Global
February 17, 2017 – Biomin welcomed 145 delegates from 23 countries representing the feed and poultry sectors over several days in mid-February in order to address how to solve the antibiotic-free production puzzle.

With the subheading of “Guidelines for a responsible use of antibiotics in the modern broiler production,” the event afforded participants the opportunity to consider a host of different viewpoints.

Expert speakers explored the role of genetics, nutrition, biosecurity and farm management.

Highly interactive exchanges throughout the event converged on the idea that a holistic approach is the way forward in reducing antibiotics while maintaining high performing flocks.
Published in Health
February 16, 2017 – Up to 23,000 chickens are expected to be culled after a suspected case of bird flu in Suffolk.

A control zone has been set up around Bridge Farm in Redgrave, UK, after the H5N8 Avian Influenza virus was identified, the government said. READ MORE
Published in News
Health leaders around the world are using words like “historical” and “possible turning point” to describe a declaration passed by the UN General Assembly aiming to slow down the spread of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. The declaration requires countries to come up with a two-year plan to protect the potency of antibiotics. Countries also need to create ways to monitor the use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture, start curbing that use and begin developing new antibiotics that work.
Published in Health
February 9, 2017 – The global poultry probiotics market size was estimated at over $750 million (US) in 2015 and is likely to be valued at $1.2 billion (US) by 2023, according to Global Market Insights.

The global probiotic ingredients market size is likely to cross $46 billion (US) by 2020.

North America, especially the U.S. probiotics market for poultry, is likely to grow at steady rates owing to increase in meat consumption, particularly chicken. Europe is also likely to grow at steady rates owing to ban on antibiotic feed supplements. Asia Pacific probiotics market is likely to grow owing to increase in awareness of benefits in meat production.

Globally, antibiotics are used to prevent poultry diseases and pathogens required for improving egg and meat production. Dietary antibiotics used in poultry applications have encountered some problems such as drug residues in bird bodies, drug resistant bacteria development, and microflora imbalance. Increasing application in poultry market is likely to counter the aforementioned factors and promote demand over the forecast period.

Probiotic species belonging to Bacillus, Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Bifidobacterium, Candida, Saccharomyces and Aspergillus are used in poultry applications and are expected to have beneficial effects on broiler performance.

Poultry feed accounts for almost 70 per cent of the total production cost and, therefore, it is necessary to improve feed efficiency with minimum cost. In the poultry industry, chicks are subjected to microflora environment and may get infected. Broiler chickens can also succumb to stress owing to production pressure. Under such a scenario, synthetic antimicrobial agents and antibiotics are used to alleviate stress and improve feed efficiency. However, antibiotics in poultry applications are becoming undesirable owing to residues in meat products and development of antibiotic resistant properties.

Europe has banned use of antibiotics as a growth-promoting agent in poultry application owing to several negative effects. These aforementioned factors are expected to drive probiotics demand in the poultry market. Antibiotics failure to treat human diseases effectively has led the European Union (EU) to ban low doses of antibiotics in animal feed. This factor has also led the U.S. government officials to restrict antibiotics use in animal feed.

Poultry probiotics products are available in the form of power and liquid feed supplements. Commercial products in the market may be comprised of a single strain of bacteria or single strain of yeast or a mixture of both. Chicks/broilers/layers require a dose of around 0.5 kg per ton of feed whereas breeders require close to 1 kg per ton of feed.

The global probiotics market share is fragmented with the top five companies catering to more than 35 per cent of the total demand. Major companies include Danone, Yakult, Nestle and Chr Hansen. Other prominent manufacturers include Danisco, BioGaia, Arla Foods, General Mills, Bilogics AB, DuPont, DSM and ConAgra.
Published in Emerging Trends
February 2, 2017, Atlanta, GA – More than 31,000 poultry, meat and feed industry leaders attended the 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) from all over the world.

In addition, the show featured more than 533,000 of net square feet of exhibit space and 1,275 exhibitors.

Sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, the American Feed Industry Association and the North American Meat Institute, IPPE is the world's largest annual feed, meat and poultry industry event of its kind.

“This year’s tremendous exhibit floor and attendee and exhibitor numbers are a compliment to IPPE’s unmatched education programs, ample networking opportunities and diverse exhibits,” the three organizations stated in a joint press release. “The excitement and energy displayed by this year’s attendees and exhibitors will continue to safeguard the success and growth of future IPPEs.”

The central attraction was the large exhibit floor. Exhibitors demonstrated the most current innovations in equipment, supplies and services used by industry firms in the production and processing of meat, poultry, eggs and feed products. Numerous companies highlighted their new products at the trade show, with all phases of the feed, meat and poultry industry represented, from live production and processing to further processing and packaging.

A wide variety of educational programs complemented the exhibits by keeping industry management informed on the latest issues and events. This year’s educational line-up featured 25 programs, ranging from a conference on Listeria Monocytogenes prevention and control, to a program on FSMA hazard analysis training, to a program on whole genome sequencing and food safety implications.

Other featured events included the International Poultry Scientific Forum, Beef 101 Workshop, Pet Food Conference, TECHTalks program, Event Zone activities and publisher-sponsored programs, all of which made the 2017 IPPE one of the foremost annual protein and feed event in the world.
Published in News
Jan. 5, 2017 - New research conducted by the University of Adelaide shows there is no greater risk of Salmonella contamination in the production of free-range eggs due to hot summer weather, compared with other seasons.

Despite a higher number of cases of Salmonella poisoning from eggs and egg products during the hot summer months, researchers at the University's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences say the egg production process itself is not to blame for the increase in cases.

The findings are further evidence that the hygiene around egg handling in the supply chain and in household and restaurant kitchens is critical to reducing food poisoning from eggs.

Researchers conducted a study of four Australian commercial free range egg farms, with the results now published online ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

"Eggs and egg products have been associated with an increased risk of Salmonella contamination. Because the use of free-range eggs by consumers is on the rise, we felt it was important to better understand the risk factors at the production stage," says lead author Kapil Chousalkar, from the school of animal and veterinary sciences at the University's Roseworthy campus.

