Biofuels Contribute to Excess Evolution of Carbon Dioxide

Oct 21, 2016


The intent of the U.S. Biofuels Program initiated by Congress in 2005 to establish energy independence has proven to be deleterious to the environment. Applying “national interest” and environmental considerations to bolster intensive lobbying from proponents of corn-based ethanol, Congress progressively extended the Renewable Fuel Standard from 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into gasoline by 2012 to 15.4 billion gallons in 2015.


A recent study conducted by Dr. John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan rebuts the environmental benefits from corn-based ethanol.  The study took into account the reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide associated with cultivation of corn on all farms in the U.S. Corn removes approximately two tons of carbon dioxide per acre during a growing season.  Total reduction of carbon dioxide by U.S. farmland cultivating corn amounted to 49 teragrams (49 million metric tons) of carbon dioxide.

DeCicco calculated the release of carbon dioxide associated with cultivation of corn including fuel, fertilizer and other inputs, in addition to the carbon dioxide released from the fermentation production of ethanol and the burning of ethanol added to gasoline at a rate of 10 percent.  The evolution of carbon dioxide amounted to 132 teragrams meaning that only 35 percent of biofuel-related carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 through 2013 were offset by the program of biofuel production from corn.

Given the availability of natural gas and oil from newly discovered fields and the application of fracking the question of energy independence has been largely resolved. This is especially the case now that the U.S. is exporting both oil and gas. The second justification for the biofuels program relating to environmental advantages has also been scientifically discredited. 

The Renewable Fuel Standard persists as a manifestation of political expediency benefiting farmers in corn states and ethanol producers to the detriment of consumers.  Ethanol from corn was intended as a stopgap measure until fuel could be produced from biomass.  Despite investment of billions of dollars in projects, fuel from biomass has proven neither practical nor financially viable leaving a Congressionally-mandated program as a gift to vested interest and as an environmentally unacceptable alternative.


Egg Industry News


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, October 17th 2016

Oct 21, 2016


Midwest-wholesale prices for Extra Large, Large and Medium sizes stabilized this past week. The pattern of prices during 2016 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The Friday October 14th USDA Combined Region value which lags Midwest Weekly values by one week, reflected last week’s 16 percent decline in price for Midwest commodity eggs delivered to warehouses, with an 6 cent per dozen decline to $0.45 per dozen, compared to the 12-month trailing peak price of $2.77 per dozen in mid-August 2015.  The USDA Combined range for Large, in the Midwest was $0.36 per dozen. In the Southeast Region, price attained $0.48 per dozen. The current USDA Combined Price is approximately $0.44 per dozen below the three-year average which is inflated by the rise in prices during 2015, attributed to the post-HPAI shortage of all eggs.


A sharp drop in prevailing price during the first week in October coupled with an increase in flock size suggests continued seasonally low prices through early fall. The driver for low prices is the increased production from a large number of hens relative to demand. Unexpected increases in stock level for two successive weeks followed by stability during the past week predicates low stable prices for generics in the short-term.

The National productive flock excluding pre-lay pullets and hens in molt, is back to levels prior to the advent of HPAI, at approximately 296.5 million, up by 500,000 hens this past week. The market will respond to changes in availability of both shell eggs and breaking stock attributed to re-stocking and projected exports.  

Cold storage stocks in selected regions on October 11th amounted to 2.904 million pounds, 0.6 percent above the stock of 2.888 million pounds during the week of October 1st.

The monthly USDA Cold Storage Report released on September 23rd documented 31.339 million pounds in total stock of frozen egg products on August 31st 2016. This was up 2.5 percent from August 31st 2015. Approximately 86 percent of inventory comprised the categories of “Whole and Mixed” (34.4 percent) and “Unclassified” (52.0 percent).


USDA Projection of 2016 and 2017 Egg Production

Oct 21, 2016


The USDA-ERS issued an updated October 18th projection of egg production in 2016 and a forecast for 2017. Values are compared to 2015 which was impacted by the Spring outbreak of HPAI in the upper-Midwest.

Parameter            2015     2016 (projected)    2017 (forecast)      Difference ’16-‘17


(m. dozen)             7,146*           7,247            7,410                +2.2%           

(eggs per capita)    253*              270              266                  -1.4%

New York price
(c/doz.)                  189*                85                 97               +14.1%                                    

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook – October 18th 2016

*Affected by Spring 2015 HPAI outbreaks. Consumption in 2014, 267 eggs per capita

Subscribers to EGG-CITE are referred to the postings depicting weekly prices, volumes and trends and the monthly review of prices and related industry statistics.





