A small but mighty group of renderers met in early June in Elkart Lake, Wisconsin, for the annual National Renderers Association (NRA) Central Region Convention. Energy, government issues, research, and election of the group’s new leadership filled the two-day agenda.
New officers elected for the next two years were Mike Karman, Sanimax, president; Jason Hartman, Mendota Agri-Products, vice president; and Tom Beseman, Central Bi-Products, secretary/treasurer. Darrell Palmer, Energy Management Resources Inc., kicked off the convention by explaining why renderers should work with an energy manager.
“Energy markets change continually,” he began. “Managers act as an agent for the client negotiating rates; managers do not sell energy.” Palmer said natural gas storage in the United States (US) is about 13 percent lower than last year but 9 percent higher than average over the past five years. Although oil rigs are more efficient today, drilling for oil in the country is down and will remain so over the next 12 to 24 months due to low crude oil prices. Palmer also reported that electricity prices are down 1.2 percent this year but are expected to increase about 1.7 percent next year.
NRA President Nancy Foster shared national issues that have occurred since the last convention: a new US president has taken office and Congress is now controlled by the Republican party, requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act have begun, the food waste movement aimed at renderers’ raw materials is still a threat, and new opportunities abound under a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In addition, renderers are seeing sustained low energy prices, there is uncertainty over the renewal of biofuel tax credits, the American Association of Feed Control Officials has revised definitions for fats and oils and is looking at proteins next, and used cooking oil exports to the European Union face new challenges.
Foster believes Congress will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act known as “Obamacare,” aim to eliminate the individual/employer mandate, and guarantee access to “affordable” coverage. NAFTA has been a win for agriculture and renderers over the years, increasing exports of rendered products to Canada by 460 percent and Mexico by 180 percent since 1990. NRA’s goals for a new trade agreement include gaining market access into Mexico for US ruminant meat and bone meal (NRA’s highest objective), keeping zero tariffs into both countries, and including international animal health standards to permit trade that Mexico has delayed for years.
“We want to regain this $30 million market,” Foster commented. “The US government supports our mission.” NRA’s export activities are funded by members of its International Market Development Committee and $1.7 million in matching government funds each year from the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program. However, both must be reauthorized in the 2018 farm bill. Funding for these programs has not increased in two decades.
“Exports benefit the entire rendering industry, even if a company is not exporting,” Foster stated.
Mike Carlson, Sanimax, presented an update on the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF), which annually earmarks about $200,000 for at-large projects at various universities and $300,000 for studies at Clemson University’s Animal Co-Products Research and Education Center (ACREC). Carlson reviewed many of the research projects just completed or in progress, including Colorado State University’s research determining the location and influence of impurities on Salmonella in poultry fat intended for pet food use at.
“How can fat contain Salmonella when there is no protein?” Carlson questioned. “This project will help determine that and is the first project FPRF has done with the Pet Food Institute.” One ACREC project aimed at separating fat from protein would create a tremendous amount of value for renderers, according to Carlson.
“FPRF continues to require additional funding for projects that benefit the entire industry,” he commented. “At the end of the day, the foundation has done a great job.”
August 2017 RENDER | back