EPA Region 7 has taken a series of civil enforcement actions against three beef feedlot operations in Iowa for violations of the Clean Water Act, as part of a continuing enforcement emphasis aimed at ending harmful discharges of pollutants from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) into the region’s rivers and streams.

“In some instances, we are finding harmful bacteria such as E.coli in wastewater discharged by feedlots at levels that are exponentially higher than the levels at which EPA permits municipal wastewater treatment systems to discharge their treated wastewater,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “This is just one measure of the harm that can come when feedlots fail to operate within the law.”

Runoff from CAFOs may contain such pollutants as pathogens and sediment, as well as nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, all of which can harm aquatic life and impact water quality.

Of the three most recent enforcement actions, one involves a civil penalty against a CAFO for failure to comply with its national Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Bruce Feedlot, of Hastings, Iowa, has agreed to pay a $31,573 civil penalty for its unauthorized discharges of pollutants to Indian Creek and its tributaries in Mills County, Iowa. EPA’s settlement with Bruce Feedlot is subject to a 40-day public comment period before it becomes final.

The remaining two enforcement actions involve administrative compliance orders issued to medium-sized CAFOs, which are feedlots that confine between 300 and 999 cattle. EPA has documented significant water quality problems associated with medium CAFOs and is making enforcement at these operations a priority:

Groeneweg Farm, of Rock Valley, Iowa, must apply for an NPDES permit and complete wastewater controls at its facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into an unnamed tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County, Iowa.

Gradert/Cla-Don/Winterfeld Feedlot, of Ireton, Iowa, must apply for an NPDES permit and complete wastewater controls at its facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into Six Mile Creek in Sioux County, Iowa.

Source: EPA

Diamond Ranch Foods names COO/CFO

Diamond Ranch Foods Ltd. a meat and poultry processing and foodservice distribution company, has appointed Victor Petrone as chief operating officer, and he will also assume the responsibilities of chief financial officer.

He began his career in the mid-1980s as owner and general manager of Capital Food Corp. where he developed ethnic dining concepts for quick-service restaurants, formal dining, as well as free-standing restaurants. He entered the food distribution sector, Serv-Safe Certified and in 1999 was recruited by Roma Food Enterprises as general manager of Western U.S. and Mexico to oversee its international expansion. In 2001, Petrone was recruited by Sysco Foodservice Corp. to oversee its Specialty Market division, as well as business development for international sales.

In 2004 Petrone formed International Food Specialists Inc. (IFS), an import-export company representing over 70 manufacturers and up to 500 product lines. The sales market included USA, Mexico, Canada, The Caribbean, Central and South America. In 2006, he consolidated IFS Inc. with publicly traded Nascent Wine Company, Inc. where he served as the company's president and director.

"We are elated with the appointment of Victor Petrone as our COO and CFO. His substantial experience in food distribution, restaurant operation, import/export in addition to his public company experience, make him a welcomed addition to Diamond Ranch Foods as we strategically plan to expand our business operations," stated Louis Vucci Jr., president.

"With Mr. Petrone in place, we have now solidified our management team and feel confident that we will be able to achieve the double-digit sales goals we are projecting," he added

Diamond Ranch Foods is a food group distributor and processor of a broad selection of quality meats, poultry and foodservice items, including private label and custom-cuts, which can be prepared fresh, frozen or vacuum-packed. The company operates a fleet of refrigerated trucks for delivery throughout the New York metropolitan area and ships coast to coast via common carrier.

The company`s USDA-inspected facility is located in the Hunts Point Cooperative Market (Bronx, New York), which is the largest food distribution center in the world, and boasts a diversified customer base throughout the tri-state region, including; supermarket chains, restaurants, hotels, deli/catering operators, institutions and industry suppliers.

Source: Diamond Ranch Foods Ltd.

Pork.org undergoes facelift

Pork.org – Pork Checkoff’s online information resource for pork producers, has a new look. Designed for easier, more intuitive navigation, it offers producers and other visitors the information they need quickly and efficiently. The redesigned site, which went live Monday, June 7, also will be introduced to pork producers during World Pork Expo in Des Moines this week.

“The last time we made major improvements to our producer website was almost eight years ago,” said Bill Kessler, a Missouri pork producer who chairs the Checkoff’s Producer and State Relations Committee. “Members of our committee got to test drive the site last week, and I think producers are going to like what they see.”

The redesigned site, in addition to having a cleaner look and feel, has a number of new features producers are going to find useful, Kessler said, such as:
    * Because certification information is one of the most used features of pork.org, there is a new section devoted to making it easier for producers to get the information they need about certification programs.
    * There is a searchable database of all Pork Checkoff-sponsored research.
    * Short videos demonstrate how today’s pork producers raise hogs.
    * Audio podcasts feature useful information for producers from industry experts.
    * A featured recipe combined with a convenient link to TheOtherWhiteMeat.com for additional pork information.

World Pork Expo visitors are invited to come to the Pork Checkoff hospitality tent at the northwest corner of the Varied Industries Building to see the new pork.org in action. Checkoff staff will be available to answer questions.

Source: Pork.org