Although beef and pork slaughter plants ran at less than three-fourths capacity last week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says, "We think most of our facilities will be back on line" by the end of this week. That would account for as much as 85 percent of U.S. meat-processing capacity. Fourteen beef, pork and poultry plants resumed operation last week, according to the USDA. Other tallies showed a handful of plants still shut down.(No paywall)
Meatpacking giant JBS has agreed to sell Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, the world’s largest feedlot operation, to New York-based Pinnacle Asset Management. Five Rivers feeds 900,000 head in multiple states.
Texas is easily the largest cattle state in the country, with 12.3 million head, or nearly one of every seven head in the U.S. inventory of 93.6 million cattle. The 54 Texas counties declared a disaster area due to damage by Hurricane Harvey hold 1.2 million beef cows, the animals that are the foundation of the cattle industry, says livestock economist David Anderson of Texas A&M.
People who shop at Whole Foods expect to get higher-quality food in exchange for paying significantly higher prices. But when it comes to poultry and meat, at least, consolidation in the industry and broadly rising standards mean the same products that Whole Foods sells are increasingly available at conventional supermarket chains for a lot less money, reports Bloomberg.
JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, will sell its Five Rivers Cattle Feeding operation as part of a global divestiture plan intended to generate $1.8 billion. Five Rivers operates feedlots in six western states with a combined capacity of 980,000 head and manages a 75,000-head feedlot in Alberta.
The government has quarantined three dozen farms and thousands of cattle in western Canada as it investigates an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis, a bacterial disease that can be transmitted to people. Ranchers appealed to the House of Commons for compensation for the quarantine or permission to sell the cattle, which are ready for marketing.
Americans faced relentlessly higher beef prices at the grocery store in 2014 and 2015 due to drought, tight supplies and high demand. Shoppers will get a break this year, with retail prices forecast to dip 1 percent, says the monthly Food Price Outlook.