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September 2011

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Economic Update 


Scientific and Regulatory

   Technical and Regulatory 

   Live Production/Environment

   Worker Safety and Health/

   Human Resources 




Member Services

Top Headlines

New NTF Regulatory Dept. Head
NTF Salmonella Summit
House Hearing Feed Availability
Donning/Doffing Notice
Ground Turkey Response
Strategy for "Contagion" Movie
Lifetime Achievement Award


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NTF Staff


Joel Brandenberger; Ext. 7226



Damon Wells; Ext. 7232

Leslee Oden; Ext. 7228


Scientific & Regulatory

Lisa Picard; Ext. 7233

Andrew Bailey; Ext. 7224



Sherrie Rosenblatt; Ext. 7227

Adrienne Richards; Ext. 7223

Kelley Hower; Ext. 7234



Jen Zukowski; Ext. 7229

Clara Sackey; Ext. 7221


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President's Messagepresmes




One of the best things about the turkey industry is that it confronts challenges head-on. 


When feed prices soared and the economy nose-dived in 2008, turkey companies looked at their individual production and marketing plans and made difficult choices about how to respond. The result was an overall 11-percent reduction in production across a two-year period.


In 2003 and 2004, when most pundits were saying Congress' plans to create a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) would have a minimal impact on feed availability and pricing, turkey industry leaders were on Capitol Hill vocally sounding the alarm that the RFS would fundamentally change food prices across the nation. Almost every dire prediction industry leaders made seven and eight years ago has proven true.


Last month, when the turkey industry experienced its largest product recall ever, members of NTF's Technical and Regulatory Committee immediately said, "This is an industry challenge, and we need an aggressive, comprehensive response. We need a summit."   


The result is the Turkey and Salmonella Summit scheduled for the end of this week. You can read more about the summit in the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs section of this newsletter, but the driving force behind it is to ensure the industry answers USDA's call for an industry-driven response to reduce the incidence of Salmonella in turkey products.


Solutions to great challenges often don't come quickly or easily, but by week's end the industry will have a direction and an action plan in place. Just as the turkey industry recovered from the terrible economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, and just as the ethanol policy is viewed in an entirely different light than it was in 2003 and 2004, everyone soon will look back at the recalls of 2011 as the time when the industry took the difficult but vital actions necessary to ensure a bright future.  





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Economic Update written by Tom Elam, FarmEcon, LLCeconupd 


Feed Costs and Turkey Demand: Feed cost prospects are starting to firm up, and the overall news is not good. During the critical July corn pollination period, weather was hot and dry across much of the Corn Belt. The drought in the Southwest has intensified, and grain yields are below average. While there are some areas that are in good shape, there is no chance that 2011 will be a year of above-average yields. The bottom line is that feed costs will remain in record high territory and also be very sensitive to production and demand shocks.


Click here to read the full article.






Senate Agriculture Committee Conducts Farm Bill Field Hearing in Kansas: In preparation for the 2012 Farm Bill, the Senate Agriculture Committee on Aug. 25 had its second field hearing of the year, this time in Kansas, to gather insight from agriculture leaders and farmers about emerging trends and issues facing agriculture. The Farm Bill is the legislation that authorizes many food, conservation, energy, trade, marketing, food assistance and rural development programs for five years and currently expires in September 2012. While the budget will be a significant force shaping the 2012 Farm Bill, these hearings mark the beginning of the debate on what changes will be sought in a wide array of agricultural policies. As the Senate Agriculture Committee begins reviewing this legislation, NTF will work with committee members to lay the groundwork for responsible farm policy. A few of the priorities that NTF will be focusing on are reworking the proposed GIPSA marketing rule to better reflect Congress' intent in the 2008 Farm Bill and improving opportunities for poultry farmers to get access to Environmental Quality Incentive Program funding to help with environmental stewardship and cost savings. 



Trade Facilitation Legislation: NTF and its trade coalition partners sent a letter to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., thanking him for introducing the Agriculture Trade Facilitation Act (H.R. 2707). The bill would improve the outcome of trade negotiations for American agriculture in regards to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures by establishing the principals necessary to reduce the negative effects on trade while maintaining nations' sovereign rights. Countries are increasingly using SPS measures to keep foreign products from competing on a level playing field. This legislation would strengthen the position of the U.S. government in negotiations. If passed, this legislation would require that SPS rules contained in trade agreements are science-based, transparent, effective and enforceable.    



