Editorial

 

Optimism for the Future

Sep 28, 2016

    

The September 3rd edition of The Economist reviewed a book authored by Johan Norberg entitled Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. Despite the prevailing sentiment of doom and gloom, the World’s populations, even in undeveloped populous nations, have a brighter future than their forefathers of a century ago.

Norberg makes the case that there is greater prosperity in the World today especially in industrialized countries. He observes that in 1820, 94 percent of all people subsisted on less than $2 per day in current value.  By 2015 that figure had fallen to less than 10 percent.

  

The risk of catastrophic infections has been reduced by modern medical science and technology especially with development and distribution of vaccines. Modern technology has created an environment which is more conducive to longevity especially with respect to the supply of potable water and disposal of waste.

Better nutrition and early education have advanced the IQ of Americans by a significant level since the end of the Second World War.  There is evidence that this phenomenon can be demonstrated in other countries, especially in relation to solving abstract problems.

Norberg considers that the World is presently a safer place than in previous generations.  The only increase in violent crime is represented by terrorism which generates inordinate publicity when events sadly occur.  He cites the statistic that the average European is ten times more likely to die by falling down a flight of stairs than to be killed in a terrorist incident.

The increased plane of nutrition is attributed to more efficient farming technology with a lower proportion of the population involved in the production, processing and distribution of food.

The information revolution is in large measure responsible for improvements as technical and scientific advances filter downward through many strata of the World’s populations.  The only concern relating to the future involves global warming but again Norberg is optimistic that the deleterious effects of industrialization so evident in the 19th and 20th centuries will be reversed by 21st Century technology.

   

Poultry Industry News

 

Weekly Broiler Production and Prices

Sep 28, 2016

    

The September 21st 2016 edition of the USDA Broiler Hatchery Report confirmed that 171 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending September 17th, four percent more compared to the corresponding week in 2015. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 178 million. Average hatchability was 84 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier. Cumulative placements for the period January 9th through September 17th amounted to 6.59 billion chicks, one percent more than the corresponding period in 2015.

For the processing week ending September 17th 163.227 million broilers were processed at an average live weight of 2.75 kg (2.73 kg. last week) and a yield of 76.0 percent. The number of broilers processed was 0.1 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2015 and was 12.1 percent more than the previous short processing week.   Year-to-date (YTD) slaughter of broilers attained 5.905 billion, 1.2 percent higher than YTD 2015.  Processed (RTC) broiler production attained 12.484 million metric tons YTD, 2.1 percent above YTD in 2015 indicating proportionately higher live weights.

  

The USDA Broiler Market News Report Vol 63 No. 38 included a link to the following Georgia Dock benchmark prices for September 23rd

Product

$ per kg

Difference from previous week (%)

Ice-pack Broilers

2.46

                      Up         1.2

Line-run Tenders

4.49

                      Unchanged*

B/S Breasts

   3.82

                      Down    2.8

Whole Breasts

   2.15

                      Up         1.9

B/S Thighs

   3.25

                      Down    0.9

Whole Thighs

   1.10

                      Down    9.1

Drumsticks

   1.03

                      Unchanged

Leg Quarters

   0.68

                      Unchanged

Wings

3.33

                      Unchanged

                          *Within 1c/kg of previous week

   
 

Weekly Turkey Production and Prices

Sep 28, 2016

    

The September 15th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 28.8 million eggs in incubators on September 1st 2016, up 21.0 percent from September 1st 2015, impacted by HPAI. There were 24.5 million poults hatched in August 2016, up 11.0 percent from August 2015.

During the past month, 24.1 million poults were placed, one percent less than in August 2015.a

  

The September 23rd edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 63: No.38) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending September 17th 1.715 million young hens were slaughtered at a live weight of 7.50 kg (7.69 kg last week). During the corresponding week in 2015, 1.709 million hens were processed. Ready-to-cook hen weight for the week attained 12,473 metric tons, 10.1 percent above the corresponding week of 2015. Dressing percentage was 80.5. Year-to-date RTC hen production has attained 428,340 metric tons, 12.7 percent above YTD 2015 depressed by HPAI losses in the Midwest.
  • For the processing week ending September 17th 2.534 million toms were slaughtered at 17.36 kg (18.31 kg last week) compared to 2.046 million toms during the previous week. For the corresponding week in 2015, 2.390 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the past week attained 37,487 metric tons, 0.3 percent more than in the corresponding week of 2015.  Dressing percentage was 80.5.Year-to-date RTC tom production has attained 1,456,052 metric tons, 3.3 percent more than YTD 2015.

