BEEF bits

Feb 5, 2010
by WLJ



JBS delays IPO indefinitely

JBS S.A. said recently that it would indefinitely delay its planned $2 billion initial public offering (IPO) of stock in the U.S. The company cited weak demand for the issuance and said that until the market situation improves, it will seek other means of financing its operations. JBS CEO Joesley Batista was quoted as saying the company won’t sell shares of its JBS USA unit until at least the release of fourth-quarter earnings. The IPO may take place in the second half of the year if market conditions improve, he said. The company plans to use some of the funds raised through the IPO for the expansion of its global distribution network and the purchase of some plants intended to capitalize on the case-ready market.

Nebraska plant study gets grant

The city of Bassett, NE, received a grant last week to evaluate the feasibility of building a new meat plant to provide revenue and jobs for the region. The funds were offered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and the Nebraska Rural Development Commission. The city received $5,000 to study the viability of such an operation in the area. Midwest MicroSystems received $17,500 to implement a high-frequency radio frequency identification pilot for use in Nebraska cow/calf operations. The project is anticipated to demonstrate efficient matching of cows to progeny and inventory control. An award of $10,000 was given to a group which plans to study the viability of conferences to provide ranchers with information on value-added enterprises such as agri-tourism, guided hunting, farmers’ markets, forestry and guest ranching.

USDA awards grants for research

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced $24 million in grants to study animal health, reproduction, breeding, genetics and nutrition. NIFA awarded the grants through four program areas of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Animal Reproduction Program; Animal Genome, Genetics, and Breeding Program; Animal Growth and Nutrient Utilization Program; and Integrated Solutions for Animal Agriculture Program. “The agriculture animal industry faces increasing challenges from animal diseases, reduced fertility, low nutrition and growth, and non-tariff trade barriers,” said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. “These grants will help the United States maintain a strong, internationally competitive animal agriculture industry and lead to safer and more affordable animal products.”

HSUS takes another shot at Ohio

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed a petition in Ohio in an attempt to circumvent the recently approved animal welfare measure passed by the state’s voters. The measure is aimed at creating new animal housing requirements. The measure passed last year created the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, which was endorsed by producer groups and passed by voters with a two-to-one margin. “The enabling legislation hasn’t passed; the board hasn’t been appointed and the first discussions on what standards Ohioans find acceptable hasn’t been held,” said Jack Fisher, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “And yet, the Humane Society of the United States is saying, in effect, Ohioans got it wrong.”

Russian poultry trade still unclear

U.S. poultry growers are still on shaky ground with their Russian trading partners, according to news reports last week. Talks between the two countries have not yet produced any clear resolution to the matter after the Russian government banned poultry imports from the U.S. The official reasoning offered for the ban was the use of chlorine rinses by U.S. plants. However, Russian officials have announced their intention to grow the nation’s domestic production. The ban on U.S. products could be meant to help bolster that initiative.

Veal industry adopts standards

Delegates to the 2010 American Veal Association (AVA) annual meeting adopted a statement of ethical principles and code of conduct as a way to articulate veal industry principles and confirm an industry commitment to “veal raised right.” The ethical principles and code of conduct were initiated as a project of the veal checkoff funded Joint VIM/VQA Committee and were identified by a cross-section of veal industry participants during a working session in July 2009. The draft language was distributed to the veal industry with a survey for feedback and to determine whether the proposed ethical principles fairly represent the guiding values of today’s veal. The final document was submitted to the AVA delegates in an effort to bring full industry alignment to the principles that guide today’s veal industry.