"Birds raised in the free range production system could potentially be exposed to weather extremes, and the free range environment is not as easily controlled as in cage egg production. Therefore, it has been assumed that hot weather has a role to play in the potential contamination of eggs at the site of free range egg production.

"Our results show that the types and levels of Salmonella found in and around free range egg farms, and on the eggs themselves, is highly variable, often dependant on the specific husbandry and management practices employed by each farm. However, we found that there was no direct association between hot weather and increased prevalence of Salmonella at the production stage, even when data was collected in the hottest month of February," Chousalkar says.

"This helps to reinforce a simple health safety message: that it's important for people to wash their hands before and after handling eggs, whether at home, in a restaurant, or while working in the supply chain."

The bacteria Salmonella Typhimurium – the most common cause of Salmonella poisoning from eggs and egg products in Australia – was the second highest type of Salmonella found at free range egg production farms. The most prevalent, Salmonella Mbandaka, is generally not associated with egg or egg product-related food poisoning cases in Australia.

As well as renewing calls for people to practice good hand hygiene when using eggs, Chousalkar says there is a need for nationwide standards and uniform practices on the surveillance of egg contamination and safety.

"Currently, each of the states has their own food safety and surveillance programs. Because of its implications for public health, we believe the incidence of Salmonella contamination needs to be monitored in a standard way across all farms," he adds.
Published in Eggs - Layers
Donald Shaver has been retired from poultry breeding since 1986, but this hasn’t diminished his passion for feeding a hungry world and promoting his vision for accomplishing it.

Shaver recently gave a keynote presentation to the 11th International Symposium on Avian Endocrinology, held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Entitled “Mandating a sustainable economy before it’s too late”, the presentation dealt with a number of current issues critical to, in Shaver’s view, the future of humanity, as we know it.

For sustainable development, he used the United Nations 1987 definition that it “is attained when current generations could meet their needs without undermining or destroying future generations’ chances of having their needs met”.

Of course, much has changed since 1987, especially recognition of the twin challenges of climate change and the associated problem of finite water resources.

“There isn’t an alternative presently known to man that will safeguard the well-being of our grandchildren, short of immediate, co-ordinated reductions in CO2 emissions to levels that will assure human survival,” Shaver said, with regard to global warming and CO2 emissions.  “The economics of the so-called market place alone, will not be able to accomplish this, for it is a truly Churchillian undertaking.”   The consequences of existing climate change in terms of loss of ice cover and rising sea levels, increasingly volatile weather phenomena, etc. are well known.

Many of these factors are already influencing the world’s food supply.  But it is not just climate change that is affecting food security.  Shaver quoted Mahatma Gandhi (who died in 1948) as saying that “the earth provides enough for everyone’s needs, but not for everyone’s greed”.   The West’s model for food production, Shaver stated, will fail to feed the world if adapted globally, because it destroys resources and many of the traditional farmers whose knowledge is so essential to future food security.

One of the main thrusts of the presentation was the need for governments to restore the priority of food production and agriculture in the scientific world. Apart from those involved in space or defense programs, scientists’ funding is unreliable and short term. The need for worldwide food security is paramount.  And the industrial systems now operating in the West are not only largely unsustainable in their present form, they are unsuited for exporting to Africa and other less-developed food systems. This is particularly so for animal systems which, except for ruminants, compete with the human population for food resources.

Effects of climate change
Climate change is already reducing crop yields.  Research has shown that, while corn yields in France rose by 60 per cent between 1960 and 2000 (the green revolution), they were flat for the next decade. They are predicted to fall by 12 per cent over the next twenty years.  Wheat and soya yields showed a similar pattern and are expected to fall by up to 20 per cent. In the U.S. Midwest, higher temperatures are expected to lower crop yields by up to 63 per cent by the end of this century.  Similar reductions may be expected in the Canadian prairies, and, as the world’s sixth largest agricultural economy, this can be predicted to significantly affect the world’s food supply.

The inequity in food distribution is well known.  Obesity is rampant in the West, and yet many economies are characterized by widespread malnutrition. Shaver stated, “Nor do the industrialized countries recognize that, for their own future security, they must commit to helping find an enduring solution to the chronic food shortages present in too many disadvantaged areas. Some of us are beginning to think that terrorism is not entirely based on religious differences.”

Shaver also made reference to the inequalities in income and spending power between the “one per cent” and the rest of society. In the past half-century, taxation has favoured the rich in many countries, particularly the U.S.

Finding workable solutions
“If we are to build a more sustainable economic system, we must legislate a less reckless financial sector,” he said.  “Neo-liberal capitalism may create wealth, but no attempt is made to distribute this wealth with any degree of fairness, much less honesty. We have apparently accepted a “CEO mythology” replete with excessive salary, bonuses. Even in Great Britain, CEO’s from the top 100 companies enjoyed a 10 per cent salary increase in 2015 and are now paid 129 times more than their employees. Research has shown that since 2008, 91 per cent of all financial gains in the U.S. went to the “one per cent”, and they are basically not spending the money, while many of the other 99 per cent spend all their money just to get by.  This weakens demand and suppresses growth.”

While admitting that Canada, on its own, can do little to alter the world’s CO2 levels, we have nothing to lose by establishing a sustainable food system. Shaver proposed the establishment of a “senior cabinet post, second only to the prime minister, responsible for sustainable economic development and the sciences. Shaver envisions that this person would firmly direct our national scientific activity with respect to sustainability, eliminating duplication and managing the function of bureaucracy in areas where it lacks expertise. Furthermore, he would require the creation of a sustainability commission, chaired by the chief scientist; a non-partisan group, with long-term goals. It would not only create plans for Canadian sustainability, but also liaise with similar bodies in
other countries.

