People, Places &...

Bliss Industries Founder Retires

Bill Bliss, founder of Bliss Industries, LLC, a manufacturer of hammermills, pellet mills, coolers, and other related equipment, retired on September 30, 2008. Greg Alles, president, assumed Bliss’ operational duties.

Bliss started his company in 1981 in Ponca City, OK, and attributed much of the success of the company to the employees. In July 2007, Pennington Allen Capital Partners, a private investment firm, established a partnership with Bill Bliss by acquiring 75 percent of Bliss Industries. The two partners of the firm, W. Lane Pennington and Mark H. Allen, became active senior executives of Bliss as well as members of the board of directors. With Bill Bliss’ retirement, and his sale of the remaining 25 percent ownership in Bliss Industries, Pennington will serve as chairman, Allen will serve as chief executive officer, and Alles will continue as president.

“I want to thank all of the employees, customers, and vendors that made Bliss the industry leader that it is today,” Bliss said. “Looking back, I have realized that ‘Team Bliss’ has accomplished more than we ever could have imagined, and though I am retiring, I am looking forward to watching the continued growth of Bliss under the direction of Greg Alles. Greg’s experience and expertise in this industry will keep Bliss thriving and growing, and he has the ingenuity to take Bliss on to even greater things.”

FDA Opens Offices in China

As part of an ongoing strategy to continually improve the safety of exports headed to the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially opened offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach traveled to the three cities in mid-November to meet with manufacturers and Chinese government officials to discuss policy and governance reforms aimed at improving the safety of food and other consumer products. Eight senior experienced FDA officials will work in the offices in China. The employees are inspectors and senior technical experts in foods, medicines, and medical devices.

Industry Veteran Passes

Frederick S. Wintzer, a fourth generation renderer, passed away on September 23, 2008, at the age of 85.

Wintzer served as president of G.A. Wintzer and Son Co., Wapakoneta, OH, from August 1947 until his retirement in July 1989. Prior to joining the family business, he graduated in absentia from Mount Union College in 1944 while serving on the Destroyer 499 in the Pacific Theater in World War II. Wintzer left the U.S. Naval Reserve in May 1946.

Among his many accomplishments, Wintzer was granted U.S. patent No. 3,207,166 – “Bulk Hauling Vehicle Incorporating Barrel Cleaning Mechanism” – in September 1965, which is still in use today. Three years later, he was granted U.S. patent No. 3,389,795 – “Gas Pressure Tankage Press.”

Wintzer was very active in the community, first being elected as councilman-at-large of the City of Wapakoneta in 1948. He also served as a member of the Board of Education of Wapakoneta City School District in 1955 and 1959, and was elected president of the Auglaize County Regional Planning Commission from 1970 to 1972. In 1966, Wintzer was named Citizen of the Year by the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce, and in 1983, he received the Wapakoneta Education Association Friend of Education Award.

Wintzer is survived by his wife, Mary, four sons – Gus, Christopher, Carl, and James – 12 grandchildren, two great grandchildren, a sister, and numerous other family and friends. Memorial con-tributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church in Wapakoneta, OH, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

International Dairy Group Elects President

Richard Doyle has been elected to a four-year term as president of the International Dairy Federation (IDF), succeeding Jim Begg. Doyle is currently executive director of Dairy Farmers of Canada, an organization that represents the interests of the Canadian dairy producers and the promotion of dairy products and their nutritional benefits.

Doyle has 32 years of experience in the dairy industry and has been actively involved in IDF at national and international levels. The IDF is a source of scientific and technical expertise for all stakeholders in the dairy chain worldwide. It is represented in 56 countries and membership accounts for approximately 85 percent of the world’s milk production at present.

JBS-Swift Settles Odor Issues at Kentucky Plant

JBS-Swift and Company has agreed to pay $47,800 in fines and update its Louisville, KY, rendering operations to reduce odor emissions. The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control Board states in a proposed order that on at least 20 days from February 2006 to December 2007, the plant “emitted or caused to be emitted into the ambient air a substance that created an objectionable odor beyond the company’s property line.” The air board also alleges that the company failed to provide timely notice of excess emissions resulting from an upset of equipment and operated outside its permits.

The order also requires JBS-Swift to complete scrubber and condenser upgrades by February 2009.

Meat Groups Vote in New Officers

In October, both the American Meat Institute (AMI) and National Chicken Council (NCC) voted in new officers at their annual meetings.

Elected as AMI chairman was Rod Brenneman, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Seaboard Foods; vice chairman for 2008-2009 will be Jeffrey Ettinger, chairman of the board, president, and CEO of Hormel Foods Corporation; and treasurer for the next year is Dennis Vignieri, president and CEO of Kenosha Beef International, Ltd.

Serving as AMI secretary is Larry Odom, chairman, CEO, and president of Odom’s Tennessee Pride Sausage, Inc.; and immediate past chairman is David Miniat, president of Ed Miniat, Inc. J. Patrick Boyle was reelected to serve a twentieth year as the institute’s president and CEO.

For the NCC, Michael Roberts, president of the Food Products Business of Perdue Farms, Inc., was installed as chairman, with Thomas Hensley Jr., president of Fieldale Farms, taking office as vice chairman. Bernard Leonard, group vice president of Food Service at Tyson Foods, Inc., was elected secretary-treasurer for the chicken group.

