Construction of the proposed Southern Catskills Red Meat Processing Facility in Liberty, N.Y., is moving forward thanks to an $800,000 federal investment. The money was awarded through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency, reports theMid-Hudson News.

The facility is expected to bring more than 50 new jobs to the area. Paul Hahn, a fifth-generation dairy farmer, is converting some of his herd to beef cattle, and he said the facility will help keep his costs down.

“This is going to allow your small farm, which this county is known for, to grow, and hopefully bring more in; but not just grow in numbers as more farms, but actually grow the smaller farm into larger operations.”

Cindy Geiger, of the Sullivan County Farm Network, said this will enhance the trend toward grass-fed beef.

The USDA had previously contributed money for the $1.7 million, 5,000-square-foot facility. The project will begin construction next spring, on an already designated site near Liberty, and be completed sometime during 2012.

Source: Mid-Hudson News

JBS completes acquisition of Australian company

JBS SA, the parent company of JBS USA, has completed the acquisition of Australian processor Rockdale Beef in a deal valued at $37.3 million, reports theNorthern Colorado Business Journal. The acquisition began in March and was approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Rockdale Beef processes about 200,000 cattle yearly and has a feedlot capacity of more than 53,000 cattle.

"As we look to gain efficiencies and serve our customers better, the addition of the Rockdale plant is a stride forward," said Wesley Batista, CEO of JBS USA. "With the integrated feedlot and the good cattle producers in the region, we will be able to customize evermore our raw material supply and reach the highest quality standards required by our many customers, particularly those in Asia."

Source: Northern Colorado Business Journal,

16,500 chickens die in fire

State fire marshal deputies are investigating the cause of an early morning fire near Dagsboro, Del., in which 16,500 chickens perished. The fire broke out about 2:50 a.m. in a poultry house, reports theCourier-Post. When Dagsboro, Frankford and Millville firefighters arrived, flames were coming from the collapsed building.

Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Randall Lee said 16,500 four-day old chickens were lost in the blaze, and damage was reported at $150,000. The origin and cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Source: Courier-Post

Jennie-O's “Make the Switch” campaign touts turkey burgers

A new “Make The Switch” advertising campaign from Jennie-O Turkey Store has been launched to show consumers that turning a hamburger into a turkey burger is a healthier choice without sacrificing the taste.

“Americans love their burgers, but too may think there's an either/or proposition when it comes to taste and leanness. They're mistaken,” said Steve Lykken, senior vice president, retail division, Jennie-O Turkey Store. “The ‘Make The Switch’ campaign spotlights the fact that turkey burgers really deliver on two seemingly contradictory ideas: juicy, craveable, irresistible flavor and a lean nutritional profile. Finally, people can get the taste they love with the leanness they deserve. That's how we define a better burger.”

The 30- and 60-second spots, from BBDO Minneapolis, showcase the takeover of a former Los Angeles-area restaurant, which the brand turned into a literal Jennie-O ‘turkey store.’ For one day in early September, the brand served up free turkey burgers to consumers, and the cameras on-site captured their authentic reactions when they realized just how lean and delicious a better burger can be.

“At this stage of the campaign we may be talking about burgers, but this is really the kick-off of a movement,” Lykken said. “Before we're finished, we aim to see people all over the country substituting turkey for the proteins in their favorite foods – from lasagna to tacos to meatloaf – and learning how easy it is to experience the benefits of making simple switches to leaner food choices without compromising taste.”

Source: Jennie-O Turkey Store

Custom Food Products develops canned beef replacement

Custom Food Products, a leading national protein supplier to chain restaurants and food manufacturers, has developed a replacement product for cooked canned beef.

CFP Research and Development Manager Rene Melendez said, "We developed several prototypes over a period of four years and arrived at just the right processing and cooking methodology.

"Our canned beef replacement product is safer, more flavorful, appealing to the eye and performs better than any competitive product on the market."

Founded over 30 years ago, CFP is a $170 million operation, employing 400, with processing facilities in Carson, Calif. and Owingsville, Ky.

Jon Hickerson, president and chief operating officer of CFP, said, "I am proud of Rene's work on this project. We challenged him to develop a product that met the needs of our customers and this product hit the mark.

"We work very hard at CFP to develop customized products, which are used as ingredients by some of the major food brands and served at quality restaurant chains. Once again our R&D folks proved CFP's ability to exceed customer expectations."

Source: Custom Food Products

Minnesota producer finds success with dry-aged pork

Compart Family Farms, a Nicollet, Minn., pork producer, is working with several Minneapolis-area restaurants to promote its dry-aged pork. The pork was debuted at last year’s National Restaurant Association show, making the company the first in the nation to sell dry-aged pork commercially.

Paul Lynch, the chef at FireLake restaurant, told City Pages that the dry-aged Duroc pork porterhouse could help change the perception of pork.

"Now you have a piece of pork you can understand," he says. "You will recognize it as a steak and you will eat it as a steak. If it were a blind tasting, you would be saying, 'Is this beef...veal...pork?' You wouldn't expect the richness and meatiness. It's not strange, just unidentified. You'll recognize it like a long-lost cousin."

While dry-aging beef has proven very successful, it was thought that pork was too lean to be aged. However, Compart Family Farms breeds Duroc pork, which has been determined to have the most marbled flesh, according to the National Pork Producers Council.

"Everybody told us we couldn't do it," said Jim Compart, owner of Compart Family Farms. "But we're elevating pork to the next level." He notes that advancing Americans' perception of pork has actually meant looking back. "People say, 'This is how pork used to taste.'"

Source: City Pages