Ag Briefs: 5 poultry industry execs acquitted of price fixing

Wisconsin State Farmer

MADISON, WI

DATCP to host Global Dairy Symposium at World Dairy Expo

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will host a Global Dairy Symposium at World Dairy Expo on Oct. 6, 2022.

During the symposium, presenters will share information on trends in production, COVID-19 pandemic impacts, economic fluctuations, supply chain challenges, climate change, sustainability, labor shortages, and trade conflicts.

National briefs

Presenters include: Krysta Harden, CEO U.S. Dairy Export Council; Torsten Hemme president of International Farm Comparison Network, Germany; Ad Van Velde, president of Global Dairy Farmers, the Netherlands and Sheryl Meshke, co-president and CEO of Associated Milk Producers Inc. The event is provided at no-cost to attendees.

Space is limited and registration is required by September 30, 2022. Participants can register for the event at by visiting DATCP’s Global Dairy Symposium webpage at https://bit.ly/3ytnbJq

OMAHA, NE

Smithfield Foods settles pork price-fixing lawsuit for $42M

Smithfield Foods will pay restaurants and caterers $42 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the giant meat producer of conspiring to inflate pork prices, Associated Press reported.

Smithfield didn't admit any wrongdoing but the deal will likely only add to concerns about how the lack of competition in the industry affects meat prices. The meat industry argues that supply and demand, not anticompetitive behavior, determine prices, but the industry's practices have been questioned by the White House, Congress and trade groups.

The restaurant companies that sued said the major meat processors shared confidential information to help them coordinate efforts to limit the supply of hogs and inflate prices.

The lawsuit remains pending against other major pork producers, including Hormel, Tyson Foods, Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods, and the Agri Stats database company they allegedly used to share confidential information about price, capacity and demand.

MADISON, WI

WI Beef Council receives Export Expansion grant

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced 13 projects have been selected to receive more than $564,000 in Export Expansion Grants.

The Wisconsin Beef Council received $45,730 to translate educational videos for international use, establish inbound buyer missions, host in-market seminars, and have a Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors educational seminar.

These grants aim to accelerate the growth of Wisconsin dairy, meat, and crop products and are funded through the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports (WIAE).

GREELEY, CO

5 poultry industry execs found not guilty of price fixing

Five executives from the poultry processing industry have been found not guilty of conspiring to fix prices.

A jury in a Denver federal court acquitted former Pilgrim’s Pride CEOs Jayson Penn and William Lovette; Roger Austin, a former Pilgrim’s vice president; Mikell Fries, president of Claxton Poultry and Scott Brady, a Claxton vice president.

In October 2020 Pilgrim's Pride reached a plea agreement with the U.S. government over charges of price-fixing in the chicken industry.

Under the agreement, Pilgrim’s Pride would pay a fine of $110.5 million as a penalty for restraining competition in three separate contracts with a U.S. customer. In exchange, the U.S. Department of Justice would not bring further charges against Pilgrim’s Pride or recommend a monitor or any probationary period.

Pilgrim’s Pride, based in Greeley, Colorado, is a division of JBS USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Brazilian meat production giant JBS SA.

KHARKIV, Ukraine

Ukraine urgently needs dairy cows to replace 50K killed

There are fears in Ukraine that it may lose 150,000 cows, a third of its national herd, if the war with Russia does not stop by the end of this year. Due to the ongoing hostilities in the country, around 50,000 cows have already been lost in the industrial sector either by being bombed, shot or from disease, Dairy Global reported.

The figures are expected to be higher as the private dairy farms have also suffered, but it is difficult to get statistics from them currently.

For Ukraine to produce enough milk, cheese and butter for its population in the near future, calls have been made for partner countries to supply dairy heifers to Ukraine in a bid to restock the national herd.

WASHINGTON D.C.

EPA to act on regulatory oversight of pesticide-treated seeds

The EPA will decide by Sept. 30 to spell out how much regulatory oversight is needed for pesticide-treated seeds after the agency opted for five years not to respond to regulatory demands for oversight of treated seeds from environmental groups.

The decision could affect seeds for nearly every corn and soybean acre planted, as well as other crops, Progressive Farmer reported.

The two groups had sued EPA because the agency had not responded to a 2017 petition filed by the groups demanding EPA regulate treated seeds as a pesticide rather than allow treated seeds to avoid regulations under EPA's "Treated Article Exemption" in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Treated seeds are now used on an estimated 180 million acres. DTN reported that the seed treatment industry operates with minimal federal oversight, due to a loophole in EPA's governing law, leaving questions about the amount of pesticides applied via this route and how unused treated seed is discarded each year.

MADISON, WI

Submit abstracts now for Dairy Industry Impact grants

Dairy farmers, processors, and manufacturers in five Midwestern states can submit project abstracts now through Aug. 31 for a new round of Dairy Industry Impact grants to be administered by the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, a partnership between the Center for Dairy Research and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. Full details are available online now at cdr.wisc.edu/dbia.

The Dairy Industry Impact grant program aims to help dairy businesses pursue ideas and solutions with the potential to advance the dairy industry. Reimbursable grants of up to $250,000 each will be awarded through a competitive review process. Grant recipients will be required to share results of their project. Abstracts are due Aug. 31 at 5:00 p.m. (CT). Applicants must be located in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, or Wisconsin. A select group of applicants will be invited in September to submit full grant proposals by Nov. 3.

The DBIA has administered over $3.7 million in 79 grants to dairy farms and businesses in all five participating Midwestern states. The program also offers technical assistance to dairy farmers and processors in the region.

MADISON, WI

Entries open for World Dairy Expo

Entries for the Dairy Cattle Show at the 55th World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin are now being accepted, exclusively online at worlddairyexpo.com. The first entry deadline is Sept. 5 at 11:59 p.m. (CDT). Late entries can be submitted online through Sept. 15 for an increased fee or until 5:00 p.m. (CDT) the day before the respective breed meeting for an additional charge.

The 2022 Dairy Cattle Show adds a Summer Junior Two-Year-Old Class to the International Brown Swiss Show and International Junior Brown Swiss Show, along with a Best Three Females Class to the International Ayrshire Show. Following a recommendation from Expo’s finance committee and approval by the WDE Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee and Board of Directors, the entry fee for all animals until Sept. 5 at 11:59 p.m. (CDT) is $55.

The Dairy Cattle Show will run Monday, Oct. 3-7 as part of World Dairy Expo’s new six-day event schedule.

MADISON, WI

DBA announces theme, fresh look for Dairy Strong conference in 2023 

The Dairy Business Association (DBA)recently unveiled its theme and new branding for the 2023 Dairy Strong conference. The event, set for Jan. 18-19 at Monona Terrace in Madison, Wis., will bring together farmers, processors, partners and a host of others to learn, network, celebrate and explore challenges and opportunities

in the state’s signature industry.

The theme for the eighth annual conference will be “Local presence, global reach.”

“The theme reflects the importance of farmers making a positive impact in their communities and the significance of the industry on the international stage, far beyond the farm, as a leader in innovation and a provider of world-class dairy foods,” DBA President Amy Penterman said.