Smithfield Foods Inc. has named Michael E. Brown president and chief operating officer of Farmland Foods Inc., effective October 4, 2010. Farmland is a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.

Brown previously served as president of Armour-Eckrich, LLC since 2008 and has nearly 30 years of experience in the food industry. He will be responsible for leading all aspects of the business, including sales and marketing, operations, quality, food safety, finance and accounting, human resources, and procurement. He will report to George H. Richter, president and chief operating officer of the Pork Group.

"Mike is a tremendous asset to this organization, and I am confident that his experience will allow the company to achieve its top objectives of margin expansion and brand growth. We congratulate Mike on his new position and look forward to his leadership role at Farmland," said Richter.

Source: Smithfield Foods Inc.

Senators criticize Chinese tariffs on U.S. chicken products

Senators Charles Grassley and Orrin Hatch have sent a joint letter to U.S. trade and agriculture officials, calling on the Obama administration to ask China to withdraw duties on U.S. Poultry imports. They stated in the letter that the tariffs were part of a larger pattern of unfair trade practices in the country, Reuters reports.

"China is one of the major beneficiaries of the global trading system, and it needs to understand that the abusive application of its trade remedy laws is increasing tensions and further undermining our bilateral relations," they wrote.

U.S. poultry producers complain they are the victims of unjustified Chinese retaliation because of President Barack Obama's decision last year to slap a 35-percent duty on tire imports from China at the behest of a U.S. union group.

Last month, China's Commerce Ministry set final duties ranging from 50.3 percent to 105.4 percent on poultry imports from the United States. The U.S. Trade Representative's office has been considering challenging the duties at the WTO, but Grassley and Hatch said the case required a more immediate solution.

"We request, therefore, that you seek high-level consultations with the Chinese government to explain the negative effects of its actions and to ask more specifically for the withdrawal of the anti-dumping and countervailing duties on poultry," the senators said.

Source: Reuters

Farmland Foods announces investment in Illinois facility

Farmland Foods of Monmouth, Ill., has announced a business investment package design to retain the company's 1,400 jobs and create 50 new positions at the company. The investment will spur economic growth in the region, said officials of the pork processing company.

The Quad-City Business Journal reported that the state of Illinois is giving Farmland an $8.8 million business package, on top of a $12 million private investment by the company. Farmland is planning on replacing some outdated technology that is preventing the plant from reaching manufacturing capacity necessary to produce items like hams and bacon. It will also upgrade its wastewater treatment to become a pre-treatment facility, removing pollutants from manufacturing before being discharged to the sewer system

“Farmland Foods has been an agricultural provider and employer in this region for 17 years, and with this investment, we look forward to many more years of partnership and growth,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley. “By investing in companies like Farmland that are investing in Illinois, we are helping to get our economy back on track and putting more people to work.”

Quad-City Business Journal

Creekstone Farms resumes shipping to Taiwan

Creekstone Farms announced that it has shipped two containers with about 48,000 pounds of meat to Taiwan within the past week, ending a suspension that lasted more than a year. Taiwan suspended shipment from Creekstone in August, 2009, after banned bones were found in a single case of beef, reports the Associated Press.

The company can now ship products slaughtered on or after Sept. 30. Creekstone marketing director Jim Rogers told the Arkansas City Traveler the company had good customers in the Taiwan market before the suspension.

Source: Associated Press, KOAM-TV

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance formed

More than 60 representatives from more than 20 national food and agricultural organizations have agreed to incorporate a U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) to focus on working together to enhance U.S. consumer trust in modern food production that ensures the abundance of affordable, safe food.

“Today represents a start toward a unified voice for U.S. agriculture,” said Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association and chair of the USFRA Steering Committee. “While the results of today’s organizational meeting represent the culmination of six months of planning, it is only the beginning of a process designed to create a coordinated effort by and on behalf of U.S. farmers and ranchers. Several participants have stepped forward to officially join the Alliance. Others need to return to their boards to determine whether they will join.”

USFRA plans to incorporate this week. Organizations have been asked to respond about affiliation no later than November 1. After that date, a board of directors will be established and will elect an executive committee.

Members of the USFRA Board, its executive committee and its affiliated organizations will be announced formally in mid-November.

Source: National Corn Growers Association