Outgoing NAMP chairman Michael E. Strauss will receive NAMP’s most prestigious accolade, the Angus Award, at next week’s Outlook Conference, the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP) announced.

The award is presented “in recognition of prolonged, sustained, and devoted service, continuing over a period of time to the association and to the industry which it represents.” This is the first time in eight years the award has been given.

Strauss has served on the NAMP Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and as President in 2008-2009. His accomplishments include continued development of NAMP’s Meat Buyers Guide, assisting in the allocation of NAMP investments, helping in membership development, and increasing the participation and leadership of Associate Members in NAMP.

Some of his other achievements include:
* 1988: Was one of the first Associate Members to join NAMP (as a co-owner of a meat cutting machinery company called AEW)
* 1990s: Was the first Associate Member to join, then chair, a NAMP committee
* 2000s: Was the first Associate Member to join the NAMP Board of Directors
* 2005: Joined the NAMP Board as a Regular Member through his affiliation with Colorado Boxed Beef, and was elected to the Executive Committee
* 2008: Became NAMP’s 67th President

"Companies looking to join NAMP should consider how much they can benefit from knowing outstanding NAMP members like Michael," NAMP Executive Director Phil Kimball said.

“Being involved with NAMP for over 20 years has been wonderful,” Strauss said. “It’s helped me in business and I can trace many of my closest personal relationships to NAMP.

“When I look at the list of prior Angus Award recipients, it’s humbling to be included in the company of so many who have been leaders in our industry. I hear many people talk about how they don’t have enough time to get involved, but I know firsthand that taking that time pays dividends.

“Relationships are the heart of any business and NAMP fosters the development of lifelong relationships. First starting my NAMP involvement as one of the Charter Associate Members and then later expanding that as a Regular Member gave me a terrific and unique perspective.”

Strauss also received the American Meat Institute’s Supplier of the Year Award in 2001. He will receive the Angus Award at the final night dinner-dance of the Outlook Conference, Oct. 28 – 31, at the Fairmont Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Source: NAMP

Canadian inspection agency approves digital system for beef grading

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association reports the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has approved the use of a German-made digital imaging system for grading beef carcasses, reports theMissouri Ruralist. It marks the first major advancement for Canadian beef grading since the advent of computer vision systems in 1999. The technology is in use in more than 20 U.S. meatpackers.

Mark Klassen, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association director of technical services, initiated the approval process by working with the manufacturer to secure equipment for testing and worked with the team of scientific and industry experts on the research.

“The CCA has long been an advocate of computer vision grading because of the potential for the machine to make numerous measurements in the very short period of time currently available to grade each carcass,” said Klassen.

The grading instrument is a stationary machine that photographs and analyses the rib eye area between the 12th and 13th ribs of each carcass as they pass by on a moving rail. At present, three packers in Canada have a moving rail - XL Beef in Brooks, Cargill High River and Cargill Guelph, all of which have installed the instrument.

At present, the computer grading camera measures grade fat, rib eye width, rib eye depth, calculation of a lean yield percentage, lean yield grade and a marbling score. In some situations, such as where it is difficult for the camera to get an accurate reading, a grader can overrule the camera's grading.

The technology is objective and assesses marbling under the same light and at the same distance from the rib eye based on minute calculations of red and white pixels within the traced muscle. This will reduce the variability inherent with human assessment, said Cindy Delaloye, General Manager of the Canadian Beef Grading Agency (CBGA).

Another advantage of the new technology is that the information can be stored, shared and further analyzed.

Source: Missouri Ruralist, CCA

Beef demand may be outpacing supply

Cattle rose to the highest price in almost four weeks on signs that beef demand is outpacing the supply of animals available to U.S. meatpackers, reportsBloomberg Businessweek.

Wholesale beef climbed to a two-week high of $1.559 a pound, and U.S. steer prices rose last week to 96.4 cents a pound, up 1.7 percent from the week before. Cattle futures for December delivery also rose 0.6 percent. Feeder-cattle futures for January rose 0.05 cent to $1.0965 per pound.

Cattle supplies are “in good shape,” said Lawrence Kane, a market adviser at Stewart-Peterson Group in Yates City, Ill. “Numbers are down, and weights are reasonable, so we’re not burying ourselves under a ton of beef.”

Hogs dropped to an eight-month low, with futures for December settlement dropping 1.3 percent to 68.025 cents a pound. Last week, the commodity dropped 6.7 percent, the most since August 2009. However, hog carcasses have been weighing 207.6 pounds at slaughter in the U.S., which is the most since April, 2009.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Former Urner Barry president dies

Paul B. Brown Sr., a past president of Urner Barry, died on Sunday, October 17, 2010 surrounded by his family. Brown retired in 1997 after serving the turkey industry for 42 years.

A Maryland native, Brown graduated in 1954 from the University of Maryland, served in the Naval Reserve and was called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Shortly thereafter he began his career in the turkey industry at the USDA Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Md. That first assignment was a springboard for Paul to join USDA full time in Chicago, quoting the poultry market. In the early 1960s he was appointed head of USDA's dairy and poultry market news office in New York. While in New York, Brown got to know Frank and Gordon Urner and Harold Taber, partners in Urner Barry. That relationship later led to a job offer, and he joined Urner Barry in 1962.

“Mr. Brown dedicated his entire career to the turkey industry and was instrumental in developing and improving upon the coverage of the domestic commodity turkey market, export market exposure and the growing role parts, meats, canner packs and further processed items played in the marketing picture,” Urner Barry said in a statement. “Paul was truly one of the industry's great leaders and will be sorely missed by all.”

Brown was made president of Urner Barry in 1986, a position he held up to his retirement. In 1992, he oversaw the purchase of The Yellow Sheet, which expanded Urner Barry's reporting realm into the red meat industry.

He was active in supporting industry groups including the California Poultry Industry Federation, the Pacific Poultry and Egg Association, the Southeastern Poultry and Egg Council, The U.S Poultry and Egg Export Council and the National Turkey Federation.

Surviving is his wife of 56 years, Dorothy Brown and their children Paul B. Brown Jr., Richard Brown, Barbara Toscano, and Patricia Guerinot plus 12 grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to support head and neck cancer research in memory of Paul Brown (via mail) Attn: Clare Pugsley, Annual Giving, Office of Development, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 633 Third Avenue, 28th Floor, New York, NY 10017 or by phone at 646-227-2744 – Please mention Source Code U10AGVPB.

Source: Urner Barry

Brown's Chicken chain sold to former co-owner's family

The Brown’s Chicken chain of Chicago has been sold at auction for $585,000. The winning bid was submitted by Pop-Grip LLC, an investment company backed by the six children of the company’s former vice president, who had been in conflict with the Portillo family owners and founders, reports theChicago Sun-Times.

“We believe that Brown’s Chicken is an iconic Chicago brand known for its quality and wholesome chicken, and we are going to bring it back tasting better than ever,” said Brian Bernard, an agent for Pop-Grip.

At one time, there were 150 Brown’s Chicken restaurants in Chicago. However, after a 1993 robbery in a Palatine location that left seven employees dead, 100 restaurants closed. There are presently 28 restaurants in the Chicago area.

Bernard said that Pop-Grip intends to invest in the 28 Brown’s Chicken stores, “re-establish relationships” with franchisees and put money behind new marketing and promotions.

“Our whole focus is on stabilizing the business,” Bernard said.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times