People, Places, & ...

Ameri-Pac Receives AIB Superior Rating

Ameri-Pac has earned a superior rating from AIB International as a result of its recent good manufacturing practices facility audit. The award was for Ameri-Pac’s main production facility in St. Joseph, MO, where it manufactures animal nutrition and veterinary supply products.

AIB was established over 90 years ago to develop production and facility standards for the food industry. Their mission is to lower risks and to strengthen reputations of companies through rigorous inspections, audits, and training. This rating assures Ameri-Pac customers that their products are produced in facilities with the highest standards for cleanliness, food safety, pest management, ingredient storage, and manufacturing integrity. As part of the superior designation, Ameri-Pac and its employees have signed on to make a total commitment to product quality and safety.

Ag Transportation Report Released

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released to Congress a comprehensive report on agricultural transportation in the United States, the first ever of this magnitude. The report, Study of Rural Transportation Issues, was mandated by the 2008 farm bill and covers the four major modes of transportation commonly used by agriculture in the United States – truck, rail, barge, and ocean vessel.

“Agriculture is the largest user of freight transportation in the United States, with 31 percent of all ton-miles recorded in 2007 being used in the movement of agricultural products,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This report provides policymakers the vital information needed to make strategic infrastructure and policy decisions to meet rural America’s transportation needs, now and in the future.”

The report examines some of the major issues facing agricultural transportation, including the dramatic effect of deregulation on the rail industry, a growing gap for funding the inland waterways and highway systems, availability of containers and ocean vessel capacity, and the infrastructure that may be needed to support a projected increase in biofuel transportation.

The report also discusses the current approach to transportation policy in the United States, in which each mode of transportation is often considered separately without an overarching view of the flow of freight through all the modes.

Study of Rural Transportation Issues may be found on the Agricultural Marketing Service Web site at

Animal Health Research Facility Dedicated

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials dedicated the final component of the National Centers for Animal Health (NCAH) in late April. The cutting-edge center provides laboratories, offices, animal space, and administrative space for some of the country’s top animal health scientists and researchers. The dedication marks the completion of a long-term project to consolidate three USDA units previously operated separately at Ames, IA, resulting in better cost savings for U.S. taxpayers and employing about 700 people.

“This new facility will not only save taxpayers money, but will help the men and women who work here in Ames provide the critical advancements needed to maintain the success of the [livestock] industry,” said Vilsack.

The NCAH operates from a single campus with the facility including the National Animal Disease Center, operated by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS); the National Veterinary Services Laboratory; and the Center for Veterinary Biologics, operated by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). All branches contribute to the nation’s livestock industry by conducting research, diagnostics, and training, as well as testing vaccines and evaluating veterinary biological products.

Last year, APHIS and ARS scientists and employees worked around the clock to test the first samples of the H1N1 virus, leading to the important discovery that infected pigs did not have any of the virus in their tissues and confirming the safety of the food supply. The work from ARS and APHIS staff protects food sources for consumers all over the world – and protects public health by minimizing human infectious diseases and food safety pathogens that might be transmitted from animals or their products.

ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of USDA. APHIS is responsible for protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, administering the Animal Welfare Act, and carrying out wildlife damage management activities.

Babcock Wanson Partners with Scan American

Babcock Wanson, LLC, has contracted with Scan American Corporation to represent all its interests in North America. Babcock Wanson, through Scan American, will market, sell, deliver, install, commission, and service deodorative thermal oxidizers and regenerative thermal oxidizers.

Besides deodorizing the airstream, including all foul air, room air, and non-condensables, Babcock Wanson systems eliminate all vapors from the rendering cooking process. Both companies are located in Kansas City, MO.

Baker Commodities Holds Open House

Baker Commodities, Inc., held an open house in April at its Los Angeles, CA, area facilities. More than 200 guests, including Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Vernon city officials, representatives from neighboring businesses, and other dignitaries, attended the event that was held at Baker’s Sierra Pine Avenue offices. The goals behind the open house were to introduce visitors to the company, to explain the role rendering plays in the environment, and to recognize the congresswoman for her consistent support.

Upon arrival, guests mingled and had their pictures taken with the Andreoli collection of rare vintage cars. They also had the opportunity to learn more about the rendering and cold storage industries by viewing various exhibits in the offices. Jim Andreoli Jr. addressed the crowd, sharing the company’s history and its future. He then presented Congresswoman Roybal-Allard with Baker Commodities’ first Excellence in Government Award. Upon her acceptance, she praised the company for its forward-thinking, and the vital role it plays in the community and environment.

