Urban Farming: A Tale of Two Cities

Oct 17, 2014

San Francisco frequently regarded as the epicenter of social innovation has introduced a program offering tax reductions for non-improved property to be converted to urban farming for a five-year period.  The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act is intended to reduce urban blight and to allow residents an opportunity to grow food and even raise livestock.  An example cited confirmed that modifying a tract of land to accommodate bees would reduce the annual tax bill from $21,000 to $50 per year.

The Urban Agriculture Incentive initiative has resulted in considerable opposition.  The San Francisco Chronicle condemned the measure as it regards sequestering vacant land for five years as a disincentive to build housing which is sorely needed.

The SFC stated “successful urban centers are constantly changing and those changes raise complicated issues.  A growing city’s dynamism is core to what makes it attractive and useful.  The newspaper emphasized the cost of pricing-out families and disrupting long-standing communities.  They characterized subsidies for urban farming as “insanity”.


Egg Industry News


Big Dutchman Inaugurates Office and Showroom

Oct 21, 2014

Big Dutchman USA celebrated the dedication of its newly expanded office and showroom space comprising a two-story building adding 12,000 square feet to the existing facility. “The investment will benefit and better support our rapidly growing business in the US, Canada and Latin America” says Dr. Clovis Rayzel, President of Big Dutchman USA. “We anticipate hiring 20 more employees in the coming year – mostly to reinforce product development and technical support to customers.” The new showroom will feature a variety of innovative equipment and computer technology for the management of laying hens, broilers, breeders and turkeys.

From left to right, the people in the ribbon-cutting photo are: Terry Nienhuis, Andy Baer, Bernd Meerpohl (CEO, Big Dutchman), Marlies DeWitt (Widow of Big Dutchman Founder Jack DeWitt), Clovis Rayzel (President of Big Dutchman USA [Clovis is the one holding the scissors!]), Barbara Speicher, Dan Speicher, Warren Stuk, Ruth Stuk, and two members of the West Coast Chamber of Commerce.


YUM! Brands Improves Earnings on Lower Revenue

Oct 21, 2014

For the quarter ended September 6th 2014, YUM! Brands posted net income of $404 million on revenue $3,354 million. These figures compare to $152 million net income on revenue of $3,461 million during the corresponding quarter of fiscal 2013. 

During the quarter YUM! generated an operating profit of $550 million compared to $350 million for the corresponding quarter in 2013.  The contributions from the major operating divisions included China (36.7%); KFC (30.7%); Pizza Hut (12.4%); Taco Bell (22.5%); but offset by India (loss of 0.5%) and corporate and allocated expenses (-1.8%).


Rembrandt Foods Inaugurates New Headquarters

Oct 21, 2014

Rembrandt Foods has opened their new corporate headquarters in Spirit Lake, IA.  The Company claims to be the third largest egg processor in the world and is fully integrated from day-old chick production through to pasteurization and drying of egg products.

Company president Dave Rettig commented “we have really focused on being efficient and we are all about taking low-cost grain and coming up with an efficient systems.  We don’t transport eggs around.  We don’t transport feed”. Rettig added “as we look towards the future we are becoming more of a global egg products company. The demand for protein all around the world is increasing as people grow their incomes”.


Walmart Reduces Projected Store Openings

Oct 21, 2014

Walmart has forecast sales growth of two to three percent for the coming fiscal year down from a previous projection of three to five percent.

The company will reduce store openings in the U.S. in the coming year with only 60 to 70 supercenters compared with 120 for 2014.  Capital spending will be reduced by $1.4 billion and the Company will apparently emphasize expansion in sales through E-commerce.


Weekly USDA Prices and Inventory

Oct 21, 2014


The USDA Egg Market News Report for Monday October 20th 2014, (Vol. 61: #84) reflected price stability compared to the previous week.

There was a 3.5 percent increase in the stock of generic eggs but specialty egg inventory declined by 2.3 percent as documented in the following table, listing the “most frequent” range of Midwest values as delivered to warehouses
  Current Week    Previious Week
Extra Large   117 –  120          117  –  120  cents per dozen
Large 115 –  118   115 –  118  
Medium 103 –  106   103 –  106  
Certified Organic EL 275 –  310   275 –  310  
Central States Breaking Stock 95 –  98   95 –  98  
Checks 79 –  85   79  –  85  

USDA Crop Progress Report

Oct 21, 2014



The October 20th USDA- National Agricultural Statistical Service, Crop Progress Report reflecting the week ending October 19th denoted a slight deterioration in  crop quality with 74 percent of  corn and 73 percent of the soy crop in the “Good” to “Excellent” categories, The slight downward trend is due in all probability to harvest of fields with the highest status during the previous week. The USDA reported that 31 percent of the 2014 corn crop had been harvested compared to 24 percent last week and a 5-year average of 53 percent confirming the delays in transfer from fields to silos and elevators.

Approximately 95 percent of the soybean crop had commenced dropping leaves compared to 91 percent last week and the five-year average of 97 percent. As of Sunday 19th 53 percent of the corn crop had been harvested compared to 40 percent last week and an average of 66 percent over five years

The condition of the two crops deteriorated slightly from the previous week and corn and soybeans were classified by the USDA as:-

  Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent
Corn            2% 5% 19% 50% 24%
Soybeans 1% 5% 21% 53% 20%

At market close on October 20th   December and March corn were quoted at 348 cents and 362 cents per bushel respectively compared with 356 cents and 365 cents per bushel for the previous week.  Soybeans for November and March were $9.46 and $9.62 per bushel respectively compared with $9.63 and $9.80 for the previous week.  Soybean meal quotations were $331 per ton for December and $317 per ton for March delivery, compared to $328 and $320 per ton for the previous week.


