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Piglets aborted, chickens gassed as pandemic slams meat sector

Piglets aborted, chickens gassed as pandemic slams meat sector

Postby smix » Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:12 pm

Piglets aborted, chickens gassed as pandemic slams meat sector
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... SKCN2292YS
Category: Business
Published: April 28, 2020

Description: CHICAGO (Reuters) - With the pandemic hobbling the meat-packing industry, Iowa farmer Al Van Beek had nowhere to ship his full-grown pigs to make room for the 7,500 piglets he expected from his breeding operation. The crisis forced a decision that still troubles him: He ordered his employees to give injections to the pregnant sows, one by one, that would cause them to abort their baby pigs. Van Beek and other farmers say they have no choice but to cull livestock as they run short on space to house their animals or money to feed them, or both. The world’s biggest meat companies - including Smithfield Foods Inc, Cargill Inc, JBS USA and Tyson Foods Inc - have halted operations at about 20 slaughterhouses and processing plants in North America since April as workers fall ill, stoking global fears of a meat shortage. Van Beek’s piglets are victims of a sprawling food-industry crisis that began with the mass closure of restaurants - upending that sector’s supply chain, overwhelming storage and forcing farmers and processors to destroy everything from milk to salad greens to animals. Processors geared up to serve the food-service industry can’t immediately switch to supplying grocery stores. Millions of pigs, chickens and cattle will be euthanized because of slaughterhouse closures, limiting supplies at grocers, said John Tyson, chairman of top U.S. meat supplier Tyson Foods. Pork has been hit especially hard, with daily production cut by about a third. Unlike cattle, which can be housed outside on pasture, U.S. hogs are fattened up for slaughter inside temperature-controlled buildings. If they are housed too long, they can get too big and injure themselves. The barns need to be emptied out by sending adult hogs to slaughter before the arrival of new piglets from sows that were impregnated just before the pandemic. “We have nowhere to go with the pigs,” said Van Beek, who lamented the waste of so much meat. “What are we going to do?” In Minnesota, farmers Kerry and Barb Mergen felt their hearts pound when a crew from Daybreak Foods Inc arrived with carts and tanks of carbon dioxide to euthanize their 61,000 egg-laying hens earlier this month. Daybreak Foods, based in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, supplies liquid eggs to restaurants and food-service companies. The company, which owns the birds, pays contract farmers like the Mergens to feed and care for them. Drivers normally load the eggs onto trucks and haul them to a plant in Big Lake, Minnesota, which uses them to make liquid eggs for restaurants and ready-to-serve dishes for food-service companies. But the plant’s operator, Cargill Inc, said it idled the facility because the pandemic reduced demand. Daybreak Foods, which has about 14.5 million hens with contractor-run or company-owned farms in the Midwest, is trying to switch gears and ship eggs to grocery stores, said Chief Executive Officer William Rehm. But egg cartons are in shortage nationwide and the company now must grade each egg for size, he said. Rehm declined to say how much of the company’s flock has been euthanized. “We’re trying to balance our supply with our customers’ needs, and still keep everyone safe - including all of our people and all our hens,” Rehm said.
DUMPING HOGS IN A LANDFILL
In Iowa, farmer Dean Meyer said he is part of a group of about nine producers who are euthanizing the smallest 5% of their newly born pigs, or about 125 piglets a week. They will continue euthanizing animals until disruptions ease, and could increase the number of pigs killed each week, he said. The small bodies are composted and will become fertilizer. Meyer’s group is also killing mother hogs, or sows, to reduce their numbers, he said. “Packers are backed up every day, more and more,” said Meyer. As the United States faces a possible food shortage, and supermarkets and food banks are struggling to meet demand, the forced slaughters are becoming more widespread across the country, according to agricultural economists, farm trade groups and federal lawmakers who are hearing from farmer constituents. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, along with both U.S. senators from a state that provides a third of the nation’s pork, sent a letter to the Trump administration pleading for financial help and assistance with culling animals and properly disposing of their carcasses. “There are 700,000 pigs across the nation that cannot be processed each week and must be humanely euthanized,” said the April 27 letter. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said late Friday it is establishing a National Incident Coordination Center to help farmers find markets for their livestock, or euthanize and dispose of animals if necessary. Some producers who breed livestock and sell baby pigs to farmers are now giving them away for free, farmers said, translating to a loss about $38 on each piglet, according to commodity firm Kerns & Associates. Farmers in neighboring Canada are also killing animals they can’t sell or afford to feed. The value of Canadian isoweans - baby pigs – has fallen to zero because of U.S. processing plant disruptions, said Rick Bergmann, a Manitoba hog farmer and chair of the Canadian Pork Council. In Quebec alone, a backlog of 92,000 pigs waits for slaughter, said Quebec hog producer Rene Roy, an executive with the pork council. A hog farm on Prince Edward Island in Canada euthanized 270-pound hogs that were ready for slaughter because there was no place to process them, Bergmann said. The animals were dumped in a landfill.
DEATH THREATS
The latest economic disaster to befall the farm sector comes after years of extreme weather, sagging commodity prices and the Trump administration’s trade war with China and other key export markets. But it’s more than lost income. The pandemic barreling through farm towns has mired rural communities in despair, a potent mix of shame and grief. Farmers take pride in the fact that their crops and animals are meant to feed people, especially in a crisis that has idled millions of workers and forced many to rely on food banks. Now, they’re destroying crops and killing animals for no purpose. Farmers flinch when talking about killing off animals early or plowing crops into the ground, for fear of public wrath. Two Wisconsin dairy farmers, forced to dump milk by their buyers, told Reuters they recently received anonymous death threats. “They say, ‘How dare you throw away food when so many people are hungry?’,” said one farmer, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They don’t know how farming works. This makes me sick, too.” Even as livestock and crop prices plummet, prices for meat and eggs at grocery stores are up. The average retail price of eggs was up nearly 40% for the week ended April 18, compared to a year earlier, according to Nielsen data. Average retail fresh chicken prices were up 5.4%, while beef was up 5.8% and pork up 6.6%. On Van Beek’s farm in Rock Valley, Iowa, one hog broke a leg because it grew too heavy while waiting to be slaughtered. He has delivered pigs to facilities that are still operating, but they are too full to take all of his animals. Van Beek paid $2,000 to truck pigs about seven hours to a Smithfield plant in Illinois, more than quadruple the usual cost to haul them to a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, slaughterhouse that the company has closed indefinitely. He said Smithfield is supposed to pay the extra transportation costs under his contract. But the company is refusing to do so, claiming “force majeure” – that an extraordinary and unforeseeable event prevents it from fulfilling its agreement. Smithfield, the world’s largest pork processor, declined to comment on whether it has refused to make contracted payments. It said the company is working with suppliers “to navigate these challenging and unprecedented times.” Hog farmers nationwide will lose an estimated $5 billion, or $37 per head, for the rest of the year due to pandemic disruptions, according to the industry group National Pork Producers Council. A recently announced $19 billion U.S. government coronavirus aid package for farmers will not pay for livestock that are culled, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s largest farmer trade group. The USDA said in a statement the payment program is still being developed and the agency has received more requests for assistance than it has money to handle. Minnesota farmer Mike Patterson started feeding his pigs more soybean hulls – which fill animals’ stomachs but offer negligible nutritional value – to keep them from getting too large for their barns. He’s considering euthanizing them because he cannot find enough buyers after Smithfield indefinitely shut its massive Sioux Falls plant. “They have to be housed humanely,” Patterson said. “If there’s not enough room, we have to have less hogs somehow. One way or another, we’ve got to have less hogs.”



