Weekly global protein digest: China halts some imports from Tyson, food inflation holds steady

Analyst Jim Wyckoff shares an update on the US futures market, USDA reports and global protein news
calendar icon 2 September 2022
clock icon 6 minute read

FDA to hold listening session Oct. 18 on animal feed claims

The virtual public listening session is on FDA’s regulation of animal foods that make certain environmental and production claims, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, growth promotion and feed efficiency. The session is part of FDA’s review of the Center for Veterinary Medicine’s policy and procedures manual for the regulation of animal foods with drug claims. FDA wants feedback on how the existing policy could be updated to reflect evolving scientific knowledge and to promote innovation.

Turkish cattle farmers sending animals to slaughter sooner

Many Turkish cattle farmers are struggling to make ends meet because input costs, especially feed, are increasing at a faster pace than farmgate prices for carcass meat and milk, according to a USDA Gain Report. As a result, many farmers are cutting their losses and sending their animals to slaughter earlier than normal. This trend is expected to continue into 2023 as economic conditions in the country remain bleak. For 2023, cattle production is forecast to increase a nominal 2 percent year-over-year, thanks in large part to the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry’s recent decision to permit 160,000 head of imported feeder cattle over the coming months. The Ministry hopes that these imported feeder cattle will help alleviate the rising cost of beef at a time when overall food inflation in Turkey is at record levels. Meantime, the Turkish government has instituted different measures to alleviate the rising prices for both livestock feed and food, but inflation remains a persistent problem.

USDA awards grants to shore up poultry, meat supply chains

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced an additional $21.9 million of funding is being awarded to 111 grant projects through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program (MPIRG), bringing total funding to $54.6 million. This year’s awards will fund projects in 37 states. The funding will help strengthen and develop new market opportunities for meat and poultry processors throughout the United States. To further these efforts, AMS is also encouraging MPIRG awardees and eligible participants in USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain initiatives to request assistance through the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA). Launched in March 2022, MPPTA connects participants to a nationwide network of resources and expertise.

“The Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grants will help meat and poultry processors make necessary facility improvements, expand their businesses, and strengthen the nation’s food supply chain,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “These grants are one part of USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain initiatives and will contribute to our efforts to transform our food system.”

“USDA continues to build capacity and increase economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry producers across the country,” added Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.

Examples of projects funded this round include:

  • Homegrown LG OK, a small processing plant in Locust Grove, Okla., will use MPIRG funding to modernize, expand, and comply with Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) protocols. The funding will allow the plant to purchase new machines to increase weekly production in a rural and low access area.
  • The Fork Food Lab, a shared-use kitchen incubator in Portland, Maine, will utilize MPIRG funding to expand into a 42,000-sq-ft facility that meets the requirements for a Federal Grant of Inspection (GOI). The project is helping Fork Food Lab procure specialized equipment, assist five processors obtain Federal GOIs for wholesale distribution, support startup operations, and provide ongoing training and technical assistance to processors positioned for wholesale.
  • The Wall Meat Processing plant in Wall, S.D, has been awarded MPIRG funding to purchase equipment to improve humane handling and enhance food safety measures and efficiencies. The project will help the plant seamlessly deliver service operations in protein manufacturing to their producers and customers under the Cooperative Interstate Shipping program (CIS). Participating in the CIS program will open the plant to larger markets and add another resource to the food supply chain.
  • Facility improvements and expansions funded through MPIRG will help processors obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection or qualify for a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. Achieving a Federal Grant of Inspection or operating under a Cooperative Interstate Shipment program allows meat and poultry processors to ship products across state lines, develop new markets, increase capacity, and better meet consumer and producer demand along the supply chain.

China halts some meat imports from U.S. processor Tyson Foods

The halt affects products from a plant owned by Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary, for shipments from Aug. 29, after some products from the producer failed inspection, according to a notice published on the customs website. USDA confirmed on its website that the Logansport, Indiana, facility was ineligible for exports to China. The move follows Beijing’s halt on shipments of meat products from two other U.S. plants in the past month or so, citing the presence of ractopamine, a feed additive used in the U.S. but banned by China. The Tyson suspension shouldn’t have much impact on the meat trade between the two countries as there are still a lot of U.S. plants eligible to export to China.

China to sell state pork reserves

China’s state planner said it will release pork reserves from September to ensure meat supply during upcoming holidays when demand typically increases. Pork prices have risen rapidly in recent months amid tighter supplies. Meantime, China’s sow herd at the end of July totaled 42.98 million head, according to the country’s ag ministry, up 0.5% from June but down 5.3% from last year.

First time in six months USDA does not increase food price inflation outlook

USDA held its forecasts for all food, food at home, and food away from home steady with its July outlooks. The pause came despite higher forecasts for some commodities. But food price inflation is still expected to be at its at highest level in more than 40 years.

U.S. consumers are expected to see the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food to be up 8.5% to 9.5% in 2022, with food at home (grocery store) prices seen up 10% to 11% and food away from home (restaurant) prices to be up 6.5% to 7.5%. Those marks are unchanged from the agency’s outlook in July and ends a string of six straight months where the agency increased their outlooks in those three categories. However, USDA did upwardly adjust price forecasts for several individual commodities or categories.

“Prices for many agricultural commodities fell sharply,” with USDA detailing that corn prices fell by 8.5%, soybeans by 11.4% and wheat by 22.7%. Upward changes to some individual grocery items continue. USDA now sees price inflation for meats, poultry and fish at 9.5% to 10.5% in 2022, up from 9% to 10% in June, with increases in the rate for pork to 8% to 9% (7% to 8% prior) and other meats at 13% to 14% (12% to 12% prior). Price forecasts for beef and veal, poultry, and fish and seafood were kept unchanged from the July outlook.

Egg prices, one of the most-volatile items, are seen up 24.5% to 25.5% in 2022, up from 19.5% to 20.5% in the July forecast. Other upward adjustments came in fruits and vegetables, now seen up 7% to 8% (6.5% to 7.5% prior), sugar and sweets are expected to rise 8.5% to 9.5% (7.5% to 8.5% prior), nonalcoholic beverages are expected up 8.5% to 9.5% (7.5% to 8.5% prior) and other foods are forecast to rise 12.5% to 13.5% (12% to 13% prior).

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