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Production Challenges, Economic Headwinds Slow Red Meat Exports in May

U.S. beef and pork exports trended lower in May, due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports dropped well below year-ago levels and recorded the lowest monthly volume in 10 years. Pork exports remained higher than a year ago but were the lowest since October 2019.

“As protective measures related to COVID-19 were being implemented, plant disruptions peaked in early May with a corresponding temporary slowdown in exports,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Unfortunately the impact was quite severe, especially on...

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Jul 8 8:21 AM, General News



Industry Reacts to Implementation of USMCA 

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has officially entered into force, replacing NAFTA. The USDA stated that this improved agreement is a better deal for America's farmers, consumers, and workers that will set them up for success for decades to come.

Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, said, "USMCA creates more market access for farmers from across our nation to sell their wholesome and nutritious products to our closest neighbors. This is a better deal for America that will grow our economy and put more money in the pockets of American families.”

Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, stated, "This marks the beginning of a new and better chapter for trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada, just as President Trump promised he would deliver for the American people." Lighthizer added that the USMCA contains significant improvements and...

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Jul 2 10:50 AM, Urner Barry


ANALYSIS: U.S. Protein Inventories Drawn Down During Plant Closures

U.S. cold storage stocks declined across the beef, pork, chicken, and egg categories in May as product was needed to...

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Jul 1 8:26 AM, Urner Barry


NPPC, NCBA Lead Coalition Warning Congress of Agriculture Inspection Funding Shortfall

A coalition of more than 150 agriculture and trade groups led by the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association sent a letter to Congress warning of a major funding shortfall that could severely weaken agricultural inspections at U.S. borders. The letter urged lawmakers to protect agriculture by appropriating funding to address what may be a $630 million COVID-19 related shortfall through fiscal year 2021.

In the letter, the coalition highlighted a funding shortfall for Agricultural Quarantine Inspection, which plays a critical role in protecting U.S. agriculture from plant and animal pests and diseases. APHIS collects user fees that pay for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspections. Due to the recent economic downturn and travel restrictions as a result of...

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Jul 1 8:23 AM, Urner Barry


Charoen Pokphand Foods Maintains Strict Preventive Measures Against ASF and COVID-19

Charoen Pokphand Foods PLC (CPF) will keep in place its strict preventive measures against African Swine Flu (ASF) in pigs and novel coronavirus (COVID-19) despite a low level of domestic transmission. Having been organized is employee training on New Normal farming that will concurrently protect both pigs and human and sustainably assure food safety for consumers.

Dr. Damnoen Chaturavittawong (D.V.M), Senior Vice President of Swine Veterinary Service Department at CPF, said that strict animal and human disease control measures have been continually practiced at the Company for both livestock and aquaculture businesses, as required by international standards. In the outbreak of ASF epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic, additional stringent measures and guidelines have been...

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Jul 1 8:23 AM, General News


Lloyd's Barbeque Introduces Pulled Pork and Chicken Products 

The makers of Lloyd’s barbeque products announced its pecanwood smoked pulled pork and hardwood smoked chicken made with 2-time world barbeque sauce champion Pig Beach Mustard BBQ Sauce.

Winner of the 2014 and 2016 Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Pig Beach Mustard BBQ Sauce is a perfect match for Lloyd’s lightly seasoned hardwood smoked pulled meats. Recognized by USA Today as the “Most Prestigious Barbecue Contest,” the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is a four-day competition held in Memphis, Tenn., that draws nearly 250 teams competing from around the world.

“Barbeque is all about bringing families and friends together,” said Eric Jacobson, Lloyd’s barbeque brand manager. “Our new hardwood smoked pulled meats made with...

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Jun 30 8:07 AM, General News


Urner Barry's Coronavirus Special Report - Volume III

The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted consumer behavior, distribution, production, and market prices in a way we have never seen before. From stay-at-home directives that spurred a run on retail while foodservice operations were limited or halted all-together, to production cutbacks caused by labor shortages at the plant level, the industry has had much to contend with over the past several months.

Now, as many states have begun reopening phases, the industry is making strides in returning to a more “normal” business environment—however the face of this new normal will likely look a bit different...

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Jun 30 8:06 AM, Urner Barry


ANALYSIS: Retail Beef and Broiler Prices At Highs, Pork Close

There was a change in leadership in food spend during the COVID-19, and it probably wasn’t unexpected given what transpired globally...