Trump orders U.S. meat-processing plants to stay open despite coronavirus fears
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... SKCN22A2OB
Category: Business
Published: April 28, 2020

Description: WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday ordered meat-processing plants to stay open to protect the food supply in the United States, despite concerns about coronavirus outbreaks, drawing a backlash from unions that said at-risk workers required more protection. With concerns about food shortages and supply chain disruptions, Trump issued an executive order using the Defense Production Act to mandate that the plants continue to function. The world’s biggest meat companies, including Smithfield Foods Inc, Cargill Inc, JBS USA and Tyson, have halted operations at about 20 slaughterhouses and processing plants in North America as workers fall ill, stoking global fears of a meat shortage. The order is designed in part to give companies legal cover with more liability protection in case employees catch the virus as a result of having to go to work. John H. Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods, said on Sunday that the food supply chain was “breaking” and warned of the potential for meat shortages. Before issuing the executive order, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that signing the order, “... will solve any liability problems,” adding, “And we always work with the farmers. There’s plenty of supply.” The executive order, released Tuesday evening, said the closure of just one large beef-processing plant could result in 10 million fewer individual servings of beef in a day. “Such closures threaten the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency,” the order said. A senior administration official said the U.S. government would also provide guidance to minimize risk to workers who are especially vulnerable to the virus, such as encouraging older workers and those with other chronic health issues to stay home. Unions were not impressed. Some farmers said it was too late because pigs had been euthanized already instead of the pork going to market. “While we share the concern over the food supply, today’s executive order to force meatpacking plants to stay open must put the safety of our country’s meatpacking workers first,” the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said in a statement. UFCW, the largest U.S. meat-packing union, demanded that the administration compel meat companies to provide “the highest level of protective equipment” to slaughterhouse workers and ensure daily coronavirus testing. The senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said if action were not taken, the vast majority of processing plants could have shut down for a period of time, reducing capacity by as much as 80%.
SAVING WORKERS’ LIVES
The order was little consolation for farmers such as Henry Moore of Clinton, North Carolina, who in recent weeks aborted thousands of unborn piglets and euthanized newly born because of closures of packing plants. “At this point, honestly, it’s a little too late,” Moore said. “There’s millions and millions and millions of pounds of pork that will never make it to the market.” Tyson said on Wednesday it was closing two pork-processing plants, including its largest in the United States, further tightening meat supplies following other major slaughterhouse shutdowns. U.S. meat companies slaughtered an estimated 283,000 hogs on Tuesday, down about 43% from before plants began shutting because of the pandemic, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Processors slaughtered about 76,000 cattle, down about 38%. Critics of Trump’s order made clear that plants were being shut down for a reason. “When poultry plants shut down, it’s for deep cleaning and to save workers’ lives. If the administration had developed meaningful safety requirements early on as they should have and still must do, this would not even have become an issue,” Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said in a statement. The White House worked directly with executives from the meat-processing companies to determine what they needed to stay open safely, the administration official said. He said there were enough workers who could safely go to work and ensure the supply chain continued to churn. More than 6,500 meat- and food-processing workers have been infected with or exposed to the new coronavirus, and 20 have died, the UFCW said on Tuesday. Administration officials and some Republicans on Capitol Hill have said that businesses that are reopening need liability protection from lawsuits employees might file if they become sick. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, speaking to reporters on a teleconference on Tuesday that mainly centered on immigrants working in the healthcare sector, was asked about Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s pushing for business liability protections as they reopen their operations. “Is he saying if an owner tells a worker he needs to work next to a sick person without a mask and wouldn’t be liable? That makes no sense,” Schumer said.



Kroger limiting ground beef, pork purchases in some stores - CNN
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/health- ... SL4N2CJ2T5
Category: Business
Published: May 1, 2020

Description: (Reuters) - Supermarket chain Kroger Co is setting purchase limits on ground beef and fresh pork in some of its stores, CNN reported on Friday, amid growing concerns over meat shortages due to coronavirus-led supply disruptions. The world’s biggest meat companies, including Smithfield Foods Inc, Cargill Inc, JBS USA and Tyson Foods, have halted operations at about 20 slaughterhouses and processing plants in North America as workers fall ill, stoking global fears of a meat shortage. "We feel good about our ability to maintain a broad assortment of meat and seafood for our customers because we purchase protein from a diverse network of suppliers," a Kroger representative told CNN. “There is plenty of protein in the supply chain. However, some processors are experiencing challenges.” Earlier this week, President Donald Trump ordered meat-processing plants to stay open to protect the food supply in the United States. Kroger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



Costco limits meat purchases as supply shortages loom
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... SKBN22G1L2
Category: Business
Published: May 4, 2020

Description: (Reuters) - Costco Wholesale Corp said on Monday it had limited the number of beef, pork and poultry products customers can buy, as grocery stores prepare for massive shortages of meat supplies following coronavirus-induced supply disruptions. Some of the biggest slaughterhouses in the United States closed over the last few weeks as COVID-19 spread widely through meat processing facilities where large groups of employees often work shoulder to shoulder in difficult conditions. Costco said it would temporarily limit fresh beef, pork and poultry purchases to a total of 3 items per Costco member, following Kroger Co, which has put purchase limits on ground beef and fresh pork at some of its stores. Starting Monday, Costco will also require all shoppers to wear masks or face coverings to reduce the chances of transmission of the virus. John Tyson, chairman of the United States’ largest meat processing company Tyson Foods Inc said last week the food supply chain was “breaking” and millions of pounds of meat would vanish from grocery stores in the country. U.S. President Donald Trump later ordered meat processing plants to stay open to protect food supplies, a move that drew backlash from unions that said at-risk workers needed more protection.



Wendy's menu runs short as virus hits U.S. beef supplies
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... SKBN22H1PN
Category: Business
Published: May 5, 2020

Description: (Reuters) - Wendy’s Co said on Tuesday its restaurants may face a shortage of many menu items, including hamburgers, as beef processors in the United States struggle to keep their plants open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

baconator.jpg

U.S. meat manufacturers, including Tyson Foods Inc, have signaled disruptions to food supply as they are forced to shut many meat plants to curb the spread of the coronavirus. “Beef suppliers across North America are currently facing production challenges. Because of this, some of our menu items may be in short supply from time to time at some restaurants in this current environment,” a Wendy’s spokesperson said. The burger chain, known for its fresh-never-frozen patties, said it would continue to supply hamburgers to all of its restaurants, with deliveries two or three times a week. Just before the virus outbreak in the United States, Wendy’s launched a new breakfast menu that included sausages, eggs, croissant and a hamburger variation in the hopes of attracting more footfall in the morning, a crucial daypart for restaurateurs. The pandemic has also led to rival McDonald’s Corp trimming its menu to serve drive-thru and delivery customers faster, while its dine-in operations remain shut. Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski last week told analysts that the company has had no break in supply till date. Several retailers including Kroger Co and Costco Wholesale Corp have also limited meat purchases per customers.



