Agri Star Meat & Poultry, the business that was formerly Agriprocessors, has received $600,000 in state assistance for a $15 million expansion and renovation project. The company's new owner, Hershey Friedman, plans to introduce a new line of oven-baked beef and chicken, theDes Moines Registerreports. It will process about 500 cattle per day.

The new expansion would add 140 jobs to the business, in addition to the 165 jobs that will be retained. The state has given the company $300,000 in a low-interest loan and $300,000 in a forgivable loan, in addition to almost $950,000 in tax credits. The incentives are contingent on the company having an approved environmental plan in place and complying with immigration laws.

The former owner of Agriprocessors, Sholom Rubashkin, was convicted of 86 federal counts of fraud last week. Federal prosecutors dismissed all immigration charges against him.

Source: Des Moines Register

Trial Update: Judge scolds attorneys, still unsure of final ruling

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell, who is presiding over the Oklahoma pollution case against 11 poultry producers, scolded the attorneys involved in the case for the mountain of evidence they have brought to the trial.

“You wouldn't do this to a jury,” he told the more than 30 attorneys involved in the case, pointing out the thousands of documents entered as evidence. “You do this to a judge.” He also instructed attorneys on both sides to avoid “extremist” opinions when they compile their final proposals of findings and conclusions.

According to AP reports, Frizzell later admitted that he doesn't yet know how he will rule on the case. The trial has been underway for 25 days and will likely run through January.

Source: Associated Press

WTO opens investigations into poultry, labeling complaints

The World Trade organization has opened investigations into the European Union ban on American poultry, as well as the U.S. country-of-origin labeling law on behalf of Canada and Mexico. The EU ban is centered on antimicrobial agents that are used by American processors but aren't approved in Europe. The COOL case stems from Mexican and Canadian calves that were raised and slaughtered in the united States but are not considered to be of American origin.

Source: Associated Press