Guests then boarded buses and took tours of the Bandini plant, including the laboratory, to see the actual process of manufacturing feeding fats, tallow, and yellow grease.

FSIS Administrator Appointed

Alfred V. Almanza was formally appointed as administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in early May, overseeing the regulation of meat, poultry, and processed egg products. He had been in a limited term appointment as administrator of FSIS since July 2007. Almanza will lead FSIS and its more than 9,500 employees in their mission of protecting public health through food safety.

Almanza’s FSIS career began in 1978 as a food inspector in a small slaughter plant in Dalhart, TX. Since then he has served in a variety of positions throughout the agency, including deputy district manager, labor management relations specialist, and processing inspector. Prior to accepting the administrator position, Almanza was the district manager for the Dallas District where he provided leadership and direction to more than 600 employees located in more than 350 federally inspected establishments.

Kemin China Celebrates Anniversary

Kemin Industries, Inc., celebrated its tenth year of manufacturing premium feed ingredients in China in April with customers and government officials during a technical seminar, tour of the company’s China facilities, and dinner reception.

Kemin’s commitment to the development of China’s feed industry began in 1982 when the company held its first technical seminar in China. The establishment of Kemin China and the Zhuhai manufacturing facility in 2000 has enabled Kemin to better meet the ever-increasing demands for its products and services in the local market.

“The establishment of Kemin China has brought us closer to our customers, increasing the quality of service and customer satisfaction,” says Zhilin Gan, president of Kemin China.

Kemin China recently completed the first phase of a seven-year long facility expansion. The expanded facility nearly doubled the production and storage space, adding 1,924 square meters to the existing facility. When the final expansion is complete in 2015, Kemin China will also have added food grade manufacturing capabilities.

In 2008, the Sanzao Government recognized Kemin China for its contributions to the community by honoring the company with the Prominent Contribution award.

JBS Investing in Odor Improvement

JBS Swift & Company is investing nearly $850,000 to upgrade odor equipment at its Grand Island, NE, rendering and blood-drying facility as part of a $46.4 million three-year improvement plan JBS launched in 2009.

According to reports, JBS will spend $550,000 for a 60,000-square-foot air scrubber, to raise the discharge stacks on all three discharge points to 65 feet above the ground from the current 30 feet, to plumb the non-condensable vapors in the boiler burners (running air back though the boilers), to add scrubbing to the wastewater grease room into the existing room air scrubber, to upgrade the vapor collection equipment to a high-intensity scrubber, and to run an air model to determine the most-effective stack height on all three scrubbers.

The company will spend $296,000 in the dryer room to include installing a wall and new exterior door to enclose the room. A 40,000 cubic feet per minute fan will be added to make up air in the room, which will then be used as combustion air in the bone and blood dryers.

Other capital projects to the Grand Island meatpacking and rendering facility include $1.7 million in wastewater treatment centrifuges added last year, a $5 million wastewater treatment lagoon, an $11.5 million cooler, $6.5 million of upgrades to the fabrication floor, and $3.5 million in rendering cookers.

“We’re putting a lot of capital into this plant,” JBS spokesman Chandler Keys told The Grand Island Independent. “We don’t want this plant to stink.”

“This will more than double the available scrubbers for the rendering side,” commented Public Works Director Steve Riehle.

Keys said the changes are all about a new corporate culture that the JBS owners brought to the plant.

“It’s a commitment of JBS to put money in these plants and make them bigger and better and bring more value,” he stated. “Everybody realizes our responsibility.”

Pilgrim’s Pride to Close Corporate Offices

As part of its continued integration with JBS USA, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation will close its corporate headquarters building in Pittsburg, TX, and a satellite corporate office in Atlanta, GA. Both offices were expected to close by mid-June as most corporate functions are consolidated at JBS USA’s headquarters in Greeley, CO.

Although many Pilgrim’s Pride employees at both corporate offices have been offered positions at other company facilities, the closure of the two offices will lead to the elimination of 158 positions at the Pilgrim’s Pride headquarters in Pittsburg and 55 jobs at the suburban Atlanta office. The company has said it will provide severance benefits, including outplacement assistance, to affected employees.