House Agriculture Subcommittee to Conduct Feed Availability Hearing:feedhearing The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry will conduct a feed availability hearing on Sept. 14 at 1:30 p.m. ET. NTF Past Chairman Ted Seger, president of Farbest Foods, will testify on behalf of the turkey industry, where he will examine the issue of feed availability and its effect on the turkey industry. Seger will be joined by representatives from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers Council and American Feed Industries Association. This is the fourth time this year that an NTF representative has testified before Congress regarding feed grain prices.  





Scientific and Regulatorysci


NTF Names New Head of Regulatory Department:picard NTF named Lisa Wallenda Picard the new vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs last month. NTF's Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Department enjoys a reputation for excellence both in Washington and throughout the poultry and meat industry.  Lisa's experience and expertise will enable her to maintain and enhance that reputation in the years ahead.  You can learn more about Lisa here.



Technical and Regulatorytechreg 


Salmonella Heidelberg Recall and Salmonella Summit:salmonella To address issues arising from two ground turkey recalls this year, NTF is conducting a Turkey and Salmonella Summit, Sept. 8-9, at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington. The summit will allow turkey processors to work together to identify a range of strategies to reduce the incidence of Salmonella in turkey.  This not only will allow the industry to prepare for any new government initiatives that may be implemented in the wake of the recall, but it also could limit the initiatives government officials feel are needed.


Accordingly, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, USDA's under secretary for food safety, will deliver an opening address at the summit, and Chris Waldrop, director, Food Policy Institute, Consumer Federation of America, will speak as well.


Members of NTF's Technical and Regulatory Committee conceived of the summit in the immediate aftermath of the most recent ground turkey recall, announced Aug. 3. The committee members had been discussing Salmonella strategies during the July meeting at the NTF Leadership Conference and believed the recall demanded immediate action on the part of the turkey industry. NTF staff met immediately after the recall with Hagen and also FSIS Administrator Al Amanza, and both strongly encouraged the federation to facilitate an "industry-driven" response to the recalls.   


NTF also fielded numerous media inquiries during the recall, and those are covered in more detail in the Issues Management section of the newsletter. 



FSIS Updates Campylobacter Guidelines: The revised FSIS Campylobacter guidelines went into effect for the poultry industry on Aug. 1. The new guidelines contain changes to testing and alternatives standards. A full list of revisions can be accessed here.    



Donning and Doffing Notice Released:donning On Aug. 28, FSIS began fully implementing the donning and doffing requirements regarding the lunch period. FSIS Office of Field Operations Assistant Administrator Ken Petersen on Aug. 19 issued a notice concerning the implementation of the donning and doffing rule for inspection personnel.  


The lunch period is an authorized duty-free interruption in the inspector's tour of duty once it begins. Consequently, doffing of required gear needs to occur before the lunch period begins and donning of required gear needs to occur once the duty-free lunch period is over. In slaughter operations, the establishment will need to address the time required for on-line inspection personnel to conduct doffing and donning, walking and related activities surrounding the lunch period. Establishment management may elect to make adjustments to minimize the amount of time spent in these activities. Additional guidance is provided in the question and answer document here.



FSIS Heat Study of Workplace Conditions: In July, FSIS announced that it would be conducting a heat study to collect relative humidity measurements and related information on workplace conditions to aid in establishing future policy to protect FSIS employees from thermal stress. The goal of the study is to determine the appropriate exposure metrics for the implementation of various actions under a future Heat Alert Plan. The data collection frequency and duration will be three specific timeframes during each shift on each day the establishment is in operation (including overtime days) for a total of four weeks. FSIS has selected a random distribution of establishments to cover multiple species and facility sizes. A list of plants selected for the study is available here. NTF will continue to monitor the progress of this ongoing study.   



FSIS Single Ingredient Labeling Enforcement Discretion: On Aug. 11, FSIS issued a notice announcing the final rule regarding nutrition labeling of major cuts of single ingredient raw meat and poultry products, including ground and chopped products, with a Jan. 1 effective date. However, FSIS Labeling and Program Delivery Division requested enforcement discretion for a six-month period following Jan. 1 because of delays in developing nutrition labeling materials and webinars for industry, as promised in the proposed rule.       





