U.S. frozen pork stockpiles are down 29 percent from this time last year, as shrinking herds led to a decline in production while U.S. pork exports grew. Warehouses held 410.1 million pounds of pork on June 30, down from a record 577.9 million pounds last year, reportsBusiness Week.

Farmers have cut hog herds, and U.S. packers produced about 1.5 percent less pork this June from last year, said Bob Brown, an independent market analyst in Edmond, Okla.

“You’re getting to a time when demand is good and fresh supplies are the lowest they’ve been in a while,” Brown said. “The only place to turn is to what’s left in the freezer, which is getting pretty skimpy too.”

Hog futures for October rose 1 percent on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, to .0775 cent.

Source: Business Week

Russia bans two pork plants, no reason given

Russia has banned pork from two Smithfield Foods Inc. packing plants beginning Aug. 2, but no reason was given for the ban, according to a USDA report. The two plants are located in Tar Heel and Clinton, N.C. Smithfield did not issue a statement on the ban, reports Reuters.

Russia has in the past banned plants over claims the meat contained a banned antibiotic. The country said in March that 18 plants were approved to resume shipments. The USDA also noted that pork from a Seaboard Foods plant in Guymon, Okla., was banned as of July 10.

Source: Reuters

Premium Standard Farms sets schedule for removing odors from pig farms

Premium Standard Farms filed a report today with the Circuit Court of Jackson County announcing plans for an aggressive, two-year schedule for implementing the final phase of Next Generation Technology at its pig farms in northwest Missouri which will sustain its farming operations and protect more than 1100 farm jobs.

The company will install state-of-the-art barn scrapers at seven remaining Premium Standard Farms no later than July 31, 2012, to further reduce barn odors.

"We have advanced an aggressive implementation schedule for the last phase of the installation of next generation technology at our farms to the court, and we trust that the court and all parties will be pleased with this report. It represents a substantial additional investment by our company and reflects our continuing commitment as a good neighbor," said Bill Homann, president of Premium Standard Farms. "Obviously, our first priority was meeting the commitment we made to the Court, but we are equally concerned about protecting our employees and their jobs and the economic well-being of north Missouri."

Homann pointed out that during the past 10 years, Premium Standard Farms has worked cooperatively with the court-appointed Management Advisory Team and with the state of Missouri "in what has been an unprecedented development of new Next Generation Technology to reduce odor and address other environmental issues associated with animal agriculture.

"Our employees and their families have made a significant commitment to this company and their communities, and we intend to support that commitment by providing a world-class model for animal agriculture production," Homann added.

The cooperative efforts have been pursuant to two consent judgments - one in 1999 and another in 2004 - that were approved by the court and have spanned the last decade. The 2004 consent judgment is set to expire on July 31, 2010.

"As we approach the end of those agreements, we are requesting the court to approve the implementation schedule for the last pieces of next generation technology," Homann said. "Although we have already spent about $40 million implementing improved environmental technologies, all of which exceed State and Federal law requirements, we are fully committed to seeing this effort through to the end."

The final technologies to be implemented - barn scrapers and the Sustainable Technology System - were only approved by the Management Advisory Team in late April. "Many of these solutions are first-of-their-kind and clearly beyond anything comparable in the industry requiring not only significant research and development but also months of successful testing thus delaying their implementation until now," Homann pointed out. "Despite the difficulty in designing and creating these next generation, cutting-edge-technologies, we now have everything tested and approved by the Team and have already received scraper components and are ready to install these remaining technologies on our farms."

The Management Advisory Team had identified three sources of odor that needed to be addressed by Next Generation Technology: lagoons, land application and barns. "We have designed and installed covers on our lagoons and we now have in place some of the most advanced land application technologies, equipment and practices in the U.S.," Homann said. "These practices have substantially reduced the amount of odor from the lagoons and land application."
In its filing today with the court, Premium Standard Farms noted that Dr. Mike Williams, faculty member at North Carolina State University, Department of Poultry Science, and a member of the Management Advisory Team, has been complimentary of the company's environmental protection efforts. At a March 10 meeting, speaking of Premium Standard Farms' operations in Missouri, Williams said, you "see commercial application of animal waste technology that exceeds anything that you will see...in any other state in the U.S."

Source: Premium Standard Farms

Bill the Butcher reports Q3 loss

Bill the Butcher Inc., a retailer of USDA/WSDA organic and natural, grass-fed meats, reported revenues of $469,371 and a net loss of ($386,005), or $(0.02) per share, for the third quarter ended May 31, 2010.

For the nine months, the Seattle-based company had revenue of $476,258 and a net loss of ($665,281), or $(0.03) per share, on 22,537,169 weighted average shares outstanding. There are no comparable figures for the prior year because Bill the Butcher Inc. only opened its first neighborhood butcher shop in August, 2009 in the Woodinville suburb of Seattle.

Nationally known retail expert J'Amy Owens, chief executive officer, and her co-founder, executive chef William Von Schneidau, are building small neighborhood butcher shops that sell USDA/WSDA organic and natural grass-fed beef, pork, poultry and lamb purchased from local and regional ranchers and farmers who follow sustainable farming practices.

"With organic and grass-fed meat representing the fastest growing segment of the organic food business, our plan is to continue our steady growth while at the same time continuing to forge new alliances to support the growth of local ranchers and farmers," Owens said. "Our goal is to bring customers high quality meat that is healthy and good for the environment."

The company was funded through a private placement and in March, 2010 was merged into a publicly owned shell with no revenues. In April, 2010 the newly named Bill the Butcher, Inc. split its common shares 3.8 to 1.

During the past nine months, Bill the Butcher, Inc. made the successful transition from a company with no revenues to a five 5-store chain of neighborhood butcher shops, all in the Seattle area. Butcher shops were opened in Laurelhurst in February, Redmond in March, Madison Park in April and Magnolia in July.

"We now have a total of five shops open and sales per square foot exceed $500," Owens said. "We will be adding three additional shops this Fall, opening in Bellevue, Edmonds, and Ballard."

Other quarterly highlights include the purchase of a point-of-sale system that allows the company to track each piece of meat from the farm to the butcher shop case. Once fully deployed in all stores, Bill the Butcher, Inc. will have one of the most transparent tracking systems in the industry, one that allows customers to see exactly where their food is coming from.

Source: Bill the Butcher Inc.