As China announced a multimillion dollar trade deal to facilitate New Zealand beef exports into China as a result of a recent bilateral trade agreement, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association called on the Obama Administration once more to engineer a similar agreement with U.S. beef. President Obama just announced progress on his pledge to double U.S. exports over the next five years, including the development of a new presidential advisory council on exports.

“While we’re certainly pleased to see the President once again emphasizing the issue of trade, so far, we haven’t seen much in terms of results,” said NCBA President Steve Foglesong. “It’s extremely unfortunate that our international competitors are moving forward on new trade deals while the U.S. continues to sit on the sidelines.”

China, the only major market remaining completely closed to U.S. beef, has recently made beef trade deals with Canada and New Zealand. China represents one of the largest potential growth markets for the U.S. beef industry, worth in excess of $200 million.

“Over the past three years, and two administrations, we’ve seen little progress in opening the Chinese market to U.S. beef, despite the fact that this market is one of the top priorities for our industry,” said Foglesong. “It’s time to stop talking, and start taking some action.”

NCBA continues to urge Congress to heed President Obama’s call to move forward on the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). If implemented, the KORUS FTA would reduce Korea’s current tariff from 40 percent to zero over fifteen years. With other countries like Australia moving forward on trade agreements with Korea, it’s more important than ever that Congress take immediate action. If Australia were to successfully ratify a similar bilateral trade agreement with Korea a year before we do, it would give the Australians a 2.67 percent tariff advantage over U.S. beef for the next 15 years.

“We’re continuing to lose ground to our competitors when it comes to agricultural trade and we’re still missing roughly $1.5 billion in annual beef exports as a result of unresolved beef market access barriers. Every new deal signed by our competitors puts U.S. farmers and ranchers at a competitive disadvantage and jeopardizes producer profitability,” Foglesong continued. “With 96 percent of the world’s consumers living outside U.S. borders, expanding our opportunities to sell beef in the international marketplace is not an option; it’s a necessity.”

Source: NCBA

Dillon Food Stores gets new president

The Kroger Co. announced Joe Grieshaber has been named president of Kroger's Dillon Food Stores Division, replacing John Bays, who is retiring after 42 years with Kroger.

"Joe's merchandising and management experience will serve our associates and customers well. We look forward to Joe's leadership at Dillons as we continue to focus on improving our customers' overall shopping experience," said Rodney McMullen, president and COO of Kroger.

Grieshaber, 52, began his career with Kroger in 1983 as a store manager trainee in Nashville. During his career, he has held a variety of leadership roles including meat merchandiser, zone manager, and vice president of merchandising. Most recently, Mr. Grieshaber has served as group vice president of Perishables Merchandising and Procurement for Kroger, a position he has held since 2003. In that role, he has been responsible for fresh and natural foods throughout Kroger's family of stores.

Grieshaber joined McMullen and the Kroger team in wishing Bays and his family all the best as he retires. "We are very grateful to John for his tremendous contributions to our company during his career with Kroger. Under John's leadership, Dillons continued to grow and sharpen its focus on serving customers."

Dillon Food Stores, headquartered in Hutchinson, Kan., operates 91 stores in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska and employs over 11,500 associates.

Source: Kroger Co.

Barbecue restaurant chain expands into Carolinas

Moe's Original Bar B Que is hosting a grand opening for its Asheville, N.C., location on Wednesday, July 14th at 4 Sweeten Creek Road. It is the first restaurant in North Carolina for the chain, which has locations in Colorado and Alabama and a planned location in Georgia.

Years after learning to fire roast meats Alabama-style, Alabama natives Mike Fernandez, Ben Gilbert and Jeff Kennedy founded Moe's Original Bar B Que in Vail, Colo., in 2001. Using recipes passed down for generations, Moe's Original Bar B Que prepares meats and an array of Southern side dishes and desserts fresh daily.

Continuing to grow and open new franchises at an aggressive, yet manageable pace, Moe's Original Bar B Que has 15 other Alabama and Colorado with another opening soon in Atlanta, Ga. All Moe's open daily for lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m. and serve until it's gone.

Source: Moe’s Original Bar B Que

One package of turkey recalled

K. Heeps, Inc., an Allentown, Pa., establishment, is recalling approximately 17.5 pounds of fully cooked turkey breast products that may be contaminated withListeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

The recalled product was a 17.5-pound package of "K. Heeps Inc. Fully Cooked, Sliced Turkey, Boneless with Broth." The label bears the establishment number "EST. 09379A" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The sliced turkey breast was produced on June 28, 2010, and distributed to a restaurant in Reading, Pa. The problem was discovered through FSIS microbiological sampling program. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product.

Source: FSIS