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Jun 25 8:24 AM, Urner Barry


CBP Intercepts Nearly 20,000 Pounds of Smuggled Animal Products from China at LA/LB Seaport

In just a few weeks, from April 6 to June 6, U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists assigned to the LA/Long Beach Seaport, intercepted 19,555 pounds of prohibited pork, chicken, beef and duck products arriving from China.

Most of the unmanifiested animal products were commingled in boxes of headphones, door locks, kitchenware, LCD tablets, trash bags, swim fins, cell phone covers, plastic cases and household goods in a clear attempt to smuggle the prohibited meats.

CBP agriculture specialists identified, examined and seized 12 shipments containing a total of 834 cartons which lacked the required...

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Jun 22 8:15 AM, General News


COVID-19 Overshadows African Swine Fever, but ASF’s Influence Prevails

African swine fever remains the dominant issue in global animal protein – as it has been since 2018. But COVID-19 further distorts the outlook, constraining production, consumption, and trade.

ASF is still the major influence on global pork markets, and it continues to impact pig herds and restrict pork production in China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and parts of eastern Europe. As Rabobank does not anticipate an effective vaccine against ASF to be commercially available in 2020, biosecurity measures remain the most effective defense.

Herd recovery is underway in China, and has been proceeding faster than expected, but a further significant drop in...

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Jun 19 9:05 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: Labor Issues Create Record Spread Between Bone-in and Boneless Hams

Despite the nation’s gradual recovery and reopening, labor issues continue to plague some areas of the pork industry. We have seen this most often...

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Jun 19 8:18 AM, Urner Barry


Denny's Reintroduces Popular Value Menu

Denny's is re-introducing its famed $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu in celebration of its 10th anniversary, offering guests breakfast and dinner favorites alongside new and exciting items, all at a great price. The limited-time value menu will be available for dine-in, takeout or delivery via Dennys.com, while supplies last at participating locations. Denny's is also offering free delivery through Denny's on Demand from now until June 22, 2020.

Denny's $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu features options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including...

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Jun 17 8:21 AM, General News


Smithfield Foods Releases 2019 Sustainability Impact Report

Smithfield Foods, Inc. today released its 2019 Sustainability Impact Report, demonstrating significant progress in reaching major milestones and continuing efforts to feed the world’s population in a responsible way. Smithfield’s industry-leading sustainability program operates across five key pillars, representing areas of strategic focus that are important to its business, communities and society-at-large. These include the humane treatment of animals, stewardship of the environment, production of safe and high-quality food, contributions to strengthen its local communities and safety and well-being of its people.

“2020 has presented the world with an unprecedented crisis that is impacting the health, well-being and sustainability of people, communities and businesses everywhere. In turn, we have seen an increased reliance upon critical industries and companies to provide essential products and services at...

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Jun 17 8:21 AM, General News


America’s Meatpacking Facilities Operating More than 95% of Capacity Compared to 2019

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the safe reopening of critical infrastructure meatpacking facilities across the United States. As of this morning, across the cattle, swine, and broiler sectors, processing facilities are operating more than 95% of their average capacity compared to this time last year. In fact, beef facilities are operating at 98%, pork facilities are operating at 95%, and poultry facilities are operating at 98% of their capacity compared to the same time last year.

America’s meatpacking facilities are safely resuming operations following President Trump’s Executive Order directing the facilities to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines specifically created for...

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Jun 10 8:37 AM, General News


April Red Meat Exports Weather Production Challenges, Economic Headwinds

April proved to be a solid month for U.S. beef and pork exports despite COVID-19 related interruptions in production and declining purchasing power of some key trading partners, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were below last April’s large totals but still topped $600 million in value. Pork exports remained well above year-ago levels but slowed from the record pace established in the first quarter.

“Considering all the challenges the U.S. red meat industry faced in April, export results were encouraging,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Exporters lost several days of slaughter and processing due to COVID-19, and shipments to Mexico and some other Latin American markets declined due to...

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Jun 9 8:17 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: Pork Butts See Significant Pressure After Memorial Day

Substantial pressure continues to be noted throughout the fresh pork complex with bone-in butts seeing considerable losses in just...

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Jun 5 8:10 AM, Urner Barry


ANALYSIS: Boneless Pork Loins Broke 3 Records on June 1st

We kicked off June with a bang in the boneless pork loin market. The reactions to COVID-19 continue to produce volatility across the pork market. Having moved to record highs prior to...