As U.S. meat workers fall sick and supplies dwindle, exports to China soar
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... SKBN22N0IN
Category: Business
Published: May 11, 2020

Description: CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump ordered meat processing plants to stay open to protect the nation’s food supply even as workers got sick and died. Yet the plants have increasingly been exporting to China while U.S. consumers face shortages, a Reuters analysis of government data showed. Trump, who is in an acrimonious public dispute with Beijing over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act on April 28 to keep plants open. Now he is facing criticism from some lawmakers, consumers and plant employees for putting workers at risk in part to help ensure China’s meat supply. Meat buyers in China ramped up imports from around the world as a pig disease decimated its herd, the world’s largest, and pushed Chinese pork prices to record highs. The supply shock drove China to pay more for U.S. meat than other countries, and even U.S. consumers, since late 2019. “We know that over time exports are critically important. I think we need to focus on meeting domestic demand at this point,” said Mike Naig, the agriculture secretary in the top U.S. pork-producing state of Iowa who supported Trump’s order. Processors including Smithfield Foods, owned by China’s WH Group Ltd, Brazilian-owned JBS USA and Tyson Foods Inc temporarily closed about 20 U.S. meat plants as the virus infected thousands of employees, prompting meatpackers and grocers to warn of shortages. Some plants have resumed limited operations as workers afraid of getting sick stay home. The disruptions mean consumers could see 30% less meat in supermarkets by the end of May, at prices 20% higher than last year, according to Will Sawyer, lead economist at agricultural lender CoBank. While pork supplies tightened as the number of pigs slaughtered each day plunged by about 40% since mid-March, shipments of American pork to China more than quadrupled over the same period, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Smithfield, which China’s WH Group bought for $4.7 billion in 2013, was the biggest U.S. exporter to China from January to March, according to Panjiva, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Smithfield shipped at least 13,680 tonnes by sea in March, Panjiva said, citing its most recent data. Smithfield, the world’s biggest pork processor, said in April that U.S. plant closures were pushing retailers “perilously close to the edge” on supplies. The company is now retooling its namesake pork plant in Smithfield, Virginia, to supply fresh pork, bacon and ham to more U.S. consumers, according to a statement. The move is an about-face after the company reconfigured the plant last year to process hog carcasses for the Chinese market, employees, local officials and industry sources told Reuters. The Virginia facility currently serves export markets like China and domestic customers, according to Smithfield. Most U.S. pork processors routinely export products to more than 40 international markets, company spokeswoman Keira Lombardo said. The virus infected about 850 employees at another Smithfield pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Across the U.S. industry, about 5,000 infections and 20 deaths occurred, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “That tragic outcome is all the worse when the food being processed is not going to our nation’s families,” said U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut. “That is what the Defense Production Act is all about: protecting America’s national interests, not China’s.” Pork processor Fresh Mark resumed making bacon and ham for global customers at a Salem, Ohio, plant it shut in April over coronavirus cases. “If we start having a shortage in America, I think it should stay here,” said Bruce Fatherly, a maintenance worker at the plant and member of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Fresh Mark said exports are a small part of its business.
WHOLE HOGS
The supply concerns could not have been foreseen when Trump signed a deal in January to ease a trade war he started with Beijing two years earlier. China promised to increase purchases of U.S. farm goods by at least $12.5 billion in 2020 and $19.5 billion in 2021, over the 2017 level of $24 billion. The White House declined to comment. The USDA and U.S. Trade Representative’s office did not respond to requests for comment. China increased its purchases because of its dire need for protein after the pig disease African swine fever led to the death of half the country’s herd over the past two years. Beijing lifted a nearly five-year ban on U.S. chicken imports in November and also waived retaliatory tariffs on meat shipments to help boost supplies. Year-to-date, about 31% of U.S. pork has been exported, totaling about 838,000 tonnes, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. One-third of that volume went to China, accounting for more than 10% of total first-quarter production, the industry group said. It added that exports help increase U.S. production by raising overall demand. Carcasses, which include most of the pig, were the top product shipped to China in January and February, according to USDA. Loads also include feet and organs that many Americans do not eat. Exports to China set a record for the period from January to March, and shipments to all destinations in March set a record for any month, according to USDA. JBS, which produces pork, beef and chicken, told Reuters it reduced exports to focus on meeting U.S. demand during the pandemic. About 280 employees at a JBS beef plant in Greeley, Colorado, have been infected with the virus, and seven died, union officials said. “I think we need to take care of our country and our needs first,” said Kim Cordova, president of the local United Food and Commercial Workers International Union that represents plant employees. Tyson Foods President Dean Banks said on a conference call last week that he expects China’s demand for U.S. pork to remain strong as it recovers from a COVID-19 lockdown. Suppliers like Tyson have limited meat products for American retailers because of plant closures. Kroger Co and Costco Wholesale Corp, meanwhile, restricted shoppers’ meat purchases. U.S. farmers, who struggled financially during the trade war with Beijing, say they still need importing countries, including China, to buy their pork. Prior the pandemic, they grappled with an oversupply of hogs. “There’s enough meat for all channels if we could get these plants back up and rolling,” said Brian Duncan, a hog farmer and vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau.



Namibia looks to import cattle as drought decimates local herds
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/namibia ... SL8N29Q371
Category: Business
Published: January 21, 2020

Description: WINDHOEK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Namibian state-owned meat processing and marketing firm Meatco is in talks with neighbour Botswana to import cattle, as severe drought decimates local herds and threatens beef export deals with China and European countries. The southern African desert nation moved closer to famine last month after dam levels fell below 20%, a drop officials blame on climate change and the worst drought in almost a century that also hit South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Meatco Acting Chairperson Ronald Kubas told Reuters on Tuesday that his company had recently visited Botswana and that buying cattle from there made sense because Botswana had the same animal health standards as Namibia. Namibia became the second African country after South Africa to meet China’s stringent import conditions for bone-in beef last year. China’s massive population has seen its appetite for beef grow after an outbreak of African swine fever wiped out hundreds of millions of pigs. Namibia currently exports 10,000 metric tons of beef a year to the European Union. A five-year drought in southern Africa has caused plunging dam levels in Zambia and Zimbabwe which have resulted in power cuts. In parts of South Africa, people have been drilling boreholes and trucking in water.

namibian-butchery.jpg
“We’re able to finally export meat to the lucrative and big U.S. market”