Shaver sees this commission initially providing the prime minister with three 10-year plans, reviewed and if necessary updated as circumstances change. The rewards envisaged would accrue to the scientists involved with the various projects and would be a serious incentive for long-term scientific endeavour.  In many cases, the challenges we face can be solved with existing knowledge. What is needed is the will to recognize and prioritize the need for action in the field of sustainability.

In conclusion, Shaver said that “the future human reality will be centred less on technology and industrial might than on food and water security for all mankind.  An Eastern philosopher observed that knowing the facts is easy; knowing how to act based on the facts is difficult!”
Published in Emerging Trends
What to do with the males of a species when the females are all that are needed is an issue various agricultural sectors grapple with.

In poultry, the question of what happens to male chicks when only females lay eggs continues to beg a satisfactory answer. Although cull is the current widespread solution, research is underway into alternatives, such as work by Dr. Michael Ngadi at McGill University (see page 24 this issue)   Egg sexing research is also underway in Germany, supported by a national animal welfare initiative that aims to ultimately phase out culling of male chicks altogether. In the German state of Lower Saxony, a trailblazer in animal welfare regulation in that country, the practice is slated to be banned by the end of 2017.

Some farmers in Germany have built an alternative market for their male chicks, under the banner of the “Bruderhahn Initiative” – which literally translates into English as “the brother rooster initiative”.

The concept, explained Christine Bremer of Bauck-Hof Klein Suestedt, located in the Lunenburg Heath about 100 kilometres south of the city of Hamburg, involves raising the male chicks 18 to 22 weeks of age and selling them for meat the way broilers are.

Because their genetics are focused on egg and not meat production, raising the males for consumption is an expensive venture. “The males are very active and we need 5.5 kilograms of feed for one kilogram of gain, which is not a good conversion,” Bremer told international agricultural journalists touring her farm this past summer, adding this means her farm needs a subsidy of 7.50 to 10 Euros per “brother” to make the economics work.

Unlike most farms, though, Bauck-Hof Klein Suestedt was able to get that money from the market place – but through egg sales instead of a premium on the meat, which is dark and has a taste similar to pheasant.

Every egg sold from Bremer’s hens sells for four cents more than other eggs, and those funds, collected through the “Bruderhahn Initiative”, go back to the participating farmers to pay for the costs of raising and marketing the males for meat.

“If a hen lays 250 eggs and we get four cents more per egg, we can pay for the “brother”,” she said. “Our trader who buys our eggs communicated this to the organic shops where our eggs are sold. In 2013, all eggs were increased by four cents and a label was added to explain why – and we had no loss of customers.”

Unsure of whether consumers would be interested in the darker, more flavourful meat, Bremer’s first customer was actually a baby food processor.  “We weren’t sure people would buy this meat but gradually people start asking for it,” she said, adding that due to her farm’s rural location and resulting unreliable internet infrastructure, their marketing is done at point of sale as opposed to through social media.

“As farmers, we need the help of traders and retailers to sell our products, and if our trader had said no, we couldn’t have done this,” Bremer said. “What customers are paying for is to not kill the bird at birth and that this animal is worth keeping alive longer.”

The male layer for meat program is part of Bauck-Hof Klein Suestedt’s overall approach to agriculture. The operation is the second oldest organic farm in Germany, having farmed in this manner since 1932. More specifically, it’s one of Germany’s 2,000 certified Demeter farms.

Demeter is the brand for products stemming from biodynamic agriculture and is well recognized by German consumers, which Bremer says has been helpful in supporting the marketing efforts around meat from the male layers.

Bremer installed her first mobile poultry housing 13 years ago, and now has six mobile layer barns and four mobile broiler barns on her farm that are regularly moved to new locations on the fields and permit birds to roam and express natural behaviours.

“We use genetics that grow slower and the birds can choose whether they want to be inside or out,” she says, adding that farmers who build mobile poultry housing can have 40 per cent of their costs covered by the European Union.

Under the leadership of state Minister of Agriculture Christian Meyer, Lower Saxony has doubled state support for organic production from 137 Euros per hectare in 2013 to 273 Euros by the end of 2016. Subsidies for converting conventional farms into organic production have also increased, from 262 Euros to 403 Euros per hectare during that same time.

Meyer, who represents the Green Party, is a proponent of organic agriculture and has also introduced some of the strictest animal welfare regulations in the country since he took office in 2013, including banning beak trimming of laying hens by the end of 2016, and phasing out caged egg production completely by 2025.

“The supermarkets dictate and they are very strong. For example, although Lower Saxony is ending beak trimming, we can’t stop imports unless the retailers are supportive,” Meyer said, adding that retailers are supporting cage-free egg production by not selling eggs from hens in cages in countries like Poland and the Ukraine.

The state has also committed to reducing antibiotic use in agriculture by 50 per cent in five years, resulting in farmers having to notify the government each time they purchase antibiotics for livestock use.

Lower Saxony is one of Germany’s livestock powerhouses, home to 18 million laying hens that produce about half of the country’s eggs.
Published in Health
In Lower Saxony, Germany, Stefan Teepker has just spent 25,000 € (approximately $36,500 CAD) on a new on-farm visitor gallery complete with food vending machine, video system and 24-hour viewing area on one of his poultry farms.

It’s not that he’s expecting the vending machine to be a big money maker – he needs 15 € a day in sales to make the venture work – but he’s hoping it will attract the non-farming public to his farm to learn more about how broiler chickens are raised, housed and treated in Germany.

Teepker unveiled his concept to a group of visiting international agricultural journalists who were touring northern and eastern Germany this past July.

It’s not easy being a farmer in Lower Saxony, where agriculture minister Christian Meyer represents the Green Party. Strict animal welfare rules, limitations on new barn constructions and looming new clean air laws mean farmers have a lot more to worry about than just raising healthy, quality livestock and poultry.

To Teepker’s way of thinking, that’s precisely why someone has to show people where their food comes from, and there’s nobody better to do that than farmers themselves.

