The U.S. chicken industry said today that China’s announcement of an anti-dumping investigation related to U.S. poultry exported to China is unjustified.

“China’s announcement is obviously in direct retaliation for the U.S. action in putting tariffs on tires made in China,” said a statement from the National Chicken Council. “Charges of dumping of poultry products are completely unjustified. Our companies engage in normal trade with China, not dumping. We believe chicken is being targeted by the Chinese because of the concerns they have expressed over the provision in the U.S. appropriations act that prohibits the U.S. Department of Agriculture from determining China’s ability to ship fully cooked poultry products to the United States.” China has requested a dispute resolution panel from the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the appropriations provision.

Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, noted that only 20 percent of U.S. chicken is exported, and any retaliatory attempt by China could hurt the industry. "Our industry is operating on minimally profitable levels at this time, so this would certainly not help the industry," Sumner said. He noted that the problem stemmed from government actions, including the tire tariffs and the decision to refuse exports of Chinese cooked poultry.

“Our own government is creating these problems more so than the Chinese,” Sumner said, according to Bloomberg. “We are upset with the way this has been handled by the administration.”

The United States exported 436,544 metric tons of chicken, valued at $376 million, to China in the first seven months of 2009. In 2008, the chicken trade with China totaled 757, 786 metric tons valued at $682 million.

D. Michael Cockrell, chief financial officer for Sanderson Farms, told Bloomberg that the dumping charge was false. He said that one of the products that could be adversely affected is chicken feet. “This is a significant issue for us because we get a significant upgrade on those chicken paws,” he said.

Source: National Chicken Council, Forbes, Bloomberg

Smithfield board member resigns over stock offering

Smithfield Foods Inc. announced that Paul Fribourg is resigning as a member of the company's Board of Directors because he does not support Smithfield's previously announced $250 million equity offering. Fribourg is the chairman, president and CEO of Continental Grain Co., the beneficial owner of approximately 8.8 percent of the Smithfield's common stock.

Fribourg advised the company that he did not believe that an offering of this magnitude was necessary at this time, given his confidence in the future performance of the company and the attendant dilution to all shareholders. Michael J. Zimmerman, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Continental Grain Co., also submitted his resignation as an Advisory Director.

Smithfield had announces yesterday that it has commenced an underwritten registered public offering of $250,000,000 of shares of its common stock. The company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for working capital and general corporate purposes, with a goal of continuing to strengthen its balance sheet, which may include the retirement of debt.

Source: Smithfield Foods Inc.

Brazilian company buys Cargill's Brazil poultry and pork operations

Marfrig Alimentos SA, the world's fourth-largest meatpacker, has acquired Cargill Inc.'s Brazilian pork and poultry business for $900 million in cash. The acquisition includes Marfrig assuming $193.8 million in debt from Seara Alimentos SA, Cargill's Brazilian business. The acquisition comes a month after talks to merge with a rival company failed for Marfrig, Bloomberg reports.

The addition of Cargill's business adds about $1.7 billion in annual sales of pork and poultry processing to Marfrig's beef operations.

Source: Bloomberg

Gary Malenke elected NAMP president

NAMP’s Board of Directors elected Gary Malenke, president of Sioux-Preme Pork Products, as the organization’s next president at its meeting last Wednesday before the 2009 Outlook Conference at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Malenke took office at Saturday evening’s dinner and serves as president through the 2010 Outlook Conference. He succeeds Michael Strauss of Colorado Boxed Beef Co., who was elected Chairman of the Board.

“I’m both humbled and honored to take the role as the 68th president of NAMP,” Malenke said. “The willingness of members to share openly about business challenges is truly one of the strengths of the association.”

Malenke began his career in the animal feed business, which led him to IBP and then Sioux-Preme Pork. During his 21 years at Sioux-Preme, he has held positions in procurement, operations and sales before becoming president in 2002.

The NAMP Executive Committee for 2009 – 2010 includes:
Chairman Michael Strauss, Colorado Boxed Beef Co., Auburndale, Fla
President Gary Malenke, Sioux-Preme Pork Products, Sioux City, Iowa
Vice President Bobby Hatoff, Allen Brothers, Inc., Chicago, Ill.
Treasurer Jeff Saval, Deli Brands of America, Baltimore, Md.
Assistant Treasurer Mike Satzow, North Country Smokehouse, Claremont, NH
Secretary Phil Kimball CAE, NAMP Executive Director, Washington, DC

Mike Satzow, new to the Executive Committee this year, is a third generation butcher focusing on value added meats and niche marketing. North Country Smokehouse markets products on both a national and international scale and has been widely recognized for both quality and innovation.