The National average frozen hen price during the past week was $2.74 per kg, approximately 15 cents per kg above the three-year average. The following prices were documented for domestic and export trading:-    

Product

$ per kg

Change from previous Week (%)

Frozen hens

2.74

                     Down     2.1

Frozen toms

2.73

                     Unchanged

Fresh hens

2.97

                     Unchanged

Fresh toms

2.95

                     Unchanged

Breasts 1.8-3.6 kg

    2.86

                     Down     0.7      

Breasts (B/S)

    4.70

                     Unchanged

Drums (toms for export)*

    0.62

                              - 

Wings (V-cut tom)*

    0.98

                              -

Wings (V-cut hens)

    4.29

                     Down     0.5

Thigh Meat (frozen for export)*

    2.16

                              -      

Mechanically Separated (export)*

  0.37

                              -

 

*No quotation this week

On September 19th cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 73,452 metric tons down 0.9 percent from an inventory of 75,471 metric tons on September1st 2016.

The September 23rd edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 241,532 metric tons on August 31st 2016, up 11.2 percent from the corresponding date in 2015 and 0.2 percent over July 31st 2016. Whole turkeys representing 53.1 percent of total storage amounted to 128,193 metric tons, down 2.9 percent from August 31st 2015.

 

   
 

Status of 2016 Corn and Soybean Crops

Sep 28, 2016

      

The USDA Crop Progress Report released Monday 26th September indicated a continued favorable trend in corn and soybean crops in 18 states, expressed in the table below:-

WEEK ENDING

Crop

September 18th

September 25th

5-Year Average

Corn dented

Corn mature

93

53

97

73

96

64

Corn harvested

9

15

19

Soybeans dropping leaves

46

68

64

Soybeans harvested

4

10

13

 

Crop Condition:

Crop

V. Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Corn

2

5

19

54

20 unchanged

Soybeans

2

5

20

54

19 unchanged

 

The prospects for corn and soybean growth and yield depend on adequate soil moisture. USDA reported data for 48 contiguous states which shows only minor changes between the Adequate and Surplus classifications from the previous week, as shown in the table below:-

Moisture Classification (%) for Week Ending September 25th.

 

V. Short

Short

Adequate

Surplus

Topsoil

7

17

63

13

Subsoil

7

18

65

10

 

 

 

 

   
 

Cobb-Vantress Executives Visit China

Sep 28, 2016

    

Retiring president of Cobb-Vantress Inc. Gerry Moye and designated president Joel Sappenfield recently visited company facilities located near Suizhou City in the Hubei Province of China.

Cobb-Vantress has established a grandparent complex in Suizhou together with a hatchery to distribute parent stock.

  

Moye commented “We are the first breeding company to set our facilities on the ground to serve the Chinese market directly which allows us to really understand this market better than anybody else.  We are dedicated to achieve better efficiency and flock health for the whole broiler industry.  Setting up our own operation in China has always been a dream of mine.”

The Cobb China operation now employees 152 and has placed five successive grandparent-level flocks.

   
 

Whole Foods Market Takes Equity Position in Instacart

Sep 28, 2016

    

According to Bloomberg, Whole Foods Market will take a $36 million equity position in Instacart, consolidating their relationship with commenced in 2014 and now operates in 25 markets across the U.S.  The home delivery space is highly competitive and is occupied by competing start-ups many of which have yet to generate positive cash flow.

  

Whole Foods Market has recorded successive quarters of declining same store sales, prompting John Mackey the co-CEO and founder to comment “consumers just want convenience as the overriding value.  I think that Whole Foods wants to compete for these customers to be sure, we have a lot of things in the works.”  Mackey added “with more outlets for natural and organic foods they don’t drive as far and they don’t come as frequently.”

Walter Robb the co-CEO noted “We feel really good about the partnership with Instacart and the results we’re seeing.”

The recent announcement is contrary to the comments by Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta who noted at an industry conference in early September that the company will be cash-flow positive within twelve months and that Instacart will not sell to Whole Foods.  Mehta commented “It just doesn’t make sense for us to even think about selling to a grocery store.”   Go figure.