“We have to show how we produce the meat people eat and with this new viewing area, people can come here any time to watch our birds,” he explained while looking into his bright, modern barn filled with healthy, contented birds. “Some farmers say we can’t do this job, someone else should – but who else would that be?”

Doing nothing is not an option as the pressure from those opposed to livestock farming is already making itself felt.

For example, even enriched poultry cages will be phased out entirely in favour of all cage-free production by 2025, beak trimming will be banned by the end of 2016, and culling of male chicks will no longer be permitted in Lower Saxony by the end of 2017.

The state has also committed to reducing antibiotic use in agriculture by 50 per cent in five years, resulting in farmers having to notify the government each time they purchase antibiotics for livestock use.

And according to Teepker, Lower Saxony is no longer issuing building permits for new livestock barns, citing environmental concerns, and that it is very difficult to even secure permission to renew existing facilities. Farmers who wish to expand their production have no choice but to buy existing farms or relocate to other parts of Germany, he said.

“We built our first barn in 2009, where we got a permit in 12 months and built in six – it was two years in total from thought to bird. Now it is up to six years,” he said.

New clean air laws from the European Union designed to reduce emissions from intensive livestock operations will mean new costs too, he added.

Teepker farms together with his younger brother Matthias near Handrup, Lower Saxony, about 360 km north of Frankfurt. He’s in charge of the broiler side of their operation, which also includes pigs, biogas production and 350 hectares (approximately 865 acres) of crops.

In 2013 he purchased the farm where he has added the viewing gallery and renovated the 10-year old facilities. And although he considered expansion into Eastern Germany several years ago, he ultimately decided against it due to the high cost of farms.

Teepker is not alone among farmers in Germany adding viewing galleries into their livestock barns, but notes that his goes above and beyond the simple window and information card that most provide.

Videos available on demand, for example, demonstrate other aspects of his farm and the life cycle of his birds. Feed samples show what birds eat and feeders and waterers are on display to demonstrate how they eat and drink.

And the vending machine, which Teepker has stocked with chicken products, can sell anything from a single egg to a five kilogram bag of potatoes. This particular farm happens to be on a busy public cycling trail, so Teepker hopes his location – and the cold drinks he is including in the vending machine – will help draw people in.



If the viewing room and vending machine are successful on the broiler barn, there are plans for a similar installation on one of their pig barns too.

Facebook is his biggest audience, where “Landwirtschaft Teepker” and regular posts of photos and updates about farm activities have garnered more than 2,100 likes, but he’s also a keen supporter of video. His most popular online video, called a look into chicken production, has logged more than 78,000 views to date.

“YouTube is the new Google so you need to have video even if it isn’t the best,” he believes.

But nothing beats a face to face connection, which is why the Teepkers have also reached out to local schools, starting about five years ago with inviting kindergarten classes out to the farm and expanding to include twice yearly classroom visits with small birds. They also sponsor children’s soccer jerseys in the community.

And those public education efforts seem to be paying off.

“We are noticing changes in attitudes with parents and teachers – “where are the cages” is now the most asked question,” Teepker said, adding the most people don’t know that German broilers are not raised in cages. “I think and hope that we are doing a good job.”

Yet despite some success, Teepker is also a realist about the public pressures facing farmers and the challenges of reaching out to consumers who are increasingly distanced from farming and food production.

“This is a first step, but the discussion will never finish,” he believes.
Published in Consumer Issues
Dec. 7, 2016 - Poultry across England, Scotland and Wales have been forced indoors as a precaution after announcements by the Chief Veterinary Officers of the countries of avian influenza prevention zones.

The requirements aim to protect poultry from a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza which has been spreading around Europe recently.

Housing birds is more of an issue for free range producers, but they will retain the ability to market their eggs as free range for the duration of the order. | READ MORE.
Published in Biosecurity
Oct. 14, 2016 - Monitoring the migration routes of wild birds could help to provide early warning of potential bird flu outbreaks, experts say.

The recommendation follows new research that shows migrating birds can help to spread deadly strains of avian flu around the world.

Lethal strains
Some strains of bird flu viruses are highly lethal in birds they infect and pose a major threat to poultry farms worldwide.

In rare cases, the viruses can also infect people and cause life-threatening illness.

Asia outbreak
Researchers investigated how a subtype of bird flu called H5N8 spread around the world following outbreaks in South Korea that began in early 2014.

The virus spread to Japan, North America and Europe, causing outbreaks in birds there between autumn 2014 and spring 2015.

Migration patterns
Scientists analysed migration patterns of wild birds that were found to be infected with the H5N8 virus.

The team then compared the genetic code of viruses isolated from infected birds collected from 16 different countries.

Long-distance flight
Their findings reveal that H5N8 was most likely carried by long-distance flights of infected migrating wild birds from Asia to Europe and North America via their breeding grounds in the Arctic.

The researchers say their findings reinforce the importance of maintaining strict exclusion areas around poultry farms to keep wild birds out.

"Bird flu is a major threat to the health and wellbeing of farmed chickens worldwide,"  says Samantha Lycett with the University of Edinburgh. "Our findings show that with good surveillance, rapid data sharing and collaboration, we can track how infections spread across continents."

Surveillance
Greater surveillance of wild birds at known breeding areas could help to provide early warning of threats of specific flu virus strains to birds and people, they add.

Deadly bird flu strains – known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) – can kill up to 100 per cent of the birds they infect within a few days.

The study was conducted by the Global Consortium for H5N8 and Related Influenza Viruses and involved scientists from 32 institutions worldwide.

This study could only have happened through bird flu researchers around the world pooling resources and working together," adds Mark Woolhouse, also with the University of Edinburgh. "We see this as a model for how scientists should unite to combat infectious diseases of all kinds.

Global study
The study is published in the journal Science and was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, COMPARE. The Roslin Institute receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
Published in Biosecurity
Controlling highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks is a costly business. Quarantine, culling and depopulation, poultry movement control and increased biosecurity amount to high costs for the industry. So, too, does establishing transparent communication with both the public and producers.