Oct 21, 2016


North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine is offering a Residency in Poultry Health and Welfare in the Department of Population Health and Pathobiology.

For details on admission requirements and submission of documents contact sjchiapp@ncsu.edu.  The 2017 Residency will run from June 12th 2017 to June 28th 2019.  The deadline for completed applications is December 5th.  Further information on the structure and function of the Residency can be obtained from Dr.  H. John Barnes hjbarnes@ncsu.edu (919) 513-6273.




Oct 21, 2016


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has committed to spending $2.7 billion over a two-year period to improve wage rates and salaries for employees.  The current average hourly wage of $13.50 represents a 16 percent increase over the average prior to the initiative and all employees start at a minimum wage of $10 per hour.  Annual salaries for full time employees have been raised to a minimum of $48,000.


The program of concurrently increasing wages and improved training resulted from the realization that declining same-store sales were attributed to customer dissatisfaction.  Shoppers complained of improperly stocked shelves, absent or uninterested assistants and long check-out lines. 

The decision to improve salaries and stimulate workers to higher levels of customer satisfaction represents a radical departure for the Company which has always favored minimum wage bare-bones benefits and non-union employment.  The Company now has 1.2 million workers in the U.S.  Wal-Mart has come under increasing criticism that many of its workers rely on food stamps and effectively cannot even buy their personal groceries and other requirements from the stores in which they work.

The program initiated in early 2015 is apparently having a positive effect as satisfactory customer-service ratings have increased from 16 percent of stores surveyed to 75 percent by mid-2016.

Wal-Mart has established 200 training centers to improve the service-orientation of workers who appear to be motivated more positively from increased earnings.

It is evident that the initiative developed by CEO Doug McMillon was based on the realization that Costco employees starting at $13 per hour were more efficient than Wal-Mart workers, demonstrated greater company loyalty, recognized opportunities for advancement and benefitted from training.  The need to stave-off demands for unionization may also have been a factor in the decision by the Company to adopt more realistic employment practices.


Newcastle Disease Reported in Romania

Oct 21, 2016


According to an official report from Dr. Marius Grigore, of the National Sanitary, Veterinary and Food Safety Authority in Romania, an outbreak of velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (END) was diagnosed on September 20, 2016.  The outbreak occurred in a backyard flock in Vaslui and was controlled by eradication. 

Newcastle disease is seldom reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) due to the fact that the infection is suppressed by effective vaccination in endemic regions.  The infection can be maintained in a nation or area by circulation of the virus in backyard reservoir flocks coupled with live-bird marketing systems of distribution.



Lidl Investigating Texas Venture?

Oct 21, 2016


According an item in the Houston Business Journal, Lidl may be evaluating the market potential of  Texas.  The company has previously announced plans to center initial activities in the mid-Atlantic region with Arlington County, VA as the U.S. headquarters and with distribution centers in North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. 


Will Harwood, a spokesperson for Lidl noted “"We are in the early stages of our preparation to launch in the U.S., and have not yet made individual store announcements," Quoted by Jack Witthaus in the Houston Business Journal, Harwood added “Our focus right now is in our operations along the East Coast, but we are also looking at sites in Texas."


Davidson’s Pasteurized Eggs Accused of Deceptive Promotion

Oct 21, 2016


National Pasteurized Eggs (NPE), recently purchased by Michael Foods, is the subject of a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission by the Humane Society of the United States.

At issue is the packaging of Davidson’s Safest Choice eggs which depict “free-range” chickens.  The complaint filed against NPE requests the FTC to consider violations of false-advertising regulations.  Although some Davidson’s brand eggs are derived from cage-free flocks most are produced from caged hens.


Commenting on the packaging, Dr. Sue Fogel a professor of marketing at DePaul University noted “The Davidson’s egg carton would tend to mislead consumers if they're not paying attention, and most are not paying attention.”

Matt Prescott Senior Food Policy Director for the HSUS noted “In addition to the bucolic image, words like "all-natural" and "pasteurized" on the carton add to the overall misleading effect.”  He added “This is one of the more egregious examples we've seen of a company blatantly putting a picture of frolicking chickens on cartons of eggs from chickens locked in cages.”