   
 

Kroger Competing on Price

Sep 28, 2016

    

Studies conducted by Wolfe Research in metropolitan Atlanta confirm that Kroger stores have dropped prices more than competitors.  As detailed in an article by Jon Springer in Supermarket News, comparable baskets showed that Kroger had reduced prices since July by 7.8 percent compared to 4.8 percent at Publix and 1.4 percent at Walmart stores. 

Target was down 1.3 percent over the same period.  In response to static same-store growth, Walmart initiated an aggressive price reduction accruing to 6 percent since March.

  

An analyst for Wolfe Research, Scott Mushkin was quoted in the article as stating “Our research has shown that Kroger has largely remained on the sidelines and not become more promotional as industry price competitiveness lead by Walmart but has increased in recent  months.”  He added “In Atlanta our survey work would now suggests that this has changed in September.”

   
 

Platinum Brooding® Program in Canada

Sep 28, 2016

    

The next Platinum Brooding® program will be held in Abbotsford, BC on Wednesday, October 26th.

For details of the program and registration access www.platinumbrooding.com

  

   
 

IPC Defends Responsible Antibiotic Use

Sep 28, 2016

    

The General Assembly of the United Nations held last week in New York included a program on antibiotic resistance.  A number of suggestions resulted from the conference with member nations agreeing to use the resources of the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health to develop plans to reduce antibiotic microbial resistance.

  

The Food and Agriculture Organization assigns blame for emerging resistance equally to both human care and livestock production, the latter being a prominent target of activists.

Dr. Randall Singer of the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine represented the International Poultry Council (IPC) at the United Nations meeting and had the opportunity to provide delegates with facts refuting some of the unsubstantiated claims relating to livestock production with regard to antibiotic resistance.

The IPC is on record as supporting judicious and responsible use of antibiotics and the organization urges international bodies to develop policies and guidelines in the best interest of industry, consumers and other stakeholders.

Specific recommendations resulting from the United Nations meeting included greater use of immunization, improved quality of water and sanitation, upgraded hygiene in hospitals and other medical facilities and reduced use of antibiotics in animal production.

The Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization Dr. Jose Graziano da Silva stated “Agriculture must shoulder its share of responsibility both by using antimicrobials more responsively and by cutting down on the need to use them to improve farm hygiene.”

   
 

Opposition to Proposed GIPSA Rule

Sep 28, 2016

    

The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) intends implementing elements of the proposed 2010 Rule which was placed on hold due to opposition by Congress.

In questioning at a recent hearing, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture did not commit to providing a public comment period. In answer to a question by Senator Tom Tillis (R-NC) he stated that the Department would follow the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.

  

The National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation in cooperation with the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattleman’s Beef Association have addressed a letter to Secretary Vilsack opposing the proposed rule and requesting an opportunity for interested stakeholders to provided additional comments.

The proposed GIPSA rule would directly influence the relationship between integrators and contractors, possibly to their mutual detriment.  The initiative arose from a series of joint Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice meetings to consider contact production in the U.S. livestock industries held in 2009.

   
 

Perdue Agribusiness Purchases Grain Elevator from Southern States

Sep 28, 2016

    

In a September 22nd press release, Perdue Agribusiness announced purchase of ten mid- Atlantic grain elevators from Southern States Cooperative.  Two additional elevators will be leased as they are integral to existing Southern States feed mills. 

Dick Willey president of Perdue Agribusiness stated “This agreement insures that farmers will continue to have access to domestic and international markets through these elevators using Perdue Agribusiness grain merchandising programs.”

  

Jeff Stroburg president and CEO of Southern States Cooperative “We are confident that Perdue Agribusiness will continue to serve the industry at the high levels our customers expect.”

Facilities are located in Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia and collectively have 10 million bushels of grain storage. This appears a large number but to place the volume in perspective it is effectively 0.07 percent of a 15 billion bushel annual harvest.

   
 

Peco Foods Appoints Chief Commercial Officer

Sep 28, 2016

    

Bill Andersen has been appointed to the newly-created position of Chief Commercial Officer at Peco Foods Inc. the nation’s 9th largest broiler producer.  In making the announcement, the CEO of Peco Foods, Mark Hickman stated “Bill will lead our efforts to provide creative and competitive value-additive solutions for our customers.  He is a highly respected industry executive whose experience and technical knowledge directly align with our integrated global marketing program.”

  

In his 25 year career, Andersen has filled positions of responsibility at Keystone Foods, Unilever, Wayne Farms, Tyson Foods and Gold Kist, among others.

