Submit comment or question
Note: All comments are displayed with user's screen name. If screen name is not present, user's full name will be used. Please go to My Account to update your screen name.
Comment Policy: Urner Barry has made the comment feature available to encourage further discussion of our news stories. Defamatory or offensive comments, or comments deemed not relevant to the story will be removed, and if necessary, Urner Barry may restrict the right of individual subscribers to offer comments. In all cases, comments represent opinions of the poster only, and do not represent fact, news, opinions or estimates put forward by Urner Barry.
Email Address is required.
Password is required.
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...
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...
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...
Revisiting President Trump's Execuctive Order - What Has Changed?
Last Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order urging the nation’s meat processing plants to remain online. As we revisit this order eight days later, the revolving door of plant openings and closures continues. At the start of this week, Tyson warned that it expects more plant closures to occur this year as the industry grapples with ongoing labor absenteeism due to COVID-19. On Monday, Tyson reported that its fiscal second-quarter net income fell 15% from the year prior (several of the company’s plants remain shuttered). Other packers including JBS, Smithfield, and Cargill are similarly affected by labor shortages. Hog processing capacity is being slashed to nearly half, while cattle processing capacity is running at about two-thirds of normal operating speeds. Last week’s estimated hog kill at...
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...
Tyson Foods to Resume Operations in Pasco, Washington
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., will resume limited production at its Pasco, Washington, beef facility. The facility temporarily idled operations on April 23 to test its team members for COVID-19.
Team members were asked to self-isolate until their results returned. The company worked with local health officials to verify test results, which were communicated to team members. Team members who tested positive will only return to work once they have met the criteria outlined by the CDC for...
APHIS Establishing Coordination Center to Assist Producers Affected by Processing Plant Closures
American livestock and poultry producers are facing an unprecedented emergency due to COVID-19, particularly with the closing of meat processing plants in several states. USDA is leading the federal response by working in coordination with the Vice President’s Task Force, the CDC, OSHA, Department of Labor, industry, state and local governments, and others across the federal family to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on producers.
We will continue to seek solutions to ensure the continuity of operations and return to production as quickly, safely and as health considerations...
Rochelle Foods to Reopen Monday with Industry-Leading Health and Safety Measures
Rochelle Foods, LLC announced that it will reopen as scheduled Monday, May 4, following a 14-day voluntary closure.
The facility, which makes grocery, foodservice and specially-formulated cancer nutrition products, completed testing of its team members last week with the vast majority of them testing negative. Of those who tested positive, numerous people had no noticeable symptoms. During the pause in operations, additional enhanced safety procedures were implemented including deep cleaning of high-touch areas, reconfiguration of common areas and workstations, revised shift scheduling, new guidelines on carpooling and...
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...
Tyson Fresh Meats Temporarily Pausing Production at Dakota City, Nebraska, Beef Plant
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., is currently winding down production and will temporarily pause operations Friday, May 1 through Monday, May 4 at its Dakota City, Neb., beef facility to complete a deep cleaning of the entire plant. The company has been working closely with the local health department and is also in the process of screening plant team members for COVID-19 this week, with assistance from the Nebraska National Guard.
The facility, one of the largest beef processing plant in the country, employs a workforce of 4,300 and normally produces enough beef in one day to feed 18 million people, however...
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...
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...
Is America Headed Towards a Meat Shortage?
Price gouging. Panic buying. Meat shortages. These phrases have dominated recent talk about the nation’s overall meat supply as a wave of plant closures and worker absenteeism rattle the supply chain and generate logistical hurdles. Increasingly, industry participants and consumers alike are uttering the unnerving question: Is America on the cusp of a nationwide meat shortage?
There are many factors at play when assessing the current supply and demand patterns in the midst of a pandemic. Notably, a second wave of panic buying, and the subsequent run-up in wholesale values, has recently...
Rabobank Pork Quarterly Q2 2020: COVID-19 Crisis Disrupts Global Pork Industry
Rabobank expects continued volatility in pork prices in 2020, as disruption in local markets is balanced with product shortfalls in Asia.
“The combined effect of near-term demand destruction and processing interruptions due to labor constraints has weakened producer returns and will slow production growth. Weaker GDP growth could further pressure pork demand, compounding an already challenging operating environment,” according to Christine McCracken, Senior Animal Protein Analyst.
China: Hog price strength reflects slow herd recovery and demand recovery
Hog prices remain elevated on African swine fever (ASF) herd losses and a gradual recovery in the production sector. Producer interest in rebuilding remains...
