People, Places, & ...

Ameri-Pac Expands Production Capacity

Ameri-Pac, Inc., has completed a new production facility directly adjacent to their original headquarters building in St. Joseph, MO. The new plant adds 20,000 square feet of additional manufacturing floor space, increasing capacity and production efficiency. Dry blending equipment has been moved to the new location, and a new blender increases daily dry blending capacity by 80 percent. The additional space also creates more storage capacity of at least 500,000 pounds of ingredients and finished goods.

Formed in 1985, Ameri-Pac manufactures a number of nutritional and additive products, and provides blending services to the animal feed industry. The company currently operates two manufacturing facilities in St. Joseph and employs approximately 50 people.

Anco-Eaglin to Sell Wastewater Systems

Anco-Eaglin, Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of rendering equipment, has been named the exclusive Redox sales representative for North America.

Redox Water Technology B.V., a Netherlands-based firm that has been manufacturing wastewater treatment systems since 1989, specializes in a wide range of separation systems for the meat, dairy, fish, and brewery industries as well as paper, petrochemical, and textile industries. The company has several new technologies that increase treatment capacities with less required space, and is a world leader on sludge fat recovery systems.

“This partnership between Anco and Redox will allow for us to provide alternative wastewater solutions to the North American meat industry,” said Brian Eaglin of Anco. “We have worked with Redox on many international projects, and their knowledge of the wastewater industry, especially effluents containing high BODs [biological oxygen demand] and suspended solids, has provided numerous solutions internationally. We hope that this partnership will provide substantial improvement to the current wastewater industry in North America, too.”

AOCS Celebrating 100th Anniversary, Names Award Recipient

The American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) will celebrate its centennial during its 100th annual meeting May 3-6, 2009, in Orlando, FL. AOCS is an international professional society with more than 4,000 members in industry, government, and academia who are involved with fats, oils, surfactants, detergents, and related materials. It has members in more than 80 countries and is headquartered in Urbana, IL.

In 1909, nine cottonseed industry analysts meeting in Memphis, TN, agreed to form a new organization to propose standard analytical methods for that industry. Today, AOCS analytical methods are used worldwide to assure quality in the international trade of oilseeds, fats, oils, and other materials. The society publishes a book of methods, two scientific journals, two news magazines, as well as scientific monographs. Since 1976, it has sponsored a series of international conferences in Europe, Asia, and South America.

In a separate announcement, Thomas A. Foglia, collaborator, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, will receive the 2009 Supelco/Nicholas Pelick-AOCS Research Award at the society’s annual meeting. The award recognizes outstanding original research in fats, oils, lipid chemistry, or biochemistry and is presented in the form of a plaque, an honorarium of $10,000, and travel expenses to the meeting.

Foglia is an internationally known scientist in lipids research and has been a contributor on numerous projects for the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation. He is a leader in the enzymatic modification of lipids to add value to agricultural raw materials for food and non-food use. Foglia’s methods on the enzymatic production of biodiesel, structured lipids, and oxygenated fatty acids have greatly contributed to the advancement of fats and oils research.

Cargill to Build Feed Mill

Cargill has moved forward on building a new 120,000 tons per year manufacturing plant in Casa Grande, AZ, that will produce feed for dairy, beef, farm-animal, birdseed, and show-animal customers. In late 2006, Cargill acquired Eagle Milling’s Casa Grande-based feed mill, pet and animal wholesale products business, and committed to constructing a new mill as the enterprise grew. Construction of the new mill began this past fall, with feed production scheduled to begin in early 2010.

The mill serves customers throughout Arizona, Southern California, and western New Mexico.

Cattlemen Elect New Officers

Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) have elected Gary Voogt of Michigan as president for the coming year. He succeeds Andy Groseta. Members also voted Steve Fogelsong of Illinois as NCBA president-elect, and Bill Donald of Montana as vice president.

Feed Group Forms International Alliance

Representatives of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and FEFANA, the Feed Additives and Premixtures Association of the European Union (EU), signed an agreement in late January 2009 that will permit auditors of AFIA’s third-party certification program, Safe Feed/Safe Food, to inspect U.S. manufacturers for compliance with European feed hygiene and ingredient standards. The agreement will facilitate U.S. trade with European feed and ingredient customers.

Specifically, the agreement will allow the European Feed Additives and Premixtures-Quality System, or FAMI-QS, which is FEFANA’s version of AFIA’S Safe Feed/Safe Food program, to train Facility Certification Institute (FCI) auditors, per FAMI-QS requirements. AFIA agreed to grant reciprocity for firms in FAMI-QS since the program has the same components as AFIA’s program. The key difference between the two programs is FAMI-QS’ recognition of EU Regulation (EC) 183/2005, which requires hazard analysis and critical control point principles be implemented in feed and feed ingredient facilities.

