Idaho 27th state in which Avian flu has spread

Revelations 6:8 “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Avian flu has spread to 27 states, sharply driving up egg prices
  • The price of eggs has soared in recent weeks in part because of a huge bird flu wave that has infected nearly 27 million chickens and turkeys in the United States, forcing many farmers to “depopulate” or destroy their animals to prevent a further spread.
  • On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced yet another outbreak, this one in two flocks in Idaho, making that the 27th state in which the virus has been found since February.
  • According to the USDA, the price of a dozen eggs in November hovered around $1. Right now, that price is $2.95 and rising.

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Oklahoma State Officials investigating first case of Avian Flu in bird population

Revelations 6:8 “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.”

Important Takeaways:

  • First case of avian influenza detected in Oklahoma
  • Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry say a wild duck in Payne County is the first wild bird in Oklahoma to be confirmed to be infected with Eurasian H5 type of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
  • “I encourage poultry owners of all kinds to continue to remain vigilant, practice good biosecurity and report sick or dying birds immediately.”
  • At this point, the virus is considered low-risk to people. However, it can be detrimental to poultry species.

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Millions of Chickens and Turkeys Test Positive for Avian Flu

Revelations 6:7-8 “7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.”

Important Takeaways:

  • BIRD FLU TOLL LEAPS TO 2.8 MILLION CHICKENS AND TURKEYS
  • With new outbreaks in Iowa and Missouri, nearly 2.8 million birds — almost entirely chickens and turkeys — have died in one month due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)
  • HPAI was confirmed over the weekend:
    • on a turkey farm with 50,000 birds in Buena Vista County in northwestern Iowa
    • in a backyard mixed-species flock of 43 birds in Bates County in western Missouri, about 50 miles south of Kansas City.
  • More than 50 million chickens and turkeys died in an HPAI epidemic that ran from December 2014 through June 2015, driving up egg prices and leaving some grocery stores short of eggs. The outbreak also triggered import bans by some countries against U.S. poultry meat; 16% of U.S. poultry meat is exported.

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Bird Flu enters the US. If it’s like 2015 expect eggs and chicken to be expensive

Deuteronomy 28:28-62 “If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, then the Lord will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting. And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the Lord will bring upon you, until you are destroyed. Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God.

Important Takeaways:

  • Bird Flu Is Back in the US. No One Knows What Comes Next
  • In 2015, that same strain of flu landed in the Midwest’s turkey industry and caused the largest animal-disease outbreak ever seen in the US, killing or causing the destruction of more than 50 million birds and costing the US economy more than $3 billion.
  • The virus is known as being highly pathogenic—meaning it could cause fast-moving, fatal disease in other bird species, such as poultry, though it was not making the ducks ill.
  • Human-health experts are uneasy as well. Since 2003, that flu has sickened at least 863 people across the world and killed more than half of them. Other avian flu strains have made hundreds more people ill. Before Covid arrived, avian flu was considered the disease most likely to cause a transnational outbreak.

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Supply chain interruptions will continue over next 6 weeks as COVID-19 variant impacts labor market

Rev 6:6 NAS And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Billionaire supermarket CEO warns of potential meat, egg shortage as omicron disrupts US supply chain
  • Billionaire Gristedes CEO John Catsimatidis, went on to say that many of these interruptions will continue over the next 6 weeks as the COVID-19 variant impacts the labor market
  • Various products, including eggs, poultry, and beef, go up because of low supply and high demand
  • He added that the price hikes and supply chain shortages have been exacerbated by the rising cost of oil, which is necessary for transportation.

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UK meat industry warns of imminent supply threat from CO2 crisis

By James Davey

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s meat processors will start running out of carbon dioxide (CO2) within five days, forcing them to halt production and impacting supplies to retailers, the industry’s lobby group warned on Monday.

A jump in gas prices has forced several domestic energy suppliers out of business and has shut fertilizer plants that also make CO2 as a by-product of their production process.