The HSUS has been instrumental in motivating food retailers and restaurant chains to commit to sourcing cage-free eggs.  It is expected that they will continue to use their considerable presence in the social media to pressure the egg industry by demonizing any aspect of promotion or packaging which they consider beneficial to their cause.  The HSUS is less concerned over the welfare of flocks and herds than it is in promoting a vegan agenda and generating financial support for their organization.


Whole Foods Market Bid for Low-Income Shoppers

Oct 21, 2016


Approximately four years ago Whole Foods Market announced that it would establish stores in low-income neighborhoods frequently referred to as “food deserts”.  Whole Foods has opened in the Englewood neighborhood in South Chicago noted for a high crime rate and unemployment. The Englewood store is approximately 18,000 square foot in extent and will offer egg, milk and cheese at a competitive price. Less-expensive items compared to Whole Foods stores will include the 365 range.


The initiative has been strongly supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the shopping center in which the store is located was possible through tax concessions and other support.

Whole Foods Market intends to follow the Chicago store with openings in Detroit and New Orleans and a fourth store is scheduled for Newark NJ in 2017.

Whole Foods Market will experience competition as an Aldi store has opened in the vicinity and both Wal-Mart and Shop Rite have moved into low-income neighborhoods.

Englewood has a median income of $20,000, less than a quarter of the average family earnings in neighborhoods where traditional Whole Foods Market stores are located.


Ranking of Disease and Research Needs for the Egg Production Industry

Oct 21, 2016


Dr. Eric Gingrich, Secretary of the Association of Veterinarians in Egg Production recently concluded a survey among the membership to determine the ranking of diseases and research needs. 

The significant disease conditions were:-

  • Colibacillosis
  • Infectious bronchitis
  • Avian influenza
  • Focal duodenal necrosis
  • Mycoplasmosis

Issues of concern to poultry health professionals included:-

  • The need for improved vaccines
  • Animal welfare
  • Enhanced delivery systems for vaccines

The ranking of research areas comprised:-

  • Infectious bronchitis
  • Avian influenza
  • Infectious laryngotracheitis
  • Colibacillosis and septicemia
  • Mycoplasmosis
  • Enteric viruses

It is noted that antimicrobial resistance was low on the list of research needs.  This is attributed to the fact that antibiotics are used only sparingly in pullet rearing and seldom in flocks after transfer or during production.

Effective 2017 antibiotics have been placed under stricter FDA constraints with elimination of drugs common to human therapy. Administration will be under veterinary feed directives or prescriptions in the event of adding medications to drinking water.


AMS Determines “Inappropriate Conduct” but no Legal Infractions at AEB

Oct 21, 2016


In a release on October 7th, relating to the investigation by the USDA-Agriculture Marketing Service into the American Egg Board, the Department determined that inappropriate conduct had taken place but there was no violation of the law governing the Checkoff Program.  The investigation was initiated after a complaint alleged that nine deviations from policy had occurred.


The investigation was embarrassing to the AEB in that E-mails released in terms of the Freedom of Information Act confirmed what might be regarded as inappropriate communications between members of AEB management and interaction with Edelman, a public relations firm, to mount a campaign against Hampton Creek over their synthetic mayonnaise, devoid of eggs.

It is a matter of record that Joanne Ivy retired from the position of president and CEO and has been replaced by an AMS veteran, Anne Alonzo.  Other changes in personnel and responsibilities were announced shortly after the change in leadership.

In a statement by the AEB Chairman, Blair Van Zetten it was noted that AEB “has received the USDA report addressing allegations made by Hampton Creek. There were no findings of violation of the law that created the egg checkoff. The AEB has cooperated fully and has no further comment at this time.”

EGG-CITE has reported on the activities of founder and CEO of Hampton Creek, Josh Tetrick. (Enter “Tetrick” in the SEARCH block on the tool bar for postings).  The Company is currently under review by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission concerning unorthodox business practices.


October USDA Chicken and Eggs Report

Oct 21, 2016


The October Chicken and Eggs report issued the USDA recorded the hen flock producing table eggs and liquid on September 1st as 302.3 million.  This compares to 305.6 million on September 1st 2014 and 307.6 million on April 1st 2015, immediately preceding the outbreak of HPAI in the egg production segment of the U.S. poultry industry. 

By comparison, the flock attained 277.1 million on September 1st 2015 at the beginning of the rebuild following the loss of 40 million hens and pullets, predominantly in the liquid egg production.


Given the fact that unit realization for generic eggs has been below below production cost for six consecutive months, restoration of flock size has resulted in overproduction relative to demand. Some producers will soon run out of working capital despite the prevailing low cost of feed and will cease production.

