People, Places & ...

Asia Regional Director for NRA Hired

The National Renderers Association (NRA) has appointed Dr. Peng Li as the director, Asia region, for the organization. He is originally from the city of Harbin in the province of Heilongjiang in Northern China.

Li earned a PhD in nutrition from Texas A&M University where he was a recipient of the Distinguished Doctoral Research Award, the highest student award at Texas A&M. Prior to receiving his doctorate, he worked for various research centers in China and earned his bachelor degree in aquaculture from the College of Fisheries Science, Ocean University of China.

Li’s academic background has focused on the disciplines of aquaculture nutrition, swine nutrition, and amino acid physiology. He has established himself as an expert in aquaculture nutrition, especially in the area of protein, amino acid nutrition, and aquafeed additive research, and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers on the subjects.

“Rendered animal products are the most undervalued feed ingredients in the Asian feed ingredient market,” said Li. He began his employment with NRA on January 2, 2009, followed by a week of visits to NRA member companies before reporting to NRA’s regional office in Hong Kong on January 13, 2009.

Cargill Plant Named Feed Mill of the Year

The Cargill Animal Nutrition plant in Martinsburg, PA, has been named 2008 Feed Mill of the Year by the American Feed Industry Association and Feedstuffs. The award recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations.

The Cargill plant is located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s dairy country and exclusively manufactures dairy feed.

The runner-up feed mill is Ridley, Inc.’s, plant in Beloit, KS, which is a large manufacturer of feed for show animals.

Change of Leadership at Sanimax

Martin Couture, chief operating officer, Sanimax, Montreal, QB, Canada, has been appointed president and chief executive officer (CEO) following the retirement of Michael Langenhorst in early December 2008.

“We wish Martin the best of luck in his new role as CEO and are certain that he will provide strong leadership to the enterprise in these challenging economic times,” said Andre Couture, chairman, Sanimax.

Since the merger of Sanimal, Anamax, based in Green Bay, WI, and Bi-pro Marketing, Ltd., in early 2005, Langenhorst has played a key role in the integration of the three organizations.

“Mike has contributed to the development of Sanimax and the entire industry and we sincerely thank him for the work he has accomplished and wish him much success in his retirement,” remarked Andre Couture.

Cattle Group Names Roberts to Lead

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has selected Forrest L. Roberts as its next chief executive officer. He began his new endeavor on January 20, 2009.

Roberts grew up on a family-owned, diversified livestock operation in Uvalde, TX. He worked side-by-side with his family when the operation expanded to include a retail meat market for beef and pork. Forrest earned a bachelor of science degree from Texas A&M University, and a master’s from the University of North Carolina.

Roberts has held several marketing and sales positions in two animal health companies. He began with Upjohn Animal Health in 1992, remaining with the company through two mergers. In 2004, he joined Elanco Animal Health where he most recently served as the marketing manager for Elanco’s beef business unit. Roberts has served in several volunteer positions at NCBA, including as a member of the group’s executive committee, board of directors, Allied Industry Council, Long-Range Planning Committee, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation Board of Trustees.

Roberts was chosen from over 70 applicants to fill the position vacated by the resignation of Terry Stokes, who had been with NCBA since 1996.

Reno Rendering Recovers from Fire

Reno Rendering, a subsidiary of Sacramento Rendering Company, Sacramento, CA, is now fully operational after suffering a fire in June 2007 that destroyed 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 customers in Reno and Northern Nevada while it rebuilt the facility.

Pilgrim’s Pride Names President and CEO

Don Jackson has been named president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, subject to approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas. The company filed for Chapter 11 on December 1, 2008. Operations in Mexico and certain operations in the United States were not included in the bankruptcy filing and continue to operate as usual outside of the Chapter 11 process.

Jackson has been president of Foster Farms’ poultry division, based in Livingston, CA, since 2000. Prior to that, he served as executive vice president for foodservice of the former ConAgra Poultry Company in Duluth, GA. Before that he worked 22 years for Seaboard Farms, Athens, GA, including four years as president and CEO of the company’s poultry division. Jackson received his bachelor of science degree from Arizona State University and his master’s and PhD degrees from Colorado State University.

Pilgrim’s Pride Board of Directors Chairman Lonnie Ken Pilgrim will serve as interim president until Jackson’s employment is approved by the bankruptcy court.

Trone Retires from Onken

In January, John Trone retired from Onken, Inc., after 19 years of service to the container and trailer manufacturer.

In June 1990, Trone came to work for Onken in sales with customer service as his top priority. When asked what he’ll miss most after retirement, he commented, “The relationships with the customers. There are a lot of great people in this industry.” Trone and his wife, Leslie, plan to travel the United States and make their part-time hobby of real estate in the Southwest more full-time.

David Hull succeeds Trone in the sales department at Onken.

Tyson Pleads Guilty in Worker Death Case and Searches for New CEO

Dick Bond, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Tyson Foods, Inc., resigned from the company on January 5, 2009. Leland Tollett, former chairman and CEO of Tyson, agreed to return to his former positions at the company on an interim basis until a permanent successor has been chosen.

“After seven years of helping lead or leading the world’s largest meat company, I have decided it is in both my best interest personally and the best interest of the company for me to move on and pursue other interests,” Bond said. “I have a lot of both my time and personal finances invested in Tyson Foods, so I wish the company all the best for future success.”

Additionally, Donnie Smith, longtime Tyson executive, has been named senior group vice president of Poultry and Prepared Foods, and will have overall responsibility for those divisions of the company.

On January 6, 2009, Tyson Foods, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Arkansas and agreed to pay $500,000 in fines, the maximum criminal penalty, for willfully violating worker safety regulations that led to a worker’s death in its River Valley Animal Foods (RVAF) plant in Texarkana, AR. Per a plea agreement, Tyson Foods will also serve one year probation.

According to information filed along with the plea agreement, Tyson operated several RVAF plants that recycled poultry products into protein and fats for the animal food industry. As part of the rendering process in four of the plants, the company used high-pressure steam processors, or hydrolyzers, to convert the poultry feathers into feather meal.

Decomposition of biological material such as poultry feathers produces hydrogen sulfide gas, an acute-acting toxic substance. Employees at the Tyson facilities often were exposed to the toxic gas when working on or near the hydrolyzers, which required frequent adjustment and replacement.

As of October 2003, corporate safety and regional management were aware that hydrogen sulfide gas was present in the RVAF facilities and three of the four facilities with hydrolizers had taken measures to protect employees from the toxic gas near the equipment. However, Tyson Foods did not take sufficient steps to implement controls or protective equipment to reduce exposure within prescribed limits or provide effective training to employees on hydrogen sulfide gas at the Texarkana facility despite an identical exposure resulting in hydrogen sulfide poisoning of an RVAF Texarkana employee in March 2002.

As a result, at approximately 1:00 a.m. on October 10, 2003, RVAF maintenance employee Jason Kelley was overcome with hydrogen sulfide gas while repairing a leak from a hydrolyzer and later died. Another employee and two emergency responders were hospitalized due to exposure during the rescue attempt. Two employees also were treated at the scene.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires that employers furnish places of employment free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. This includes taking steps to ensure that employee exposure to dangerous substances such as hydrogen sulfide gas remains within prescribed limits. Tyson Foods pleaded guilty to a “willful violation of an OSHA standard resulting in the death of an employee,” the most serious offense available.

February 2009 RENDER | back