Live Production and Environmentliveprod


NTF Discusses with Global Animal Partnership Animal Welfare Rating Standards for Turkeys: NTF recently voiced the industry's concerns to the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) about its new DRAFT Five Step Animal Welfare Rating Pilot Standards for turkeys, which would establish an international ranking and labeling system for farm animal welfare for all turkey products sold in Whole Foods' Markets. Whole Foods, in working with GAP, has already created these "standards" for beef cattle, broilers and pigs. GAP published the draft on their website and opened a one-week comment period for this pilot project. Given the fact these "standards" are being established for Whole Foods Markets, NTF would not normally comment on their draft, as this ultimately establishes a voluntary standard between a turkey company and a customer. However, NTF wanted to communicate to GAP the flaws that are clearly in opposition to current science and seek to invalidate or "downgrade" well-researched production practices that promote animal welfare. 





Worker Safety and Health/Human Resourcesworksafe 


Joint Poultry Industry Human Resource Council Comments on Labor Election Proposed Rule: On Aug. 22, the Joint Poultry Industry Human Resources Council submitted comments opposing a proposed rule from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding labor elections. Although the current procedures result in elections within an average of 38 days, the proposed rule seeks to shorten the timeframe for union election campaigns and makes other unreasonable changes in the unionization process. Among the issues identified are a denial of due process in elections and the potential for an increase in litigation, ultimately delaying timely elections. There are no provisions in the National Labor Relations Act or the applicable regulations that require such "rushed" elections, while the proposal to create them inhibits the requirements for "fair" elections.    





Marketing Communicationscomm



Upgrade It! Blogger Contest Update: The top two finalists for NTF's Blogger Contest are Jennifer Tidwell's Italian Herb and Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd Pie and Merry Graham's Broccoli Turkey Potato Casserole. These recipes will be featured on beginning next week, where visitors will choose the grand prize winner. The grand prize winner will then receive an all-expense paid weekend for two to meet, cook and dine with Chef Lisa Schroeder of Mother's Bistro & Bar in Portland, Ore.



Upgrade It! Media Update: NTF's Upgrade It! with turkey message is enjoying increased media traction. The camera-ready newspaper article has generated more than 390 placements in 25 different states, reaching more than 16.7 million readers. The 30-second television spot has been broadcast 43 times in nine states, reaching more than 2 million viewers. Finally, the 30-second radio spot has been broadcast 678 times in 36 states, reaching more than 29 million listeners.    




Turkey Industry Marketing Executives...

Mark Your Calendars!

Future NTF Marketing Communications Program Meeting

Oct. 11-12

Chicago, Ill.

Please contact Sherrie Rosenblatt for more information.








NTF Responds to Media and Consumers on Ground Turkey:groundturkey NTF responded to more than a dozen news inquiries from a variety of media outlets, including the Associated Press, Bloomberg, New York Times, CNN and Fox News about Salmonella in ground turkey. NTF reiterated that consumers can remove all pathogens by properly cooking their meat and poultry. The primary message was that properly cooked ground turkey is safe to eat.

After the immediate news cycle, some media tried to make the link between antibiotic resistance in humans to the use of antibiotics in animal production. In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), "Salmonella Strain in Turkey Recall Resists Antibiotics," NTF emphasized antibiotics are an important reason the U.S. food supply is one of the most nutritious, safest and affordable in the world. NTF was also part of a panel of speakers on "All Sides with Anne Fisher," an NPR station in Columbus, Ohio, that examined overall food safety in the United States. Other speakers included a lawyer with the Center for Science in the Public Interest and a representative from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

NTF was mentioned in more than 630 articles concerning Salmonella and ground turkey, reaching a circulation of more than 199 million.

To help consumers continue enjoying ground turkey products, NTF updated its website to highlight "Cooking Ground Turkey Tips" on its homepage.  This links consumers to information about purchasing ground turkey, along with proper cooking instructions.  Consumers can even go one step further and find numerous recipes using ground turkey.

NTF will continue to engage in traditional and social media, while taking other actions as appropriate, to ensure consumers maintain confidence in consuming ground turkey products.


