engineering Company based in Wuhan, China. Crown Iron Works will continue operations at its current locations.

CPM business units include California Pellet Mill, Roskamp Champion, Beta Raven, Century Extrusion, Wolverine Proctor, and now Crown Iron Works. CPM has more than 750 employees with production facilities in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Dupps Introduces Fish Meal Systems

The Dupps Company, known worldwide for engineering, manufacturing, and marketing red meat and poultry rendering systems and equipment, has announced the addition of fish meal processing systems to its product line. Heading the company’s fish meal systems development is Rasmus Gundersen, recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on fish meal processing and fish meal plant system design and engineering.

Dupps is providing this growing segment of the protein co-products industry with complete turnkey installations specifically engineered for fish meal and fish oil processing. A typical system includes five primary processing stages: cooking, screening and pressing, decanting and polishing, evaporating, and drying. Each of these stages contributes to the production of three principal components – dry fish meal, fish oil, and waste-free water.

Kemin Receives Patent

The U.S. Patent Office recently issued a new patent to Kemin Industries, Inc., which protects a Kemin proprietary method for the high-throughput screening of antioxidants at near ambient temperatures.

The newly patented method was developed to improve the accuracy of the prediction of antioxidant performance under accelerated storage conditions. These accelerated tests are required to by-pass lengthy shelf life studies for the screening and selection of antioxidants.

“Because the oxidation assays can now be performed at near ambient temperatures, it is possible to analyze the oxidative stability of a wide variety of heat-sensitive products much more efficiently than in conventional accelerated assays at high temperature,” said Stefaan Van Dyke, senior research scientist at Kemin and one of the inventors of this method. “The method therefore can be a valuable tool to identify the most suitable antioxidant formulation and dosage to efficiently protect a specific feed or food product against oxidative damage.”

Matteis Joins California Farm Bureau

Richard Matteis, an experienced agricultural advocate and executive, has been named administrator of the California Farm Bureau Federation. He took his new position August 1, 2007.

Since 1980, Matteis has served as chief executive officer of the California Grain and Feed Association (CGFA), a Sacramento-based organization representing farmers, manufacturers, and marketers of grains, hay, and other feed crops. The association also provides management services and legislative advocacy for two-dozen agricultural associations, including the Pacific Coast Renderers Association.

Minnesota Plant Reopens

According to news reports, the former Minnesota Beef Industries plant in Buffalo Lake, MN, was scheduled to reopen September 10, 2007, after being closed for 18 months. The company, now called North Star Beef, is hiring 180 workers and hopes to bring production at the facility up to more than 500 head daily. Before its February 2006 shutdown, it processed an average of 460 head daily.

Local news reports at the time attributed the shutdown to supply issues tied to the Canadian cattle import ban and Minnesota’s declining dairy cattle industry. The previous owners were also burdened by a $4 million state loan in 2004 that was used to upgrade and expand its equipment.

New Book Focuses on Semi-moist Rendering

Animal Byproducts Utilization through Semi-Moist Rendering is a new book written by Mahendra Kumar of India who has done many years of research on the topic in conditions much different than in the United States. Kumar is a long-time acquaintance of the U.S. rendering industry’s own Dr. Don Franco, who encouraged Kumar’s endeavor. 

Dr. David Meeker, National Renderers Association, reviewed the book, which is written in English, and believes it will be useful to those involved in animal agriculture in developing countries where by-products and deadstock are often wasted, causing environmental burdens. Meeker thinks utilizing this technology could improve the economics of animal rearing as well as providing benefits to animal and human health. The technology is a simplified version of batch rendering that can be done with limited inputs and minimal infrastructure. Kumar writes that in this new process, most of the water held by the raw tissues is retained in the form of “soup.” After separating fat, the remaining rendered proteins and water can be fed to pigs directly without the expense and fuel used for drying. In the book, Kumar also relates his experiences on site selection, odor and wastewater management, and ancillary enterprises that could enhance small scale rendering enterprises in developing countries.

The book can be purchased by mail for $28 from the Daya Publishing House, 1123/74, Deva Ram Park, Tri Nagar, Delhi 110 035, India. The publishing house also has a Web site,, which has a simple ordering procedure.

October 2007 RENDER | back