BEEF bits

Oct 15, 2010
by WLJ

Creekstone resumes shipments to Korea

Arkansas City, KS-based Creekstone Farms has shipped its first order to Taiwan since August of last year. Creekstone Farms says it sent two containers holding about 48,000 pounds of meat to Taiwan last week. Taiwan suspended shipments from Creekstone in August 2009 after banned bones were found in a single case of beef. The company can now ship products slaughtered on or after Sept. 30. Creekstone Marketing Director Jim Rogers told the Arkansas City Traveler the company had good customers in the Taiwan market before the suspension.

Farmers and ranchers form new alliance

More than 60 representatives from more than 20 national food and agricultural organizations last week agreed to incorporate a U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) to focus on working together to enhance U.S. consumer trust in modern food production that ensures the abundance of affordable, safe food. USFRA planned to incorporate last week. Organizations have been asked to respond about affiliation no later than Nov. 1. After that date, a board of directors will be established and will elect an executive committee. Members of the USFRA Board, its executive committee and its affiliated organizations will be announced formally in mid-November.

Cargill profits surge

Cargill, Inc., last week said quarterly profit surged 68 percent, to $883 million, helped by volatile grain markets that boosted trading revenue for one of the world’s largest agricultural companies. Revenue during the three months ended Aug. 31, Cargill’s fiscal 2011 first quarter, rose to $27.8 billion, up 6 percent from the same period a year earlier, the company said. Quarterly results also benefitted from improved earnings from Cargill’s food ingredients and animal protein businesses and from its majority stake in Mosaic Co., a fertilizer maker, the company said. The rally in corn and soybean prices is raising costs for beef and pork producers and other grain users.

CattleWomen get checkoff funding

The Beef Promotion Operating Committee has approved checkoff funding for two existing programs and one new program managed by the American National CattleWomen Inc. (CattleWomen) The funding allows the CattleWomen to start a “Telling the Beef Story” program in which 20 volunteer cattlewomen are trained to give presentations to groups of consumers. The volunteers will also train 10 additional cattlewomen to speak out on the beef industry’s behalf. The funding also allows the group to continue the existing National Beef Cook-Off for fiscal 2011. The National Beef Cook-Off will incorporate some changes, including focusing on a national home cook recipe contest and consumer and retail promotion activities. The National Beef Ambassador Program also received checkoff funding. To meet their budget needs, all three programs will seek additional funding sources.

2011 SD beef checkoff budget set

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) met for its annual meeting Oct. 9 in Brookings, SD, setting direction and allocating beef checkoff monies for the next fiscal year. Beef checkoff revenues were 6.68 percent higher than projected over the past twelve months, leading SDBIC directors to adopt a budget for fiscal 2011 of approximately $3.5 million. SDBIC directors adopted an in-state 2011 budget of roughly $801,000. In-state research garnered the most funding, supporting the SDBIC’s long-range plan. SDBIC directors approved $245,000 for research on beef quality enhancement at South Dakota State University (SDSU). The SDBIC promotion budget was set at approximately $200,000, including a three-year commitment made to support consumer promotion projects with the SDSU Meat Science Lab. Consumer information programs were budgeted at approximately $120,000.

Restaurant sales improving

Restaurant earnings results last week reinforced a recent National Restaurant Association (NRA) survey that showed restaurant operators expect business to improve in the months ahead, but have yet to see evidence of a recovery in same-store sales and customer traffic. Ruby Tuesday Inc. recently reported a higherthan-expected quarterly profit, but did not raise its 2011 earnings outlook. Yum Brands Inc., parent of KFC and Pizza Hut, last week said its U.S. same-store sales improved slightly from the prior quarter, but results were below analysts’ expectations. Thirty-eight percent of restaurant operators in the NRA August survey said they expect to have higher sales in six months, similar to last month’s outlook, while 17 percent forecast lower sales ahead. The group’s index of restaurant activity remained below 100 for the fourth straight month, signifying contraction in the industry. Restaurant operators reported a net decline in samestore sales for the fifth consecutive month in August.