Namibia first African country to export red meat to hungry U.S. market
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nami ... SKBN20E1BB
Category: Business
Published: February 21, 2020

Description: WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namibia became the first African country to export red meat to the United States after it sent 25 tonnes of beef to Philadelphia, following two decades of haggling over safety regulations and logistics. The arid southern African nation, known for free-range, hormone-free beef, is set to export 860 tonnes of various beef cuts in 2020 to the United States, rising to 5,000 tonnes by 2025. The United States tops the world list for red meat consumption per head. Americans consume on average 120 kgs of meat per person, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), making meat exports to the country a prime target. “We’re able to finally export meat to the lucrative and big U.S. market,” Namibia’s minister of international relations, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said on Wednesday. She was speaking in the capital Windhoek, where state-owned meat firm Meatco is headquartered, as the first shipment of meat set off, after negotiations that spanned 18 years. The target would be the massive U.S. fast food industry and franchises like McDonald’s, the minister said. The shipment is first commercial consignment after samples were sent in the past 24 months to U.S. laboratories for tests.

namibian-meat-samples.jpg
Lab workers sampling meat in Namibia

Under the deal, exports will include boneless, raw beef cuts in frozen or chilled form. Agriculture contributes about 5% to Namibia’s economy but farming including cattle raising contributes to nearly two-thirds of the population’s income. In 2019, Namibia exported about 12,400 metric tonnes of meat to Norway, Britain, the European Union and Chinese markets. “Namibia will benefit economically from tapping into the largest consumer market with purchasing power of $13 trillion, and U.S. consumers will benefit from access to Namibia’s high-quality, free-range, grass-fed beef,” U.S. ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, said. Namibia’s exports will also benefit from a duty-free regime under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
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As meat plants slow, U.S. will help growers kill livestock

Postby smix » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:18 pm

As meat plants slow, U.S. will help growers kill livestock
Successful Farming

URL: https://www.agriculture.com/news/livest ... -livestock
Category: Business
Published: April 27. 2020

Description: Producers have warned since mid-March of a potentially ruinous backup on the farm of cattle and hogs because of a slowdown at slaughter plants.
The government offered to help livestock producers locate contractors skilled in killing herds or flocks of animals and to provide cost-share funding for their disposal because the coronavirus pandemic has shut down packing plants and reduced consumer demand. The National Pork Board held a webinar on Sunday that discussed step by step “emergency depopulation and disposal” of hogs. Producers have warned since mid-March of a potentially ruinous backup on the farm of cattle and hogs because of a slowdown at slaughter plants. Hog farmers may be in the worse situation because hogs typically reach slaughter weight of around 250 pounds in five or six months from birth and cannot easily be held from market. Two weeks ago, the president of the National Pork Producers Council, farmer Howard Roth of Wisconsin, said, “Sadly, it is true that euthanization is a question that is coming up on farms.” “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,” said the USDA on Friday night. It announced a National Incident Coordination Center “to provide direct support to producers whose animals cannot move to market as a result of processing plant closures due to COVID-19.” The incident center would seek alternative markets for livestock “and if necessary, advise and assist on depopulation and disposal methods.” “Encouraging news … from USDA for help on depopulation + disposal methods if necessary but govt needs 2b ready for more action,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on social media. Iowa is the No. 1 hog state “but [with] meat packing plant closures from COVID-19 many hogs have nowhere to go & farmers are facing a crisis.” Beef slaughter was 25% lower and hog slaughter 15% lower last week than in the corresponding week of April 2019, said the USDA in its weekly estimate of red meat production. At least 17 workers have died and more than 3,300 have become ill from coronavirus infections, reported the Washington Post. It said there were outbreaks at 30 plants owned by Tyson Foods, JBS USA, and Smithfield Foods in recent weeks and 15 plants closed because of them. Some analysts say the disruptions at meat plants will translate into short supplies of meat in the near future, reported Politico. “As pork, beef, and chicken plants are forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain,” said Tyson Foods in a full-page ad. “As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.” The Tyson ad appeared in the middle of the Post’s two-page story that said “three of the nation’s largest meat processors failed to provide protective gear to all workers and some workers said they were told to keep working in crowded plants even while while sick.” The USDA said it would deploy, as needed, assets of the National Veterinary Stockpile and “secure the services of contractors that can supply additional equipment, personnel, and services,” as it did during the bird flu epidemic of 2014-15. The stockpile includes equipment for mass culling of food animals, especially poultry. In addition, the USDA said it would provide expert advice and cost-share funding through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program “in line with program guidelines for disposal.” Kevin Norton, association chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said the maximum EQIP payment is $25,000 “per contract item.” Payment rates vary by disposal method and the total weight of the animals. Four disposal methods are covered – burial, incineration, on-farm composting, and transport of carcasses to a rendering plant or a landfill. In opening the Pork Board webinar, chief executive Bill Even said, “Our worst-case scenarios are starting to materialize.”
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Rancher: U.S. Importing Beef While Prepping to Possibly Discard American Herds

Postby smix » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:35 pm

Rancher: U.S. Importing Beef While Prepping to Possibly Discard American Herds
Breitbart News

URL: https://www.breitbart.com/border/2020/0 ... can-herds/
Category: Politics
Published: April 28, 2020

Description: A rancher who raises cattle in Texas and Colorado sounded the alarm that the U.S. government is importing what he considered inferior beef from Namibia while American ranchers are facing the possible “depopulation” of their herds. “Yesterday (April 26), the first shipment of imported beef from the country of Namibia hit the shores of the United States of America,” Rancher Shad Sullivan said in a video posted on Twitter. “And yet, this morning, they (U.S. Department of Agriculture) are telling us to prepare to euthanize harvest-ready cattle.”
This is scary. North Texas rancher Shad Sullivan explains why our nations food supply is at risk. Foreign meats are now being imported onto American soil. They in the process of having to euthanize millions of chickens and may soon have to do the same to the cows.



— Derek Utley (@realDerekUtley) April 28, 2020

“Am I the only one that sees a problem with this?” Sullivan asked. “It is time we get the American people back to work. It is time we get money flowing. It is time we get food on the shelves.” Breitbart Texas contacted Sullivan about what prompted his impassioned video. “On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture promised to help cattle producers find alternative markets for livestock producers after several meatpacking plants shut down over Coronavirus concerns. They followed that saying that if alternative markets cannot be found, they would ‘advise and assist on depopulation and disposal methods.'” Sullivan said ranchers and farmers are facing unprecedented times where chicken and hogs are being destroyed, harvest-ready crops are being plowed under, and milk is being poured on the ground by the hundreds of thousands of gallons. The Texas rancher told Breitbart the U.S. government is importing inferior beef from countries like Namibia while American ranchers are facing the possible euthanasia of the cattle that are now ready to take in for processing. “The American public won’t know what they are getting,” Sullivan explained. “There is currently no ‘County of Origin’ labeling requirement on beef packaging.” “We face losing our cattle and millions of dollars invested while food processors are making record profits,” he concluded. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced he will sign an executive order declaring meat-producing plants as “critical infrastructure,” Breitbart News reported. The president is using the authority granted under the Defense Production Act to order companies to stay open. The order will also provide protective gear for the workers of the plants. “We’ll probably have that today solved,” Trump said. “It was a very unique circumstance because of liability.” In the meantime, Sullivan says his cattle are “harvest-ready” with nowhere to go.



