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WEEKLY GRAIN MOVEMENT: Soybean processors raise bids to pull crop from storage

Soybean processors raised basis bids 4 to 5 cents a bushel in the past week to pull supplies from storage as farmers have been content to wait before selling more, grain dealers said.

Soybeans may start moving from storage and into market channels this week as higher basis plus the strong gains in Monday’s soybean futures raised cash prices enough to more than offset storage costs, dealers said.

Corn is more available to end users as the huge harvest filled on-farm and off-farm storage. Farmers have delivered the overflow to exporters and processors. Also, as corn processors have reduced hours of operation, farmers have had to find other outlets for the grain.

“A lot of overrun in the corn is coming to the river,” said a Quad Cities shipper.

The Mississippi River near the Quad Cities is expected to close to navigation for the season about Dec. 9 and the shipper said his company will be loading corn and soybean barges until then. While CIF values for soybean have dropped in the past week, they have held fairly stable for corn.

Corn at the Gulf on Monday was bid about 44 cents over December for December shipment, compared with 43 a week ago, while soybeans were bid about 32 over January versus about 42 week ago.

Barges have been easily moving upstream and downstream this past week. Barge rates moved lower in the past week as supplies appear to be sufficient for demand.

In central Illinois, the southeast rail market has become competitive with local processors for corn, while soybeans are still going to local processors.

Weekly data

Barge grain shipments during the week ended Nov. 12 were 1,313,240 tons, up 10% from the prior week and 71% from a year ago. In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 28,655 for the week ended Nov. 5, up 22% from a year ago, said USDA’s grain transportation report said.

For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price dropped 3 cents in the latest week to $2.44 per gallon. That is 4 cents under a year ago.

USDA’s latest weekly grain inspections included corn 34.5 million bushels, which were up 28% from a week ago and matched trade forecasts. Soybean shipments of 97.95 million were down 9% from a week ago and beat trade forecast. Wheat shipments of 15.8 million were up sharply from a week ago and missed trade forecasts. 

Exports, Asian markets put soybeans over $10 again

Soybeans charged above $10/bu. in the lead January contract after a number of export sales last week, better-than-expected export shipments and higher Asian markets.

In addition, a broad range of commodities were higher, including crude oil, gold and copper. The dollar was a little lower after last week’s 13.5-year high but remained at a lofty level as investors expect the Federal Reserve Bank to raise interest rates in December.

The Dow Jones industrials were up about 75 points when the crops closed, and crude oil was up $1.77 a barrel.

In weather news, light rain is moving across the southern Plains Monday and Tuesday, and the drought-hit Southeast may get rain on Wednesday.

The corn market’s higher close put it near a two-week high, and December is above a number of key moving averages.

In the cash markets, some corn is moving into market channels as farmers sell what’s left after filling their bins. River markets are taking it and shipping it downstream. The weekly export inspections of 34.5 million bu. were up 28% from a week ago.

Ethanol futures rose with the other energy markets, up nearly 2.5% and the highest since mid-June. December ethanol was up 0.039 to $1.570/gal.

The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) estimated Monday’s corn futures volume at 309,173, compared with Friday’s actual of 349,882. Open interest on Friday decreased by 10,797 in the higher market. That included a decrease of 27,337 in December and an increase of 12,619 in March.

December corn closed 4.25 cents higher at $3.4975/bu., and March was up 4.25 cents to $3.5775/bu.

Soybeans’ strong gains put lead January the highest for a lead month since August, helped by the export sales, Asia and weekly export inspections.

Soybeans at China’s Dalian market were up 2% on Monday to about $14.96/bu. after conversions from metric tons and yuans. That market is trying to recover from recent steep losses. The exchange’s January soybeans lost 5.7% in value last week and closed at about $14.65/bu. on Friday.

CBOT estimated soybean futures volume for Monday at 172,233, compared with Friday’s actual volume of 126,487. Open interest on Friday decreased by 1,290 in the higher market and included decreases of 810 in January and 535 in March.

January settled soybeans closed 26.5 cents higher at $10.2025/bu., and March was up 26.25 cents to $10.285/bu.

U.S. 4WD tractor sales a bright spot in October

U.S. 4WD tractor sales a bright spot in October

For October, U.S. retail sales of four-wheel-drive (4WD) tractors rebounded, and sales dipped for smaller two-wheel-drive (2WD) tractors under 40 hp and 40-100 hp; however, the pace of year-to-date sales remained the same, with production agriculture machines still in double-digit decline, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the leading trade group for off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

U.S. sales of 4WD tractors in October (year over year) gained 19.7% (compared to -17.9% September year over year), and year-to-date sales improved to -24.4% (compared to -32.4% for September year-to-date numbers).