Many large companies both family-owned and corporate are considering cut-backs or have removed older flocks or contract production from their supply chains.


USDA Revises Indemnity Formula Following Depletion Due to Exotic Diseases

Oct 21, 2016


On October 6th, the Animal Plant Inspection Service of the USDA announced a revised formula for indemnity payment following mandatory depletion of flocks infected with an exotic disease.

The formula takes into account net income from pullet and egg sales and eliminates the problem of “double taxation” associated with the previous formula.  The value of hens under the new indemnity formula would however be detrimental to producers in the event that feed prices are high in relation to egg revenue. 


The revised indemnity formula will be applied during any future outbreaks but will not be retroactive to the HPAI epornitic in 2015.



Oct 21, 2016

Haitham Yakout

Wendy Van den Bloom


Nutriad has announced that Dr. Haitham Yakout has been appointed as the Director of Technical Sales Support for monigastric animals with an emphasis on poultry and swine accounts.

Dr. Yakout received his BS. and MS. Degrees from Alexandria University, Egypt and a Ph.D. in Poultry Nutrition from the University of Nebraska.

In announcing the appointment Keith Klanderman President and CEO of Nutriad Inc., stated, “We’re continuously reaching milestones in our efforts to be a practical solution provider in the industry.  Our talented and hard-working team of people across plant, office and sales functions make every effort at being the best”. 

Dr. Wendy Van den Bloom has been appointed to the position of consultant in dairy nutrition. She earned her undergraduate and DVM degrees at the University of Wisconsin/Madison.

Grady Fain Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development commented, “We can only realize how our ambitions by hiring the best people in the market and transforming them into a committed team.  This is just what we have been doing over the past few years and our recent hires show we consistently build on that philosophy”.



Grady Fain

Nutriad with headquarters in Belgium markets feed additives in over 18 nations through a network of offices and distributors and is supported by four applications laboratories and five manufacturing facilities. 

For further information access www.nutriad.com.



Oct 21, 2016


Unilever, a leading multinational food company will establish a global food innovation center in Wageningen, the Netherlands.  The Center will consolidate activities currently based in that nation with existing laboratories in Germany and Poland. 

The Center will employ over 550 and will be fully operational by April 2019.  Research activities will embrace homecare and foods and will introduce new technologies to the market for innovative products.


Amanda Sourry, President of Unilever Foods stated, “The foods innovation ecosystem in  Wageningen will bring together a strong combination of in-house R & D and external science and technology, talent and facilities, increasing the impact of Unilever’s own resources and capabilities and ultimately creating the power that we need to provide leadership in foods”.

While consolidating R&D contributes to efficiencies in operation, focusing on specific areas and making use of expensive analytical equipment, locating all R&D in a single center deprives a company and its scientists of geographic perspective and diversity, essential to creating new products for an international market.


Oct 21, 2016


Status of 2016 Corn and Soybean Crops

Oct 19, 2016


The USDA Crop Progress Report released Tuesday 17th October indicated a continued favorable trend in corn and soybean crops in 18 states, expressed in the table below:-


October 9th

October 16th

5-Year Average

Corn mature




Corn harvested




Soybeans dropping leaves




Soybeans harvested





Crop Condition:


V. Poor










20   slight change*






20      unchanged

As of September 1st
1.74 billion bushels of corn were in storage, 36 percent on farms.
41.6 million bushels of soybeans were in storage, 21 percent on farms.

The prospects for corn and soybean growth and yield depend on adequate soil moisture. USDA reported data for 48 contiguous states which shows only minor changes between the Adequate and Surplus classifications from the previous week, as shown in the table below:-

Moisture Classification (%) for Week Ending October 16th.  


V. Short




















CME Prices

Oct 19, 2016


At the close of trading on October 14th CME rounded quotations for corn, soybeans and soybean meal are shown with values for corresponding months  indicated in parentheses:-


Corn (cents per bushel)

Dec.   354    (340)

March ’17    363    (350)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Nov.  962     (957)

March ’17    976    (968)

Soybean meal ($per ton)

Dec.   301    (299)

March ’17    303    (303)

Inconsequential changes in the price of soybeans and soybean meal were documented this past week:-

Corn:                     December quotation up by 14 cents (+4.1 percent)

Soybeans:            November quotation up by 5 cents   (+0.5 percent)

Soybean Meal:    October quotation up by $2 per ton (+0.7 percent)

For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn :-

  • The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen
  • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-

  • The cost of egg production would change by 0.40 cent per dozen
  • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

See posting on the October USDA-WASDE Report #558 under the STATISTICS Tab for a review of quantities and price projections for commodities.