Meeker Elected to USAHA Leadership

Dr. David Meeker, senior vice president of Scientific Services for the National Renderers Association, was elected third vice president of the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) at its 112th meeting in late October. USAHA is an organization of state and federal animal health officials, practicing veterinarians, livestock producers, research scientists, and others concerned with animal health.

Dr. Don Hoenig, state veterinarian for Maine, was elected USAHA president. Other officers announced are Dr. Richard Breitmeyer, state veterinarian for California, president-elect; Dr. Steven Halstead, state veterinarian for Michigan, first vice president; Dr. David T. Marshall, state veterinarian for North Carolina, second vice president; and Dr. William L. Hartmann, state veterinarian for Minnesota, treasurer. James Leafstedt, a pork producer from Alcester, SD, is immediate past president.

Traditionally, an industry represen-tative enters the officer rotation every fifth year. Meeker was nominated with the support of other animal agriculture associations and should advance to president of USAHA in 2013.

Poultry Carcass Disposal Paper Released

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) has released a new issue paper, Poultry Carcass Disposal Options for Routine and Catastrophic Mortality, the second in a three-part series on livestock carcass disposal. Swine Carcass Disposal Options for Routine and Catastrophic Mortality was released in July 2008.

Carcass disposal is one of the major issues that poultry production facilities encounter daily. Effective disposal options are essential, regardless of mortality, and a comprehensive understanding of the wide array of carcass disposal technologies will facilitate the identification and implementation of effective disposal strategies. This CAST issue paper addresses routine disposal practices such as burial, incineration, composting, rendering, and alkaline hydrolysis, as well as strategies for the disposal of catastrophic poultry losses.

The full text of the paper is available free of charge on the CAST Web site at

Smithfield Beef Group Sale Completed

On October 23, 2008, Smithfield Foods, Inc., completed the previously announced sale of Smithfield Beef Group, Inc., its beef processing and cattle feeding operation, to JBS S.A. for $565 million in cash (see “Newsline” in the April 2008 Render).

The sale included 100 percent of Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding, LLC, which previously was in a 50/50 joint venture with Continental Grain Company. Immediately preceding the closing of the JBS transaction, Smithfield Beef acquired Continental Grain’s 50 percent investment in Five Rivers for 2,166,667 shares of Smithfield Foods’ common stock.

Smithfield Foods expects that the net proceeds of the JBS transaction (consisting of $565 million received at closing, plus approximately $150 million in net proceeds from the sale of the retained cattle inventory post-closing after payment of associated debt) will be used primarily for debt reduction.

Stokes Resigns as CEO of Cattlemen

Terry Stokes, chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, (NCBA) will resign his position following the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention, January 31, 2009. He said representing cattlemen and championing their cause has been the greatest honor and the most fulfilling job of his career, but explained it also is all-consuming. Stokes said he is looking forward to spending time with his family and exploring new opportunities.

Stokes joined NCBA in 1996 as chief financial officer and was appointed CEO in 2002. During his tenure as CEO, association revenues grew 41 percent, with membership growing more than 17 percent in the past three years.

A CEO search committee is evaluating applicants, with hopes to have a candidate in place by early 2009.

Washington Beef Settles EPA Violations

Washington Beef, a beef processing facility in Toppenish, WA, will spend at least $115,942 to settle alleged risk management program violations under the federal Clean Air Act.

The Washington Beef facility uses more than 10,000 pounds (lbs.) of anhydrous ammonia for refrigeration purposes. At that level of use, section 112® of the Clean Air Act requires the company to implement a risk management program.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company will pay a penalty of $25,942, and spend at least $90,000 implementing a supplemental environmental project (within a year) that requires the purchase and installation of a new internal ammonia alarm system and related safety equipment. In the event of an ammonia release at the facility, this system is expected to improve both response time and safety for employees, emergency responders, and the local community.

According to legal documents filed with the case, an inspection took place on June 21, 2006, at Washington Beef’s cold storage warehouse in Toppenish, WA, within the Yakama Indian Reservation. Based on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspection and follow-up information provided by the company, EPA determined that Washington Beef failed to comply with several risk management program requirements from at least August 2, 2004, through June 1, 2007. The violations have since been corrected.

USDA Releases Animal Health Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released the 2007 U.S. Animal Health Report, a national overview of domestic animal health in the United States.

The report addresses the many components of the U.S. animal health infrastructure; approaches to animal disease surveillance, control, and eradication; animal population demographics; and new initiatives. In addition, it describes significant epidemiologic events that occurred in 2007.

The report includes a chapter devoted to a number of strategic areas specific to the veterinary services mission, including emergency planning and preparedness; avian influenza surveillance; aquatic health; national animal identification; and comprehensive, integrated animal-health surveillance. The report is available on the APHIS Web site at

Westfalia Opens Western Region Center

GEA Westfalia Separator, Inc., has opened a new, full-service facility in Patterson, CA. The 24,000-square-foot building features a complete shop for repair and service of all clarifiers, separators, and decanters. The building also houses a full parts inventory and training center that will allow demon-strations of both individual machines and complete systems for customers.

According to the company, the $5.5 million facility makes Westfalia Separator the only North American centrifuge supplier to offer both East and West Coast repair shops. The California facility will also serve as home base for the company’s western region sales team. GEA Westfalia Separator, Inc., is the North American subsidiary of GEA Westfalia Separator with headquarters in Oelde, Germany.

People, Places, and – December 2008 RENDER | back