After testing its one-third-pound Angus burger in Southern California, New York and Columbus, Ohio, McDonald's may be ready to roll out the burger nationwide, maybe as early as this summer. TheChicago Tribuneobtained internal documents noting that the burger will be featured in the company's next Monopoly promotion, scheduled for October.

One potential reason for the delay may be the $4 price tag on the burger, which makes it McDonald's most expensive menu item. The company's management told analysts last October that the Angus burger wouldn't roll out nationwide for at least a year, and the economy hasn't improved since then.

One franchisee who wished to remain anonymous told the Tribune that he expected the Angus burger to be released earlier than October and was anticipating a summer roll-out. The franchisee added that he didn't expect the burger to be a permanent menu item but would appear on the menu for several months at a time before being removed, like the McRib.

Irwin Kruger, a McDonald's franchisee who owns four restaurants in New York, says that the Angus burger has been well-received since its launch in August, 2007. "From an operations standpoint, it has been successful," said Kruger. Representatives of McDonald's said they would not comment on speculation about the Angus burger roll-out.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Perdue joins EPA SmartWay program

Perdue Farms Inc. announced its participation the SmartWaySM Transport Partnership, a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the freight industry designed to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution.

Perdue is contributing to the Partnership’s goal to reduce 33 to 66 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and up to 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxide per year by 2012 by improving the environmental performance of its freight operations.

Ray Hall, director of Perdue Transportation Inc. (PTI), explains, “PTI understands that we may not be the largest consumer of diesel fuel, engine lubricants or tires, but our consumption of these products does effect our environment. Our partnership with SmartwaySM has made us more aware of the impact we can have on reducing emissions and our consumption of natural resources.”

PTI is incorporating a variety of strategies to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the PTI strategies include:
* Progressive shifting keeps engine RPM to a minimum by using only enough power to engage the next gear and reduces acceleration time. As Hall explains, drivers shifting quickly in lower gears prevents over-revving, which decreases fuel consumption and increases fuel economy. PTI drivers are also capitalizing on the benefit of coasting to a stop when possible, instead of down shifting. By using the lower RPMs when up-shifting, drivers maximize engine torque, which decreases fuel consumption.
* Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) are being installed in PTI rigs, allowing drivers to run peripheral applications, such as air-conditioning and heaters, without running the engine. APUs run from a separate fuel cell and are significantly more fuel-efficient than idling the engine.
* Engine shutdown devices on all trucks limits idle time to five minutes, thus conserving fuel.
* More aerodynamic cab roof fairings that extend from the front windshield to the rear of the cab with enclosed sides reduce wind resistance and help improve fuel mileage.
* The use of low-friction engine and drive-train lubricants, and single axle wide-base truck tires are generating fuel savings. Wide base tires improve truck fuel economy by reducing rolling resistance, and improve stability and safety.

The EPA estimates that by utilizing these and other SmartWaySM fuel saving strategies, the PTI fleet eliminated approximately 12,700 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2007.

Source: Perdue Farms Inc.

Oklahoma Attorney General attempting to depose Tyson chairman

Tyson Foods is fighting an attempt by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmonson to depose its chairman, John Tyson, in a federal court case about poultry litter pollution. Edmondson is suing Tyson and several other poultry processors about alleged poultry litter pollution of the Illinois River. He is blaming poultry litter pollution on anE. colioutbreak at a local restaurant that sickened hundreds of people and killed one. The trial is expected to begin in September, according to AP reports.

Tyson has filed a motion for a protective order to keep John Tyson from being deposed. "We have already been giving the attorney general access to the information and company representatives directly involved in the issues relating to this case," said company spokesman Gary Mickelson, who called the attempt “simply harassment and totally unnecessary.”

Charlie Price, spokesman for the attorney general, said, "Since he ran the company for so many years, we are interested in talking to Mr. Tyson about the company's operation." The state of Oklahoma claims that the one witness Tyson provided was “either ill-prepared or generally unknowledgeable on pertinent topics."

Companies named in Edmondson's lawsuit include Tyson, Tyson Poultry Inc., Tyson Chicken Inc., Cobb-Vantress Inc., Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Cargill Inc., Cargill Turkey Production L.L.C., George's Inc., George's Farms Inc., Peterson Farms Inc., Simmons Foods Inc., Cal-Maine Farms Inc. and Willow Brook Foods Inc.

Source: Associated Press

NCBA protests attempts on greenhouse gas regulation

The National Cattleman's Beef Association released a statement on the Environmental Protection Agency's recent findings on greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal that the emissions are an endangerment to public health and welfare could be the first step of eventual regulation under the Clean Air Act, the statement reads. The CAA is fundamentally ill-suited for GHG regulation and NCBA is opposed to any attempts to use it for this purpose.

“While the Clean Air Act has done a good job of cleaning up pollutants, it is not adequately equipped to address global climate change,” explains NCBA Chief Environmental Counsel Tamara Thies. “Congress never intended to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, and any attempts to use it for this purpose would be devastating for the U.S. economy.”

If the Administration and Congress decide to regulate GHGs, a cap-and-trade program would be more appropriate, rather than the CAA’s command-and-control regulatory program.

“If the EPA moves forward with this finding, the agency would have unprecedented control over every sector of the U.S. economy,” says Thies. “Regulation of greenhouse gases should be thoughtfully considered and voted on by Congress. Allowing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act would impose untenable burdens, expenses and restrictions on industry, families, and our Nation as a whole.”

While agricultural sources are currently generally not required to obtain permits for greenhouse gas emissions, regulation of GHGs under the CAA may for the first time trigger such regulation. According to the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, released last year by the Bush Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that “even very small operations would meet the 100 tons per year emissions threshold to require regulation. For example, dairy facilities with over 25 cows, beef cattle operations of over 50 cattle, swine operations with over 200 hogs, and farms with over 500 acres of corn may need to get a Title V permit.”

“Given the fact that America currently has over 2,000,000 farms, it would be virtually impossible to permit a majority of them,” says Thies. “The amount of paperwork, time delays, and new technology needs would be insurmountable. In addition, most of America’s agricultural producers simply would not be able to afford the regulatory compliance costs that would be imposed on them under such a program, and they would be forced out of business.”

The NCBA stated that it would submit comments to EPA during the upcoming 60-day public comment period.

Source: The National Cattleman's Beef Association