Andersen earned a B.S. degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an M.S.A. in management from Central Michigan University.  He earned an executive MBA from Duke University in 2002.

   
 

BUTTERBALL TO EXPAND IN ARKANSAS

Sep 28, 2016

    

Butterball LLC, has announced it will offer contracts to 30 new growers within a 50 mile radius of Altus and Ozark, AR.  Currently the company has 60 farms in the Ozark area and 115 near Huntsville.  Butterball may erect some company-owned farms in the Ozark area since they require birds within a short time according to the Head of Live Operations. 

Butterball will also hire an additional 150 hourly and 14 salaried workers for the Ozark processing plant.

 

   
 

FSIS DIRECTIVE ON RESPONSE TO HPAI

Sep 28, 2016

    

The Food Safety and Inspection Services issued directive 602.1 dated September 21, 2016 which instructs inspection program personnel at official poultry slaughter establishments on procedures for enhanced inspection in the event of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the area of plant operation. 

The revision updates the previous version issued in November 2009.

  

The directive mandates the following procedures:-

  • USDA APHIS has responsibility for controlling outbreaks and will issue permits for flock movement
  • Veterinarians will  examine every truckload of birds from a controlled area to ensure freedom from clinical signs of infection
  • Any carcasses demonstrating signs of HPAI will be retained
  • On suspicion of HPAI based on clinical signs or lesions, the establishment will cease slaughtering from the flock and inform the District Office of the presumed infection

The directive also includes the following provisions:

  • Defines responsibilities of the District and of  Headquarters during an HPAI outbreak
  • Defines responsibilities at poultry establishments after receiving an official confirmation of HPAI.
  • Requires enhanced ante-mortem and post-slaughter inspection
  • Outlines procedures for sample collection to diagnose or exclude  HPAI
   
 

SUCCESS OF MEIJER HOME DELIVERY SERVICE REQUIRES ADDITIONAL WORKERS IN DETROIT

Sep 28, 2016

    

Shipt Inc., the grocery delivery service retained by Meijer is hiring an additional 200 in-store shoppers in the Detroit Metropolitan area to complement the existing 300 engaged at the onset of the operation

 

 A spokesperson for Shipt noted, “We knew the people in Detroit were ready for grocery delivery which is why we initially hired 300 shoppers”.  Julie Coop added, “Soon after launching we experienced an unprecedented level of demand so we quickly decided to hire 200 additional workers”.

Online customers can select from among 55,000 items on the website from any of the 25 Meijer stores in Detroit and select a one-hour delivery window.  The delivery service is based on a $99 annual membership with free delivery of orders exceeding $35, offsetting the normal $7 per order delivery fee.

Additional information is available on the company website www.shipt.com/b-a-shopper.

   
 

FOOD SAFETY SCANDALS CONTINUE IN CHINA

Sep 28, 2016

    

News media in China have reported that officials in the Province of Guangdong have seized a considerable quantity of frozen meat, potentially infected with pathogens.  The 1,000 ton consignment originating in the U.S., Brazil and Thailand was on board a vessel near the city of Shenzhen.

The fact that illegal food consignments are interdicted by inspectors and that action is reported in the media suggests greater concern for food safety and measures to suppress corruption.

  

   
 

USPOULTRY TO FUND MICROBIAL STUDY

Sep 28, 2016

    

The USPOULTRY Foundation is soliciting proposals to undertake a comprehensive research program to determine the efficacy and other aspects of antimicrobials used in poultry meat and egg processing.  The topic is relevant with regard to exposure of workers and follows recent action by the Food and Drug Administration in banning certain consumer disinfectants. 

Further details can be obtained from the USPOULTRY website www.uspoultry.org

  

   
 

GOLD’N PLUMP TO INTRODUCE ADDITIONAL PRODUCTS

Sep 28, 2016

    

Gold’n Plump will introduce chicken meatballs and sliced sausages to be launched in mid-October.  Products will be presented as fully cooked in re-sealable bags.

Meatballs will be available in homestyle and pesto Italian versions.  Chicken sausages will comprise coarse ground chicken with reduced fat compared to pork sausages.  Flavors will include Italian cheese and peppers and hickory smoke.

Items will be priced at a suggested $6.99 for an 18-ounce bag.  The launch will be supported by in-store demonstrations with redeemable coupons and a strong print, radio and digital advertising campaign.