The CO2 gas is used to stun animals before slaughter, in the vacuum packing of food products to extend their shelf life, and to put the fizz into beer, cider and soft drinks. CO2’s solid form is dry ice, which is used in food deliveries.

The CO2 crisis has compounded an acute shortage of truck drivers in the UK, which has been blamed on the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit.

“My members are saying anything between five, 10 and 15 days supply (remain),” Nick Allen of the British Meat Processors Association told Sky News.

With no CO2, a meat processor cannot operate, he said.

“The animals have to stay on farm. They’ll cause farmers on the farm huge animal welfare problems and British pork and British poultry will disappear off the shelves,” Allen said.

“We’re two weeks away from seeing some real impacts on the shelves,” he said, adding that poultry could start disappearing from shops even sooner.

Allen said the government was working to try and resolve the issue and might be able to persuade fertilizer producer CF Industries to re-start its UK plants.

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he met CF Industries CEO Tony Will on Sunday to explore ways to secure CO2 supplies.

“Work is ongoing … to ensure that those sectors which are impacted by this … have appropriate contingency plans in place to ensure that there is minimal disruption,” he told parliament.

Meanwhile, the British Soft Drinks Association warned some manufacturers had only a few days of CO2 left.

UNHAPPY CHRISTMAS?

Some in the poultry industry fear a Christmas crisis.

Ranjit Singh Boparan, owner of 2 Sisters Food Group and Bernard Matthews, said the CO2 issue was “a massive body blow”, noting that the supply of turkeys this Christmas was already compromised by labor shortages.

Shares in processor Cranswick, whose products include fresh pork and chicken and gourmet sausages, fell 4% after it said production could be halted.

The crisis is also having a more immediate impact.

Online supermarket group Ocado said it had temporarily reduced the number of lines it is able to deliver from its frozen range. Dry ice is used to keep items frozen during delivery. Ocado shares fell 1.6%.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents retailers including the major supermarket groups, said the CO2 shortage had compounded existing pressures on production and distribution.

“… it is vital that government takes immediate action to prioritize suppliers and avoid significant disruption to food supplies,” said Andrew Opie, the BRC’s director of food and sustainability.

Britain’s National Farmers Union said it was concerned about the shortages of fertilizer and CO2.

“We’re aware of the added strain this puts on a food supply chain already under significant pressure due to lack of labor,” NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw said.

Britain’s big four supermarket groups – market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons declined to comment.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Jason Neely, Gareth Jones and Alexander Smith)

Tyson warns of U.S. meat shortages as coronavirus shuts livestock plants

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Millions of pounds of beef, pork and chicken will vanish from U.S. grocery stores as livestock and poultry processing plants have been shuttered by coronavirus outbreaks among workers, the chairman of Tyson Foods Inc said.

John Tyson warned that the U.S. “food supply chain is breaking” as a growing number of plant closures have left farmers with fewer options to market and process livestock.

Tyson Foods announced last week that it would shutter two pork processing plants, including its largest in the United States, and a beef facility to contain the spread of the virus.

Other major meat processors like JBS USA [JBS.UL] and Smithfield Foods have closed facilities in recent weeks as cases of COVID-19, the potentially lethal respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, have soared among plant workers.

More than 5,000 U.S. meat and food-processing workers have been infected with or exposed to the virus, and 13 have died, the country’s largest meatpacking union said Thursday.

Companies say they are checking workers’ temperatures, working with local health officials and taking other steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is unclear how soon meat processing plants may reopen.

“There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed,” John Tyson said in a release published on Sunday.

“In addition to meat shortages, this is a serious food waste issue. Farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation,” he said.

Tyson shares are down more than 34% since the beginning of the year but have recovered from a more than four-year low hit in March.