Shane Commentary



Oct 21, 2016

Bob Langert


Guest Commentary by Bob Langert

Bob Langert, retired from McDonald’s Corporation where he was a Vice President for Sustainability, involved in the supply chain and aspects of welfare and environmental issues reflecting on corporate responsibility, has established his consulting company “Mainstreaming Sustainability” and he edits “Green Biz”. Bob recently shared his perspective on our Industry at a national meeting. A summary of his talk is reproduced with his cooperation for the benefit of subscribers to EGG-CITE.  Bob can be contacted at bob@greenbiz.com

I am convinced that these tough times offer OPPORTUNITY, for those that get on their front foot, recognize and accept the Changing Consumer, the Mainstreaming of Sustainability, and want to change from defense to proactivity.

So based on my experience (the slings and arrows; the successes and mistakes), I offer a dozen tips to turn chaos into opportunity.

Of course, bred in speed at McDonald’s for 33 years, my tips are a dozen FAST ones.


1: Put into practice Anticipatory Issues Management

If you wait too long on an emerging issue, and let the media, politicians and lawyers get involved, you’ve lost. You are forced to do things that are costly and not scientifically based.

2:  Focus on the Smart Zone

There is plenty to work on that is in the “smart zone.”   You can’t just “comply” with laws anymore.  You need to do more.  Society expects it.

3:  Transform yourself into the mind of opposition, and respect them.

I was challenged early on by the animal rights movement. Was I apprehensive about how to handle the leaders of the animal rights movement? You bet.

You might find out you have more in common than you think. Why not meet? Why not learn from them? Whenever you get into a human relationship, the other side sees you as a human being, not as a cold corporate robot. Be sensitive to their side. You care about the same overarching issue. For example, I cared very much about good farm animal treatment.  Meeting the “enemy” does not meet you agree with them.  Show respect.

4.  Make NGOs your best friends.

I cut my teeth on sustainability pressure in the late 80s, when McDonald’s for the first time in its history was attacked and vilified — at the time, over packaging and waste.

Panic set in. McDonald’s was the lightning rod. We felt sorry for ourselves.

Sound familiar?

So, what’s the best way to deal with this kind of pressure, bullying and shaming campaigns? Sit back and take it? Hide? Play defense?

No! What I learned back has laid with me like concrete ever since:  Make best friends with the right partners.

Pick a credible partner, as McDonald’s did with the Environmental Defense Fund.  We went from villain to environmental leader. We even got an award from the White House.

5:  You HAVE to work with NGOS

NGOs are the sustainability thermometer for the consumer. It’s the NGOs that consumers trust, whether you like that or not. 

Fortunately, there are lots of good NGO choices.

I rated NGOs from 1-10, with 10 being extreme, and 1 being corporate friendly.  I wanted to work with the 5–7s — the NGOs that had credibility, integrity and independence but were open to market-based solutions and to helping companies succeed. 

6.  Your reputation is more about How vs. What you do

When a stakeholder judges your company, he or she will form an opinion of you as a leader, and your company overall, on your openness, honesty, and transparency.

Your reputation has much less to do with what you do than with how you do it.

It’s okay to make mistakes and show imperfections. The process of trying is what matters. It shows you care.

7:  Open up, and develop thick skin

Food and Ag companies are under a barrage of false and misleading views of where “sustainable food” should go.  It’s organic. Local.  Non-GMO.    It is so simplistic, SO WRONG.   But we sit back and let “them” dictate the agenda, and define what sustainable food is and isn’t.  

You can’t TELL your story anymore. I hear that phrase all the time:  “Tell our story more.”

No.  We need to SHARE our story.  We need to engage, get involved in the dialogue.  Accept the criticism, too.

8:  Transparency Builds Trust

Given the transparent world we live in, believe it or not, the idea of “getting caught doing good” is still prevalent.

Food companies need to do an about face.  Open up, radically.  Show them you have nothing to hide.   If you don’t like something on the front page of the NY Times, change it. 

We are only in the dawn of transparency.  Facebook, the IPhone, and Twitter are only 10 years old!


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Dr. Simon M. Shane
Simon M. Shane
Contact     C. V.

Industry Prices: Fri Oct 21
 Corn3.53 $/bu
 Soybeans9.83 $/bu
 Soybean Meal306.50 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer33  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 35-38  ¢/doz