In The News This Month – February 2023




Sustainability. We hear that word often, but do we really understand what it means. The Oxford dictionary defines sustainability as the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. A simple Google search of the word provided a similar, but more relatable definition: “Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” I recently attended a conference that held a panel discussion about investing in sustainability for the egg and poultry industry. The consensus among attendees was while they know it is something they need to invest in, they do not fully understand how. And this may be because we are overcomplicating the process of creating a sustainable business strategy. An audience member finally asked the question everyone probably wanted to know – what does sustainability mean? One of the panel experts had a very simple definition that stuck with me. She stated that in ag industry we see many generational farms and we want to continue to see this. The purpose of investing in sustainability is to keep you in business for the next generation. To run your businesses/farms without compromising the ability for future generations to run the business. When it is defined in those simple terms, it might make it easier to invest in sustainability, because we’re now investing in our future. But once we’ve allotted some of the budget for these efforts, will consumers pay more for sustainability marketed products? It depends on the consumer. WattPoultry recently featured a story about the future of sustainable poultry production. The article stated that while foods with low carbon levels are currently available, they are meant to attract a certain segment of consumers with a price premium. The industry is moving in the right direction, however there is a long way to go to truly transform the food and ag business.

As we head into the second quarter of the year, consumers are still loud about egg prices. Although wholesale egg prices are trending a little lower, retail is yet to catch up. With prices on the shelf still high throughout the month, there was a lot of gossiping, complaints, and speculating with very little fact checking. A new rumor circulated that Mexican eggs were illegally crossing the border to the U.S. because of the high egg prices. An article featured in WattPoultry put these rumors to rest. There is no contraband of Mexican eggs to the United States. Experts state that while egg prices are high, it’s temporary and will seasonally go down. Another popular conspiracy theory circulating throughout social media is that Taylor Swift fans were responsible for lowering egg prices after the Grammys. It was a coincidence that a day later Urner Barry reported a drop in wholesale egg prices and the rumor mill exploded! No, her fans did not have any effect on the price of eggs. The industry has predicted that egg prices would drop as 2023 went on. Who would have thought that eggs would go viral in 2023?

Rounding out the month, we still saw stories on production challenges and labor issues. The National Pork Producers Council recently published a report summarizing how factors like consumer demand, production costs, and the ongoing labor shortage will have an impact on the pork industry for the remainder of the year. Labor shortages are still an issue throughout, not just in the pork industry. However, some believe automation could be a solution to the labor shortages. Will robots replace human labor? Not in the near future and not entirely. Human workers will still be needed, but robots can free up humans for other tasks. It’s a fact that technology is changing the ag industry, we just need to remember to create a sustainable future for generations to come.


Monica Lizar

Account Manager

Aeros, a Cultura Company


Feed and Grains:


Grains (mostly) back in the green

Grain prices were mixed but mostly higher but were unable to move the needle much in either direction as traders search for fresh supply and demand clues. A solid round of export inspection data from USDA this morning offered a touch of bullish assistance. Corn prices firmed 0.5%, with winter wheat prices finding similar gains. Soybeans made modest inroads, while spring wheat prices eased slightly lower.

More wet weather is on its way – nearly all of the central U.S. will receive at least some measurable moisture between Tuesday and Friday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. The agency’s new 8-to-14-day outlook predicts will also be likely in the Midwest and Plains between February 20 and February 26, with seasonally cold weather establishing itself in the Northern and Central Plains during this time.

Read full article here


IGC: Total grains forecast falls on lower global corn production

Due to a downgraded corn production outlook in the United States and Argentina, the International Grains Council (IGC) has lowered its world total grains (wheat and coarse grains) production forecast to 2.248 billion tonnes, down 8 million tonnes from the January projection.

The report, issued on Feb. 16, foresees 2022-23 global corn production down 67 million tonnes from the previous year. Wheat output and consumption is seen unchanged at 796 million tonnes and 789 million tonnes, respectively. Total grains production is predicted to fall 43 million tonnes year-on-year.

Read full article here


Soybeans still sensitive to South American weather news

Grain prices were mixed but mostly firm, anchored by big gains in soybeans following more dry forecasts for the already embattled crop in Argentina. Corn, soymeal and soyoil contracts also improved on Tuesday. Wheat suffered a technical setback, incurring losses that ranged between 0.2% and 1.9%.