Poultry Industry Strategy for the New Movie "Contagion:"contagion NTF, along with other poultry trade groups, and government officials discussed a response strategy for the new movie "Contagion" that follows the fictitious development and rapid spread of a new type of "bird flu" that becomes a devastating pandemic. The movie, which opens on Sept. 9, was pre-screened by representatives from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who said "Contagion" does not involve H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza.


NTF will make it clear that the poultry industry and government continue to be vigilant against avian influenza and that consumers can continue to enjoy properly prepared poultry. Working collectively with the other poultry groups, NTF's response will include turkey industry information that will make it clear that "Contagion" is pure fiction. NTF will also prepare messages for its social media platforms to educate consumers about the facts surrounding turkey production and animal disease testing.  




Member Servicesmem


2012 Lifetime Achievement Award:lifetime Nominations are now being accepted for NTF's 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes the outstanding service and contributions made by individuals to the turkey industry. Past recipients include turkey industry and NTF leaders, executives of national and state poultry or turkey organizations, and researchers. These individuals have been honored for contributions resulting from their unselfish commitment to the turkey industry.


All nominations must be received by Wednesday, Oct. 12. The award will be presented at the Annual Convention in Tampa, Feb. 15-18. To nominate someone for NTF's Lifetime Achievement Award, please contact Jennifer Dansereau.














FEB. 15-18, 2012










 Corrected link from last month's Turkey, Today and Tomorrow: NTF would like to welcome our new Preferred Supplier members!






Did You Know?   You can view programs, attendee lists and more from past meeting on the "Members' Only" website?


1. Log into the "Members' Only" website using your username and password (see President's Message).   


2.   Click "Member Services" on the left side of the homepage.


3.   Click the "Past Meetings" link.





Rod Brenneman is Butterball, LLC's new chief executive officer and will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of Butterball's business strategy and operations.


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Marvin DeWitt, co-founder of Bil Mar Foods, passed away Aug. 5. Marvin and his brother Bill, who received NTF's Lifetime Achievement Award, started Bil Mar Foods in 1938 and turned it into one of the nation's largest turkey processors, later selling it to Sara Lee in 1988.


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Butterball turkey farmers Anthony and Eldridge Westbrook received the Environmental Award from the North Carolina Poultry Federation for their environmental stewardship and management practices.


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Dr. Kabel Robbins is Butterball's new staff veterinarian at the Ozark and Huntsville, Ark., facilities, where he will be responsible for ensuring the health of the turkeys through vaccination and disease prevention as well as diagnosis and treatment.


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Former NTF intern Kerry Lynch is the new communications and membership coordinator for the Animal Agriculture Alliance.


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The Iowa Turkey Federation served 22,000 pounds of turkey during this year's Iowa State Fair. 


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Minnesota Turkey Growers Association's (MTGA) popular concession stand at the Minnesota State Fair, Turkey To Go, further expanded MTGA's mobile food carts in the Twin Cities and featured new menu upgrades, including a Jumbo Turkey Drumstick and a Half-Pound Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich. 


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Jimmy Dean debuted Breakfast Minis, a turkey sausage patty on a mini croissant, which contains 230 calories and 11 grams of protein and is a convenient balanced breakfast aimed at health-conscious women. 


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Caribou Coffee launched a new lunch menu featuring Grown-Up Grilled Cheese sandwiches, including Gouda Turkey Pesto.   


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Meals to Live launched a retail line of frozen meals designed specifically for diabetics, including Sliced White Turkey with Balsamic Sauce and Butternut Squash, and Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce over Whole Wheat Spaghetti.  


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Turkey meat production totaled 2.9 billion pounds during the first six months of 2011, up 5.5 percent from the same period in 2010, according to USDA. Ending stocks for second-quarter 2011 showed whole turkey inventories down 3 percent. 


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According to USDA, turkey exports in the first half of 2011 reached more than 150,000 tons valued at $263.3 million, up 32 percent and 31 percent, respectively, from June 2010. 


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The University of Georgia is offering an International Poultry Course, Jan. 27-31, 2012, in Athens, Ga., immediately after the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association International Poultry Exposition in Atlanta. 


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The 34th Annual National Food Policy Conference, sponsored by Consumer Federation of America, is Oct. 3-4 in Washington. Please click here to register or contact Sally Karwowski at 202-939-1005 for more information. 





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