“NAMP has been a major resource in formulating my business strategies that have allowed me to build North Country Smokehouse,” Satzow said. “As a long-term member, I have derived many benefits from NAMP and I appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Executive Committee and show my appreciation for the years of knowledge and camaraderie that NAMP has given me.”

The NAMP membership also elected 13 members to the Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting on Saturday during the Outlook Conference.

Elected for terms expiring in 2010:
1. Peter Bozzo, Chicago Meat Authority, Chicago, Ill.
2. Tim Vlcek, Vlcek’s Fine Meats, Inc., Chicago, Ill.

Elected for three-year terms expiring in 2012:
1. Chris Appert (Incumbent), Apperts Inc., St. Cloud, Minn.
2. Michael Bernstein, Maid Rite Steaks, Dunmore, Pa.
3. John Bloch, Michael’s Finer Meats, Columbus, Ohio
4. Steve Falcigno (Incumbent), Statewide Meats & Poultry New Haven, Conn.
5. Lee Freidheim, Cougle Commission, Chicago, Ill.
6. Beau Heeps, K. Heeps Inc., Allentown, Penn.
7. Joe Maas (Incumbent), JTM Provisions Harrison, Ohio
8. Ross Shuket, Old World Provisions, Albany, N.Y.
9. Andrew Sussman (Incumbent), Plymouth Beef Co., Bronx, N.Y.
10. Kevin Tulley (Incumbent), Sysco Specialty Meat Co., Houston, Texas
11. Chris Mason (Incumbent) (associate), Wolf-Tec, Kingston, N.Y.

Source: NAMP

Sara Lee uses social networking to connect with moms

Sara Lee Deli has launched a humorous social media campaign designed to connect with and help moms through typical, everyday dramas they face at home. The Sara Lee Deli “Mama Saga” campaign highlights the challenges of parenting through a series of satirical webcam “confessional” videos that ask “How would you handle this Mama Saga?” Sara Lee Deli plans to build an online community designed for today’s moms who face their own daily sagas while aiming to provide convenient options with its Sara Lee Deli Fresh Ideas pre-sliced deli meat.

The videos were created in conjunction with Second City Communications, the business services arm of the world-famous Second City Theater, and include such events as dealing with the worst day of the year and preparing a husband to watch the kids. The three improvisational videos were performed by mom-actresses to highlight a day in the lives of three very different parents.

“We understand the importance of creating new opportunities to speak with moms one-on-one, and we know the most immediate and engaging way to do this is online, where today’s moms are communicating,” said Paula Shikany, senior brand manager, Sara Lee Deli. “The ‘Mama Saga’ campaign is designed to first provide mom with a daily laugh and then engage her in ongoing dialogue so we can be a better resource. Overall we want the ‘Mama Sagas’ to act as a conversation starter while building brand awareness to drive moms to Sara Lee Fresh Ideas pre-sliced deli meats which are located in the self-serve deli section of grocery stores.”

Tom Yorton, president and chief operating officer for Second City Communications said, “We worked with Sara Lee Deli to create video portrayals of non-typical moms dealing with typical situations that every mom can relate to so that she can share her thoughts in a social media environment.”

The videos launch Sept. 14 through the Sara Lee Deli Facebook fan page, a dedicated channel on Metacafe at as well as a variety of other sites including: YouTube,, Dailymotion, Yahoo! Video, VideoEgg, Pandora TV and AOL Video, among others.

The video campaign will be supported by:
-  The Sara Lee Deli Facebook fan page which includes special savings to fans, a direct connection to the brand along with numerous recipes, tips and product information to help moms simplify the lunch-making process
- Ongoing Tweeting to moms through the @SaraLeeDeli Twitter handle that includes a coupon for those Tweeters who become Sara Lee Deli Fans on Facebook
- Video engagement ads across a number of mom-centric web sites
- One-on-one conversations with mom bloggers and mom blogger networks, including recipes, tips and promotional elements for their sites and followers.

Source: Sare Lee Deli

PETA wants to turn prison into chicken empathy museum

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have asked the Virginia governor to rent out the Botetourt Correctional Center in Troutville, Va., and turn it into the country's first chicken empathy museum. The state is planning on closing the prison.

PETA would use the building to showcase what it considers to be mistreatment of chicken raised for slaughter. It would also include displays detailing the intelligence and habits of chickens. A spokesman for Gov. Tim Kaine said the state doesn't lease private entities except for cases grandfathered in when it purchases buildings, AP reports.

Source: Associated Press