In The News This Month – August 2021





I recently read somewhere that 2022 is only 4 months away. It feels like we’re still processing 2020. Did anything change in 2021? In my opinion, some things have remained as unpredictable as ever, but obviously things have changed, and some even for the better. Vaccinations continue to roll out throughout the world, with many companies offering incentives to their employees. For example, Tyson Foods is offering all vaccinated employees a chance to win $10,000 and giving $200 for team members who are vaccinated as a thank you. The pandemic clearly changed many things, especially within the food supply chain. Beef demand is at a 33 year high. According to a recent article featured on beef demand in China seems to be growing. A significant change is taking place as COVID and ASF changed the way China is eating food. ASF left a hole in the menu with outbreaks and limited pork supply, while COVID meant more meals at home. However, cattle producers can’t afford to be complacent. They cannot ignore the rising challenges from the alternative protein sector.

It’s not only the beef sector that needs to pay attention to changing consumer demands. Many companies need to take note and change to respond to these growing customer demands. Aeros customer Versova is doing their part to remain engaged with and responsive to their customers. The Versova family of companies has acquired Iowa Cage-Free Thompson Farms. The new farm will be called Ovation Farms and will be the newest farm managed by Versova. JT Dean, president of Versova, recently stated “We have made a firm commitment to our customers and our shareholders that Versova will be well-positioned to respond to changing customer demand. Being responsive to and engaged with our customers is integrated in the values of our family of companies, and continuous improvement is among our guiding principles.”

Another Aeros customer focused on improvement is Farbest Foods. An article featured in WATTPoultry highlighted Farbest’s plans to expand and update their turkey plant. They intend to add automation and modernizing the layouts of existing processing lines in multiple parts of the plant. This is the second phase of a planned project that was completed in 2018. Speaking of expanding their operations, a huge news story this past month was the joint venture of Cargill and Continental Grain Co.’s intent to purchase Sanderson Farms. This deal would make Wayne Farms the third-largest chicken company in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The deal would also give Cargill, an already major player in turkey and beef production, a relatively large position in the chicken industry. We saw many articles surrounding this move, with some calling for the DOJ to take a closer look at the deal. Many concerns were also raised about the potential impacts to Laurel, Mississippi. Laurel’s mayor recently said, “the whole thing is kind of frightening, it’s scary for the whole community. Sanderson employs a lot of people”.

Rounding out the month’s news we saw more stories highlighting technology in agriculture. Chick-News recently promoted an interview with Caroline Forest, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Intelia. Caroline joined the Intelia team in 2015 and has been focused on promoting innovation in managing broiler flocks based on accurate environmental and performance data. At Aeros, we value our partnership with Intelia and are looking forward to growing our relationship. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Caroline in the past, she is a trailblazer in ag-tech and understands the importance of collecting and using data in agriculture. Many professionals in the industry are understanding the importance of adopting technology for their business. Be sure to check out an article we highlighted about considering a CTO for your company. The future is sure to bring more change to the supply chain and a farm’s strategy should have someone to own the technology side of the business.


Monica Lizar

Account Manager

Aeros, a Cultura Company


Feed and Grains:

VIDEO: How infrastructure bill benefits US feed industry

On August 10, 2021, the U.S. Senate approved a historic $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. The bill will address the dilapidated New Deal Era lock-and-dam systems on the nation’s waterways, crumbling bridges, roads in severe disrepair and many other upgrades agriculture and rural Americans have requested for decades.

Michael Seyfert, NGFA president and CEO, joins the chat to discuss what the infrastructure bill will mean for the U.S. grain and feed industries.

Watch video here


US soy on track for record exports, production

Despite COVID-19, demand for U.S soybeans has not only continued to grow but may even see soy exports post a new record by the end of this year. Whether that trend continues may be determined by the weather, officials said during the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange on August 25.

Although the breakneck pace of exports to China has slowed somewhat in recent months, the U.S. is still on track to set a record for total soybean exports for the 2020-21 crop by the end of this year, according to Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC). Current projections would also make the current crop the third largest in U.S. history, Sutter said during the press briefing, despite challenges due to drought in some states.