Compensating farmers – and not compensating them – brings costs of its own, as proper compensation facilitates reporting and disease control. Unfortunately, not all compensation schemes are created equal, and lack of compensation is a problem that extends far beyond geographical borders. One could say that its consequences are global in scale.

Compensation around the world
At this year’s International Egg Commission (IEC) conference in Warsaw, HPAI was a hot topic. Concerned poultry producers from around the globe met in an economics workshop to listen to Peter van Horne speak about compensation schemes around the world. Van Horne is a poultry economist from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

There are a lot of regulations in the EU on how to compensate, said Van Horne as he dove into his presentation. The European Union clearly says where there is an outbreak of AI and birds are culled, farmers are compensated for the market value of that bird – both pullets and layers, he said.

“The EU, at the same time, says that it is very important that all of the member states have good control of the outbreak,” he continued. “If there’s an outbreak in one country, the neighbouring countries are also impacted.”

The EU compensates 50 per cent of direct losses because it believes that it’s in the best interest of all member states to do so. The EU, however, does not compensate for consequential losses, so all of the empty periods on the farm. That’s the risk of the farmer. How governments operate at the state level is their decision, said van Horne.

But how do you determine the market value of a layer? Do the eggs she could have laid determine her worth or is the farmer simply compensated for the value of the bird? Turns out that there’s no clear answer.

In the Netherlands, value is assigned to pullets beginning at seven weeks. Feed costs are also calculated and included up to a maximum of 23 weeks. There are two main points where market value is determined, at the beginning and at the end. Since there is no market for hens at 50 weeks of age, value is simply estimated. Value is also based on revenue that would have been earned from the eggs. Consequential costs, including the costs to destroy the birds, transport, and the cleaning and disinfection of farms, are not covered.

“The Dutch say that there should be a maximum that the farmers can pay,” said van Horne. “There is a fund with levies. For five years the levies go into a fund and then there is a certain amount of money compensated from this fund to give compensation payments to the farmers – so there is a ceiling because otherwise it would be too expensive for the farmers.”

“When there’s a big outbreak, like 2003, there are very, very high losses with a lot of birds culled, then it’s just only the first part [that is] paid by the farmers,” he continued.

Belgium’s compensation scheme, said van Horne, is very straightforward. With regards to direct losses, the EU pays 50 per cent and farmers pay the remaining 50 per cent. Regarding the cost of control, the EU pay 50 per cent and the Belgian government pays the remaining 50 per cent. Consequential losses are at the risk of the farmer.

In Germany, direct losses are paid by the EU (50 per cent), by the government (25 per cent) and by the farmer (25 per cent). The scheme is similar for control costs, although Germany is a little more complicated as the various states have different regulations. Like Belgium and the Netherlands, there is no compensation for consequential losses. There are, however, insurance companies that will cover consequential losses.

In France, farmers don’t have to pay anything for control or direct losses. The EU pays the 50 per cent, and the government pays 50 per cent. Consequential losses are not covered, but like Germany, there are insurance options.

Like the other EU member states, Spain gets 50 per cent compensation for direct losses. While van Horne couldn’t speak with great certainty on what happens beyond that, he did say that there are plenty of public-private insurance schemes in place.

Outside of Europe farmers have very different schemes. Australian farmers, for instance, are only compensated for direct losses. The amount of compensation is dependent on the type of disease. Diseases fall into three categories – one, two or three. The government compensates 100 per cent of direct losses for those diseases that fall into category one. Diseases that fall into category two, like HPAI H5 and N7, are paid for by the government and industry at 80 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Category three diseases, such as HPAI other than H5 and N7, and LPAI subtypes H5 and H7, are paid for 50 per cent by government and 50 per cent by industry.

In Indonesia, where there’s no clear preventative or control program, farmers are offered little to no compensation. This creates an additional problem, van Horne pointed out. That is, when farmers are not compensated, they are not motivated to report cases to the government. In many cases, they take the birds to market as quickly as possible. Sometimes, though, farmers are offered credit schemes to return to farming once the crisis is over.

“There should be compensation to motivate the farmers to be involved in solving the problem,” said van Horne.

This has been a problem in South Africa where there is no compensation for consequential losses. “The difficulty we have, if it’s a controlled disease, then the government will depopulate,” one South African farmer said at the workshop. “But you don’t know what you’re going to be compensated when they depopulate.”

“It’s never happened with chickens, but it’s happened with ostriches and cattle, so we don’t have any poultry experience,” he clarified. “But it is a practical problem for us, and private insurance is too expensive.”

Just as schemes vary in other parts of the world, they differ from country to country in North America as well. Although no official details on Mexico’s compensation scheme could be found, a Mexican farmer at the workshop, Sergio Chavez, quoted a price of $0.50 per bird. Chavez’s concern went beyond compensation, though. In 2012, there was a major outbreak in Jalisco, he explained. This was particularly problematic for the industry, as Jalisco represents 55 per cent of Mexican production.

“I think that’s important to measure – the social impact, the political impact – because what happened at that time?” he asked. “The prices to the consumer skyrocketed – doubled or tripled.”

Until 2012, U.S. poultry farmers hadn’t faced large outbreaks, so they didn’t have a compensation scheme in place. “If you don’t have a problem then you don’t know how to compensate for it,” said Chad Gregory, president and CEO of United Egg Producers. “Clearly, with the high-path AI outbreak of 2015 where we lost 35 million layers... we got intimately familiar with indemnity, and the formula and the areas that it was lacking.”

The first figures, said Gregory, weren’t good. The U.S. government came to a figure by calculating costs, including the costs for buying in and moving chicks, feed, vaccinations and service costs. One of the big problems was that the government was taking 90 per cent or more for dividends, earnings and taxes, he said.

“You’re left with about $1.00 to $1.10,” he said. “They add that to the figure to start of layer capitalization – so $4.25 to 4.50 – that is what she’s worth at 19 weeks.”