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Jun 4 8:12 AM, Urner Barry


NPPC Urges Quick Senate Action on Legislative Relief for Hog Farmers 

COVID-related challenges have taken a severe financial and emotional toll on U.S. hog farmers, and rapid federal government assistance is needed to help thousands of pork producers weather this crisis. At a press briefing hosted by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), four pork producers addressed the crisis on their farms and called on the U.S. Senate to expeditiously adopt livestock agriculture provisions included in COVID-relief legislation recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The impact of COVID-19 has caused hog values to plummet, creating a financial disaster for pork producers nationwide who face a collective $5 billion loss for the remainder of the year. Additionally, U.S. pork producers face...

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Jun 1 8:08 AM, General News


The Trip Back to 'Normal' Slaughter Levels

Tuesday, May 26th, was a relative milestone for the hog industry as of late. The day’s kill was estimated at 405,000 head, the first time daily slaughter reached the 400,000 mark since April 17th. While this is a small victory, it is a victory nonetheless for an industry that has seen a precipitous drop in chain speeds due to COVID-19. The last time hog slaughter was near ‘normal’ was the week ended April 18th. Just two months ago, the industry achieved the largest daily hog slaughter on record at 500,879 head. As worker absenteeism and plant shutdowns disrupted chain speeds drastically during the last week of April, daily kill dropped to as low as 267,367 head, nearly 47% off its peak. 

It has been a slow but steady climb back to ‘normal’ slaughter levels. The improvement in production capabilities during the latest five weeks has helped nudge last week’s kill to over 2 million head. Early indications for this Saturday’s slaughter are pushing... 

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May 27 10:49 AM, UB Newswires


Prime Pork to Merge with Hylife 

Prime Pork is excited to announce that they will continue to expand their operations with the merger of their business with Hylife. Founded by Glen Taylor in 2016 to resurrect the former PM Beef facility, Prime Pork now employs more than 650 people.

“I have been really pleased with the employees at Prime Pork. With this new partner and leadership, I am confident this agreement will be great for the community, employees and area producers.” said Glen Taylor.

“This is a unique opportunity to partner with an operation that has an established network of producers, customers, and employees,” Grant Lazaruk, President and Chief Executive Officer of HyLife, commented about the addition of over...

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May 27 8:14 AM, General News


PODCAST: What's Shakin with Bacon? Volatility in the Pork Market

Russell Barton joins the show (from a distance) to discuss the unprecedented volatility in the pork market due to COVID-19. This segment covers retail, foodservice, unemployment, exports, and more...

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May 26 12:00 PM, Urner Barry


Smashburger Introduces Smoked Bacon Brisket Burger

In time for the unofficial kickoff to summer, Smashburger invites guests to sink their teeth into its all-new Smoked Bacon Brisket Burger. To celebrate National Burger Day, Smashburger will offer a single day promotion on Thursday, May 28, giving foodies who purchase a Smoked Bacon Brisket Burger a second one for only $1.

Starting at $8.99, as one of Smashburger's most premium burger offerings ever introduced, the Smoked Bacon Brisket Burger is made with Certified Angus Beef patty and topped with brisket smoked for 10 hours, then layered with Applewood smoked bacon, smoked cheddar, pickles, and BBQ sauce on a brioche bun.

"As we head into a new season, we're excited to offer our guests another burger...

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May 20 8:12 AM, General News


Hormel Natural Choice Lunch Meat Announces New Hardwood Smoked Product Line 

The makers of Hormel Natural Choice premium lunch meat have launched a new line of slow-smoked products called Natural Choice hardwood smoked lunch meats. These expertly crafted products – smoked in netting over real wood chips for over four hours – include exciting flavors like applewood ham, applewood turkey with garlic and herbs, pecanwood ham with sweet black pepper and pecanwood ham with brown sugar.

"We leaned into the real smoke and premium ingredients with this line and are offering consumers that great hardwood smoked flavor, without having to fire up the smoker," said Samantha Hovland, Natural Choice brand manager. "Lunchtime is a busy time for people, so we're helping...

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May 20 8:11 AM, General News


May 19 8:08 AM, Urner Barry

Webinar: UB Insights Into COVID-19 Impacts on Red Meat, Poultry 

This exclusive UB Insights webcast, aired May 14, 2020, features Urner Barry experts discussing the volatility of the beef, pork, and poultry markets during the coronavirus pandemic. Featured are beef market reporter Gary Morrison, pork market reporter Russell Barton, poultry market reporter Russ Whitman, livestock staff writer Courtney Shum and moderated by editorial director Jamie Chadwick...