Plenty more rain and/or snow is on its way to the central U.S. later this week. A band stretching from South Dakota through Michigan is likely to gather the greatest amounts between Wednesday and Saturday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. In fact, Winter Storm Olive will delivery heavy snow, blizzard conditions, ice and other hazards to significant portions of the Plains, upper Midwest and Great Lakes region, according to analysis from the Weather Channel.

Read full article here





MPS acquires Country Charm Eggs, gains 1.8 million hens

The acquisition allows the producer to expand into the southeastern U.S. for the first time. MPS Egg Farms (MPS) announced the acquisition of Georgia-based egg producer Country Charm Eggs on February 21, 2023. 

The purchase expands MPS’s flock by almost two million birds and puts the producer in four states: Indiana, Illinois, Texas and Georgia.

Additionally, the expansion promotes brothers Sam Krouse and Dan Krouse to co-CEOs. Previously, Sam was MPS vice president of business development and Dan was MPS vice president of operations.

“MPS has been intentional about growth – doing so in a strategic way that leverages our commitment to customer excellence and high quality, while also aligning with businesses that share our core values and our unwavering dedication to animal care and food safety,” stated Sam Krouse.

Read full article here


Cage-free shift study proves many consumers are indifferent

A recently published research study identifies the cage-free conversion challenges the U.S. egg industry faces related to costs, construction, lack of consumer demand and insight concerning what consumer and producer perceptions are on the transition.

“This research confirms what egg producers have known – cage-free transitions are extremely expensive, take years to implement and must be done in active partnership with their retail customers,” said Chad Gregory, agricultural cooperative United Egg Producers (UEP) President and CEO. 

“Further, the study sheds light on one of the greatest challenges – that grocery shoppers do not understand transition deadlines and largely are unwilling to pay the premiums necessary to make the transitions cost-effective for egg farmers and their retail customers.”

Read full article here


Speculation around eggs, prices and bird flu is not good

Everybody loves gossiping and speculating without having all of the information. I guess it is part of human nature. A few weeks ago, the rumor was that Mexican eggs were illegally crossing the border to the U.S. because of the high egg prices. The National Poultry Producers Association of Mexico (Unión Nacional de Avicultores – UNA) has been clear and straight forward in providing information:

  • Mexico produces 99.9% of the domestic egg needs
  • There is no contraband of Mexican eggs to the U.S. From November 1, 2022, to January 17, 2023, the ridiculously low amount of 390 eggs per day of contraband were seized, while 136 million eggs per day are produced. Just make the comparison.

The news keeps talking about avian flu and the impact on prices. But again, UNA has been clear with the facts.

Read full article here


Egg Week


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, March 2nd 2023.

The Week in Review


According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports released on February 27th the Midwest wholesale price (rounded to one cent) for Extra-large was up 9.7 percent to $2.49 per dozen. Large size was up 9.8 percent to $2.47 per dozen; the Medium price was up 9.9 percent to $2.44 per dozen as delivered to DCs. Prices should be compared to the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run cost of 83.9 cents per dozen in January 2023, excluding provisions for packing, packaging materials and transport, amounting to 50 cents per dozen in mid-2022 according to the EIC but now probably closer to 55 cents per dozen. The progression of prices during 2023 to date is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

Read full article here






Will poultry consumers pay more for sustainability?

Consumers reliably indicate that sustainability is an important factor in poultry purchasing decisions. Product labels that show the eco-friendliness of a product are one way to communicate how improvements in the way poultry are fed, raised and processed are decreasing the environmental impact of the industry. Will consumers pay more for sustainably marketed products?

During “Net zero and the future of sustainable poultry production,” a panel discussion recorded by and Evonik Animal Nutrition at the 2023 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), a trio of industry experts discussed the things poultry producers can do to accelerate net zero and other sustainability goals.

Read full article here 


Poultry welfare robot could augment human labor

Automating the poultry welfare and environmental monitoring process could be a solution to labor shortages, but it won’t replace the need for human workers. Instead, it frees them up for other tasks.

“We’re not trying to take any one out of the chicken house or make them spend less time in the chicken house, we’re just trying to make it more effective,” Scott Becker, director of North American sales for Cumberland, explained.

“To me, it’s really about getting more data and more information to do a better job.”

Read full article here 


New NCC resources focus on food safety for broilers

Two new food safety resources from the National Chicken Council (NCC) highlight the broiler industry’s commitment to food safety from farm to fork.

An interactive Food Safety Infographic that serves as a visual guide to the industry’s continuously improving safety measures that help keep chicken safe to consume throughout the supply chain.

 In addition, NCC also released a Food Safety Process Video that brings the infographic to life and provides a bird’s-eye view of the entire process.