JBS USA Announces Temporary Closure of Green Bay Beef Facility
JBS USA announced the temporary closure of its Green Bay, Wis., beef production facility. The facility employs more than 1,200 people and feeds nearly 3.2 million Americans every day. In partnership and consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Brown County Health and Human Services Department - Public Health Division, the company will advise its Green Bay team members to follow Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ ‘Safer at Home Order’ while the plant is closed.
Society collectively faces a global coronavirus pandemic that has spread throughout the world and every state in the United States. In Wisconsin, the virus has spread to 66 of 72 counties, including Brown County, home of the JBS Green Bay facility. JBS USA is striving to provide the safest working environment possible for...
Smithfield Foods to Temporarily Close Monmouth, IL Plant
Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced that it will proactively suspend operations at its Monmouth, IL facility beginning next week and until further notice after a small portion of its 1,700 employees tested positive for COVID-19. The Monmouth plant represents approximately three percent of U.S. fresh pork supplies and also produces bacon. Employees will be paid during the closure.
Smithfield noted that it has been proactively and aggressively tackling COVID-19 by implementing processes, protocols and protective measures throughout its operations and remains wholly committed to doing everything in its power to help protect its team members from COVID-19 in the workplace. At the same time, it stressed that...
Tyson Foods Pauses Production at Washington Beef Plant
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., will temporarily halt production at its Pasco, Washington, beef facility while team members undergo testing. Health officials in Walla Walla, Benton, and Franklin Counties will work with the company to test its more than 1,400 team members for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
The facility produces enough beef in one day to feed four million people. While the plant is temporarily closed for testing, team members will continue to be compensated and asked to self-isolate at home until results return.
“We’ve taken both of our responsibilities to continue feeding the nation and keeping...
Tyson Foods to Indefinitely Suspend Waterloo Operations
Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., plans to indefinitely suspend operations at its Waterloo, Iowa, pork plant this week.
The facility, the company’s largest pork plant, has been running at reduced levels of production due to worker absenteeism, and will stop production mid-week until further notice. The facility’s 2,800 team members will be invited to come to the plant later this week for COVID-19 testing.
“Protecting our team members is our top priority and the reason we’ve implemented numerous safety measures during this challenging and unprecedented time,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe while...
Tyson Fresh Meats to Resume Limited Operations at Columbus Junction Pork Plant
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., will resume limited operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, on Tuesday after being idle for two weeks due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Our first priority is protecting our team members while they fulfill their critical mission of feeding families across the country during this challenging time,” said Tyson Foods President Dean Banks. “We plan to increase production at Columbus Junction gradually, with the safety of our team members top of mind.”
Tyson Foods formed a coronavirus task force in January and has implemented numerous measures to protect workers. It was one of the first food companies to start taking worker temperatures and...
Tyson Foods to Deep Clean Logansport Plant; Suspending Production on Monday
Tyson Foods, Inc. announced that its Logansport, Indiana, facility will cancel production for Monday for additional cleaning and sanitation efforts. The company is working hard to protect team members during this ever-changing situation, while also ensuring the company continues fulfilling its critical role of helping feed people in this community and across the country.
“While we understand the necessity of keeping our facilities operational so that we can continue to feed the nation, the safety of our people remains our top priority,” Jim Schmitz, Vice President of Pork Production Operations said. “Our plant production areas are sanitized daily to ensure food safety, and we have stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities, especially in...
Smithfield Foods to Suspend Production at Sioux Falls Facility
Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced that it will close its Sioux Falls, SD facility for three days. The company will suspend operations in a large section of the plant on April 11 and completely shutter on April 12 and April 13. Smithfield is taking this action out of an abundance of caution for its 3,700 employees in Sioux Falls, a portion of whom have tested positive for COVID-19.
During this time, essential personnel will repeat the rigorous deep cleaning and sanitization that have been ongoing at the facility and install additional physical barriers to further enhance social distancing. Employees will be paid for any previously scheduled hours during the temporary closure.
“Smithfield Foods is taking the utmost precautions and actions to ensure the health and wellbeing of our employees – with an even increased emphasis on...
Tyson Foods Suspends Operations at Columbus Junction Facility
Tyson Foods is taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and provided an update on its business operations.
“We’re working hard to protect our team members during this ever-changing situation, while also ensuring we continue fulfilling our critical role of helping feed people across the country," said CEO Noel White.
At all locations, Tyson has been taking temperatures of every employee entering for their shift. Additionally, Tyson has stepped up cleaning and...
Urner Barry Announces Enhancements to Imported Beef Reporting
Seven Lessons Foodservice Can Learn from a Pandemic
Update: List of Current Plant Closures Due to COVID-19
Industry Reacts to Implementation of USMCA
NPPC, NCBA Lead Coalition Warning Congress of Agriculture Inspection Funding Shortfall
URNER BARRY INDICES