FEFANA submitted a guide to good practice in accordance with regulation 183/2005, and the European Commission recognizes these good practices for the industry. The guide illustrates how the industry may comply with the feed hygiene regulation. AFIA’s agreement will enable FCI auditors to verify compliance with the EU regulation. According to AFIA, no government body will inspect and verify a firm’s compliance with this regulation, leaving exporters to rely on valid third-party certification systems.

JBS Terminates Purchase of National Beef

JBS S.A. terminated the acquisition of National Beef Packing Company, LLC, effective February 23, 2009. All related litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice will also be terminated.

JBS announced the acquisition of National Beef on March 4, 2008. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a suit to block the deal on October 20, 2008, on competition grounds. JBS attempted to find a solution with the parties involved, but in the absence of satisfactory conditions decided not to follow through with the acquisition.

JBS will continue to pursue further efficiencies at all its other units within the United States, totaling eight cattle slaughter plants with a daily capacity of 28,100 head, three pork slaughter plants with a daily capacity of 47,900 head, a case-ready plant, and a lamb slaughter plant as well as related operations in Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Brazil where the headquarters are located. The company also operates 11 cattle feed yards in six different U.S. states.

National Beef Buys Tanning Business

National Beef Leathers, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Beef Packing Company, LLC, has entered into an agreement to acquire certain assets and assume certain liabilities of Prime Tanning Corporation, located in St. Joseph, MO. The purchase enables National Beef to expand into wet blue tanning. The facility will process hides from the company’s beef processing facilities.

New Animal Disease Facility Site Announced

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Science and Technology Directorate has selected Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, as the site for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a state-of the-art, high-security laboratory facility to study foreign animal and zoonotic (transferable from animal to human) diseases that can impact livestock.

Facility design will begin this year with plans for construction to start in 2010 and be operational by 2015. The new $450 million NBAF will replace the current 24-acre facility at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York, which is currently the only facility in the United States that studies the live virus that causes foot and mouth disease. The facility has served the nation for over 50 years, but is not appropriate for zoonotic disease research that must be conducted at Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4).  There is currently no laboratory facility in the country with capabilities for BSL-4 research on large livestock. The Plum Island disease center will be closed once the NBAF is fully operational, and DHS will evaluate options in the coming months for transitioning the Plum Island facility and its future use.

The decision is based on the information and analysis in the NBAF Final Environmental Impact Statement, including public comments, as well as other appropriate factors such as site evaluation criteria, a threat and risk assessment, costs, security, and other programmatic requirements.

Further details on the proposed NBAF and the site selection process, including all related documents, are available at

Pilgrim’s Pride Idles Chicken Plants

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation will idle three of its 32 U.S. chicken processing plants by mid-May as part of its reorganization, reducing the total pounds of chicken produced by the company by nine to 10 percent.

The plants to be idled are located in Douglas, GA; El Dorado, AR; and Farmerville, LA, and employ a total of approximately 3,000 people, roughly seven percent of the company’s total U.S. workforce. About 430 independent contract growers who supply birds to these facilities will also be affected.

Pilgrim’s Pride expects to generate annualized net savings of approximately $110 million from idling the three plants.

Poultry Group Elects Officers

Monty Henderson, George’s, Inc., has been elected chairman of the board of directors of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association. He had previously served as vice chairman.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness, Henderson began his poultry career as a broiler service manager with Tyson Foods. He later was broiler grow-out manager with Campbell Soup Company, then moved on to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation where he was live production manager and senior vice president, and subsequently president and chief operating officer. In 1994, Henderson joined George’s where he currently serves as president and chief operating officer.

Other U.S. Poultry officers elected were Steve Willardsen, Cargill Value Added Meats, as vice chairman; Gary Cooper, Cooper Farms, as treasurer; and Mark Waller, Ingram Farms, was named to the executive committee and elected secretary. Bill Bradley, CCF Brands, became immediate past chairman.

Ruminant Carcass Disposal Paper Released

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) has released a new issue paper, Ruminant Carcass Disposal Options for Routine and Catastrophic Mortality, the third in a CAST three-paper series on poultry and livestock carcass disposal. The new paper was presented at the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show in late January.

Whether by accidental disease entry, the weather, or an act of bioterrorism, widespread livestock deaths pose daunting carcass disposal challenges that, if not met quickly and effectively, can spiral into major food security problems and result in devastating economic losses and environmental consequences.

When producers decide which carcass disposal method to use, they must consider the number of mortalities, the cause of death and whether infectious agents are involved, environmental implications, regulatory requirements, operational costs, and efficiency. This issue paper provides a comprehensive summary of the scientific, technical, and social aspects of various ruminant carcass disposal technologies using information gleaned from a Kansas State University comprehensive report. The authors discuss the predominant methods of mortality disposal in commercial ruminant production, including burial and landfill, rendering, composting, incineration, and alkaline hydrolysis. The paper includes an appendix that addresses special considerations for material potentially infected with diseases.