“NCC’s new FAQs and visual resources bring those steps to life, while outlining the progress the industry has made in food safety,” the organization announced.

Read full article here


Chickens inspire potential new pain relief drug for people

Understanding how chickens tolerate the taste of spicy peppers could result in a better way to manage pain in humans.

The pain receptors of chickens and other birds don’t sense capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers that make it taste spicy. Some poultry farmers even put capsaicin in their poultry feed to deter squirrels, mice and other pests. As an added benefit, capsaicin increases enzyme secretion, which improves feed digestibility in chicken.

“What’s interesting is that the receptor has more of a role in pain regulation than just the sensation you have while eating a hot pepper,” Eric Gross, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine, Stanford University, told WATTPoultry.

“Maybe there’s a possibility we can learn something from that. Maybe there’s a way we can actually dial down the pain that people feel for a lot of different diseases that trigger inflammation.”

Read full article here




Turkey production lowered after losses exceed 9.5m birds

The turkey industry continued to be affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in January, with detections in Iowa and Virginia leading to the culling of 27,700 and 36,000 turkeys, respectively. Since the outbreak began a year ago, total losses of turkey meat birds exceed 9.5 million, USDA economists Grace Grossen and Adriana Valcu-Lisman relayed in the February “Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook.”

According to the report, turkey production in December 2022 totaled 414.2 million pounds, 3% lower than December of 2021. This brings the 2022 annual total to 5.222 billion pounds, a decrease of 6% compared to the 2021 total and the smallest annual production since 1995. 

Read full article here


Methods to improve Salmonella surveillance in turkeys studied

Vaccine programs in the turkey industry are a primary pre-harvest Salmonella mitigation strategy, and development of effective programs rely heavily on effective Salmonella serovar surveillance. Noteworthy hurdles to surveillance and vaccine program development includes the fact that traditional isolation identifies only the most abundant serovars in a population, while underlying serovars remain unknown. Further, there is a lack of understanding where in the supply chain samples should be taken to inform serovars present in the system.

USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation recently announced the completion of a funded research project at the University of Georgia in which researchers evaluated methods to improve Salmonella surveillance in turkeys. The research was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Cargill and proceeds from the International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). 

Read full article here




NASDA joins USDA, pork industry to protect U.S. from ASF

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the USDA, National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council have formed a new partnership to enhance coordination and preparedness to prevent and protect the United States from African swine fever, a deadly pig disease that could cripple the entire agricultural sector with long-lasting ramifications for the economic viability of U.S. livestock production. 

The enhanced partnership between these four entities will allow for the most effective harmonization of federal and state response plans to enable producers to prevent, plan and recover from ASF outbreaks, as well as encourage industry preparation for future outbreaks and disease response in other livestock sectors, which fosters rural food security and public confidence in the U.S. food system. The only way to stop ASF is through proper preparation and mitigation efforts.

Read full article here


US pork outlook addresses production challenges, labor issues

The National Pork Producers Council recently published an economic update, providing a snapshot of the industry for the first quarter of 2023. The report, summarizes how factors such as consumer demand, production costs, production expectations and the ongoing labor shortage will impact the pork industry for the remainder of the year and beyond.

With domestic demand for pork continuing to demonstrate positive growth for the past two years, on-farm hog values have remained positive, but that continued momentum hinges on inflation rates, job creation and hourly wages, pork price trends and domestic consumption.

Read full article here




RaboResearch: Uncertainty ahead for beef industry

According to a new report from Rabobank, 2022 was a year to remember for the global beef industry, with record retail and farmgate prices in many regions due to strong consumer demand and limited supplies. Brazil also achieved record export volumes and returns thanks to growing Chinese demand. However, consumer sentiment softened in late 2022, leading to weaker beef prices in early 2023.

Total beef production is forecast to be steady in the first quarter of 2023, with a 5% lift in Australian and 2% increase in Brazilian production, almost enough to offset declines in the U.S., EU, and New Zealand. The global supply through 2023 is expected to become more limited as U.S. production dips. 

Read full article here


Bipartisan group reintroduces cattle market reform bill

After failing to get legislation passed last session, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced a bill they say will improve transparency and accountability in the cattle market.

The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act would require USDA to establish five to seven regions across the country that reasonably reflect similar fed cattle purchases. It would also require USDA to establish minimum purchase levels through approved pricing mechanisms that packers controlling 5% or more of fed cattle slaughter would be required to make.

Each region’s mandatory minimum would be set at no less than the average of its negotiated trade for the two-year period between 2020 and 2021. The maximum threshold for any region would be set at 50%.

