The agreement between Foster Farms and the state of Louisiana that allowed the poultry processor to acquire the Pilgrim's Pride processing plant in Farmerville, La., has several requirements for employment and payroll. The terms of the agreement between the state and Foster Farms was released on Tuesday, according to the Times-Picayune.

Under the terms of the deal, Foster Farms has to hire 650 employees within two months, and 1,000 employees within a year at a payroll figure of $20.2 million. If it misses these figures, it must pay the state 30 percent of the missed payroll goal. At the third year, the company will have to have 1,100 employees and a $24.7 payroll. The employee size doesn't have to be any higher than 1,100 people after that, but by the 10th year of operation, payroll must be at $30.4 million.

Additionally, Foster Farms must buy at least 95 percent of its poultry inventory from contract growers, and not the company's own farms. Furthermore, if the plant is closed or sold to a buyer not approved by the state within two years, the company would have to pay the state $45 million. That figure drops in subsequent years, reduced to $1 million by 2018.

The two processors have agreed to the deal, and Louisiana's Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget will meet to consider the agreement this week.

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune

Target expands mini-market concept to 100 stores

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. plans to expand its offerings of fresh food and produce at 100 of its general-merchandise stores by the end of the year as part of an effort to boost sales.

Target first tested the new format last year in Minnesota, adding eight test locations in other states earlier this year. Target has long maintained sizable groceries at its SuperTarget stores, but the latest effort revolves around its smaller, standard-size stores.

The test stores now carry 50 to 200 percent more food products than traditional general-merchandise stores, including more produce, meats and bakery items, Target spokeswoman Jill Hornbacher said. Those stores have roughly 1,500 square feet of retail space dedicated to fresh food, still substantially less than at the company’s SuperTarget stores.

Based on early results from the test stores, Target plans to expand the concept to 100 new and remodeled locations by the end of the year; the company declined to disclose where those future stores will be located.

Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Franchise lending threatened, study reveals

WASHINGTON (May 12, 2009) — The current recession and credit crunch will likely lead to a 40-percent decline in franchise lending this year, according to a study released Tuesday by the International Franchise Association.

The study, prepared by FRANdata for the IFA Educational Foundation, indicated that such a reduction in lending could result in the loss of nearly 50,000 jobs and more than $5 billion in economic activity in 2009.

The IFA study titled, “Small Business Lending Matrix and Analysis,” indicates that the franchising industry will require an estimated $8.4 billion in financing to meet 100 percent of demand in 2009.

The IFA represents 1,300 franchise systems, 10,000-plus franchisees and more than 500 firms that supply goods and services to the industry.

Source: Nation's Restaurant News

Arkansas Firm recalls ground beef on E. coli concerns

Bob's Food City, a Hot Springs, Ark., retailer, is recalling approximately 375 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced.

The ground beef products subject to recall were sold as tray packs of varying weights bearing a "Sell By" date of 05/09/09 and include 1-pound through 5-pound tray packs of "round beef chuck," "ground round" or "regular ground beef." There is no USDA mark of inspection on the tray packs.

These ground beef products were produced on May 7, 2009, and were sold to customers of the Bob's Food City retail store in Hot Springs. The problem was discovered through FSIS sampling procedures. FSIS has received no reports of illness due to consumption of these ground beef products.