Meat + Poultry - June 2004 - (Page 4)

U.S. agricultural exports forecast at record levels WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture revised forecast of agricultural exports for fiscal year 2004 shows sales of $61.5 billion, an increase of $5.3 billion over the previous year. The level of sales, if realized, would be the highest ever, eclipsing the old record of $59.8 billion set in fiscal year 1996. U.S. agricultural exports to China will have more than tripled since their accession to the World Trade Organization. "The latest export sales forecast clearly indicates our efforts to expand overseas market opportunities are working," said Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman. "With our recent market re-openings and continued strong commodity prices we are well on the way to setting a new export sales record." Veneman noted exports to China continue to be a bright spot for U.S. agriculture. "U.S. agricultural exports to China will have more than tripled since their accession to the World Trade Organization, rising from $1.8 billion in 2001 to $3.5 billion in 2003, and they are forecast to reach a record $5.9 billion in fiscal year 2004," said Veneman. "China was our fifth largest agricultural customer this past year and our number one market for soybeans, cotton and hides/skins." The 2004 forecast for livestock and livestock products of $7 billion is $1 billion higher than a forecast made this past February. The increase is due to beef, pork and poultry prices and also U.S.D.A.'s efforts to reopen some key beef and poultry markets that were closed following the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and avian influenza. Livestock exports in fiscal year 2003 totaled $9 billion. Sanderson Farms expanding processing capacity LAUREL, MISS. - Sanderson Farms announced this past month that two counties in Georgia have been selected for the construction of a new broiler processing complex. Sites near Adel in Cook County, Georgia, have been selected for a new feed mill and hatchery, while a site near Moultrie in Colquitt County, Georgia, has been selected for the construction of a new poultry processing plant and wastewater treatment facility. The facilities will have a capacity to process 1.2 million birds per week. At full capacity, the complex will employ approximately 1,700 people and require 130 contract growers. Sanderson Farms said it expects to invest approximately $96 million in the Georgia complex and anticipates that associated contract growers will invest an additional $85 million in poultry production facilities for a total investment of about $181 million. Construction of the facilities is expected to begin this summer, with operations at the new complex scheduled to begin during the company's fourth fiscal quarter of 2005. A.I. discovered in Texas again P.S.F. reports net loss for fourth quarter HOPKINS COUNTY, TEXAS - It's back. A breeder flock with about 24,000 birds was depopulated and buried in late May on a commercial poultry farm in Hopkins County, Texas, because it was infected with avian influenza. Routine blood tests indicated that the flock, which layed eggs for hatching, had the H7N3 subtype. According to Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas' state veterinarian, "the affected flock was negative for the A.I. virus during routine surveillance tests 10 weeks ago, and the birds have never been moved from the farm," he said. "These factors give us some reassurance that the disease may not have spread in the area." A.I. has been newsworthy this year, after outbreaks of a different strain were detected and eventually brought under control in Asia. Low-pathogenic A.I. strains also were detected in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey early this year. Additionally, Canadian officials are continuing efforts to eradicate an unrelated outbreak of a highly pathogenic form of the H7N3 A.I. virus in British Columbia. KANSAS CITY, MO. - P.S.F. Group Holdings, the parent company of Premium Standard Farms, Inc., reported net results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year this past month. Net loss for the fourth quarter was $3.5 million compared to an $11.6 million net loss for the fourth quarter of the previous year. "Our improved performance for the fourth quarter reflects the increased demand for our products and improved performance in our processing operations," said John Meyer, C.E.O. "Demand has been strong due to the popularity of low carbohydrate diets, a decrease in the production of competing proteins and increased pork exports." The company's net loss for fiscal year 2004 was $4.6 million compared to a net loss of $38.6 million for fiscal year 2003. Net sales for fiscal year 2004 were $730.7 million compared to $608.4 million for the same period of the prior year, an increase of 20.1 percent. 4 MEAT&POULTRY JUNE 2004

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Meat + Poultry - June 2004