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Exclusive: Vomitoxin makes nasty appearance for U.S. farm sector

FILE PHOTO -- Cobs of corn are held at a corn field in in La Paloma city, Canindeyu, about 348km (216 miles) northeast of Asuncion August 7, 2012. Corn export is second only to soybean export in Paraguay. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno/File Photo

By P.J. Huffstutter and Michael Hirtzer

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A fungus that causes “vomitoxin” has been found in some U.S. corn harvested last year, forcing poultry and pork farmers to test their grain, and giving headaches to grain growers already wrestling with massive supplies and low prices.

The plant toxin sickens livestock and can also make humans and pets fall ill.

The appearance of vomitoxin and other toxins produced by fungi is affecting ethanol markets and prompting grain processors to seek alternative sources of feed supplies.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture first isolated the toxin in 1973 after an unusually wet winter in the Midwest. The compound was given what researchers described as the “trivial name” vomitoxin because pigs were refusing to eat the infected corn or vomiting after consuming it. The U.S. Corn Belt had earlier outbreaks of infection from the toxin in 1966 and 1928.

A vessel carrying a shipment of corn from Paraguay is due next month at a North Carolina port used by Smithfield Foods Inc [SFII.UL], the world’s largest pork producer.

The spread of vomitoxin is concentrated in Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and parts of Iowa and Michigan, and its full impact is not yet known, according to state officials and data gathered by food testing firm Neogen Corp.

In Indiana, 40 of 92 counties had at least one load of corn harvested last fall that has tested positive for vomitoxin, according to the Office of Indiana State Chemist’s county survey. In 2015 and 2014, no more than four counties saw grain affected by the fungus.

And in a “considerable” share of corn crops tested in Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana since last fall’s harvest, the vomitoxin levels have tested high enough to be considered too toxic for humans, pets, hogs, chickens and dairy cattle, according to public and private data compiled by Neogen. The company did not state what percent of each state’s corn crop was tested.

Smithfield would not confirm it had ordered the corn from Paraguay, but two independent grain trading sources said Smithfield was the likely buyer. A company source said corn Smithfield has brought in from Indiana and Ohio, to feed pigs in North Carolina, has been “horrible quality” due to the presence of mycotoxins.

TOXIN LEVELS

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows vomitoxin levels of up to 1 part per million (ppm) in human and pet foods and recommends levels under 5 ppm in grain for hogs, 10 ppm for chickens and dairy cattle. Beef cattle can withstand toxin levels up to 30 ppm.

Alltech Inc, a Kentucky-based feed supplement company, said 73 percent of feed samples it has tested this year have vomitoxin. The company analyzed samples sent by farmers whose animals have fallen ill.

“We know there is lots of bad corn out there, because corn byproducts keep getting worse,” said Max Hawkins, a nutritionist with Alltech.

Neogen, which sells grain testing supplies, reported a 29 percent jump in global sales for toxin tests – with strong demand for vomitoxin tests – in their fiscal third quarter, ending Feb. 28.

“We’re polling our customers and continually talking to them about the levels they’re seeing. Those levels are not going down,” said Pat Frasco, director of sales for Neogen’s milling, grain and pet food business.

The problem, stemming from heavy rain before and during the 2016 harvest, prompted farmers to store wet grain, said farmers, ethanol makers and grain inspectors.

The issue was compounded by farmers and grain elevators storing corn on the ground and other improvised spaces, sometimes covering the grain piles with plastic tarps. Grain buyers say they will have a clearer picture of the problem later this spring, as more farm-stored grain is moved to market.

Iowa State University grain quality expert Charles Hurburgh said the sheer size of the harvest in 2016 – the largest in U.S. history – complicates the job of managing toxins in grain, especially in the core Midwest.

“Mycotoxins are very hard to handle in high volume,” he said. “You can’t test every truckload, or if you do, you are only going to unload 20 trucks in a day.” By comparison, corn processors in Iowa unload 400 or more trucks a day.

BIOFUEL IMPACTS

Ethanol makers already are feeling the impact. Turning corn into ethanol creates a byproduct called distillers dried grains (DDGs), which is sold as animal feed. With fuel prices low, the DDGs can boost profitability.

