Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza, a former supervisor at the Agriprocessors facility in Postville, Iowa, was sentenced to three years in federal prison for his part in hiring illegal immigrants. He pled guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to hire illegal immigrants and one count of aiding and abetting the hiring of illegal immigrants.

The 36-year-old man was facing up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, the AP reports. His attorney said that the Cedar Rapids federal judge reduced the sentence because Guerrero-Espinoza didn’t engage in the offense for profit.

Source: Associated Press

Supermarket sales of meat holding up

Speakers at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit in Chicago said that sales of beef, pork and chicken are performing well, despite a drop in overall meat consumption. With restaurant sales dropping, many companies and associations are focusing on the retail side of the industry.

“On the steak side, you are seeing a lot of features for rib-eyes and T-bones at below $5.00 a pound. That is some of the best featuring we have seen in many, many years,” said Greg Doud, chief economist for the national Cattleman’s Beef Association. “We are working very hard with the retailers right now on summer and early grilling promotion programs.”

Joe Sanderson, chairman for Sanderson Farms, says that demand for chicken at the retail level has been outstanding, even as restaurant demand has dipped. “It is our view that demand will be slow through food service at least for the balance of this year because of the challenges that the consumers face,” Sanderson said. “If we are going to be profitable, it will be because of reductions in supplies.”

Hormel CEO Jeffrey Ettinger stated that his company has been developing new products geared to affordability more so than convenience. “Going forward I think there is going to be added attention to the affordability aspect of the product,” said Ettinger. Spam, chili and Dinty Moore beef stew have all performed well, he noted.

Source: Reuters

U.S., E.U. nearing agreement on hormones in beef

The United States and European Union are nearing a resolution on a dispute over an EU ban on imports of beef treated with hormones. “We are quite close,” said David O’Sullivan, the EU director general for trade, according to Bloomberg. There are two or three issues that remain, and those must be resolved by technical and legal negotiators, said Catherine Ashton, EU trade commissioner.

In 1998, the World Trade Organization found that the EU ban on American hormone-treated beef violated global trade rules. The U.S. retaliated the following year, and this year said that it would switch the products hit by tariffs.

Source: Bloomberg

Mike's Meat Market wins 3 awards in Colorado cured meats competition

Mike’s Meat Market LLC was one of the stars of the Hands Across the Rockies Meat Processors Concention, held at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The convention brought together 30 small meat processors across Colorado and Wyoming for education and a cured meats competition.

The cured-meats competition had 10 different categories. The Sterling-based processor was named Grand Champion for Whole Muscle Jerky, Reserve Champion for Bone-In Ham and Champion for Polish Sausage. Mike and Heidi Tribbett, owners of Mike’s Meat Market, established the company in 2008.

Source: (Sterling, Colo.) Journal-Advocate