Namibia Becomes First African Country Eligible to Export Beef to the United States
U.S. Embassy in Namibia

URL: https://na.usembassy.gov/namibia-become ... ed-states/
Category: Politics
Published: July 13, 2016

Description: Namibia can now export beef to the United States of America, according to a July 13 decision by the U.S. government. A final ruling from the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service published on July 13 adds Namibia to the list of countries eligible to export meat and meat products to the United States. U.S. Ambassador to Namibia Thomas Daughton welcomed the final rule, which makes Namibia the first and only African country eligible to export beef to the United States. “This is truly great news and represents the culmination of literally years of hard work by officials of our two great nations,” Ambassador Daughton said. “This move opens an important new market to Namibian beef producers. I look forward to the day when Americans can grill Namibian beef on their backyard barbecues.”

obama-bbq.jpg

In the ruling, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service concluded “that Namibia’s meat inspection system is equivalent to the United States’ inspection system for meat and meat products.” Specifically, the decision allows Namibia to export boneless (not ground) raw beef products such as primal cuts, chuck, blade, and beef trimmings from certified establishments to the United States. Despite objections raised by U.S.-based individuals and trade organizations during a comment period in late 2015, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service determined that Namibia has the appropriate procedures and measures in place to ensure standards are maintained. In the past, the Namibian government projected the potential volume of meat exports to the United States to be as much as 860,000 kg in the first year after the ruling’s enactment, increasing to as much as 5.7 million kg in five years.
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“The Food Supply Chain Is Breaking” And We Are Being Warned That “Meat Shortages” Are Imminent

Postby smix » Sat May 02, 2020 2:22 pm

“The Food Supply Chain Is Breaking” And We Are Being Warned That “Meat Shortages” Are Imminent
The Economic Collapse

URL: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/arch ... e-imminent
Category: Politics
Published: April 26, 2020

Description: When meat processing facilities started shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic, we were initially told not to worry because the facilities that were still operating normally would be able to make up the difference. But now all of that has changed. As you will see below, even the mainstream media is beginning to use the phrase “meat shortages”, and we are being told to brace for supply chain disruptions all over America. Hopefully any “shortages” will only last for a few months, and hopefully supply chain disruptions will disappear later this year as the pandemic fades. But this is yet another example that shows how exceedingly vulnerable our system has become, and it makes one wonder what will happen once a crisis even worse than this pandemic comes along. In today’s extremely litigious environment, big corporations are going to exercise an abundance of caution when it comes to COVID-19, and we have already seen that just a handful of confirmed cases can shut down an entire food processing facility for weeks. As a result of all the shutdowns that have already taken place, Bloomberg is warning that we are “dangerously close to meat shortages”…
Plant shutdowns are leaving the U.S. dangerously close to meat shortages as coronavirus outbreaks now spread to suppliers across the Americas. Almost a third of U.S. pork capacity is down, the first big poultry plants closed on Friday and experts are warning that domestic shortages are just weeks away. Brazil, the world’s No. 1 shipper of chicken and beef, saw its first major closure with the halt of a poultry plant owned by JBS SA, the world’s biggest meat company. Key operations are also down in Canada, the latest being a British Columbia poultry plant.

Who ever imagined that we would be talking about “meat shortages” during the first half of 2020? It is crazy how rapidly things have changed. On Friday, Smithfield Foods announced the closure of a fifth meat processing facility…
Smithfield Foods has closed another meat processing plant amid the coronavirus pandemic, the company’s fifth facility to discontinue operations this month as a result of the illness. According to Smithfield, a significant supplier of the global meat market, the company has stalled production on a rolling basis since April 19 “out of an abundance of caution” for employees of its St. Charles, Illinois, facility.

And on that same day, Hormel announced the closure of two major turkey plants…
A Hormel Foods subsidiary has shut down a pair of Jennie-O turkey plants after reporting some employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The company said 14 employees out of about 1,200 workers at the two Willmar plants have tested positive for the virus.

Even more chilling, on Sunday Tyson Foods actually ran a full page ad in the New York Times in which they admitted that “the food supply chain is breaking”…
Tyson Foods, one of the U.S.’s biggest meat processors, didn’t mince words in a full page New York Times spread that ran Sunday, in which they warned, “the food supply chain is breaking.” “As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain,” John Tyson, Chairman of the Board of Tyson Foods, wrote in a letter published as an advertisement. “As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.”

Look, the truth is that the head of Tyson Foods would not be talking like that if things were not very serious. I believe that things will be better by the end of the year, but for now we should expect significant meat shortages in the grocery stores for several months. And for some portions of the supply chain, the shortages are already here. In fact, one expert is warning that restaurants “could be out of fresh ground beef” in a week…
While hundreds of plants in the Americas are still running, the staggering acceleration of supply disruptions is now raising questions over global shortfalls. Taken together, the U.S., Brazil and Canada account for about 65% of world meat trade. “It’s absolutely unprecedented,” said Brett Stuart, president of Denver-based consulting firm Global AgriTrends. “It’s a lose-lose situation where we have producers at the risk of losing everything and consumers at the risk of paying higher prices. Restaurants in a week could be out of fresh ground beef.”

The good news is that once this pandemic fades things should get significantly better for the industry. The bad news is that we are probably going to be facing elevated prices for a long time to come. In fact, the price of U.S. wholesale beef just set a brand new record, and the price of wholesale pork surged 29 percent last week. And as I noted the other day, all of this is happening at a time when African Swine Fever has already killed about one-fourth of all the pigs in the world. When it comes to pork, the answer is really easy. Just don’t eat it. Pork is a highway to cancer, heart disease and a whole bunch of other very serious illnesses, and I don’t understand why anyone would ever want to eat it. But the fact that we are also facing shortages of beef, chicken and turkey now is very concerning, and I hope everyone out there has stocked up. Sadly, the truth is that there are plenty of chickens and turkeys out there at this moment, but because of the plant shutdowns many growers don’t have anyone to sell to right now. As a result, millions of animals are being culled…
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that 2 million chickens are set to be culled across farms in Maryland and Delaware amid coronavirus-related staffing shortages at meatpacking plants. We’ve heard the same story with pork, turkey, and beef processing plants across the country. Reducing operations or shutting down due to virus-related illnesses among staff. “With reduced staffing, many plants are not able to harvest chickens at the pace they planned for when placing those chicks in chicken houses several weeks ago,” before strict social distancing rules went into effect, trade group for the Delmarva poultry industry said in a statement.