But the refining process triples the concentration of mycotoxins, making the feed byproduct less attractive. DDG prices in Indiana fell to $92.50 per ton in February, the lowest since 2009, and now are selling for $97.50 per ton, according to USDA.

Many ethanol plants are testing nearly every load of corn they receive for the presence of vomitoxin, said Indiana grain inspector Doug Titus, whose company has labs at The Andersons Inc, a grain handler, and energy company Valero Energy sites.

The Andersons in a February call with analysts said vomitoxin has hurt results at three of its refineries in the eastern U.S. “That will be with us for some time,” Andersons’ chief executive Pat Bowe said.

Missouri grain farmer Doug Roth, who put grain into storage after last year’s wet harvest, has seen a few loads of corn rejected by clients who make pet food after the grain tested positive for low levels of fumonisin, a type of mycotoxin.

Roth said he paid to reroute the grain to livestock producers in Arkansas, who planned to blend it with unaffected grain in order to mitigate the effect of the toxins.

“As long as this doesn’t become a widespread problem, we’re all fine,” said Roth, who said toxins have shown up in less than 1 percent of the grain loads he has sold.

U.S. farmers with clean corn are reaping a price bump. A Cardinal Ethanol plant in Union City, Indiana, is offering grain sellers a 10-cent per bushel premium for corn with less than one-part-per-million (ppm) or less of vomitoxin in it, according to the company’s website.

(Additional reporting by Karl Plume and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Alabama waits for U.S. verdict on bird flu; importers limit trade

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. trading partners on Friday limited shipments of poultry from Alabama, a top producer of chickens for meat, over bird flu concerns as the state’s wait for federal confirmation of two suspected cases stretched past a week.

The European Union, Kazakhstan and French Polynesia restricted shipments from Alabama counties with presumed cases of the disease, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website. The moves came a day after the state reported the agency’s national animal-health laboratories had confirmed a separate case of bird flu there.

Belarus blocked shipments from the entire state.

Alabama officials and poultry producers have been waiting since March 8 for the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) to confirm the two suspected cases, which involve a commercial chicken farm and a backyard flock, according to the state. The facility in Ames, Iowa, is the only one in the United States that officially confirms cases of avian flu.

Swift confirmation is important for U.S. trading partners, some of which restrict shipments from geographic areas with infected flocks, and for state officials, who want to know which strain of the virus they are battling.

Highly pathogenic, or lethal, bird flu led to the deaths of about 50 million birds, mostly egg-laying hens, in the United States in 2014 and 2015.

Another widespread outbreak could be a financial blow for poultry operators, such as Tyson Foods Inc or Pilgrim’s Pride Corp, because it could kill more birds or require flocks to be culled.

The national labs must determine the strain and pathogenicity of the disease in order to officially confirm an infection, according to the USDA. The process often takes just a day.

A rapid test can be made when poultry samples contain sufficient genetic material, USDA spokeswoman Lyndsay Cole said on Thursday. But the samples from Alabama’s two suspected cases contained low levels, meaning scientists had to start a testing process that can take 14 days, she said.

Tests by a USDA-approved lab in Alabama and the national labs have already identified the H7 subtype of the virus from samples in the two suspected cases, she said.

“Our department respects the science behind the testing and is patiently waiting for accurate results,” said Amy Belcher, spokeswoman for Alabama’s agriculture department.

Alabama authorities presume the suspected cases are not highly lethal, or pathogenic, bird flu because the animals did not show signs of being sick. Still, officials have been checking birds at nearby farms for infections and the owners of the suspect flocks culled the birds, according to Alabama’s state veterinarian.

The United States must alert the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) if Alabama’s suspected cases are confirmed as positive, a step that could trigger more trade restrictions.

The OIE said “it is more important for the laboratory to be sure of its analysis than to be fast with it.”

(Additional reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Matthew Lewis)