Hormel is claiming that Crystal Distribution Services is to blame for damage to millions of dollars worth of meat in last June's flooding in Iowa. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says that Crystal, headquartered in Waterloo, was negligent and breached its contract when floodwaters from the Cedar River leaked into a warehouse basement through a floor drain.

The suit doesn't specify damages, according to The Seattle Times, but says that millions of dollars of food was destroyed in the flood and says that Crystal's insurance carrier denied coverage. Hormel states that the warehouse operator did nothing to move the food from the warehouse and and didn't try to stop water from entering the building before June 11.

Source: The Seattle Times

Pork exports may drop, but still performing well

The record exports of pork in 2008 has been called an anomaly, and exports are expected to drop by 14 percent in 2009. However, that number will still be significantly higher than 2007's numbers. Last year, approximately two million metric tons of pork were shipped out of the country, valued at nearly $4.9 billion. 2008's numbers were bolstered by unusually high demand from China, thanks in part to a cyclical decline in the country's pork herd, disease issues that hurt pork production and the Sichuan earthquake, AP reports.

China's increased production isn't expected to hurt U.S. exports significantly. Last year, China accounted for $334 million of the $4.9 billion in U.S. exports. That compared to $1.54 billion from Japan. More than 20 percent of the pork consumed in Japan is from the United States.

Source: Associated Press

Pilgrim's Pride, Farmerville, La. updates

The Farmerville, La.,Gazetteis reporting that Foster Farms and the state of Louisiana have made a third offer to Pilgrim's Pride to acquire the company's Farmerville plant. The offer stands at $80 million, with Foster providing $30 million and the state providing $50 million. Pilgrim's spokesman Ray Atkinson confirmed only that the company had received an offer and is considering it. Pilgrim's Pride has previously rejected offers of $40 and $60 million and made a counteroffer of $80 million.

Meanwhile, 54 area growers who would be affected by the plant closing met to explore forming a co-op to wither purchase the plant or gain partial ownership. They met with Sonny Meyerhoeffer Jr., who helped to form the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative in 2004.

“I think ya’ll have a better chance than we had,’’ Meyerhoeffer told the group. “You’re sitting in the right place at the right time.” He stressed that forming a co-op is a huge undertaking that required organization, expertise in several key areas and perseverance, and it must be accomplished in a short amount of time. Finding the money to purchase the plant is another concern. A USDA cooperative specialist has stated that the Department may be able to lend as much as $40 million. It is not known if Louisiana would contribute money as well.

Source: The (Farmerville) Gazette