Urban Farming: A Tale of Two Cities

Oct 17, 2014

San Francisco frequently regarded as the epicenter of social innovation has introduced a program offering tax reductions for non-improved property to be converted to urban farming for a five-year period.  The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act is intended to reduce urban blight and to allow residents an opportunity to grow food and even raise livestock.  An example cited confirmed that modifying a tract of land to accommodate bees would reduce the annual tax bill from $21,000 to $50 per year.

The Urban Agriculture Incentive initiative has resulted in considerable opposition.  The San Francisco Chronicle condemned the measure as it regards sequestering vacant land for five years as a disincentive to build housing which is sorely needed.

The SFC stated “successful urban centers are constantly changing and those changes raise complicated issues.  A growing city’s dynamism is core to what makes it attractive and useful.  The newspaper emphasized the cost of pricing-out families and disrupting long-standing communities.  They characterized subsidies for urban farming as “insanity”.


Egg Industry News


ALDI to Open Tampa Bay Store

Oct 17, 2014

According to a report in the Tampa Bay Business Journal ALDI intends to open a new store in the Oldsmar neighborhood of Tampa.  This is the twentieth location in the Tampa Bay area.

Publix which dominates the market with traditional superstores is experiencing increased competition from smaller operations including Trader Joe’s and ALDI in addition to Winn-Dixie and Walmart.


Whole Foods Market Experimenting with Mobile Orders

Oct 17, 2014

In an attempt to enhance sales and hopefully margins, Whole Foods Market is experimenting with mobile ordering as an adjunct to traditional in-store shopping.  According to an article in the Mobile Commerce Daily, the program is being tested in fifteen cities to allow customers to use a mobile application for groceries which are delivered within a short time.  In San Francisco, Walmart is using the Instacart mobile application.


Trader Joe’s Achieves High Sales Per Unit Area

Oct 17, 2014

According to the Business Insider, Trader Joe’s sales attain $1,734 per square foot of floor space compared to Whole Foods Market at $930 per square foot.

Positive perceptions of Trader Joe’s by consumers is considered to be higher than Whole Foods Market according to a Yougov Brand Index study.


Organic Yolk Pigmenter and Lutein source now available

Oct 15, 2014

Kemin Industries will commence marketing new Organic ORO GLO®, a USDA certified organic additive. This product will help organic egg producers intensify the color of egg yolks and supplement lutein content.  Lutein, a carotenoid, protects eye health and can minimize the impacts of age-related macular degeneration.  


Whole Foods Stimulates GMO Controversy

Oct 15, 2014

Whole Foods has apparently embarked on a program discriminating against any food products containing GMO (genetically modified origin) ingredients or dairy and meat items derived from herds or flocks fed GMO feeds. The issue was brought into focus following a post on a social media site claiming “Whole Foods has purposely chosen not to carry Chobani yogurt” subsequently acknowledged by the Company.


EL Niño Anticipated in December

Oct 15, 2014

The Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service has now forecast the onset of a weak El Niño phenomenon.  During mid-year, ocean surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific near that coast of South America was undergoing a warming trend.

CHICK-CITE published a detailed review of the El Niño phenomenon and its effect on world agriculture to which readers are referred.


EPA Extends Comment Period on the Waters of America Rule

Oct 15, 2014

The proposed Rule relating to the Waters of the United States resulted in considerable criticism after preliminary indications of the EPA intent were released in April.  The action by the Agency was regarded as an unjustified extension of jurisdiction and was subjected to considerable opposition by the business and agriculture communities followed by questions from Congress.

The EPA recently announced that the comment period will be extended through November 14th.  During past weeks, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has defended the Rule which would extend jurisdiction over small bodies of water that may or may not flow into waters subject to the Clean Water Act.  Since the proposed rule includes some definitions contentious definitions and invests inspectors with considerable power, opponents have called for scrapping the initiative.


Animal Agriculture Alliance CEO Appointed to Virginia Board

Oct 15, 2014

Governor Terry McAuliffe has appointed Kay Johnson Smith to the Board of Agriculture for Consumer Services of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The primary responsibility of the Board is to promote the agricultural interests of Virgina by advising the Governor on the state of Virginia agriculture and cooperating with state and federal Agencies to implement programs to strengthen agriculture in the Commonwealth.


Land O’ Lakes CEO Optimistic

Oct 15, 2014

Chris Policinski CEO of farmer-owned cooperative Land O’ Lakes expressed optimism in the future of agriculture at a recent forum. Speaking at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Annual Business Conference on October 8th, he stated, “we operate in what I think is the best growth industry of our generation”.  He bases his views on growth in population and especially rising incomes in developing nations.  Aspirations among emerging middle classes in Asia include a higher proportion of animal protein in their diets.


