- Perdue Farms Sued Over “Humane” Labels
- Fire at Grain Elevator in Gordon, NE, Over Weekend
- Corn at 59% Harvested With Soybeans at 77%
- ADM Reports Adjusted Third Quarter 2013 Earnings of $0.46/Share
- United Ethanol in Milton WI Cited by OSHA After Employee Death in April
Perdue Farms has been accused of trying to profit off of the increased customer concern over where the foods they buy are coming from. Wendy Roy of Palm Bay, FL, who filed the lawsuit, claims that Perdue follows the same guidelines, set by the National Chicken Council, as most of its competitors, but tries to fool customers into believing that the chickens they raise are better treated. The lawsuit is attempting to be classified as class action so that other customers will be able to join in. The language in the lawsuit insinuates that current practices used by the industry are “a system of mechanized brutality,” which gives merit to Perdue Farms’ counter claim that the Humane Society of the United States is attempting to use this lawsuit in order to attack their brands. The company also claims that it goes further than NCC guidelines in ensuring that its chickens are humanly treated. A similar lawsuit against Perdue Farms from 2011 is still being played out in the court system after a judge threw out many of the claims.
A large fire broke out on Oct. 24 in Gordon, NE, at the Gordon grain elevator. The fire took teams of firefighters from the surrounding counties and North Dakota to contain. It was contained by noon the first day, but crews doused hot spots and flare-ups into the early hours of the next day, soaking the grain with an estimated 1,900 gallons/minute of water. The cause of the fire is unknown, but spontaneous combustion of grain is believed to be responsible.
The USDA reports fall into the category of things that you don’t miss until they’re gone. After the U.S. government shutdown of last month, it was nice to see a new USDA report. Corn jumped 20% with this week’s closing in on the five-year average. Soybeans jumped 14%, bringing it even with the five-year average. With the release of this week’s report, both corn and soybeans have climbed just above their five-year average.
While adjusted earnings were down $0.07/share from ADM’s third quarter last year, net earnings were up to $0.28/share. Other highlights included an increase in oilseeds processing profit of $25 million along with a $91 million increase in corn processing profit. Agricultural services profit did decline $122 million though, due to weak exports. ADM’s net debt is down to $3.4 billion.
This is a story that we’ve followed closely at Feed & Grain. Our south-central Wisconsin home in Fort Atkinson is a mere 20 minutes from Milton, WI, and the death of Jerad Guell deeply affected the community we live in. United Ethanol has been cited with 15 violations, 12 of which were classified as serious and one that was labeled willful. According to OSHA’s Field Inspection Reference Manual CPL 2.103, a violation is willful when “evidence shows either an intentional violation of the Act or plain indifference to its requirement.” The violation in question was the failure to lock out the conveyors that empty bins when an employee is inside. United Ethanol is being fined $140,000 and being placed within a program that requires inspections to make sure that the company is in compliance with regulations.
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