I believe that it is a huge mistake to completely close all of these meat processing facilities, and hopefully many of them will be reopened as soon as possible. But meanwhile things will become increasingly difficult, and American families will suffer. Now that tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs, people are starting to get desperate, and the National Guard is being deployed to food banks all over the nation. Of course this coronavirus pandemic is not the worst thing we are going to face. In fact, it isn’t even close to the worst thing we are going to face. So if fear of COVID-19 is causing this much of a disruption to our supply chains, what is going to happen when a crisis that is far, far more severe comes along? We are not going to see a full return to “normal”, but later this year there should be a window of opportunity to prepare for the events of 2021 and beyond, and I very much encourage all of my readers to take full advantage of that opportunity.



Millions Of Of Pigs, Chickens And Cattle Are Being Euthanized While The Media Warns “Shortages” Are Coming
The Economic Collapse

URL: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/arch ... are-coming
Category: Politics
Published: April 28, 2020

Description: More than 26 million Americans have lost their jobs during these coronavirus lockdowns so far, and this has created unprecedented demand at food banks all over the nation. In many cities, vehicles start lining up at the food banks at the crack of dawn, and in some instances the lines have literally stretched for miles. But at the same time, farmers all over America have been dumping millions of gallons of milk, disposing of millions of pounds of fresh vegetables, and putting farm animals to death at a rate that we have never seen before. In fact, Reuters is reporting that “millions of pigs, chickens and cattle will be euthanized” because they can’t be sold. Unlike other parts of the globe, we actually have plenty of food right now, but we can’t get much of that food to the people because so many food processing facilities have been shut down due to fear of COVID-19. What we are witnessing is nothing short of a tragedy. Even though there are so many needy families all across America at this time, so many farmers are being forced to waste what they have produced because food distribution pipelines have been brought to a standstill. The following is how Forbes is describing the current state of affairs.
Dairy farmers are trying to decide between dumping their milk and selling their dairy cows for beef. Contract chicken growers on the Eastern Shore have been asked to “depopulate” nearly 2 million chickens. Hog farmers in Iowa and Minnesota are starting to euthanize their pigs. For contract and cooperative farmers—producers in the food system who are obligated to a larger entity—the options are limited.

I have a feeling that we are going to end up deeply regretting letting so many resources go to waste during this time. In Iowa piglets are being aborted by the thousands, in Minnesota tens of thousands of chickens are being gassed to death, and in Wisconsin farmers have been pouring countless gallons of good milk on to the ground. Meanwhile, the mainstream media is breathlessly warning us that “shortages” are coming. With food processing plants closing all over the nation, our choices are going to become a lot more limited, and Tyson Foods is openly admitting that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain”…
Tyson Foods is facing a new set of challenges. In small communities around the country where we employ over 100,000 hard-working men and women, we’re being forced to shutter our doors. This means one thing – the food supply chain is vulnerable. As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain. As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.

And Smithfield Foods has also released a very ominous statement…
“During this pandemic, our entire industry is faced with an impossible choice: continue to operate to sustain our nation’s food supply or shutter in an attempt to entirely insulate our employees from risk,” Smithfield Foods, the largest global pork producer owned by the Chinese WH Group, said in a statement on Friday. “It’s an awful choice; it’s not one we wish on anyone.” “It is impossible to keep protein on tables across America if our nation’s meat plants are not running. Across the animal protein industry, closures can have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions up and down the supply chain,” the statement said. “Beyond the implications to our food supply, our entire agricultural community is in jeopardy. Farmers have nowhere to send their animals and could be forced to euthanize livestock, effectively burying food in the ground. We have a stark choice as a nation: we are either going to produce food or not, even in the face of COVID-19.”

Ultimately, these big corporations are scared to death of being sued into oblivion by their workers if they stay open during this pandemic, and so that is why it is going to be necessary for the federal government to step in. President Trump has the authority to order meat processing facilities to stay open, and apparently that is exactly what he plans to do…
President Donald Trump plans to order meat-processing plants to remain open as the nation confronts growing food-supply disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak, a person familiar with the matter said. Trump plans to use the Defense Production Act to order the companies to stay open as critical infrastructure, and the government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance, according to the person.

This should greatly help matters, and I wish that it had been done sooner. But for the economy as a whole, the outlook continues to be very bleak. Fear of the coronavirus is going to keep many Americans from resuming normal activities for a long time to come, and that is going to absolutely paralyze economic activity. If you doubt this, check out the results of this new poll…
Fewer than half of Americans plan to go to sports events, concerts, movies and amusement parks when they reopen to the public until there is a proven coronavirus vaccine, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday. That includes those who have attended such events in the past, an ominous sign for the sports and entertainment industries hoping to return to the spotlight after being shut down by the pandemic.

I was deeply alarmed when I read that. There has never been a successful vaccine for any coronavirus in all of human history, and so those that are waiting for one may be waiting for a very, very long time. Meanwhile, economic suffering is going to continue to escalate all over the nation. In Arkansas, people were lining up at 5:30 AM on Tuesday at a food bank in the Little Rock area, and all of the food “was gone within an hour and a half”…
The Arkansas Foodbank planned to hand out food for four hours on Tuesday, but the demand was so high that all the food was gone within an hour and a half, the charity said. Cars lined up at the Outlets of Little Rock mall, which hosted the event, as early as 5:30 a.m., when the food bank’s workers arrived to unload the trucks, Arkansas Foodbank CEO Rhonda Sanders said.

Everything that I have been warning about for so long is starting to happen, and this country is heading for incredibly challenging times. Hopefully Trump’s executive order will be implemented smoothly and all of the meat processing plants will be forced to reopen. But this is yet another example that shows how vulnerable our supply chains really are, and one has to wonder how we will fare when an even greater crisis comes along.
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Why The Meat Shortages Are Going To Be Much Worse Than Most Americans Are Anticipating

Postby smix » Sun May 10, 2020 11:28 pm

Why The Meat Shortages Are Going To Be Much Worse Than Most Americans Are Anticipating
End of the American Dream

URL: http://endoftheamericandream.com/archiv ... ticipating
Category: Politics
Published: April 30, 2020

Description: Many Americans have been absolutely shocked by the meat shortages that have started to happen around the nation, but what most of them don’t realize is that the worst is yet to come. More workers keep getting sick, more processing plants keep getting shut down, and Time Magazine is now warning that the meat shortages “could last for months”. And even if meat is available at your local grocery store, you may be limited to one or two of a particular item on each trip. For those not familiar with the concept, this is what is known as “rationing”. And even though President Trump just issued an executive order that “encourages” meat processing facilities to stay open, it actually won’t do very much at all to alter our current trajectory, and I will explain why below. But first, let’s talk about where things currently stand. According to USA Today, the number of cattle, hogs and sheep being slaughtered is way, way down compared to last year…
American slaughterhouses processed nearly a million fewer cattle, hogs and sheep in the past week than they did during the same time a year ago, marking a new low that experts say will likely increase “spot” shortages of meat at some grocery stores.