Export Data for January through August 2014

Oct 15, 2014

USDA-FAS data as collated by Dr. Renan Zhuang of the USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing the first eight months of  2014:-

Comparison of Egg Exports: First Eight Months of 2014 compared 2013


January through August





Shell Eggs

Volume (m. dozen)






Value ($ million)






Unit Value ($/dozen)






Egg Products      

Volume (metric tons)






Value ($ million)






Unit Value ($/metric ton)    






(Read the full report at http://egg-cite.com/statistics/single.aspx?contentID=3651)


Weekly USDA Prices and Inventory

Oct 15, 2014


The USDA Egg Market News Report for Tuesday October 14th 2014, (Vol. 61: #82) reflected price stability

There was a small increase in the stock of generic eggs but specialty eggs increased as documented in the following table, listing the “most frequent” range of Midwest values as delivered to warehouses:-

  Current Week    Previious Week
Extra Large   117 –  120          117  –  120  cents per dozen
Large 115 –  118   115 –  118  
Medium 103 –  106   103 –  106  
Certified Organic EL 275 –  310   275 –  310  
Central States Breaking Stock 95 –  98   95 –  98  
Checks 79 –  85   79  –  85  

USDA Crop Progress Report

Oct 15, 2014



The October 14th USDA- National Agricultural Statistical Service, Crop Progress Report reflecting the week ending October 13th denoted a continued favorable crop situation with 74 percent of soy and 77 percent of the corn crop in the “Good” to “Excellent” categories, both Improving on their respective status from the previous week. The USDA reported that 25 percent of the 2014 crop has been harvested compared to 18 percent last week and a 5-year average of 42 percent confirming the delays in transfer from fields to silos and elevators.

Approximately 94 percent of the soybean crop had commenced dropping leaves compared to 88 percent last week and the five-year average of 94 percent. Twenty six percent of the crop has been harvested compared to 18 percent last week and an average of 47 percent over five years

The condition of the two crops improved from the previous week and was classified by the USDA as:-

  Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent
Corn            1% 3% 22% 53% 26%
Soybeans 1% 3% 22% 53% 21%

At market open on October 15th   December and March corn were quoted at 356 cents and 365 cents per bushel respectively.  Soybeans for November and March were $9.63 and $9.80 per bushel respectively.  Soybean meal quotations were $328 per ton for December and $320 per ton for March delivery.


USDA- WASDE FORECAST #534, October 11th 2014 REPORT

Oct 13, 2014

The projections of corn yield, production, exports and domestic use were updated in the October WASDE Report compared to the previous September Report, #533. The most recent data is based on the actual emergence and current condition of both corn and soybeans which correspond to or exceed 5-year averages (see report in this Edition). The major differences from September are the modest increases (1.7 percent for corn, 1.0 percent for soybeans) in the estimated yields for the two principal crops.

This is reflected in a 0.6 percent increase in availability of corn but a 14 million bushel decline in soybean meal due to a reduction in acreage to be harvested.  The resulting decline in future prices of corn and stabilization in the price projection for soybeans augers well for improved margins for broiler and egg production. Going forward prices will be determined by updated projections based on actual harvests and condition of crops.

Read the full report at http://egg-cite.com/statistics/single.aspx?contentID=3744


Shane Commentary


Australian System for Mass Euthanasia

Oct 17, 2014

EGG-CITE is indebted to Dr. Eric Gingerich for information on the EuPoul System for mass euthanasia developed in Australia www.eupoul.com.  Basically the approach is to place floor-housed birds in a plastic tent which is then flushed with carbon dioxide.  The company has also developed a method of wrapping stacked-deck batteries with plastic to allow euthanasia in cages using carbon dioxide.

Extensive studies in the U.S. have shown that the carbon dioxide-foam system is suitable for humanely depleting floor-housed flocks and offers speed, efficiency and economy.  The still unresolved challenge is to achieve rapid mass-euthanasia of hens in cages.  At this time the only appropriate method is to manually transfer hens from cages to kill-carts flushed with carbon dioxide. If these units used for routine depletion are unavailable, hens must be manually moved to the end of the house to be placed in dumpsters fitted with covers to allow euthanasia with carbon dioxide.

The actual problem with mass euthanasia following a disease outbreak is less that of killing a flock than the disposal of the carcasses. Irrespective of the approach to either euthanasia or disposal, it is necessary to plan an operation in advance and obtain the necessary permits from regulatory authorities.  The situation following the 2002 outbreak of low pathogenicity avian influenza in turkey flocks in the Shenandoah Valley illustrates the problems involved.  Bureaucracy and the need for rapid action are often incompatible.


Non-Human Rights Project Appeals Against Adverse Verdict

Oct 15, 2014

The Non-Human Rights Project (NHRP) founded by Steven Wise, an animal-rights lawyer and founder of the organization will appeal against an adverse decision by a court in New York State.  At issue is the legal status of four chimpanzees, two in private ownership and the others at the Stonybrook University Primate Center.

Wise and his associates filed a Writ of habeas corpus which under common law would allow an interested party to obtain the release of a person held by an authority.  In this instance, the concept of habeas corpus was extended to a non-human.  The submission by the NHRP was rejected. An interesting question would be whether Wise serves per bono (or per bonobo) or alternatively the source of his funding.       

While this commentator expresses concern for the confinement of non-human primates under other than accepted high-standards of care, establishing “personhood” creates a dangerous precedent. This would allow animal-rights organizations to descend the zoological ladder and claim that any confined animal should be released from farms, zoos and laboratories. Whether the Non-Human Rights Project intends to confine their activities to chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans is questionable.  If the courts set a precedent, marine mammals and circus animals would soon follow.  Cattle and hogs would not be far behind, even chickens might have “legal guardians” Livestock production as we know it would not be possible. Tofu and granola anyone?        


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Dr. Simon M. Shane
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Industry Prices: Tue Oct 21
 Corn3.57 $/bu
 Soybeans9.67 $/bu
 Soybean Meal343.30 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer99  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 115-118 ¢/doz