Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Aug 15, 2005
by WLJ

Idaho plant closes permanently
Swift & Company permanently shuttered its Nampa, ID, cow processing facility Aug. 5, citing poor market conditions and an inability to procure enough older cattle to sustain operations. The plant was closed the two weeks prior for those same reasons, and the company informed workers from that facility of the decision Aug. 5. Supplies of older Northwest cattle have been hurt by the previous five years of drought which forced a lot of those cattle to either be culled earlier or moved into the Midwest, far away from the processing facility. The plant had 408 employees as of the shut down, compared to 560 back in May of 2003.

Tyson to be added to S&P 500
Tyson Foods will be added to the S&P 500 upon completion of the Unocal acquisition by Chevron. The S&P 500 is an index of 500 stocks chosen by Standard & Poor’s for their market size, liquidity and industry group representation. It is considered a benchmark of performance of the overall market. The specific time line for the finalization of the Unocal/Chevron merger was not known last week.

Philippines lifts U.S. beef ban
Under an agreement announced Aug. 4, the U.S. will now be able to export boneless beef from cattle 30 months and younger to the Philippines. The estimated value of the Philippines market reopening to U.S. boneless beef is $2.5 million. In 2003, the U.S. exported $4.9 million worth of beef and beef products to the Philippines. The Philippines adopted measures to restrict imports of U.S. beef after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was confirmed in Washington state back in December 2003. The country started allowing imports of U.S. boneless beef from cattle not older than 30 months in January 2004. But, In June 2005, the Philippines imposed a temporary ban following confirmation that a second U.S. cow had tested positive for BSE.

New Virginia plant proposed
Cattle producers in Virginia are trying to organize a partnership to build a beef processing operation in the central region of the state. Members of the Central Virginia Cattlemen’s Association say a new plant will provide them with more choices for selling their cattle. A site study funded by USDA has already been conducted, and creation of a business plan has commenced. It is estimated the plant would cost about $1.5 million. No land for the plant has been bought, but planners hope to locate it beside U.S. Highway 15 in either Buckingham, Madison, Orange, or Louisa counties. Presently, the nearest beef processing plant to the ranchers is in Harrisonburg, VA, and it only can take a few cattle at a time. The potential capacity of the proposed plant has not been announced.

Facility donated to university
A cattle research facility in southeast Colorado was recently donated by Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding LLC, to Colorado State University’s College of Agriculture and the Department of Animal Sciences. The gift, valued at $2.5 million, includes five-year funding for a professorship within the department to be located at the center. The university took possession of the center on June 1. The Southeastern Colorado Research Center comprises nearly 15 acres and will hold about 1,500 head of cattle. Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding will provide cattle for research purposes for a minimum of five years and will supply feed and supplements to meet their nutritional needs.

Barbecue chain plans expansion
Conway’s BBQ, founded nine years ago with a single outlet on Conway Road in south Orlando, is heading north. The company, with three outlets operating in Orlando and a fourth under construction, recently signed its first franchise deal to launch the brand in another state—Pennsylvania. The company’s goal is to see 100 restaurants in operation in various states by 2010. Unlike most barbecue restaurants, Conway’s serves all its meat sauceless, and diners can select from the various types pumped from dispensers shaped like cow udders. The distinctive dispenser will be featured in franchise outlets as well. Which states will house Conway’s restaurants were not yet known by the company.
New beef at Aldi stores
With development assistance from the checkoff-funded R&D Ranch, Quantum Foods has created a line of frozen, pre-portioned, marinated flat iron steaks. These steaks are now available in over 800 Aldi stores under their Granger brand. This is the first introduction of a frozen marinated Beef Value Cut in the retail channel. Beef Value Cuts are a result of the checkoff- funded Muscle Profiling Study, which highlighted individual muscles in the chuck and round to see how these muscles performed on their own rather than in traditional roast cuts.


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