Dr. David Meeker, National Renderers Association, is one of six authors of the paper, and Dr. Ross Hamilton, Darling International, was a reviewer. The full text of the paper is available free of charge on the CAST Web site at

Smithfield Reorganizes Pork Group

Smithfield Foods, Inc., will con-solidate and streamline the corporate structure and manufacturing operations of its pork group, resulting in an annual cost savings of approximately $55 million in fiscal year 2010 and $125 million by fiscal year 2011. As part of the plan, the company will consolidate several business units and close six plants, transferring production to more efficient facilities.

The consolidation includes combining four existing companies under the various business units of The Smithfield Packing Company, Inc., John Morrell & Co., and Farmland Foods, Inc.

John Morrell and Farmland Foods will merge their respective fresh pork sales groups. Some employees of John Morrell will be offered positions at Farmland Foods in Kansas City, MO, or elsewhere within Smithfield.

Patrick Cudahy, Inc., and Carando Foods, currently a unit of Farmland Foods, will become part of the John Morrell group, and North Side Foods Corporation will become part of Farmland Foods. Plant employees will not be impacted at this time.

Cumberland Gap Provision Company, a unit of the John Morrell Group, will become part of The Smithfield Packing Company. Production from other Smithfield Packing facilities will be transferred to Cumberland Gap and employment there is expected to increase over time.

As for plant closures, the Smithfield Packing South facility in Smithfield, VA, will close in December 2009 with case ready fresh pork production moved to the adjacent Smithfield North plant and a North Carolina facility. Of the 1,375 Smithfield South employees, 1,035 will be offered transfers.

A Plant City, FL, facility producing packaged meats will close in September, affecting 760 employees. A number of salaried employees will be offered transfers. The Smithfield Packing plant in Elon, NC, will close late in the summer and country ham production there will cease, affecting about 160 employees.

A John Morrell plant in Great Bend, KS, with 275 employees will close in July, and Farmland Foods will close its New Riegel, OH, plant in April affecting 230 employees. Some salaried employees will be offered transfers.

An Armour-Eckrich Meats, LLC, packaged meats plant in Hastings, NE, will close in July and affect 370 employees.

UK Renderers Restructure

The United Kingdom Renderers’ Association (UKRA) is restructuring management operations in order to better serve the needs of its members and food-chain partners.

Among changes to its operating structure is the establishment of a core team with the technical competency to represent renderers’ role in the meat production chain and its work to add value to meat industry by-products.

“By restructuring UKRA operations, the association can continue to drive change within the industry, securing new markets for processed animal protein and new uses for by-products, and engaging in debate on biofuels and the uses of tallow,” said Stephen Woodgate, a long-serving UKRA technical advisor and consultant on rendering issues through-out Europe and the United States.

Tyson and XL Foods Complete Lakeside Sale

Tyson Foods, Inc., completed the sale of Lakeside Farm Industries, Inc., to XL Foods, Inc., in mid-March. The transaction was first announced in June 2008 and means Tyson will no longer own a beef plant in Canada. However, the company intends to continue buying Canadian cattle to supply some of its U.S. beef operations, such as its complex in Pasco, WA.

Lakeside Farm Industries, based in Brooks, AB, Canada, is a diversified agribusiness involved in cattle feeding, slaughtering, and processing, as well as retail fertilizer production and farming. The Lakeside beef plant currently has the capacity to slaughter and process 4,700 cattle per day.

XL Foods is the largest Canadian owned and operated beef processor in Canada. It is part of the Nilsson Bros. Group of companies, which is a diverse agri-business involved in all facets of beef and cattle production, marketing, and processing. XL Foods operates facilities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nebraska, and Idaho.

Veterinarian Workforce Report Released

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report on the actions needed to ensure sufficient veterinarian capacity within the federal government to protect the country’s public and animal health. Current and future shortages, as well as noncompetitive salaries, are among the concerns cited by government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and Agricultural Research Service (ARS). GAO’s analysis revealed that 27 percent of the veterinarians at APHIS, FSIS, ARS, the Department of Defense’s Army, and the Food and Drug Administration will be eligible to retire within three years.

The GAO report states that veterinarians are essential for controlling zoonotic diseases such as avian influenza, but that there is a growing national shortage of veterinarians. The agency goes on to state that the federal government lacks a comprehensive understanding of the sufficiency of its veterinarian workforce and that there is no government-wide effort to search for shared solutions, even though 16 of the 24 federal entities that employ veterinarians raised concerns about the sufficiency of this workforce.

The report prompted a hearing on February 26, 2009, by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs where several veterinarian groups testified about the critical shortage of federal veterinarians and the need for incentives in order to retain and recruit veterinarians. The senators directed the federal agencies to develop a plan that will correct this “crisis.” GAO included nine recommendations for federal agencies in its report, which is available at

April 2009 RENDER | back