And as the number of meat processing facilities closing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic has surged, the decline in meat production has accelerated…
Last week, meat production was down about 25 percent compared to the same time last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. On Wednesday, production was a full 42 percent lower than the same day last year.

If production continues to stay at such a low level, we are going to run into major supply chain headaches very rapidly. After all, do you plan to eat 42 percent less meat this year? I certainly do not. In recent days, there was hope that President Trump’s new executive order would bring a quick end to the meat shortages. When I first heard about this executive order, I assumed that it would force all of the meat processing facilities to reopen and would shield the owners from any lawsuits. But it turns out that this executive order doesn’t actually do either of those things…
Meanwhile, legal experts said President Donald Trump’s executive order Tuesday declaring meatpacking plants “critical” to keep open will do little on its own to stop the slide in meat production brought on by the spread of the coronavirus among meatpackers. “It doesn’t compel meat or poultry producers to remain in production,” said Deborah Pearlstein, a law professor at Yeshiva University, and it doesn’t give employers immunity from lawsuits.

Sadly, it appears that this executive order isn’t really going to do much good at all. Big meat processing corporations are going to be quite afraid to reopen facilities as long as the threat of lawsuits looms large. I can promise you that there are already lawyers circling like vultures, and they are going to try to squeeze millions of dollars out of these large companies. So when will the threat of lawsuits finally go away? Well, it won’t just be “weeks”, and “a few months” might be overly optimistic. In our overly litigious society, reopening facilities and exposing your employees to the virus while a pandemic is still raging is basically the equivalent of begging for a class action lawsuit. Unless President Trump or Congress steps up and takes bold action, nothing is going to change. And if nothing changes, Tyson Foods is warning that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the food chain”…
Tyson Foods, one of the U.S.’s biggest meat processors, didn’t mince words in a full page New York Times spread that ran Sunday, in which they warned, “the food supply chain is breaking.” “As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain,” John Tyson, Chairman of the Board of Tyson Foods, wrote in a letter published as an advertisement. “As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.”

And with supplies getting really tight, we are already starting to see prices go into the stratosphere. In fact, Zero Hedge is reporting that the price of wholesale beef has already risen a whopping 62 percent since February…
Wholesale American beef prices jumped 6% to a record high of $330.82 per 100 pounds, a 62% increase from the lows in February, according to Bloomberg, citing new USDA data.

Eventually, it is likely that we will get to a point where many Americans are forced to cut back on their consumption of meat because they simply can’t afford as much of it anymore. I hope that you did what you could to get prepared in advance, because it appears that these shortages may be quite painful. If you can believe it, McDonald’s has already implemented a system of “controlled allocation” for their restaurants…
McDonald’s is temporarily changing how restaurants get their supply of beef and pork, as the US faces potential meat shortages due to slaughterhouse closures. McDonald’s has put items including burger patties, bacon, and sausage on controlled allocation. That means the company’s supply chain will send restaurants meat shipments based on calculated demand across the American system, as opposed to the usual practice of management ordering the amount believed will be needed.

Did you ever imagine that we would see a day when McDonald’s would be worried about potentially running out of meat? Well, it is actually happening, and supplies are only going to get tighter in the months ahead. Sadly, farmers are having to euthanize millions of chickens, pigs and cattle because meat processing facilities won’t take them while they are shut down. So the truth is that there should be plenty of meat to go around, but fear of COVID-19 has caused a total breakdown of the supply chain. What is happening is truly a tragedy, and hopefully our politicians will step forward and take dramatic action before things get even worse.
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Up Next: The Collapse of the Food Supply Chain

Postby smix » Mon May 11, 2020 6:02 pm

Up Next: The Collapse of the Food Supply Chain
The Corbett Report

URL: https://www.corbettreport.com/up-next-t ... ply-chain/
Category: Politics
Published: May 3, 2020

Description: If you've spent any time around the conspiracy realists who understand the true nature of the central banking fraud, the political fraud, the war on terror fraud and all of the other deceptions that are sold to the public by their misleaders, you've no doubt heard some iteration of the following remark: "As long as Joe Sixpack and Jane Soccermom have their football and their cheeseburgers, nothing's ever going to change." The implication is that if we can halt the flow of mindless entertainment that distracts the masses and the chemically-processed garbage that keeps them fat and sluggish, we could have a revolution by the morning. Be careful what you wish for. The sports were the first to go. (In fact, the cancellation of the NBA season was the moment I realized they were going to go all the way with the plandemic psyop.) And now, in case you hadn't noticed, the cheeseburgers are disappearing. The latest news is that McDonald's is now taking direct control over how much beef and pork each franchisee will receive. This comes on the back of ominous statements from major McDonald's suppliers like Tyson Foods, whose chairman is now warning that "millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain" as the plandemic starts to cripple food processing plants. Now, there are no doubt many people who are relieved to hear that McDonald's may be forced to limit the sales of its chemical-laden, poisonous garbage "food products" (and, trust me, I'm one of them). And there are no doubt many who are relieved to hear of the impending collapse of the factory food processing system that has so utterly disconnected us from the real sources of our food. But, once again, I must warn you to be careful what you wish for. What is happening right now is not cosmic revenge for the poisoning of the public with toxic garbage that the factory food processors and fast food purveyors have been engaging in for decades; it is actually the next step in the complete reengineering of the food supply and the fundamental transformation of the human experience that such a reengineering entails. First, we have to understand that this is no mere American phenomenon. It is happening in Canada. And the UK. And Europe. And China. And Japan. And it's not just beef and pork supplies that are being disrupted. It's milk. And produce. And rice. And wheat. And it's not just the food processors whose entire industry is being upended by this chaos. It's wreaking havoc for farmers. And truckers. And supermarkets. And restaurants. And to make it all even more horrific, the crisis won't just effect the food supply itself. It will effect all of those workers in these industries who are being laid off as a result of the disruption, who now find themselves among the ranks of the recently unemployed who are lining up at food banks, which, as you might imagine, are struggling to keep up with the record demand on their dwindling reserves. In case you can't see the bigger picture yet, what is already in the process of happening is a fundamental disruption of the entire food chain that much of the world relies on. The impact of this disruption is only just now beginning to be felt, and the ripples caused by this cascading chain of failures and crises will directly effect every single person reading these words at some point in the near future. Demand for food aid is already leading to stampedes in Kenya and protests in Bangladesh and looting in Colombia and clashes in South Africa. Given that we've already seen supermarket freakouts and shopping brawls breaking out in the US and Australia and the UK, can there be any doubt that severe food shortages will cause widespread chaos in the streets of the developed world? (In case there is any doubt, I'll just leave this here.) If only the Problem that is causing this Reaction had an easy Solution! Oh, wait! There is! It's called "lab-grown meat" and it's being served up by Bill Gates and his corporate cronies. Yes, as James Evan Pilato and I discuss in the latest edition of New World Next Week, everyone's favorite billionaire philanthropist just happens to have a burning desire to help the planet by switching them over to lab-grown meat for some reason. (Hmmm. Funny, that. Must be part of that same selfless impulse that motivates him to inject as many poor, starving children as possible with his experimental vaccines.) Before the vegans in the crowd start celebrating the realization of their dream to get the world to stop eating meat, we should all realize this for what it is. This is not a kumbaya moment where the world acts to reduce animal suffering, but the ultimate achievement of the global food corporatocracy's wildest dream: to replace the food supply with a fully synthesized, patented, corporate product that cannot be grown in the field or raised in a farm. If this corporate takeover of the food supply happens of your food will come directly from Big Food, Inc. In fact, not only was Gates an important early backer of "Impossible Burger" and its lab-grown synthetic biology food substitute, but, as Corbett Report member Camille of PleaseStopTheRide points out, he is also investing millions into "hacking your microbiome" to reengineer your gut bacteria. You see, as it turns out, researchers are discovering that the microbiome—the mixture of bacteria, fungi and viruses that develop in the gut—can have serious effects on children's physical and mental development, especially in the first year of life. So the same man who is extremely concerned about overpopulation is also plowing millions of dollars into researching how food supplements can help poor third world children grow up big and strong. What could go wrong?