Nelson Named Chair of ASTM Committee

ASTM International Committee F10 on Livestock, Meat, and Poultry Evaluation Systems has named Mark Nelson, director of commodities at the Kansas Farm Bureau in Manhattan, KS, as its new chairman.

The work of Committee F10 is a high priority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is supported by a wide range of stakeholders to achieve fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat, and poultry industry. A member of ASTM International since 2003, Nelson also serves on five of F10’s eight subcommittees, and he is vice chair of Subcommittee F10.50 on Terminology.

Upon his graduation from Kansas State University where he earned both a bachelor of science and master’s degree in agricultural economics, Nelson accepted the position of Northwest area economist at the university in 1986. He then spent time as a field representative and merchandiser at Northern Sun in Goodland, KS, before assuming his role at the Kansas Farm Bureau in 1997.

Publication Examines Water Availability for Agriculture

With a projected 25 percent and 50 percent increase in U.S. and world populations, respectively, by 2050, substantial increases in freshwater use for food, fiber, and fuel production, as well as municipal and residential consumption, are inevitable. This increased water use will not come without consequences, and as one of the largest users of water in the United States, agriculture will be impacted significantly by changes in water availability and cost.

To evaluate current trends, summarize key vulnerabilities, and identify possible solutions to current and future water challenges, the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) convened a task force of eight scientists, educators, and resource analysts who have prepared a new issue paper, Water, People, and the Future: Water Availability for Agriculture in the United States.

Through case studies, the new CAST publication discusses the diverse demands for water resources using the impacts, regulations, challenges, and policies of four specific areas of the United States – California, Arizona, Florida, and the High Plains – ­with particular focus on the implications for agriculture.

“It is critical that policymakers, water managers, and water users work collaboratively to achieve sustainable water resource management,” says Task Force Chair Sharon Megdal, Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson. “Multiple issues require attention – water quality, environmental water needs, municipal demands for water, water resource availability, agricultural water use – and no issue can be addressed individually. Supplying future water demand requires continued investments and efforts to enhance water use efficiency.”

The full text of Water, People, and the Future: Water Availability for Agriculture in the United States (Issue Paper 44) may be accessed free of charge on the CAST Web site at The paper also is available in hard copy for a shipping/handling fee. CAST is an international consortium of 32 scientific and professional societies.

Robertson Joins Farmers Union

Farmers Union Industries, LLC, Redwood Falls, MN, has hired James Robertson as environmental engineer. He will be responsible for air quality initiatives for all divisions and will assist in other governmental compliance matters. Robertson brings years of experience in air scrubbing and odor compliance issues.

Ranck Elected Chairman of Liquid Environmental

Bruce Ranck has been elected as non-executive chairman of Liquid Environmental Solutions’ Board of Directors. He has been a board member since 2003.

Ranck was chief executive officer (CEO) of Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), the second largest solid waste company in North America, from 1995 through its sale in 1999. Prior to assuming the CEO position, he served in increasingly responsible roles at BFI, including president and chief operating officer. Ranck was elected to the board of BFI in 1990.

After the sale of BFI, Ranck served as chairman and CEO of Tartan Textile Services, a linen management company serving the healthcare and hospitality industries, from 2002 to 2006. He has also served on the board of Furon Company, Chase Bank of Texas, and SITA, a United Kingdom waste services company. Ranck currently serves as a director of Dynamex and Quanta Services.

Sundlof Leaving FDA for Academia

Dr. Stephen Sundlof has stepped down as director of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) to accept a two-year assignment with the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. He has been with FDA for 16 years, including 14 years as director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

Sundlof began his career in 1980 on the faculty of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. His research interests in drug residues in livestock eventually led to interactions with the FDA, first as a member and later as the chair of the FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee. In 1994, he was named the CVM director.

With his return to academia, Sundlof will be starting a new training and development program in regulatory science in conjunction with the University of Minnesota and Ohio State University. He will be designing a curriculum for certification and master degrees drawing from key faculty across three large universities with strong public health programs, and from FDA subject matter experts. The programs will be designed especially for government employees.

Agreeing to serve as acting director of CFSAN is Michael Landa, who has served as deputy director for Regulatory Affairs at CFSAN since 2004 and began his FDA career in 1978 as assistant chief counsel for Enforcement, Medical Devices, and Veterinary Medicine. Roberta Wagner and Donald Kraemer, who have extensive experience at FDA both at headquarters and in the field, will serve as acting deputy directors.