“That doesn’t come anywhere close to helping pay for the bird or helping the farmer staying in business,” he concluded. “We had a lot of upset farmers last year.”

The U.S. government also paid for cleaning and disinfecting, but Gregory says they hired contractors who had no idea what they were doing. “It took five times longer and it wasn’t done well,” he said.

Since then the U.S. government has changed the rules about virus elimination. The farmer now gets a cheque for around $6.45 per bird. “The total package is very fair,” said Gregory. “We think the reimbursement package is nice.

In Canada, the order to have animals destroyed as part of disease control activities comes from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) under the Health Animals Act.

“The amount of compensation is the market value, as determined by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, that the animal would have had at the time of its evaluation if it did not have to be destroyed,” explained Tammy Jarbeau, media relations person for CFIA.

The maximum amount established for this type of animal is in the Compensation for Destroyed Animals Regulations. If there is no readily available market for the animals, said Jarbeau, the market value is estimated using CFIA economic models. These models take into consideration factors such as incomes and costs for feed and bedding.

AI is a global issue
Avian influenza, unfortunately, is here to stay. As it affects farmers globally, prevention and controls programs, as well as compensation schemes are necessary to prevent its spread, especially as migratory birds don’t recognize geographical and economic borders. The meeting in Warsaw was a good start, though, as it provided a space to increase dialogue between affected countries.
Published in Business & Policy
September 22, 2016 - World leaders are pushing to end the overuse of antibiotics and to encourage the development of new medicines, driven by concern that drug-resistant germs could lead to millions of deaths and undermine the global economy. 

For only the fourth time in its 70 year history, the United Nations held a special meeting Wednesday devoted to a health issue: This time, on the rise of untreatable infections that is being propelled by the way drugs are overused and misused in both people and animals. 

Health experts have long worried about the issue, but it is getting more alarming because germs are getting ever more difficult to treat, few new antibiotics are being developed, and the problem appears to be global already. 

“We believe it's probably everywhere,'' said Dr. Keiji Fukuda of the World Health Organization, of the resistance to drugs. 

Here's more on the issue, and why world leaders believe it's so important. 

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? 

Germs have higher chances of developing resistance to a drug if the drug is not used properly. If a drug is not used long enough or taken for the wrong reason, or if low levels of the drug are common in the environment, the germs can survive and adapt. 

Doctors are already facing situations in which they are helpless against infections that used to be easily treated with antibiotics, Fukuda said. All types of microbes, including bacteria, viruses and fungi have been shrugging off attacks from the medicines designed to stop them. Experts estimate that 700,000 people die around the world each year from drug-resistant germs, and they expect the number to 
grow sharply. 

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the problem may also affect doctors' willingness to do chemotherapy, organ transplants, or other treatments that might put a patient at risk of uncontrollable 
infections. ``It can undermine modern medicine,'' he said. 

WHY DO WE OVERUSE THESE DRUGS? 

Often because of good intentions and bad decisions. For example, antibiotics don't work against viral illnesses like colds and flu. But doctors often prescribe them anyway to patients looking for some kind of treatment for their respiratory infections, experts say. Companies that raise livestock routinely prescribe antibiotics to try to stave off costly infections in herds and flocks. 

WHY ARE THERE SO FEW NEW ANTIBIOTICS? 

A major reason is that it is very hard for drugmakers to earn any money selling new antibiotics, so they don't want to spend the money needed to develop them. Patients don't need to be on antibiotics for very long, which means they won't be buying large amounts of the drug. And doctors are likely to prescribe any new antibiotics only in cases where older, cheaper ones don't work first. 

WHY NOW? 

One factor is that world leaders are starting to worry about the economic threats from the problem. A 2014 report commissioned by the United Kingdom projected that by 2050 it will kill more people each year than cancer and cost the world as much as $100 trillion in lost economic output. 

The World Bank this week released a report saying drug-resistant infections have the potential to cause at least as much economic damage as the 2008 financial crisis. 

WHAT CAN THE U.N. DO? 

For now, just draw more attention to the problem. That's what happened on the three other occasions the U.N. held a special session on a health issue - on the AIDS virus in 2001, on non-communicable diseases in 2011, and on Ebola in 2014. 

The U.N. will adopt a declaration that endorses an action plan approved last year by an international meeting of health ministers. The declaration recognizes the size of the problem and encourages countries to come up with plans - and money - to cut back on antibiotic use, make better use of vaccines to prevent infections in 
the first place, and fund development of new drugs. 

"We need new antibiotics, but in all likelihood we're not going to invent our way out of this,'' Frieden said. 

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016
Published in Business & Policy
September 16, 2016 - Fortune Magazine interviews McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook on the company's reasoning behind the decision to utilize only cage-free eggs in North America in the next 10 years. READ MORE 
Published in Company News
Sasso and Hendrix Genetics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strategically connect the colored breeding activities of Sasso with the worldwide network and R&D center of Hendrix Genetics.

To accommodate the transaction Sasso will strengthen is equity structure via emission of new shares to Hendrix Genetics. It is anticipated that the final transaction will be completed in the autumn of this year, after regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

With access to the latest breeding technology and specialized breeding IT of Hendrix Genetics, Sasso’s breeding program will be intensified to accelerate overall product development. Hendrix Genetics will support Sasso with its international asset base to establish a back-up for the core breeding program and all international GPS activities. This will ensure continuity of international Parent Stock sales, necessary to respond to any disease challenge and to set up efficient worldwide distribution. The strategic alliance will provide Sasso with a stronger financial base for its asset renewal program and international expansion plans. Sasso will continue to be managed independently to maintain its focus and dedication to breeding for the colored broiler sector, both in France and globally.