bill-gates.jpg

But don't worry about Gates; his investments are already paying off. The "fake meat" industry is raking in the cash in the corona world order, with Impossible Foods Inc. in particular using the generated crisis as an opportunity to expand into 777 more grocery stores across the US. (Hey, at least it wasn't 666 more stores!) And there you have it: Problem - Reaction - Solution, food supply edition. But if you're interested in this controlled demolition of the food supply chain, I have some advice for you: Don't post it to Twitter. They've already thrown talk about food shortages into the same category as warnings about the safety of 5G technology and banned it from their platform. If there was any greater sign that this is going to become an issue of vital importance in our lives in our very near future, I don't know what it is.
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China-Owned Smithfield Foods Closing Plants, Threatening US Meat Supply

Postby smix » Mon May 18, 2020 1:30 am

China-Owned Smithfield Foods Closing Plants, Threatening US Meat Supply
Western Journal

URL: https://www.westernjournal.com/china-ow ... at-supply/
Category: Politics
Published: April 20, 2020

Description: America’s meat supply might be in jeopardy as workers at slaughterhouses and meat processing plants are diagnosed with COVID-19, leading to closures across the country. The effects of such closures are complex and could have far-reaching consequences across the food supply chain, putting America’s livestock farmers in jeopardy of going under as wholesale prices take a dive. Even more alarming is the fact that the largest provider of pork in the U.S. is owned and held by a corporation based in China. Smithfield Foods is the country’s largest producer of pork products, and its products are sold under the popular brands Nathan’s Famous, Farmland, Eckrich, Armour and Healthy Ones, to name a few. The longtime Virginia-based company was acquired in 2013 by Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. (now WH Group Ltd.). Smithfield, with plants across the country that employ tens of thousands of Americans, announced last week it had closed multiple locations due to COVID-19 outbreaks among its workforce. The company addressed the closures of plants in Cudahy, Wisconsin; Martin City, Missouri; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in recent news releases.
Traveled to Sioux Falls, SD, where this Smithfield Foods pork plant has closed indefinitely. 518 employees here tested positive for #COVID19. 55% of ALL cases in South Dakota can be traced to this *single* plant.

smithfield.jpg

— Blayne Alexander (@ReporterBlayne) April 15, 2020

“The closure of our Martin City plant is part of the domino effect underway in our industry,” Smithfield CEO Kenneth M. Sullivan said in a news release Wednesday. “It highlights the interdependence and interconnectivity of our food supply chain. “Our country is blessed with abundant livestock supplies, but our processing facilities are the bottleneck of our food chain.” In an April 12 release on the Sioux Falls closure, Sullivan wrote, “The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply. It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. “These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers. These farmers have nowhere to send their animals.” The company, founded in the town of Smithfield, Virginia in 1936, was sold to Shuanghui International Holdings for $4.7 billion, according to Forbes. Now it is warning of a potential meat shortage nationwide that would harm no individual more than the American farmer. The American Farm Bureau Federation notes that the country’s farmers are ready to meet the challenge of supplying the country with food throughout the COVID-19 crisis. “Whether they’re readying the soil for spring planting, tending to crops that have already sprouted, feeding and milking their dairy cows or looking after their cattle, chickens and pigs, farmers and ranchers take very seriously their commitment to fill grocery store shelves with safe, affordable food,” the AFBF stated. Still, strict shutdowns and tumbling meat prices are putting a strain on the men and women who raise the country’s livestock. Iowa cattle farmer Brian Sampson told Des Moines-based KCCI-TV he is “going broke” because of low prices from packing plants. “If you have cattle to sell right now, you’re losing your shirt,” he said. Illinois pork farmer Thomas Titus told WICS-TV in Springfield that prices for his livestock have plummeted and he isn’t sure if he will make it out on the other side of the country’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. “The bottom of the barrel really doesn’t have any light in it,” Titus said. “The market is continuing to drop way below the cost of production for any hog farmer, depending on their overhead, it doesn’t matter at this point in time.” Illinois Pork Production Association Executive Director Jennifer Tirey told WICS the consequences for farmers during the crisis are “devastating.” When looking at the struggles of American farmers, it really should open some eyes as to why China — the United States’ greatest geopolitical rival — was allowed to get a huge stake in such a critical portion of America’s food supply chain. While Americans are forced inside their homes by a virus born in China, what is to say our meat supply isn’t vulnerable to being held hostage by China’s authoritarian regime? WH Group describes itself as “a Hong Kong-based privately held company that owns a variety of food and logistics enterprises.” But exactly how private is a privately owned Chinese company? The U.K. Guardian reported in 2019 that in his first term in office, Chinese President Xi Jinping “has overseen a sea change in how the party approaches the economy, dramatically strengthening the party’s role in both government and private businesses.” Have we ignored yet another potential danger from China by allowing its corporations to buy and own vital American businesses and industries, especially those that relate to national supply chains? Why is such a valuable asset, such as Smithfield, in the hands of a Chinese company? What happens if China’s government uses its influence over private enterprise as a strategic tool of the state to wage an economic war against the U.S.? It has become abundantly clear that China is no ally to Americans — or to American farmers. The potential power of Chinese interests over America’s farmers and food supplies is yet another reason Americans need to consider the far-reaching implications of being tethered to their country’s largest geopolitical and economic rival. I am reminded of late radio icon Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech to the Future Farmers of America in 1978 when considering the plight of the men and women who work to put food on our tables as they struggle with the implications of events beyond their control.



Farmers play a vital role in American business and culture and provide essential food and other products to all Americans. Without a timely and safe reopening of America’s economy, a short-term meat shortage could force many of them out of business and prolong the crisis even further. This is also an appropriate time to have a discussion about why any Chinese company should have a controlling interest in the country’s food supply chain — and whether the men and women on the frontlines of American agriculture should find themselves as pawns in an international chess match between Beijing and lawmakers in Washington.
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    Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Deal at your own risk and peril.
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