Townsends Inc., a Georgetown, Del.-based chicken producer, is aiming to sell the business at auction on Feb. 15. Although there are discussions with several potential buyers, no one as yet is under contract, Bloomberg reports.

There will be a Jan 28 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to set up auction and sale procedures. Townsends wants initial bids on Feb. 14, the day before the auction, with the hearing to approve the sale on Feb. 18.

Financing for the Chapter case is set to expire Feb. 20. The lenders are requiring sale approval before funding terminates.

Townsends filed under Chapter 11 on Dec. 19. The family-owned company can produce 700 million pounds of poultry a year and 1.3 million eggs a week and has four production facilities in Arkansas and North Carolina.

Townsends listed assets of $131 million and liabilities of $127 million. Liabilities include $20.7 million owing to secured lenders on a term loan and $40 million on a revolving credit. Twelve-month revenue was $504 million. Townsends contracts with over 300 growers who operate 1,200 chicken houses.

The case is In re Townsends Inc., 10-14092, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware.

Source: Bloomberg

Butterball donation helped to feed Sanford families for the holidays

Many Sanford, N.C., families enjoyed fresh, wholesome food over the holidays, thanks in part to a charitable donation by Butterball LLC. This holiday season, the nation’s largest turkey producer donated more than 450 pounds of turkey to The Bread Basket of Sanford, to help provide meals for individuals throughout the community.

The Bread Basket offers lunches every weekday throughout the year. On Dec. 25, 2010, around 120 volunteers joined together to prepare more than 600 meals for people throughout the area. With the help of Butterball’s contribution, The Bread Basket was able to provide a feast for the many local families needing a little assistance with their holiday meal.

“It is a blessing to have so many devoted individuals and charitable businesses in our community working together to help one another, especially during the holidays,” said Keli Connor, volunteer coordinator at The Bread Basket. “The turkeys donated by Butterball fed many who otherwise would not have had a warm meal on such a special day, and we are appreciative of Butterball’s generosity and support.”

In 2010, the turkey producer donated more than 330,000 pounds of turkey to charitable organizations nationwide.

“Hunger in our country affects about 15 percent of U.S. households, according to recent reports,” said Keith Shoemaker, CEO, Butterball. “We are pleased for the opportunity to join with dedicated individuals and organizations, such as The Bread Basket of Sanford, to help meet the needs of the community every day.”

Source: Butterball LLC

Oscar Mayer Carving Board concert to please gleeks

The new Oscar Mayer Good Mood Mission is kicking off with an Oscar Mayer Carving Board Concert featuring "Glee" star Matthew Morrison in the first live performance of his solo career, including a song from his debut record. In addition, the Oscar Mayer brand and Matthew Morrison will make a $50,000 donation to the Grammy Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving musical heritage and fostering the next generation of music makers.

"I'm excited to kick-off the Good Mood Mission by bringing people together for my first public performance." said Morrison. "I'm also happy to join the Oscar Mayer brand to support something very important to me, music education, through a $50,000 donation to the Grammy Foundation."

The Oscar Mayer Carving Board Concert will be on Saturday, January 29th, noon PST live at The Grove in Los Angeles with select songs from Morrison’s performance featured via live stream on Anyone can gain access to the show by clicking "Like" at Mayer. In addition, the first 200,000 people to share something good on Facebook will also receive a coupon for new Oscar Mayer Carving Board Meats.

Source: Kraft Foods

Do-it-yourself butchering lessons now available on DVD

The Gourmet Butcher has just released a comprehensive set of DVDs that show how to butcher beef, pork and lamb. The butcher is Cole Ward of northern Vermont who has been a teaching butcher for more than 30 years and who was featured as one of America's top 50 butchers in the recent book Primal Cuts: Cooking with America's Best Butchers by Marissa Guggiana.

The DVDs are intended for chefs, home cooks, homesteaders and farmers who may want to butcher, or who may simply want to be more informed on specific cuts of meat and how to utilize them. They provide learning for those involved with the artisan food movement, as well as do-it-yourselfers in both urban and rural settings.

Ward teams up with Chef Courtney Contos who comes from a family of four-star restaurateurs in Chicago. For example, Ward starts with a side of beef, quarters it, and shows how to create Rib Eye, Sirloin, T-Bone, Porterhouse, Flat Iron and Delmonico Steaks. On this same DVD, Contos uses the Flat Iron cut and demonstrates how to make the classic Steak au Poivre.

The two-DVD set of The Gourmet Butcher From Farm to Table is available online at One DVD covers lamb and pork and the other covers beef. Each DVD has a running time of 2 hours and 10 minutes. The set sells for $29.95.

Source: The Gourmet Butcher

Study: Reducing amount of feed to heifers can result in more efficient use of nutrients

Reducing the amount of feed given to heifers can result in more efficient use of nutrients for growth and reproduction, according to a study conducted by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.

In the study, USDA animal scientist Andrew Roberts and colleagues divided heifers (50 percent Red Angus, 25 percent Charolais, and 25 percent Tarentaise) into two lifetime treatment groups. The control group was fed according to industry guidelines, and the restricted-feed group was fed 80 percent of feed consumed by their control counterparts for 140 days. The feeding treatments ended when the animals were one year old. The restricted feed heifers grew slower and weighed less at any point in time as a consequence of less feed.

Researchers found that the restricted feed heifers grew to target weights lower than those traditionally recommended, consumed 27 percent less feed over the winter months, and gained weight more efficiently throughout the postweaning period and subsequent grazing season.

Final pregnancy rates were 87 percent for restricted heifers and 91 percent for controls.

According to Roberts, restricting feed allows nature to decide which heifers were reproductively efficient.

“The strategy of providing less feed may reduce costs of developing each replacement heifer by more than $31 and extend their life span, with important ramifications for lifetime efficiency and profitability,” Roberts said.

The study, “Beef Cattle: Improving Production Effeciency and Meat Quality,” was published in the January 2011issue of Agricultural Research magazine (

Source: AMI