Read full article here




Versova family of companies acquiring Iowa egg farm

Iowa Cage-Free, part of the Versova family of companies, has acquired the assets of Rembrandt Foods’ Thompson, Iowa, cage-free farm. Versova Management (Versova), headquartered in Sioux Center, Iowa, will assume day-to-day feed mill, production, and processing operations for the 240-acre Thompson farm, which houses one million cage-free hens and pullets, and has an 80 ton per hour feed mill and an egg processing plant. The new farm will be called Ovation Farms and will be the newest farm managed by Versova.

“Strategic growth through acquisition is an opportunity our team has recognized for some time, and this farm fits well within our farming operations,” said JT Dean, president of Versova. “We have made a firm commitment to our customers and our shareholders that Versova will be well-positioned to respond to changing customer demand. Being responsive to and engaged with our customers is integrated in the values of our family of companies, and continuous improvement is among our guiding principles.”

Read full article here


Egg Week

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, August 25th, 2021.

Shell inventory was up by 2.9 percent, following a decline of 1.0 percent for the previous week reflecting increased supply relative to demand, consistent with addition of 2.3 million hens to the producing flock despite increased consumer activity. Midwest prices for generics are now comfortably above breakeven taking into account the combined costs of nest-run, grading, packaging, and delivery. Chains spread their purchases and preempted anticipated price rises before the Independence weekend and will do so again before Labor Day and use this strategy to suppress traditional pre-Christmas increases. Industry observers and participants expect buyers to respond to retail demand in relation to inventories in their DCs and stores. Since the beginning of 2021 generic eggs have been consistently priced at a high level by many chains to maximize margin. This strategy has depressed the volume of sales to the disadvantage of the industry. Market data suggests that chains have manipulated shelf prices for generic white eggs in response to holiday demand and are not featuring generic Large and Extra large.

Read full article here


US Poultry and Egg Exports on Pace for Record Year

The COVID-19 pandemic, an uncertain economy, and logistics problems like port closings and shipping bottlenecks haven’t slowed the tremendous demand for U.S. poultry and eggs around the world.

Exports of U.S. broiler chicken and shell eggs set records in the first half of 2021 and are on pace to break all-time marks for the year, according to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), citing government trade data.

Total broiler export volume reached an all-time high for the January through June period, with Mexico, China, Cuba, and Philippines leading the way. Cuba, and Philippines set records for both the volume and value of U.S. chicken imports, while Mexico and China set a record for the value of their imports.

The four markets together accounted for 49.2 percent of total U.S. chicken exports.

Exports of U.S. table eggs set an all-time record in the first half of this year in volume and were the second highest ever in value. Table egg exports to South Korea were the highest ever in both volume and value in the first half, while shipments to Mexico and Hong Kong were the second highest.

Read full article here



Chicken industry consolidation continues

The big are getting bigger.  In August, a joint venture of Cargill and Continental Grain Co. (Conti) announced its intent to purchase Sanderson Farms Inc. for $4.53 billion. The deal would make Wayne Farms LLC (a Conti subsidiary) the third-largest chicken company in the United States and one of the largest in the world.

The Sanderson-Wayne company would have processed 14.5% of the 984.74 million pounds of ready-to-cook (RTC) chicken processed by the top 32 broiler companies covered in WATT Global Media’s annual industry rankings in 2020. The new big three of Tyson Foods Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and Sanderson-Wayne would have handled 41.8% of domestic production. 

This move grows Conti’s sizable international food portfolio and gives Cargill, already a major player in turkey and beef production, a relatively large position in the chicken industry, too.

Read full article here 


How will Sanderson deal impact Laurel, Mississippi?

As we have examined the pending sale of Sanderson Farms, there have been many questions.  But one hasn’t yet been explored by WATT Global Media: How will it affect Laurel, Mississippi? After all, that is the city where the company is headquartered.

On, August 9, it was announced that Cargill and Continental Grain entered a joint venture agreement to acquire Sanderson Farms. Continental Grain is the owner of poultry company Wayne Farms, and the plan is to merge Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms.

So far, not much has been said about whether any corporate jobs that are presently housed at Sanderson Farms will be retained. And that has Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee concerned.