Source: AEM

U.S. retail sales for 2WD tractors under 40 hp gained 7.3% for October (compared to 16.8% September year over year) and were the only machines in positive territory for the October year-to-date sales, with 11.2% growth. October sales of 2WD tractors 40-100 hp were down 1.6% year over year (compared to 3.9% September year over year) and were down 4.1% October year to date.

U.S. sales of 2WD, 100 hp-plus tractors dropped 21.3% for October and were down 22.5% year to date. Also, U.S. combine sales declined 34.9% in October, with October year-to-date sales dropping 25.5%.

"Starting the last quarter of 2016, we continue to face a challenging environment with a slower global economy, overall slumping commodity prices and weak exports negatively affecting equipment sales," AEM senior vice president Charlie O’Brien said.

“While we saw a significant bump in the sales of 4WD farm tractors this month, the uptick is unlikely to signal a change in the overall trends. The increase in sales during the October period is quite seasonal, and while this year was no exception, the 4WD tractor October numbers are still far below pre-downturn years,” O’Brien added.

The Canadian market saw a strengthening in 2016 as 4WD farm tractor sales increased 9.5% from October 2015 to October 2106, although year-to-date sales were down 4.3%. Total 2WD tractor sales were up 9.5% for the month and down 10.9% for the year.

Protected black vultures preying on livestock industry

Protected black vultures preying on livestock industry

Livestock producers beware: Black vultures are on the hunt, and they aren’t just looking for dead animals. These migratory birds are known to attack and eat live animals, too.

The birds have become a problem for many Ohio livestock producers in recent years, said Stan Smith, an Ohio State University Extension program assistant in agriculture and natural resources.

Black vultures, which have black heads and white tips on the undersides of their wings, are easily distinguished from turkey vultures, which have red heads as adults, are larger and have longer wings. Immature turkey vultures have blackish-gray heads.

The turkey vulture (left) is larger than the black vulture (right). The black vulture weighs less than 4 pounds with a wingspan of less than 5 feet. Source: USDA APHIS- Wildlife Service

“Folks in several areas across the state have reported having problems with black vultures attacking small animals,” he said. “In some cases, the birds have been known to attack newborn calves during birth while they are still in the cow’s birth canal before the animal is even completely out.”

Black vultures have also been a growing problem for livestock producers in many other regions of the U.S. In fact, when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack presented the 2014 farm bill to the House Agriculture Committee, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R, Tenn.) noted that the black vulture was "plaguing the Southeast." The 2014 farm bill's livestock indemnity program allows farmers who lose livestock to birds that are federally protected to file a claim at their local Farm Service Agency offices.

Unlike the more docile turkey vultures, which are more timid and feed on dead animal carcasses, Smith said black vultures are more aggressive. “They’ve been known to target and kill small live animals including lambs, calves, goats, groundhogs and other wild animals,” he said.

For livestock producers, this issue is even more prevalent during calving, which, for most, is in spring or fall, Smith said.

“These animals are hungry year-round,” he said. “If they can’t find something dead to eat, they will attack live animals – anything outdoors.”

Many cattle producers in many different states have reported damages. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry estimated this spring that Oklahoma ranchers had lost more than $30,000 worth of livestock to black vultures last year.

Tennessee livestock producers reported losses of 233 cattle to black vultures in 2015, but the Tennessee Farm Bureau announced in June 2016 that it had worked with both state and federal elected and agency personnel to obtain a statewide depredation permit for black vultures from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). The bureau planned sub-permits to livestock producers who are experiencing problems with black vultures.

Permits are required because black vultures are migratory and, thus, protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which means producers need a Migratory Bird Depredation Permit in order to take, capture or kill the birds, Smith said.

The permits, which typically cost $100 from FWS, can be obtained for free by livestock producers who are applying for the permit for the first time, he said. Permits are good only for one calendar year, and then producers must reapply.

“Another option producers have to deal with black vultures is to use the birds they kill after they’ve gotten their permit and use it as an effigy to keep other vultures away,” Smith said. “Producers can also hire a taxidermist to stuff the dead vultures that can be hung to resemble a dead bird to keep other vultures away.”

Vultures will not go within eyesight of another dead vulture. In instances of highly variable and hilly terrain within a calving pasture, Smith said multiple effigies may need to be utilized so that one is visible regardless of where the animals may be located in the pasture at any given time.

Other recommendations to scare vultures away include pointing a laser at them or setting off fireworks or making other loud noises.

Economic impact

According to the most recent 2010 data from the Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), 11,900 cattle and calf deaths valued at $4.64 million have been attributed to vultures. USDA estimated the total monetary loss from all cattle/calf predation to be $98.48 million. Black vulture impacts to livestock extend to pigs, goats and sheep, but comparable economic data are not available.