Yves de la Fourchardière, President of Sasso, comments: “Management and shareholders of Sasso understand the ongoing consolidation process within the animal breeding sector, driven by exponentially increasing R&D cost and demand for global supply security. We are pleased that Hendrix Genetics offers Sasso the opportunity to maintain our focus on breeding traditional poultry, our company culture and French ownership and at the same time link with a strong international breeding company.” Antoon van den Berg, Chief Executive Officer of Hendrix Genetics, added: “We have been looking for this partnership for several years. With this alliance Sasso can maintain and further develop itself as a sustainable co-leader in alternative broiler breeding which is particularly beneficial to the broiler sector at large.”
Published in Company News

September 2, 2017 - The 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) has surpassed 510,000 square feet of exhibit space with five months remaining until the trade show, setting a new record. Comprised of the three integrated trade shows – International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo and International Meat Expo – IPPE has secured more than 1,100 exhibitors.

“We are very pleased with the level of exhibitor participation and the expanded square footage of the trade show floor. We anticipate more than 30,000 attendees at the 2017 IPPE, with the Expo providing an excellent location to learn about new products and services for the protein and feed industries,” stated IPPE show organizers.

The world’s largest annual feed, meat and poultry industry trade show will be held Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, 2017, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. The Expo will highlight the latest technology, equipment and services used in the production and processing of feed, meat and poultry products. IPPE will also feature dynamic education programs addressing current industry issues, combining the expertise from AFIA, NAMI and USPOULTRY.

2017 IPPE SHOW HOURS:

Tuesday, Jan. 31: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 1: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 2: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

For more information about the 2017 IPPE, visit www.ippexpo.org.

Published in Company News

August 17, 2016 - The Alltech Corporate Career Development Program is seeking to recruit 12 recent bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates who wish to develop skills in science, veterinary science, biotechnology, information technology, marketing and finance.  Recent graduates are encourage to apply during the window of Aug. 15–Sept. 30 via the Alltech Corporate Career Development Program website. The program will commence in February for the 2017 group.

Alltech aims to develop future leaders within the agriculture industry and values long-term talent development through the Alltech Corporate Career Development Program, which started in 2012. This program was designed specifically by Dr. Aoife Lyons, Director of Educational Engagement at Alltech. Education, development and engagement are fundamental to the culture of Alltech, now one of the top five animal health companies in the world.

“This is a life-changing opportunity for recent graduates to interact with colleagues from other countries, develop both their technical and interpersonal skills, and share innovative ideas,” said Dr. Lyons.

“Previous Career Development Program members have worked in a variety of areas, including internal auditing for Latin America and marketing and event promotion for ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, an annual symposium with more than 3,000 global attendees,” she continued. “We strive to match successful applicants’ interests with Alltech’s global needs.”

The 12-month, salaried, full-time mentorship program will begin with an intensive three-month training period at Alltech’s global headquarters in Nicholasville, Kentucky, USA, where graduates will study topics including sustainable energy, communications, marketing and international business. Afterward, they will continue training and development while simultaneously managing key company projects in one of the company’s global offices, guided and mentored by senior management.

Tanja Marincich of Santiago, Chile, was accepted to the program this year and is now finishing her training and development with the European finance team at Alltech’s European Bioscience Centre in Ireland.

“The program has not only given me immediate insight into the inner workings of a multinational business, but it has given me the opportunity to embrace the work and values of the Alltech family,” said Marincich. “Five months ago, I was welcomed into a culturally diverse, open-minded group that has allowed me to develop both hard and soft skills. It is more than a teamwork environment; Alltech is a place where everyone’s ideas are heard, and the program gave me a chance to be a part of it.”

Applicants should be strong team players with excellent communications skills, including fluency in English, with another language as an added advantage. Joining this global team opens the door to a stimulating, fast-paced and rewarding future. 

Published in Trade

It’s an amazing thing to be a part of an initiative that’s already making a significant difference, to be able to help take it to the next level and make further progress. That’s what Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) is achieving, having spearheaded and funded the addition of an egg farm to “Project Canaan,” a sustainable farming and economic development initiative in Swaziland, Africa. Project Canaan was started by an Ontario couple in 2009 under their charity “Heart for Africa.” Although Janine and Ian Maxwell had no farming background, they enlisted the help of  experienced folks and turned 2,500 acres of empty land into a thriving mixed farm and rural community.

The site boasts dairy cow and goat operations, along with cultivation of fruit, vegetables and cash crops and creation of hand-made items. The farm feeds the 86 orphans who make a home there, the 220 local employees and thousands of people through local church-sponsored food programs. The egg farm is the next step in making the charity’s farm, orphanage, schools, women’s shelter and medical clinic self-sustaining by 2020.

EFC’s involvement
EFC has long been involved in food assistance programs around the world, for example, sending over 16 metric tonnes of egg powder per year to feed children in developing countries over the last 20+ years. In 2014, the International Egg Commission (IEC) brought various independent charitable actions being taken by IEC members (such as EFC) into a cohesive strategy, forming the International Egg Foundation. It now works with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization and other groups. For the Project Canaan egg farm, the fundraising, expertise and training is being provided by EFC, and the IEC is providing supports such as the technical services of Ontario poultry vet (and IEC scientific advisor) Dr. Vincent Guyonnet.  

EFC chair Peter Clarke has visited Project Canaan several times, most recently in December 2015. He’s been involved from the start, ever since Janine presented the project to the IEC many years ago. He and others looked into the initiative in detail, were satisfied with its legitimacy, and presented it to the EFC board. There was unanimous support, and a project team then was formed to make egg production on the farm a reality.

“We put the call out to our industry last year, and our partners and Canadians responded with compassion and generosity,” says EFC CEO Tim Lambert. “Much of the funding for the project was the result of donations and in-kind contributions. The outcome of this collective effort yielded truly amazing results - more than $700,000 has been raised to date to support the construction of the operation and help with operating costs. We remain committed to fundraising to support the ongoing costs of operating the farm until it reaches self-sufficiency.”