  

 

   
 

CARGILL ESTABLISHES JOINT VENTURE WITH JAPFA IN INDONESIA

Sep 28, 2016

    

Cargill and So-Good Foods, a wholly own subsidiary of Japfa, a leading feed compounder and broiler integrator in Indonesia have entered into a 60-40 percent joint venture to produce cooked poultry products.

The company will be called Cahaya Gunung Foods and will serve QSRs and the institutional market. 

  

The Managing Director of the joint venture will be Derek Schoonbaert of Cargill.  He stated, “Indonesia is an important growth market for Cargill, this is our first venture in the poultry business in Indonesia and we are excited to be partnering with Japfa”.  Tan Yong Nang CEO of Japfa noted, “We are pleased to further cement our relationship with Cargill with whom we have had a long-standing business relationship”.

This new venture by Cargill adds to their existing presence in the broiler industries of the People’s Republic of China, Thailand, Central America, the UK and other international markets in addition to their involvement in turkey production in the U.S. and related agribusiness ventures.

   
 

TYSON FOODS DONATES TO REGIONAL FOOD BANK OF OKLAHOMA

Sep 28, 2016

    

On September 20th Tyson Foods announced a donation of 35,000 pounds of protein foods to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

The donation results from the Quest Foods’ 28th Annual Golf Tournament which took place at the Oak Tree Golden Country Club in Edmond, OK.  Annetta Tirey, Director for Corporate Social Responsibility for Tyson Foods stated, “Partnering with organizations like the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Quest Foods is important to us in raising awareness about food insecurity in communities around the U.S.”.

  

It is estimated that one in four children in Oklahoma has inconsistent access to quality food.  The donation will contribute to after-school and summer programs and benefit nearly 6,000 at-risk children in 37 locations in Central and Western Oklahoma.

   
 

Successful USAPEEC Trade Mission to Africa

Sep 28, 2016

    

According the September 19th edition of the USAPEEC MondayLine the recent trade mission to Africa which took place in Cape Town was “beneficial and successful”.  Representatives of ten importing and potential recipient nations reviewed product offerings from the U.S.  The mission included representatives from the United Soybean Board, the Market Access Program and 18 exporters including integrators Sanderson Farms, Mountaire Farms, Perdue Farms and Jennie-O Turkey Store.

  

Former USAPEEC chairman Chaz Wilson of Grove Services characterized the event as “the best USAPEEC trade mission I’ve ever participated in.”  The members met with Mary Ellen Smith the acting U.S. Minister Counselor to South Africa for trade issues and also visited major supermarkets to observe product presentation and pricing.

The U.S. has an advantage with respect to Africa in that leg quarters are relatively inexpensive and are extremely versatile allowing importers and distributors to debone and to section dark meat which is in demand on the Continent.

USAPEEC should be commended for their initiative and diligence in arranging the trade mission which will contribute to increased exports across a broader range of potential importing nations.

   
 

Rabobank Suggests that Lower Production in China Will Create Export Opportunities

Sep 28, 2016

    

The mismanagement or mendacity exercised by the authorities in China in restricting importation of breeding stock from the U.S. will benefit exporters from Europe and the U.S. The action was taken due to an unsubstantiated fear of introducing avian influenza which is already endemic in China. Beneficiaries of the embargos include Brazil and also Poland which is a price leader in the EU.  

The effect of sharply reduced imports of grandparent-level breeders is now becoming apparent and will persist for at least 20 months even if policy is reversed.  Rabobank projected a decline in broiler production, predominately in the industrial segment accruing to five percent in 2016 and ten percent in 2017.

  

Notwithstanding the potential for increased production, Rabobank notes the restraint displayed by integrators in maintaining realistic rates of expansion through responding to official statistic and evaluation of past trends.

USDA-ERS issued a forecast on September 14th indicating a 2.7 percent increase in broiler meat production from 2016 to 2017.  Concurrently broiler exports are expected to increase by 5.0 percent with domestic production advancing by 1.7 percent consistent with population growth and deflation in protein costs.

For the first seven months of 2016, broiler meat exports attained 1,698,360 metric tons, 2.5 percent below the value exported during the first seven months of 2015, impacted by embargos due to the outbreak of HPAI.  Unit value decline by 12.1 percent to $963 per ton on average for the seven months compared to $1,095 per metric ton for the first seven months of 2015.  This impacted total value of exports by 14.4 percent to $1.635 billion

   
 

Acquisition of C.A.T. by JBT Corporation

Sep 28, 2016

    

JBT Corporation (NYSE: JBT) has offered to purchase the assets of Cooling and Applied Technologies (C.A.T. Inc.) for $90 million.