Read full article here





FDA milk labeling guidance gets mixed reviews

The FDA is calling on producers of plant-based beverages being sold as milk alternatives to add a voluntary nutrient statement spelling out how their products compare to traditional dairy milk. In a draft guidance titled “Labeling of Plant-based Milk Alternatives and Voluntary Nutrient Statements: Guidance for Industry,” the agency suggests products like soy milk or almond milk could include a label stating “contains lower amounts of Vitamin D and calcium than milk.”

The move comes in response to an FDA request for additional information on the labeling of plant-based milk alternatives. According to an agency release, more than 13,000 comments were submitted on the issue. The FDA ultimately concluded that most consumers understand plant-based milk alternatives do not contain milk. However, they may not understand how the nutritional composition these products vary and may not contain the same levels of key nutrients as milk.

Read full article here


U.S. dairy exports shatter records in 2022

U.S. dairy exports set new volume and value records again in 2022 despite rampant inflation and a host of other challenges to international trade. It was the third straight record year for volume and the second for value.

Newly released USDA numbers showed U.S. dairy exports to the world totaled $9.6 billion last year, topping the 2021 dairy export value record by 25% and representing an 85% increase in just the past 10 years. It is also the first time it has ever crossed the $9-billion mark.

U.S. dairy exports logged 2.82 million metric tons of volume in 2022, another record and a 52% increase over the past 10 years. Export volume in 2022 was equivalent to 18% of U.S. milk produced last year, also an all-time high.

Read full article here


Si-Ware, Cargill partner on dairy feed analysis solutions

Si-Ware Systems, the creator of the NeoSpectra material analysis platform, will partner with Cargill Animal Nutrition to provide the NeoSpectra platform to their North American dairy teams for the on-site analysis of forages, feeds and feed ingredients. The NeoSpectra platform uses cutting-edge spectroscopy techniques and machine learning to analyze the nutrient content of feed and feed ingredients quickly and accurately.

The agreement pairs Cargill’s market, research and technical expertise in dairy farm nutrition with Si-Ware’s ground-breaking NeoSpectra platform to provide accurate and reliable data to help farmers, consultants and nutritionists accurately and instantly determine the nutrient content of their feed and feed ingredients which will help increase yield and efficiency in the field.

Read full article here





Did Taylor Swift fans lower egg prices after the Grammys?

Another conspiracy theory about egg prices has formed, and this one involves popstar Taylor Swift, her fans and the 2023 Grammy Awards.

During the awards show, host Trevor Noah praised Swift for having the best fans in the world and asked, “Can you get your fans to handle the price of eggs?”

Swift responded, “There’s really nothing they can’t accomplish,” and added, “They’ll get on it, just let them know what you need.”

Just one day later, on February 6th, Urner Barry coincidentally reported a drop in wholesale egg prices. According to Urner Barry’s Egg Index, prices decreased to $1.97 per dozen, which is over 50% less than the egg prices noted in December 2022. 

Even before Noah asked Swift to have her fans intervene, the industry has predicted that egg prices would drop as 2023 went on.

Read full article here


6 tips to achieve net zero in poultry feed, nutrition

With consumer concerns about the sustainability of the food they purchase increasing, a growing number of companies – including retail, foodservice and poultry companies themselves – have adopted net zero goals. This move has major implications for the poultry industry, affecting how birds are fed, raised, processed, distributed and marketed.

Read full article here



UEP: reducing food waste should not compromise food safety

U.S. agricultural cooperative United Egg Producers (UEP) submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging it to reject a proposal that would allow surplus broiler hatching eggs into the food supply. 

The proposal, submitted by U.S. trade association National Chicken Council (NCC), encourages the FDA to change a policy in its Shell Egg Rule that requires broiler surplus hatching eggs to be disposed of to help alleviate the country’s high egg prices. 

UEP argues that redirecting these surplus eggs to the food supply instead of disposing of them would present a major food safety risk to the public. 

Read full article here



Arizona Attorney General looks at Kroger, Albertsons merger

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is launching an anti-trust investigation into the Kroger Co.’s planned acquisition of Albertsons Companies.

“Hardworking Arizonans struggle daily to put fresh, healthy food on the table for their families and have already suffered through devastating price increases over the past year,” Mayes said. “In addition to skyrocketing prices, the proposed merger raises questions about the potential for store closures that could force consumers to travel farther for groceries – possibly creating food deserts that disproportionately affect minority communities.”

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.