Vultures are also among the most costly species in the U.S. in terms of damage to military aircraft (more than $2.9 million per year) and civil aircraft (more than $1.2 million per year). Only geese and pelicans have a greater economic impact, according to U.S. Air Force bird strike data.

Additionally, both turkey and black vulture species cause property damage to vehicles, houses, office buildings, equipment and various other items. Their roosting on cell towers, water towers, buildings and other tall structures necessitates roost dispersal, cleaning and repairs. The collective economic impacts of these activities are unknown, APHIS noted.

Grant taps power of cloud biology to create new corn hybrids

Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural technology company focused on unlocking the genetic potential of plants, announced a strategic partnership and grant from the National Corn Growers Assn. (NCGA).

The primary goal of the funding and partnership initiative will be to accelerate breeding and development of new corn hybrids utilizing CropOS, a cognitive engine that uses cloud biology to empower a new era of plant genomics innovation, subsequently introducing new choices for growers in the U.S. corn marketplace.

In an era of unprecedented agriculture industry consolidation, innovation in corn genetics is being further limited to a few large companies with budgets for significant research and development investment. Benson Hill’s CropOS platform empowers organizations of any size to innovate and provide growers choice, whether that be for disease, maturity or specific environmental requirements, the announcement noted. With a handful of companies owning roughly 85% of the corn market, there is limited incentive to address more geographic-specific needs; Benson Hill’s CropOS opens up new research opportunities.

“The financial and broader support of NCGA underscores our opportunity to empower innovation and help level the playing field for those seeking to develop high-performing varieties, even on a local or regional level,” Benson Hill co-founder and chief executive officer Matthew Crisp said. “The more responsive and competitive the industry is, the better equipped growers will be to sustainably meet demand for increasingly diverse solutions that benefit farms, communities, consumers and our society.”

The ability of CropOS to remove barriers to innovation directly aligns with NCGA’s mission to “create and increase opportunities for corn growers.” This association represents more than 40,000 dues-paying corn farmers nationwide and the interests of more than 300,000 growers who contribute through corn checkoff programs.

“Our members are telling us loud and clear that they need more choices in the corn marketplace,” said Larry Hoffmann, a grower and chairman of NCGA’s Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team. “We believe that the CropOS platform offers a fresh approach to leverage big data and technology and foster a more competitive industry. Our partnership heralds an exciting new era of opportunity for our members to access better hybrids from a more diversified market.”

CropOS combines vast amounts of genomic data and expert biological knowledge from public and private sources to pinpoint which plants will produce desired traits and improved performance prior to ever being planted in the field. CropOS provides decision support in breeding programs, allowing researchers to bypass multiple generations of experimentation.

The CropOS cognitive engine uses machine learning to grow smarter and more predictive with every experiment and data set. With each additional breeder that takes advantage of the analytical power and machine learning of CropOS, progress in corn breeding has the potential to accelerate significantly, making the industry more responsive to the needs of growers.

Conaway urges CFTC to halt any further rule-making

House Agriculture Committee chairman Mike Conaway during hearing

House Agriculture Committee chairman Michael Conaway (R., Texas) sent a letter to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Timothy Massad requesting that he not move forward on any controversial regulations during the final months of President Barack Obama’s administration.

In the letter, he asked Massad to refrain from “pushing through controversial regulations,” adding, “While we may not agree on which regulations are overreaching or unnecessary, we should agree that the American people have asked for someone else to make that judgment.”

House Agriculture Committee chairman Michael Conaway (R., Texas) has asked the CFTC chairman to halt any further rulemaking until the new administration has appointed new commissioners.

Conaway specifically requested that CFTC not move forward on the controversial position limits rule-making and that it extend the comment period for Regulation Automated Trader (Reg AT), noting that further work and consideration is needed for each proposal.

Agricultural groups have had concerns about the position limits rule-making, which Conaway called a “deeply controversial proposal.” In his letter, Conaway applauded Massad’s staff for working diligently and making progress on a number of significant deficiencies in the proposal he inherited.

“The public expects a healthy exchange of ideas and consideration of policy alternatives among commissioners as rules are finalized,” the letter said. “However, at this late date, there is no longer enough time to understand potential policy alternatives, negotiate new language and conduct the appropriate cost/benefit analysis of any amended final text. It now makes sense to entrust the work you and your staff have accomplished to your successor and the new commissioners who join the commission.”

The five-panel CFTC commission currently has only three commissioners, as two of Obama’s nominees will not be confirmed before he leaves office. The chairman is held by a party of the presiding president.

