Turkey plant: As part of previously announced plans to exit the turkey business, House of Raeford Farms shut down slaughter operations at its turkey processing facility near Raeford, N.C., last Thursday. The company said in March that it would exit the turkey production business over a six-month period to focus instead on expanding its chicken production operations. It was the ninth-largest turkey company in the U.S. and the ninth-largest chicken integrator. Executives said the decision to exit the turkey business was based on multiple years of flat to lower turkey consumption, rapidly falling turkey markets and historic losses on turkey production.
Canadian cages: At a July 9 meeting in Halifax, N.S., the Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) passed a resolution calling for a transition away from traditional cage housing for laying hens. The motion, passed by EFC's board of directors, states that the Canadian egg industry will move to phase out conventional cage use as existing facilities are either rebuilt or refurbished. The plan calls for a move to furnished housing at 116 sq. in. per bird, such that no new conventional cage systems will be installed in Canada after Dec. 31, 2014. EFC manages the supply of eggs in Canada via roughly 1,000 regulated egg farmers operating under the country's system of supply management.
Poultry exports: The U.S. Department of Agriculture notified exporters July 29 that China would no longer accept imports of poultry and poultry products produced in Arkansas or Wisconsin. For Arkansas, imports were blocked after birds on a Scott County farm tested positive for low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) in June. "This was an isolated incident, and China is being unfair by banning poultry imports from our entire state," Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) said. "I'll be working with food safety and trade officials to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and reopen this market for our farmers." Arkansas is the second-largest U.S. chicken producer behind Georgia. In June, the state's livestock and poultry commission reported the discovery of H7N7 LPAI, and officials quarantined poultry within a 6.2-mile radius.