People, Places, & ...

Caito Family Mourns Loss

Long-time seafood processor John Antone Caito passed away peacefully at his home on August 14, 2010, surrounded by his family. He was 83 years old.

Caito enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944. After serving in the Navy, he joined his father at Noyo River Fish Company in Fort Bragg, CA. Working closely with his father for 10 years, Caito and his family opened Del Monte Fishing Company in Richmond, CA, which was the last commercial whaling station in the United States. With the success of the whaling business, Caito and his family then opened and operated Pacific Rendering Company along with the Martinelli family. During that time, he was secretary/treasurer of Western California Fish Company with his father and uncles.

In 1975, Caito and his three sons opened Caito Fisheries, Inc., at the same location as Noyo River Fish Company. During his career, he also worked with Modesto Tallow Company, served as president of the Pacific Coast Renderers Association from 1970 to 1972, and was co-founder of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association.

Caito is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mable, children Joe, Jim, Jeanette, and John, nine grandchildren, and a great grandson.

California Veterinarian Retires

California State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer retired September 30, 2010, after 26 years at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

“Dr. Breitmeyer leaves state service as one of the most respected animal health authorities in the nation,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “His leadership in public policy is highly valued by governments and veterinary organizations alike. I want to thank him for his tireless commitment to public service. We owe him a monumental debt of gratitude.”

Breitmeyer joined CDFA in 1984 as a veterinary medical officer and has served as state veterinarian since 1993. In that role, Breitmeyer served at the executive level as California’s state, national, and international representative on all animal health issues affecting California and the nation, and was the principal advisor to the agriculture secretary for all food safety and animal health issues affecting California. Among Breitmeyer’s national leadership positions is a current term as president of the United States Animal Health Association.

Dr. Annette Whiteford has been named to replace Breitmeyer as state veterinarian. She has been with CDFA since 2001 and has served as director of the division of Animal Health and Food Safety Services since 2004. In 2002/2003, Whiteford served as area and incident commander for California’s successful fight to eradicate exotic Newcastle disease. The response involved multiple local, state, and federal agencies with up to 1,500 people on the ground at one time. She will assume the duties of state veterinarian while retaining the director position.

Whiteford received her veterinary degree in 1998 from the University of California Davis and spent three years in private practice before joining the CDFA. She also spent eight years working for business firms in the private sector before choosing to enter veterinary school.

Cargill to Rebuild Pennsylvania Feed Facility

Cargill will rebuild its feed mill in Chambersburg, PA, that was destroyed by a fire on February 12, 2010. The mill, known as the Letterkenny Feed Depot, burned to the ground in the early morning hours that day. According to Cargill officials, the rebuild will include many upgrades to the mill’s capabilities.

“While the physical damage to our Letterkenny mill last winter was severe, the event could not dissuade us from recognizing the tremendous loyalty shown by regional livestock producers for our products since the fire,” said Rob Sheffer, regional general manager for Cargill Animal Nutrition. He noted that in spite of the fire, Cargill has maintained its entire customer base by providing service to Letterkenny customers via its other production facilities in Lebanon and Martinsburg, PA.

Construction of the new mill was to commence in September, with feed manufacturing production going online by next spring. The new mill will possess an annual production capacity in excess of 100,000 tons and be equipped with upgraded features, including a computerized batch-mixing system, and fully automated grinding and receiving systems. The facility also will have one of the most advanced short-mixing systems in the industry, featuring a computerized bar coding approach that tracks micro-ingredient levels used in preparing feed formulations.

Dorada Poultry to Occupy Old Tyson Plant

Dorada Poultry of Oklahoma City, OK, plans to occupy the former 180,000-square-foot Tyson Foods facility located in Ponca City, OK. The plant, which is scheduled to become operational in mid-2011, will provide chicken products to McDonald’s restaurants and is expected to employ approximately 350 employees, five days per week, 24 hours a day.

Dorada Poultry is a joint venture between the principals of Lopez Foods, Inc., of Oklahoma City, OK, the nation’s largest Hispanic-owned meat manufacturing company, and Tyson Foods, Inc., of Springdale, AR, one of the world’s largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef, and pork products.

An economic impact model developed by the Ponca City Development Authority forecasts the Dorada Poultry plant will contribute $217 million to the Ponca City community over the next 10 years.

Foster Farms Expanding Rendering Plant

Foster Farms in Livingston, CA, has received approval from the city council to expand its rendering operations. The company will take an existing 6,300-square-foot building that is currently empty, expand it by 2,500 square feet, and install a continuous meat cooker for rendering offal. The plant should be completed within a year.

“This will be a fully enclosed, state-of-the-art project,” Foster Farms’ Director of Environmental Affairs Jim Marnatti told city officials when concerns were raised about an increase in odor. “It is not anticipated through any reviews to have any significant impact on odor or on the environment in any fashion.”

Features that make the expansion state-of-the-art include emissions control, a negative air system, scrubber systems on the roof, and a high-intensity odor control system that is 99 percent effective in controlling emissions going through it. Marnatti added that no material will be exposed to the air.

The project has been well supported by city officials, which will see a tax revenue increase of $30,000 per year with more than $80,000 per year going to the county, and the regional air district board.

“We’ve received strong support by regulators,” Marnatti stated.

USDA Opens New China Trade Office

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has opened a new Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Shenyang, the capital of northwest China’s international trade hub in Liaoning Province.

“China is a vital market for U.S. agricultural products, and this new office will help exporters take advantage of rising per capita incomes and steady economic growth in the region by raising the profile of American agricultural and food products,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The opening of this office on mainland China marks USDA’s expansion into the hub of northeast China and reflects the administration’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double American exports in the next five years. It also represents a significant hallmark as the United States progresses from the major market centers of Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, to up-and-coming emerging city markets like Shenyang and Chengdu.

China is the world’s second largest economy behind the United States and the second largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, importing roughly $13 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products in fiscal year 2009.

Along with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu, the Shenyang office is the fifth ATO on mainland China and the 102nd overseas office staffed by USDA in 82 countries. The primary mission of ATOs is to assist in marketing and promoting U.S. agricultural, fish, and forestry products, and to assist in trade development in their respective regions. The offices provide a starting point for U.S. companies, cooperatives, farmers, and processors interested in exporting.

People, Places, & – October 2010 RENDER | back