People, Places, & ...

Cattlemen Elect Officers

Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) voted on new leadership for 2010 at the industry’s annual convention in late January.

Steve Foglesong, owner of Black Gold Ranch in Illinois, was elected to succeed Gary Voogt as NCBA president. Bill Donald of Montana was confirmed as president-elect, and J.D. Alexander of Nebraska was elected vice president. Other newly-elected officers include Scott George, Wyoming, federation division chairman; David Dick, Missouri, federation division vice chairman; Bruce Hafenfeld, California, policy division chairman; and Bob McCann, Texas, policy division vice chairman.

JBS Completes Australian Acquisition

JBS S.A., has completed the purchase of Australian lamb processor Tatiara Meat Company following approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. JBS paid approximately $27 million (U.S.) for the company that has an annual revenue of just under $200 million. reports that the purchase makes JBS’s Swift Australia unit the largest lamb processor in that country, with a total slaughtering capacity of 24,500 head per day.

John Morrell Closes Plant

John Morrell and Co., a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc., will permanently close its hog processing and fresh meat fabrication plant located in Sioux City, IA, effective April 20, 2010. The plant processes hogs and produces boneless loins and other fresh pork products and is one of the company’s oldest, most outdated, and least efficient plants.

The plant closure will affect approximately 1,450 employees. Three other Smithfield plants – located in Sioux Falls, SD, Denison, IA, and Crete, NE – have the capacity to partially absorb the number of hogs that are currently being processed at Sioux City with no additional employees required. The company stated it will honor all production contracts at Sioux City and has no further plans for plant closures in the foreseeable future.

Jury Awards Millions over Hog Farm Odors

According to news sources, more than $11 million has been awarded by a jury to 15 plaintiffs from seven different families in a lawsuit over the odors from a Premium Standard Farms hog operation in northern Missouri. The awards included $825,000 for each of 13 plaintiffs, with a 14th plaintiff awarded $250,000, and the 15th given $75,000.

Premium Standard Farms, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, produces about 200,000 hogs a year at the operation 80 miles north of Kansas City, MO.

Plaintiffs in the case complained they couldn’t enjoy their property because of the smells, while the hog processor argued the smells are a normal part of life in an agricultural area. In a statement issued in response to the jury’s verdict, Premium Standard Farms said, “We are obviously disappointed in today’s verdict; however, we believe that there are substantial grounds for reversal on appeal.

“While the jury tried its best, it was inevitable that this ‘gang trial’ would result in a ‘gang verdict,’” the company went on to say. “We will ask the appellate court to require that each family’s claim against a specific farm be litigated separately. This is the only way the parties can be assured of a fair trial.”

While Premium Standard Farms said it was disappointed the jury awarded compensatory damages, it was pleased the jury found no grounds for punitive damages.

“We believe that the verdict indicates recognition on the part of the jury of the substantial efforts we have made toward odor abatement,” the statement said. “In light of this decision and in view of the continuing hostile environment toward live hog production, we have serious concerns whether we will ever make any future investments in the state of Missouri. It threatens the viability of the Missouri farm economy when a farm that has been granted a permit to operate by the state, and is in compliance with the permit and state and federal regulations, can be held liable for such damages.”

Meat Association Names Leadership

At its annual meeting in February, the National Meat Association Board of Directors elected new officers to serve for the year beginning July 1, 2010.

Bob Jensen, Jensen Meats, will serve as board chairman; Robert Rebholtz, AgriBeef, was elected president, and Larry Vad, Ideal Meats, was chosen as vice president. Also elected were Marty Evanson, Jobbers Packing, secretary; Mike Hesse, BPI, treasurer; and Brian Coelho, Central Valley Meats, as director at large.

Neece to Oversee New Division at Farmers Union

Farmers Union Industries, LLC, Redwood Falls, MN, has appointed Charles Neece as director of Regulatory Compliance and Energy, a new division that will have oversight on all governmental regulations and compliance that have an impact on Farmers Union Industries’ diversified companies. The division will also have responsibility for the company’s energy programs and its renewable energy initiatives.

Northland Choice Completes Audits

Northland Choice, headquartered in Redwood Falls, MN, successfully completed its first ever AIB International audits in November and December 2009. The third-party prerequisite and food safety inspection audits ensure the products Northland Choice produces and distributes to pet food manufacturers are safe, and included review of the company’s operational methods and personnel practices, maintenance for food safety, cleaning practices, and integrated pest management program.

Northland Choice operates three plants, located in Redwood Falls, Long Prairie, and Waite Park, MN. All three achieved a score of 800 and higher. Northland Choice produces high quality frozen and fresh chilled poultry ingredients for the pet food industry.

Poultry and Egg Group Names New Chairman

Steve Willardsen, Cargill Value Added Meats, Wichita, KS, was elected chairman of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association Board of Directors at its meeting during the 2010 International Poultry Expo in late January. He has served on the board of directors since 2001. A graduate of Utah State University with a degree in agribusiness, Willardsen has been in the poultry industry for more than 26 years. 

Gary Cooper, Cooper Farms, Oakwood, OH, was elected vice chairman. He began his career more than 30 years ago at family-owned Cooper Farms. Mark Waller, Ingram Farms, Cullman, AL, is the association’s new treasurer, and James Adams, Wenger’s Feed Mill, Rheems, PA, was named secretary.

Redwood Metal Works has New Manager

Chett Bisel has been promoted to manager of Redwood Metal Works and Artex by Redwood Metal Works. He has been with the company since April 2008 as design technician, and was previously employed by Coleman Powermate as a designer.

Redwood Metal Works designs and manufactures aluminum trailers for the rendering industry and commercial manure and silage handling equipment. The company also manufactures and sells the Rayco emulsifier, and services parts for the Rayco line.

Sanimax Launches Spanish Web Site

Canadian renderer Sanimax has launched a Spanish version of its Web site to better serve its expanding Spanish-speaking market in Latin America, Europe, as well as a substantial Hispanic population in North America. The company also has an English and French version of its site.

The privately held company has 15 locations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, providing agriculture and animal nutrition products, hides and skins, collection and maintenance services for the food industry, and renewable fuels made from bio-based feedstocks.

Smithfield Appoints Chief Sustainability Officer

Smithfield Foods, Inc., has promoted Dennis H. Treacy to senior vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer as part of the company’s long-term focus on corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Treacy joined Smithfield Foods in 2002 and last served as vice president, environmental and corporate affairs.

“Our business has become much more complex as we confront increasing government regulation and rising public and customer awareness of corporate social responsibility practices and sustainability,” said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer. “We understand that our long-term success directly correlates with our ability to effectively address these factors and that these programs must be managed from a senior level within our organization. The appointment of Mr. Treacy to this new role demonstrates our continuing commitment to operate our company in a socially responsible and sustainable way.”

Prior to 2002, Treacy served as director of Virginia’s department of environmental quality, held several positions in the private sector, and also served as assistant attorney general in the natural resources section of the Virginia attorney general’s office.

University Celebrates 40 Years of Fish Research

The University of Guelph Fish Nutrition Research Laboratory in Canada is celebrating 40 years of service and has redesigned its Web site for the occasion. Information on the history of the laboratory, its personnel, current research projects, links to technical documents and presentations, and recent publications have all been updated on the new site at

Among the many new features are two databases available for consultation. One regroups close to 500 references on the use of animal protein ingredients in aquaculture feeds while the other contains about 500 references on the use of plant protein ingredients in aquaculture feeds. Development of these databases was funded by the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation, and the United Soybean Board Checkoff program.

People, Places, & – April 2010 RENDER | back