The layer operation at Project Canaan welcomed its first flock of 2,500 hens in January and a second flock of 2,500 will arrive in July. The design of the two barns had to account for the extreme heat the country is exposed to. “The buildings are higher than normal,” Clarke explains, “so that the heat rises and goes out the vents, and there are also fans that help with that. The buildings are also open-sided, with curtains that can be opened or closed to let the breeze blow through. The birds are doing extremely well.” The two-tier Big Dutchman cage system that was chosen is made for remote areas and has a simple design so it can be operated with little or no electricity, Lambert explains. “Feeding, egg collection and manure removal is carried out manually,” he says. “More staff will be hired to manage and operate the farm over time. This fits Heart for Africa’s philosophy that providing employment creates a ripple effect within the community.”

In addition to EFC board members, several other Canadian egg farmers have volunteered to work hand-in-hand with local Swazis to share knowledge and build an understanding of best practices. “This has become a unique opportunity for some of the young leaders in our industry,” Lambert notes. “New Brunswick egg farmer Aaron Law spent much of January in Swaziland, followed by Ontarians Isaac Pelissero in February, and Megan Veldman and Lydia DeWeerd in March. All of these young people have shown a tremendous amount of leadership and compassion, and we are very proud that they stepped up to share their expertise.”

EFC intends to implement the Project Canaan model in other areas of Swaziland as well as other African countries. “It is part of our belief that the egg can and will play a major role in the world’s approach to hunger and malnutrition, helping children and families in developing countries where diets are deficient in protein,” Lambert says.

What stood out for Clarke on his visit was the impressive agricultural expertise that exists in Swaziland. He notes the team made a connection with a large poultry operation nearby to deliver both pullets and feed. They are currently working with a local nutritionist and veterinarian as well. For Clarke, motivation to be involved in Project Canaan is all about the huge difference it is making. “From hearing Janine’s presentation to our board, getting support from producers coast-to-coast and then going there and seeing what they’re doing with orphans, seeing the connection with 30 churches in the outlying areas and knowing just how fantastic a source of protein is an egg to a child or to any individual, it makes you want to buy in and be a part of something that can make that much of a difference,” he says. “You see the results.”

Roger Pelissero, EFC director from Ontario and father to Isaac, is another Project Canaan team member. When he visited in fall of 2014, he and others also went to Mozambique to visit the “Eggs for Africa” project there, where he says they gathered a lot of valuable information. What impresses Pelissero most about the whole project is the dedication of Janine and Ian Maxwell, whom Pelissero says started this humanitarian work in a search for meaning after 9/11 happened. “They’ve made a total change in their lives and it’s quite a commitment,” he says. “They know they can’t change the whole world, but they can made a difference in some children’s lives and they are
doing that.”

Published in Eggs - Layers

April 5, 2016 - Hendrix Genetics has concluded its agreement to purchase 100 per cent of turkey distributor Coolen Hatchery, the largest turkey hatchery in the Netherlands. This announcement follows a press release of October 26, 2015, in which Hendrix Genetics announced it would take a controlling interest in Coolen. 

Henk Coolen will continue on with Hendrix Genetics for the coming years in support of Hendrix Genetics Turkeys activities in the Netherlands.  Future plans for the hatchery include the development of the traditional and bronze turkey markets.

Dave Libertini, Managing Director of Hendrix Genetics Turkeys Business Unit remarked “We are pleased with the transition underway and the many advantages this acquisition will bring for customers, employees and our company, this is a logical next step.  The addition of the Coolen hatchery strengthens our global network of turkey distribution.”

 “The Hendrix Genetics team has been very supportive and I am confident that my decision to work with Hendrix Genetics is the best for the Coolen Hatchery, our employees and customers.  I know our clients are in good hands.” said Henk Coolen, Managing Director, Coolen Hatchery.

Antoon van den Berg, CEO of Hendrix Genetics, commented “Our organization is committed to the success of our clients around the world.  This includes access to our genetics and the after sales support to help them reach the full genetic potential. This acquisition allows us to continue to serve the important grower base in the Netherlands.”

 

 

 

  

 

 

Published in New Technology

 

December 1, 2015, Toronto, Ont – During its official launch event held recently, Safe Food Canada (SFC), a not-for-profit organization focussed on modernizing the way industry and regulatory professionals learn about food safety, featured a panel discussion addressing food safety in today’s complex global food system.

The panelists were Dr. Bruce Archibald, president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Ted Bilyea, chair of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI), Michael Burrows, CEO of Maple Lodge Farms, and Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, professor at the University of Guelph's Food Institute.

SFC announced its initial strategy and founding partnerships for what it deems as the most compelling issue in Canada’s food system: the modernization of food safety training and education.

“Because of rapidly changing consumer demands and with the Safe Food for Canadians Act, both the Canadian food industry and regulators are now at a tipping point and must shift to more consistent, competency-based food safety training," said Brian Sterling, president and CEO of SFC. "Our mandate is to modernize the design and development of food safety and food protection training; we must bring together food professionals from industry and government and help them do that.”

“The CFIA recognizes the important role that Safe Food Canada can play in reinforcing Canada's reputation as a world leader in food safety training by enhancing compliance with regulations and reducing duplicated efforts and training costs for all parties”, said Dr. Bruce Archibald, president at CFIA.

SFC recently completed an exploratory study of industry spending and return on investment on food safety training in Canada. The company expects to publish the results early in the new year. SFC is already seeking participants across North America to conduct a more comprehensive benchmark study in 2016 so that food companies can compare their performance to the rest of the industry and understand the relationship between excellence in food safety training and its financial payoffs.

As part of its work to bring uniformity and quality discipline into food safety training, SFC is collaborating with the International Food Protection Training Institute and other businesses to create a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) for training design and content. The eventual result will be a training quality standard so that more consistent and comprehensive education can be delivered to industry and regulatory professionals.

SFC also announced its first founding sponsors and contributing partners that will serve as the basis of an advisory council to the company.  These leading organizations include, the Canadian Meat Council, the US Grocers Manufacturers Association Science & Education Foundation, Maple Leaf Foods, the University of Guelph’s Department of Food Science, and the World Bank’s Global Food Safety Partnership.

 

Published in New Technology
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