“The whole thing is kind of frightening,” Magee told the Leader-Call. “It’s scary for the whole community. Sanderson employs a lot of people.”

Read full article here 


Broiler Week


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices, August 20th, 2021.

Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on August 18th, 2021, confirmed that a total of 236.6 million eggs were set during the week ending August 14th, 2021, up three percent from the corresponding week of the previous year and 1.6 percent (3.9 million eggs) more than the previous week in 2021.


A total of 179.7 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending August 14th, 2021. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 187.2 million, two percent more than the corresponding week in 2020 and 1.7 percent (3.1 million) chicks more than the previous week. Claimed average hatchability was 79.4 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier, (79.2 percent for the previous week). Each 1.0 percent change in hatchability represents 2.4 million chicks placed per week with current settings.

Read full article here 


Tyson offers vaccinated employees a chance to win $10,000

Employees at Tyson Foods’ U.S. chicken processing plants who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into a weekly drawing for $10,000.

“Our Poultry business is leading this specific initiative and all poultry locations are eligible. Team members at nearly 50 of our chicken facilities have an opportunity to win $10,000, once a week for the next five weeks, if they’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine.”

This in addition to incentives being offered in other areas of our business, as well as an enterprise wide $200 thank you for team members who are vaccinated,” a spokesperson for Tyson Foods e-mailed to WATTPoultry.

Read full article here



Farbest Foods to expand, upgrade turkey plant

Farbest Foods plans to expand and update its turkey plant in Huntingburg, Indiana, with construction on the project expected to begin in September.

The planned project is actually a second phase of a plant upgrade that was completed in 2018, reported the Dubois County Free Press.

Farbest Foods President Ted Seger and Chief Financial Officer Jarod Morrison recently met with the Huntingburg Common Council, in which Morrison outlined the company’s plans for the $32.5 investment. He explained that Farbest Foods intends to add automation and modernizing the layouts of existing processing lines in multiple parts of the plant. A new building will also be added.

Read full article here


Turkey Week

Weekly Turkey Production and Prices August 13th 2021

Poult Production and Placement:

The August 13th, 2021, edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 26.8 million eggs in incubators on August 1st, 2021 (26.4 million eggs on July 1st, 2021) and down 1.2 percent (0.3 million eggs) from August 1st, 2020.

A total of 22.6 million poults were hatched during July 2021 (21.7 million in June 2021), representing a decrease of 5.0 percent (1.2 million poults) from July 2020.

Read full article here



USDA one step ahead on protecting U.S. pork exports

News that African swine fever was detected in the Dominican Republic on July 28 takes on greater importance when considering it could shut down all of U.S. pork exports if it spreads just under 400 miles away to Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. As part of its continuing efforts to prevent ASF introduction into the Conterminous United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, APHIS is preparing to establish a Foreign Animal Disease protection zone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the agency says in a notice.

By designating Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as a “protection zone,” the World Organization for Animal Health designation allows the United States to maintain its current animal health status should there be a detection of African swine fever or other foreign animal disease on the island territories. “Their recognition will ensure the continued flow of U.S. pork and live swine exports,” says APHIS.

Read full article here


6 Reasons Why China’s Falling Prices Will Impact Global Market

The price collapse in China surprised everyone, Rabobank analysts say in the company’s Pork Quarterly Q3 report. China’s hog prices sharply declined in the first quarter of 2021 to lower levels than imported pork prices, and prices have been below the break-even point of most fattening farms for over three months.

Rabobank says there are several reasons behind the price plunge. In the first four months of the year, new strains of African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks led to more herd liquidation in affected regions and caused a temporary supply surge. 

“Based on MARA data monitoring, the monthly slaughter by scaled slaughterhouses increased by more than 35% in the first five months of 2021 and by over 40% in both April and May,” Rabobank analysts write. “This was followed by the dumping of oversized hogs as farmers abandoned hope of a price rebound and rushed heavy hogs to slaughter.”

The oversized hogs were up to 40% heavier than normal, which put extra pressure on supply from April to June. Combine this with disease outbreaks in late May and a new round of liquidation in those regions are likely to result in more market chaos.