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DOJ Provides Guidance for U.S. Pork Industry Response to COVID Crisis

The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division provided guidance for collaboration among U.S. hog farmers to effectively address unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The favorable decision is in response to a “business review” letter submitted to the DOJ by the National Pork Producers Council seeking permission to allow hog farmers greater flexibility in working to maximize the number of hogs entering the food supply, minimize the tragic need to euthanize hogs, and, facilitate the safe and orderly euthanization of those hogs which are not able to enter the food supply.

COVID-related pork packing plant closures and slowdowns have caused a severe back-up of pigs on farms. Overcrowding impacts pigs’ ability to rest comfortably and may result in...

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May 18 9:44 AM, General News


Consumers Continue to Purchase Meat from Restaurants and Retail Despite Coronavirus Concerns

Fear of the unknown proved to be true when observing consumers’ reaction to the emergence of COVID-19. When the virus first made its way to the United States, panic ensued. Grocery store shelves were depleted, and necessities like toilet paper were nowhere to be found. Consumers have come accustomed to finding resourceful solutions and are willing to be more flexible than ever before.

However, the coronavirus has thrown yet another curveball, with many meatpacking plants either temporarily closing or reducing operations. While consumers have stocked up on meat, there seems to be less panic this time around.

When Datassential asked consumers what best describes the way they eat today, nearly 69% described themselves as...

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May 15 8:15 AM, Urner Barry


Evans Food Group Recalls Ready-To-Eat Pork Skin Products

Evans Food Group Ltd., an Arlington, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 3,796 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) pork skin products due to misbranding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The product contains soy, a known allergen, which is not declared on the product label.

The product that contains soy – the red hot fried pork skins – is packaged in a variety pack that does not declare soy on the outside package display panel; however, soy is declared on the individual 1-oz. product label and is listed in the individual product’s list of ingredients. The consumer would not be able to see the soy ingredient on the label unless they open the larger box.

The RTE fried pork skin items were produced from April 15, 2020, to May 11, 2020. The following product is subject to recall...

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May 14 9:26 AM, General News


NPPC Supports Livestock Provisions of Heroes Act

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) expressed strong support for livestock agriculture provisions in the Heroes Act introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. These provisions include funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide:

  • Compensation for euthanized livestock that can’t be processed into the food supply due to COVID-related packing plant capacity reductions. This fact sheet provides an overview of the current challenge faced by U.S. pork producers.
  • Expanded direct payments to livestock famers who have suffered severe losses as COVID-related market disruptions have caused the value of...
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May 14 8:15 AM, General News


Applegate Farms Unveils Well Carved Product Line

Applegate introduced a new line of organic blended burgers and meatballs designed to satisfy consumers who are mindful of their meat intake. The new, chef-crafted Well Carved product line combines meat with whole vegetables, legumes and grains, and continues the brand’s mission – Changing The Meat We Eat.

“The Well Carved product line is a bold, direct challenge to the newly established wisdom that the only way to eat meat responsibly is to settle for a highly processed soy or pea-based burger—or to not eat meat at all,” said John Ghingo, president of Applegate. “Well Carved products offer a way for consumers to enjoy the real, clean meat they crave along with the vegetables that promote health and a healthier planet.”

To that end, all Well Carved products are made exclusively with organic meat and vegetables, and none of the...

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May 8 9:17 AM, General News


U.S. Pork Exports Reach New Heights in March; First Quarter Beef Exports Also on Record Pace

Underpinned by record production, U.S. pork exports completed a tremendous first quarter with new March records for volume and value, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports also trended higher year-over-year in March, establishing a record first quarter pace.

“March export results were very solid, especially given the COVID-19 related headwinds facing customers in many international markets at that time,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Stay-at-home orders created enormous challenges for many countries’ foodservice sectors, several key currencies slumped against the U.S. dollar and logistical obstacles surfaced in...

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May 8 8:09 AM, General News


Smithfield Foods to Reopen Sioux Falls, South Dakota Facility

Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced that it will begin resuming operations in Sioux Falls, S.D. today after receiving positive confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the company is in full compliance with all CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance. The company will take a phased approach to resuming its operations. The harvest floor will reopen on May 11, 2020 and the company anticipates that the facility will be fully operational by late May.

Testing, which is being administered by the State of South Dakota, is available to all Smithfield employees prior to returning to work. To date, over 2,000 employees have been tested. More tests will be conducted in the coming weeks as...

