BEEF bits

Feb 3, 2012
by WLJ

Elanco to buy ChemGen

Indiana-based Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly, has announced it is acquiring ChemGen Corporation, a privately held company specializing in food enzyme products for poultry, egg and meat production. Elanco president Jeff Simmons, at the International Poultry Expo in Atlanta, told reporters there’s a synergy between the two companies that will help them both help feed the world. “They have a lot of expertise in Asia and North America. We do in Latin America and Europe. We’ve got a lot of focus and efforts being done in ruminants, in cattle, dairy and beef and they have in pigs and poultry, so we see a species synergy as well.” ChemGen’s Terre Haute, IN, manufacturing facility and its headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD will remain in place. Simmons says the acquisition will help meet the growing demand for food, calling that “one of the most critical issues of our time.”

China’s VP to visit Iowa

Agriculture is expected to be high on the agenda when Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visits Iowa in mid-February. Xi is considered the man most likely to be China’s next president and his U.S. visit is expected to garner considerable media coverage. Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says it should be another great opportunity to showcase Iowa agriculture. “We got some chance to talk about a few of those issues when the caucus came through,” Northey says. “This is a chance to be able to talk about what Iowa does here, and selling our products around the world, and the technology that’s here—and maybe even get some Americans to understand a little bit more what it takes to be able to produce food in this world at this time.” Xi first visited Iowa in the mid-80s when he was an official of a Chinese feed association.

John Deere turns 175

This year, Deere & Company marks the 175th anniversary of its business, which began when company founder John Deere successfully manufactured and marketed the self-scouring plow in 1837. Deere had moved from his home in Vermont to start a small blacksmith shop in Grand Detour, IL. He later moved the business to Moline, IL, where the world headquarters is still located. The company was incorporated as Deere & Company in 1868. From the one-man shop at its inception, Deere currently has more than 60,000 employees worldwide. John Deere is the world’s leading manufacturer of agricultural and forestry equipment as well as a leader in construction and turf care equipment. Additionally, Deere manufactures engines and powertrains for its own equipment, and that of other companies, and provides credit and other financial services to those who purchase equipment.

Japan loses contaminated cows

Japanese authorities have lost track of nearly 3,000 dead cows suspected of containing high levels of radioactive caesium, according to news reports. The cows ate rice straw contaminated in the Fukushima nuclear disaster last spring. Last year, Japan’s health ministry ordered the testing of more than 4,500 beef cattle suspected of being contaminated with radiation. But according to a leading Japanese newspaper, so far, only a third have been tested, with the whereabouts of about 3,000 head of slaughtered cattle remaining a mystery. Of the tested meat, about 6 percent was found to contain radioactive caesium above the acceptable safe limit. Food safety experts say, however, that consumers would have to eat a significant amount of contaminated meat to suffer any damage to their health.

Beef trends good news

A five-year look at consumer data from the checkofffunded Consumer Beef Index identifies some key trends, including: an ongoing rise in the percentage of consumers who say the positives of beef outweigh the negatives; more consumers saying they intend to eat more beef in the future versus less; and a smaller percentage of consumers saying they have heard a story about a beef “issue” in the news. Of concern, the Beef Board said, is the slightly reduced frequency of weekly beef meals, a trend many consumers tie to the recession and lingering concern about the nutritional merits of beef relative to other protein choices.

NE cattle scheme bust

A south-central Nebraska man has pleaded guilty to a cattle scheme in central Missouri. Allen Foos of Smithfield, NE, entered his plea in federal court last Tuesday in the Western District of Missouri to transporting stolen livestock across state lines. The court says Foos admitted using the alias of a buyer, a middleman, to order cattle from the Callaway Livestock Center in April 2011, then sold the cattle after receiving them without paying the sale barn. The government says losses in the scheme exceeded $200,000.

Foos faces up to five years in federal prison without parole, as much as $250,000 in fines, plus restitution. He faces sentencing later.