Read full article here



Economist: Keeping Beef at Center of Plate of Future

Sure, beef demand is at a 33-year high, according to CattleFax. But that doesn’t mean cattle producers can afford to be complacent in addressing consumer concerns and ignore the rising challenges from the alternative protein sector.

Purdue University food and agriculture economist Jayson Lusk reminds producers that they have a lot of work to keep that demand high for the future. He spoke at the Cattlemen’s College before the Cattle Industry Convention on Aug. 10 in Nashville, Tenn.

Read full article here


Beef: Growing demand in China

Changes in the economy, world events and African Swine Fever are impacting the Chinese diet. That’s what a recent report from Rabobank shows.

The report concludes China’s beef consumption will move from a foodservice dominated mode to multi-channel. Although beef is not yet a major animal protein for most Chinese consumers and is unlikely to become one in the foreseeable future, the rising share of total animal protein consumption still means a significant change is taking place.

China’s beef market has an estimated market value of $110 billion per year with consumption volumes estimated at 8.7 million metric tons in 2020.

Covid and ASF have changed not only the way China’s population is eating food, but also what they eat. ASF has left a hole in the menu with outbreaks and limited pork supply. And COVID-19 has meant more meals eaten at home.

Read full article here


The Impacts of Drought on Beef and Beyond

The nation is experiencing historic drought that covers nearly all of the West and most of the Northern Plains, and one estimate shows that 32% of all cattle in the U.S. are under drought level conditions. This drought has caused severe disruption for ranchers and will have a lasting impact on America’s cattle industry, says Drovers editorial director, Greg Henderson. During Farm Journal Field Days he sat down with a panel of experts to discuss the current state of the drought, including:

  • Jason Johnson, Oregon Feedlot Operator
  • John Nalivka, Sterling Marketing
  • Larry Schnell, Stockman’s Livestock Exchange, Dickinson, North Dakota
  • Niels Hansen, Rancher and Public Lands Council.

The situation is so dire, Schnell says, that in North Dakota ranchers have been telling him it’s the worst they’ve seen it, and not many of them went through the 1930’s but this is as bad as they’ve seen it since then.

“Our last decent rains came in September of 2019. We had 11 inches of rain, which is very rare in North Dakota to get fall rains of that amount. I think that’s what got us through last year. There was quite a lot of subsoil moisture, so a lot of ranchers got pretty close to having a hay crop as compared to normal. This year, it’s all gone,” he says. “Haying that is going on, a lot of people are not even cutting it. But if they are cutting it at all, they’re talking about one bale per acre, some we’re talking about acres per bale.”

Read full article here



Dairy producers to get $2 billion aid package.  USDA announces first installment of $350 million in pandemic assistance for dairy farmers impacted by COVID shutdowns

While visiting Vermont dairy farms Thursday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced through the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program, USDA will provide about $350 million in pandemic assistance payments to dairy farmers who received a lower value for their products due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic. The assistance is part of a larger $2 billion package including permanent improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program.

“Family dairy farmers have been battered by the pandemic, trade issues and unpredictable weather and are the life-blood of many rural communities throughout Vermont, the Northeast and many other regions,” Vilsack says while also meeting with farmers and touring dairy farms with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. “This targeted assistance is the first step in USDA’s comprehensive approach that will total over $2 billion to help the dairy industry recover from the pandemic and be more resilient to future challenges for generations to come.”

Read full article here


Examining soluble protein in dairy cow nutrition

Models, such as the National Research Council (NRC) and the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS), have been instrumental in streamlining and improving the formulation of diets for dairy cows. Inroads have been particularly outstanding with respect to protein and amino acid nutrition of dairy cows. Granted we are still discovering more each day about the nutritional needs of dairy cows, but models and feed formulation platforms are allowing us to achieve greater levels of productivity and to make better use of the resources available.

Read full article here



Are Farmers and Ranchers the Best People To Tell Ag’s Story?

Who should be telling the story of agriculture?  Some say that it should be farmers and ranchers, but they are only about 1% of the population. Others say agriculture needs more Mike Rowes and Dirty Jobs in the world to broadcast ag’s story. 