ALDI to Open Tampa Bay Store

Oct 17, 2014

According to a report in the Tampa Bay Business Journal ALDI intends to open a new store in the Oldsmar neighborhood of Tampa.  This is the twentieth location in the Tampa Bay area.

Publix which dominates the market with traditional superstores is experiencing increased competition from smaller operations including Trader Joe’s and ALDI in addition to Winn-Dixie and Walmart.


Whole Foods Market Experimenting with Mobile Orders

Oct 17, 2014

In an attempt to enhance sales and hopefully margins, Whole Foods Market is experimenting with mobile ordering as an adjunct to traditional in-store shopping.  According to an article in the Mobile Commerce Daily, the program is being tested in fifteen cities to allow customers to use a mobile application for groceries which are delivered within a short time.  In San Francisco, Walmart is using the Instacart mobile application.


Trader Joe’s Achieves High Sales Per Unit Area

Oct 17, 2014

According to the Business Insider, Trader Joe’s sales attain $1,734 per square foot of floor space compared to Whole Foods Market at $930 per square foot.

Positive perceptions of Trader Joe’s by consumers is considered to be higher than Whole Foods Market according to a Yougov Brand Index study.


Organic Yolk Pigmenter and Lutein source now available

Oct 15, 2014

Kemin Industries will commence marketing new Organic ORO GLO®, a USDA certified organic additive. This product will help organic egg producers intensify the color of egg yolks and supplement lutein content.  Lutein, a carotenoid, protects eye health and can minimize the impacts of age-related macular degeneration.  


Whole Foods Stimulates GMO Controversy

Oct 15, 2014

Whole Foods has apparently embarked on a program discriminating against any food products containing GMO (genetically modified origin) ingredients or dairy and meat items derived from herds or flocks fed GMO feeds. The issue was brought into focus following a post on a social media site claiming “Whole Foods has purposely chosen not to carry Chobani yogurt” subsequently acknowledged by the Company.


EL Niño Anticipated in December

Oct 15, 2014

The Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service has now forecast the onset of a weak El Niño phenomenon.  During mid-year, ocean surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific near that coast of South America was undergoing a warming trend.

CHICK-CITE published a detailed review of the El Niño phenomenon and its effect on world agriculture to which readers are referred.


EPA Extends Comment Period on the Waters of America Rule

Oct 15, 2014

The proposed Rule relating to the Waters of the United States resulted in considerable criticism after preliminary indications of the EPA intent were released in April.  The action by the Agency was regarded as an unjustified extension of jurisdiction and was subjected to considerable opposition by the business and agriculture communities followed by questions from Congress.

The EPA recently announced that the comment period will be extended through November 14th.  During past weeks, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has defended the Rule which would extend jurisdiction over small bodies of water that may or may not flow into waters subject to the Clean Water Act.  Since the proposed rule includes some definitions contentious definitions and invests inspectors with considerable power, opponents have called for scrapping the initiative.


Shane Commentary


Australian System for Mass Euthanasia

Oct 17, 2014

EGG-CITE is indebted to Dr. Eric Gingerich for information on the EuPoul System for mass euthanasia developed in Australia www.eupoul.com.  Basically the approach is to place floor-housed birds in a plastic tent which is then flushed with carbon dioxide.  The company has also developed a method of wrapping stacked-deck batteries with plastic to allow euthanasia in cages using carbon dioxide.

Extensive studies in the U.S. have shown that the carbon dioxide-foam system is suitable for humanely depleting floor-housed flocks and offers speed, efficiency and economy.  The still unresolved challenge is to achieve rapid mass-euthanasia of hens in cages.  At this time the only appropriate method is to manually transfer hens from cages to kill-carts flushed with carbon dioxide. If these units used for routine depletion are unavailable, hens must be manually moved to the end of the house to be placed in dumpsters fitted with covers to allow euthanasia with carbon dioxide.

The actual problem with mass euthanasia following a disease outbreak is less that of killing a flock than the disposal of the carcasses. Irrespective of the approach to either euthanasia or disposal, it is necessary to plan an operation in advance and obtain the necessary permits from regulatory authorities.  The situation following the 2002 outbreak of low pathogenicity avian influenza in turkey flocks in the Shenandoah Valley illustrates the problems involved.  Bureaucracy and the need for rapid action are often incompatible.


Non-Human Rights Project Appeals Against Adverse Verdict

Oct 15, 2014

The Non-Human Rights Project (NHRP) founded by Steven Wise, an animal-rights lawyer and founder of the organization will appeal against an adverse decision by a court in New York State.  At issue is the legal status of four chimpanzees, two in private ownership and the others at the Stonybrook University Primate Center.

Wise and his associates filed a Writ of habeas corpus which under common law would allow an interested party to obtain the release of a person held by an authority.  In this instance, the concept of habeas corpus was extended to a non-human.  The submission by the NHRP was rejected. An interesting question would be whether Wise serves per bono (or per bonobo) or alternatively the source of his funding.       

While this commentator expresses concern for the confinement of non-human primates under other than accepted high-standards of care, establishing “personhood” creates a dangerous precedent. This would allow animal-rights organizations to descend the zoological ladder and claim that any confined animal should be released from farms, zoos and laboratories. Whether the Non-Human Rights Project intends to confine their activities to chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans is questionable.  If the courts set a precedent, marine mammals and circus animals would soon follow.  Cattle and hogs would not be far behind, even chickens might have “legal guardians” Livestock production as we know it would not be possible. Tofu and granola anyone?        


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Dr. Simon M. Shane
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Industry Prices: Wed Oct 22
 Corn3.53 $/bu
 Soybeans9.63 $/bu
 Soybean Meal338.00 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer99  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 115-118 ¢/doz