C.A.T. manufactures equipment for the poultry processing industry including chillers, injectors, weighing systems and refrigeration.

Tom Giacomini, chairman, president and CEO of JBT stated “the addition of C.A.T. enhances the presence of JBT in primary and secondary protein processing and advances our strategic acquisition program.”

  

Additional details on the transaction are available on the JBT website www.jbtcorporation.com

For the first quarter of fiscal 2016, JBT posted revenues of $267 million, a 19 percent increase over the corresponding quarter of fiscal 2015.  The Company reported a net income of $5.1 million compared to $8.0 million for the first quarter of 2015.  Net EPS was $0.17 compared to $0.27 for the first quarter of 2015.

   
 

USDA Launches Branded Food Products Database

Sep 28, 2016

Tom Vilsack

    

In an announcement dated September 16th, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced that the USDA Branded Food Products Database is now in operation. 

Over 80,000 brand names are included, following cooperation between the Agricultural Research Service and the International Life Sciences Institute of North America, GS1 U.S., and Label Insight to develop the database and the interface.

The Branded Food Products Database expands the USDA National Nutrient Database which was, until the release of the BFPD, the main source of nutritional information on branded products. 

It is anticipated that the database will be expanded to include 500,000 items indicating serving size, servings per package and nutrient content.

   
   

Shane Commentary

 

Bayer Acquisition of Monsanto Subject of Senate Hearing

Sep 28, 2016

    

The recent mergers between Dow Chemical Company and the DuPont Company, the purchase of Syngenta by China National Chemical Corporation and the most recent announced acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer AG, prompted a senate hearing on Tuesday September 20th.

Executives of the companies involved claim that through mergers, synergy will result in improved seeds and pesticides which will benefit farmers.  The concern of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is that consolidation may benefit executives and shareholders of companies but there will be no trickle-down to farmers who will be faced with purchasing requirements from an ever decreasing range of manufacturers, inhibiting competition.

 

Chuck Grassley

Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who convened the hearing noted “I am concerned that further concentration in the industry will reduce choice and raise the price of chemicals and seed for farmers which ultimately will affect choice and cost for consumers.”

Concern over diminishing competition was also raised by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) who noted “Fusing companies with different
specialties such as Bayer’s focus on pesticides and Monsanto’s deep portfolio in genetics and biotechnology capabilities could leave few avenues for upstarts to penetrate this research-intensive business.”

Robert Fraley, Chief Technology Officer of Monsanto stated that “if the mergers were not allowed to go forward, Monsanto and rivals would not be able to release new products as swiftly.”  This appears ingenuous.  If any company had a superior product it would market it with alacrity to gain market share. 

Mergers are less about increasing the rate of genetic progress in seeds or introducing more effective herbicides and pesticides than they are about synergy which is a buzz-word for rationalization, cutting out half the R&D, administration and marketing among two merging companies. We have witnessed this reality in the pharmaceutical industry over two decades.  As it is, yields of corn and soybeans have plateaued and overproduction has pushed down prices to the detriment of farmers.

   
 

German Activists Protest Trade Agreements

Sep 28, 2016

    

According to CNBC Online, over 60,000 demonstrators turned out on Sunday 18th September in Berlin to oppose the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the bilateral Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and EU.  It is understood that concurrently at least 250,000 protestors demonstrated their opposition in the streets of six other major Germany cities.

  

Opposition is based on “anti-corporatist” sentiments by urbanites who have an idyllic 19th Century view of food production based on small-scale family farms. Millennials are rejecting claims by politicians that trade deals provide universal economic benefits and trickle-down to consumers. 

According to observers, protesters included socialists, environmentalists, welfare advocates, food-safety campaigners and unions.  Placards expressing the views of diverse groups generally decried capitalism, the U.S. and a distrust of multinational corporations.

It is ironic that young socialists attending free universities do not realize that their education is supported by the business taxes paid by corporations to which they are inherently opposed.

   
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Industry Prices: Wed Sep 28
 Corn3.29 $/bu
 Soybeans9.46 $/bu
 Soybean Meal299.40 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer31  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 52-55  ¢/doz 























 
Copyright 2016 Simon M. Shane