“The bottom line is farmers and ranchers are probably the most knowledgeable, but we might not be the best at talking to our urban friends,” says Rob Sharkey, more famously known as The Shark Farmer, in his online Farm Journal Field Days presentation. Register now to view it.

During a recent interview, accomplished chef Jill Bosich from Temecula, Calif., shared with The Shark Farmer how understanding the amount of work that goes into the steak she is preparing has changed her life. 

Read full article here


The KC Animal Health Corridor announces MANRRS week, event to raise awareness of need for greater access to inclusive career opportunities

The KC Animal Health Corridor announces that Aug. 22-28 has been declared Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Week by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. The proclamations, which coincide with the Corridor’s Digital Animal Health Summit beginning Aug. 24, help change perceptions of agricultural careers and encourage greater inclusion of minority-represented populations to build a more prosperous, creative, and innovative industry.

“The animal health industry needs everyone and MANRRS is for anyone,” says Emily McVey, vice president, KC Animal Health Corridor. “That’s why the Corridor and our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion taskforce are proud to work with state partners who acknowledge MANRRS and the importance of inclusion. Together, we will continue to take steps toward ensuring that diverse populations can find a home and thrive in our industry. While we don’t have all the answers, the MANRRS week proclamations are a strong step forward in raising awareness for continued intentional work and progress.”

MANRRS is a nonprofit organization founded 36 years ago to promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences. With active chapters at universities across the nation, including in Kansas and Missouri, MANRRS prepares minority students to enter the workforce as leaders. 

Read full article here


How a Kansas Farmer Kept a 30-Year Track Record of Zero Employee Turnover

“I never really saw myself winding up as a farmer,” says Lon Frahm, sitting inside an area that serves as not only the event center for the farm, but the corporate headquarters.

Sign after sign, white buildings dotted along the property, is a farm that’s all business. Frahm, who never considered himself a farm kid, has been at the helm of the operation since 1986, after his father died unexpectedly.

“There are a lot of things I hadn’t been exposed to or hadn’t learned, and so I learned a lot of stuff real fast,” he says. “But because my grandfather wasn’t around, my father wasn’t around, it wasn’t ‘We’ve always done it that way.’ I got to figure out my own way.”

And that’s exactly what Frahm did. From the 6,000 acres in 1986, to today’s more than 30,000 acres of corn, plus 1,000 acres of wheat, efficiency sprouts in many ways.

“That’s really what you have to do if it’s 1986 and there’s no money and there are big debts,” says Frahm. “What’s your choice when you have to get as much mileage out of any little thing?”

Read full article here


Intelia Promotes COMPASS™ for the U.S. -Interview with Caroline Forest

Caroline Forest, Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Intelia was raised in an agricultural community in Quebec and earned her baccalaureate degree from Concordia University in Montreal. Caroline, true to her roots has always been associated with agriculture and is an avowed ‘foodie’.  Early in her career she gained experience in the design and sales of greenhouses and since joining Intelia in 2015 has worked to promote innovation in managing broiler flocks based on accurate environmental and performance data. CHICK-NEWS had the opportunity to discuss Intelia and COMPASS™ with Caroline after the announcement of a strategic partnership with Cargill Inc. to promote the system that has received acceptance in Canada and the U.S. among progressive integrators.

Read interview here


Technology Is… Considering A CTO

Is now the time to expand your tech expertise?   As you look at your farm’s capital expenditures, how many are related to technology? Think broadly. The numbers probably climb pretty fast. 

“An important part of our business is to try new things,” says Brian Watkins, Ohio farmer and CEO of CropZilla, a farm software provider. “Even if you’re not an early adopter, you still have to have an intentional innovation strategy.”

Your farm’s strategy should span management information, agronomic technology and equipment technology, Watkins says. To make sure your farm is ahead of the pack (or at least in the race) you need someone to own this part of the business. 

Read full article here


The information in this newsletter is intended to update our readers of current events.  Any third-party publications are presented for informational purposes only and the views presented in such publications are those of the respective authors.  The views therein are not necessarily representative of Aeros or any other CULTURA company’s views on any particular topic.