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May 7 8:37 AM, General News


Tyson Fresh Meats to Resume Waterloo, Iowa Operations

Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc. announced it will resume limited production at its Waterloo, Iowa facility on Thursday, May 7. Team members have been invited to tour the facility Wednesday to view the enhanced safety precautions and protective social distancing measures installed throughout the plant.

The reopening of the facility follows a tour of the plant by Black Hawk County health officials, Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart, Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson, UFCW Local 431 President Bob Waters and other local business leaders and a subsequent joint company and...

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May 6 8:26 AM, General News


Tyson Foods Reports Second Quarter 2020 Results

Tyson Foods, Inc., one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein with leading brands including Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, ibp and State Fair, today reported the following results:

First Six Months Highlights

  • GAAP EPS of $2.52, down 6% from prior year; Adjusted EPS of $2.43, down 13% from prior year
  • GAAP operating income of $1,327 million; Adjusted operating income of $1,395 million
  • Total Company GAAP operating margin of 6.1% and Adjusted operating margin of 6.4%
  • Record Beef GAAP operating margin of 6.6% and record Adjusted operating margin of 6.9%
  • Record total Company sales of...
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May 4 9:29 AM, General News


JBS USA Announces Limited Reopening of Worthington Pork Facility to Assist Producers

JBS USA announced a limited reopening of the Worthington, Minn., pork production facility to provide producers with a humane euthanasia option for market hogs during the coronavirus pandemic. Recent U.S. pork plant closures and reduced production levels at pork processing facilities across the country have left American producers with few options for market-ready hogs. Humane depopulation and proper disposal is the unfortunate last resort for some producers.

“While our focus is on getting the Worthington facility back to work on behalf of our team members producing food for the nation, we believe we have a responsibility to step up when...

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Apr 30 8:57 AM, General News


What President Trump's Executive Order Might Mean for Meat Processing Plants

Labor shortages due to the coronavirus are sharply reducing chain speeds at processing facilities across the nation. On Sunday, Tyson Foods published a full-page ad in several major newspapers (which is also available on their website) saying “the food supply chain is breaking,” while warning that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain." Shortly after the foreboding ad was released, President Trump took a drastic measure to combat a potential meat shortage that some industry leaders warn of.

On Tuesday, the President signed an executive order that urges meat-processing plants to remain open. Using the Defense Production Act, the order mandates the Secretary of Agriculture to... 

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Apr 30 8:28 AM, UB Newswires


Industry Reacts to President Trump’s Executive Order to Keep Meat Plants Operating 

President Trump intends to sign an executive order to ensure meat processing plants remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. The executive order will call on the Defense Production Act recognizing the facilities as a part of the United States’ critical infrastructure. This comes as concerns rise that the food supply chain will be disrupted as the virus spreads.

Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, said, “By keeping meat and poultry producers operating, the President's Executive Order will help avert hardship for agricultural producers and...

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Apr 30 8:16 AM, Urner Barry


ANALYSIS: Boneless Pork Loins Up 104%, 2.4x Higher than Chicken Breast

Boneless loins are currently experiencing a trifecta of bullish market factors: above average retail demand, significantly reduced slaughter schedules, and...

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Apr 29 8:20 AM, Urner Barry


Beyond Meat Announces National Retail Launch of Beyond Breakfast Sausage

Beyond Meat announced its latest product innovation, Beyond Breakfast Sausage, will start to hit retail shelves by the end of March. Beyond Breakfast Sausage is a new plant-based breakfast sausage featuring 11 grams of protein per serving.

Available in two flavors, classic and spicy, this breakfast option offers the taste of traditional pork breakfast sausage.

Perfect for busy mornings, Beyond Breakfast Sausage is a quick and convenient plant-based option that goes from...

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Mar 11 10:51 AM, General News


Lightlife and Field Roast Bring More to the Table with New Plant Based Breakfast Sausages

Greenleaf Foods is transforming the growing breakfast category with a nationwide retail launch of three plant-based breakfast sausage products from its Lightlife and Field Roast Grain Meat Co brands. The new, innovative products were created to continue the brands’ common goal: to pioneer the plant-based category by putting plants at the center of the plate.

“Breakfast is an important part of the day, and until now, there has not been many plant-based protein options available,” said Dan Curtin, president of Greenleaf Foods, SPC. “We’re reinvigorating the plant-based breakfast space with new delicious items from Lightlife and Field Roast.”

Lightlife is introducing Plant-Based Breakfast Sausage Links and Plant-Based Sausage Patties that offer...

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Mar 2 8:25 AM, General News




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