Texas Rendering Plant Emerges

It’s not every day a new rendering plant is built, but Caviness Packing Company has done just that to accommodate its beef processing plant.

Located in the panhandle community of Hereford, TX, the 45,000-square-foot rendering and hide operation features a Dupps continuous rendering system, at the heart of which is a 260U Supercookor, Duske Drying Systems blood drying equipment, and SCP Control air quality equipment, all of which are completely automated. Rendered products offered will be bleachable fancy tallow, meat and bone meal, blood meal, and cattle hides.

Caviness Packing, a family-owned company, has been processing cattle in Texas since 1962. A new beef harvest plant was built in 2005 followed by a boxed beef fabrication facility erected in 2008. Construction of the new rendering plant and equipment installation is being done by Schmeeckle Bros. of Fort Morgan, CO. The plant will employ 10 to 12 people and is scheduled to begin operations mid-June 2010.

Theobald Family Mourns Losses

George Francis Theobald Sr. and George Francis Theobald Jr., father and son, died within weeks of each other, leaving a long-time rendering family to mourn two losses. George Jr. died of cancer-related ailments on March 18, 2010, at the age of 66, and George Sr. died April 22, 2010, at the age of 91. Both men spent much of their lives in the rendering industry.

After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, including on Omaha Beach during the D-Day battle and later in the Battle of the Bulge, George Sr. returned to Kearney, NJ, and joined the family rendering business, Theobald Industries, started by his father, Harry Theobald. In 1959, George Sr. moved to Plantation, FL, to build the southern operations of the family business, Southeast Recycling Company (SERCO) and Florida Transport. He served as president of SERCO until his retirement in 1996.

George Sr. served as chairman of the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation, and was a longstanding board member of the National Renderers Association. He is survived by his second wife, Virginia, three children, a sister, eight grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

George Jr. worked as an executive in the family’s Florida businesses alongside his father. Both men created a working partnership with the government of Jamaica to provide tallow to the country in the late 1970s and 1980s. They also worked with scientist Ilonna Taussky, a member of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, on tallow filtering techniques, and the Florida government to establish environmental regulations for food establishments, wholesalers, and butcher-type markets to ensure animal by-products are collected and processed in industrial rendering plants.

George Jr. is survived by two children, a sister, two brothers, five grandchildren, and numerous other family and friends.

Washington Beef to Pay Penalty for Violations

In an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington Beef, LLC, will pay a $750,000 civil penalty and install several pieces of new wastewater treatment equipment to resolve allegations that it violated its permit for discharge of treated water under the Clean Water Act. EPA estimates the new equipment cost to be approximately $3 million.

According to a complaint filed with the settlement agreement in federal court in Spokane, WA, Washington Beef violated the Clean Water Act on numerous occasions from 2003 to 2009. EPA alleges that the company discharged partially-treated slaughterhouse wastes into the Spencer Lateral and Wanity Slough, nearby waterways, without a permit for an extended period, and that it also exceeded the level of pollutants allowed by its permit on numerous occasions. EPA stated that the company has recently obtained a permit for all of its discharges, and is currently meeting its permit limits.

Washington Beef states the permit issues were reported to EPA when they occurred at its Toppenish, WA, facility.

“The water was processed through the treatment facility and had no detrimental water quality impacts to either Wanity Slough or the irrigation system,” said Rick Stott, executive vice president, Washington Beef. “The water was for the beneficial use of the local farmers.”

According to Washington Beef, historically, this water was managed through an innovative constructed wetlands system in cooperation with the Yakama Nation and the Wapato Irrigation District. During the last 10 years, Washington Beef’s wastewater permit was administratively extended and the company actively petitioned EPA to establish new permit standards and incorporate the existing cooperative agreement.

Since the 2003 purchase of Washington Beef by AgriBeef Co., a privately held corporation based in Boise, ID, the company has actively pursued the discharge permit renewal, which would allow Washington Beef to significantly upgrade the water treatment system. Upon receiving the renewed permit in February 2010, the company began construction of the system.

“Now that the EPA has issued a permit renewal and this enforcement action has been settled, Washington Beef has moved forward with investments in the state-of-the-art water treatment system we envisioned several years ago,” Stott stated. “These investments are part of Washington Beef’s environmental initiatives as the company continues to be on the forefront of green technology.”

People, Places, &… – June 2010 RENDER | back