“President Obama told the public that he was looking forward to doing everything he could to make sure the next administration is successful. That must include preserving difficult and controversial rule-makings for the next chairman of the CFTC to complete,” Conaway wrote. "Failing to extend this courtesy to your successor likely will not settle the underlying policy questions. Instead, it will serve only to create needless compliance burdens for market intermediaries and sow confusion for end users who depend on derivatives to manage their business risks."

Conaway concluded by thanking Massad for his service, writing, “Your forthright nature and willingness to listen served the commission and our country well. Your leadership stabilized an agency reeling from previous mismanagement, and your personal engagement provided a needed opportunity for end users to be heard in the rule-making process.”

Cuba still very challenging for U.S meat exports: Podcast

With diplomatic relations restored between the U.S. and Cuba and some travel and trade restrictions being eased, two U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) staff members recently conducted a fact-finding visit to Cuba to examine current market conditions and to research potential export opportunities for U.S red meat.

While Cuba has been open to U.S. pork and beef shipments for many years, USMEF said several barriers exist that continue to inhibit exports – such as lack of financing for Cuban buyers and the requirement that all U.S. goods entering Cuba must be imported through a single government entity: Alimport. Even with these obstacles in place, however, new opportunities are beginning to surface in Cuba because of the rapid increase in tourism and surging investment in Cuba’s hospitality industry, the group said.

Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF marketing director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, compared current opportunities in Cuba to those that existed in the Dominican Republic prior to approval of the U.S.-Dominican Republic/Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). USMEF Caribbean representative Liz Wunderlich discussed specific near-term opportunities for U.S. meat that are emerging in Cuba, including a rapid increase in hotel capacity and the introduction of new cruise ship services to Cuba.

Fall cover crops for grazing may improve soil health

Fall cover crops for grazing may improve soil health

Adding a cover crop to the rotation plan on which livestock can graze may improve soil health and help protect the environment. That’s the premise behind a four-year, nearly $4 million U.S. Department of Agriculture project spearheaded by South Dakota State University assistant professor Sandeep Kumar of the department of agronomy, horticulture and plant science.

Although grazing cropland was once common, Kumar admitted that “most farmers are not into this practice.” The fall crop will not only provide nourishment to cattle, sheep, goats and other ruminants but will bind nitrogen to the soil, reducing runoff into lakes and streams.

Cattle graze on a mixture of barley, turnips, radishes, oats and peas in a cover crop test plot northwest of Brookings, S.D. Though a U.S. Department of Agriculture project led by South Dakota State University, researchers are evaluating an integrated crop and livestock management system that using cover crops planted after the harvest for grazing. Photo: South Dakota State University.

The integrated crop and livestock management system seeks to use crops, such as oats, sorghum, turnips, radishes or millet, planted after harvest for grazing, Kumar explained.

The National Institute of Food & Agriculture project involves 26 scientists from North Dakota State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and from USDA offices in Lincoln, Neb.; Mandan, N.D., and Brookings, S.D.

The researchers will assess the effects of incorporating grazing crops at seven sites covering three states: North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

“We’re expecting this practice to help increase crop production,” Kumar explained. The researchers will share their results with producers through a quarterly newsletter, which will be available along with other project information at www.ipicl.org.

“The hypothesis is that this system can alter nutrition cycling and improve soil resilience," Kumar said. The practice may, in the long run, reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.

One of the concerns the researchers seek to resolve is the availability of moisture. “The treatments are different in each state because of the variability in precipitation,” Kumar noted. In South Dakota, he said, “we are putting the cover crop in a three-year rotation, right after small grains, which are harvested in June and July.”

At the Southeast Research Center near Beresford, S.D., for instance, the researchers are evaluating three treatments — corn-soybeans-oats, corn-soybeans-oats/cover crop and corn-soybeans-oats/cover crop with grazing. In addition to sites at Brookings and Beresford, several producers in South Dakota, who have been utilizing an integrated crop/livestock management system for more than a year, have agreed to participate in the study.

Researchers will gather data on soils, crop and livestock performance and environmental parameters, Kumar explained. “The goal is greater sustainability.”

Canadian chicken farmers applaud import control steps

Chicken Farmers of Canada welcomed news that the government of Canada is committed to Canada's supply management system and appreciates that a consultation process is underway to ensure that regulations are not undermining the Canadian chicken sector.

The government of Canada is taking steps to address concerns related to the Duties Relief Program and what it says are fraudulent imports of broiler chicken making their way across the Canadian border illegally labeled as spent fowl.

Launching consultations will hopefully result in a timely implementation of better rules to stop the distortions in the Canadian chicken market created by inappropriate program duplication and design and circumvention of tariff classifications, the group said.

"Our farmers and processors have been afflicted by leakages in the market that have been occurring for many years now, meaning they face uncertainty in their own production, and consumers face uncertainty in the safety of their food," said Dave Janzen, chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada, "We are hopeful that a meaningful consultation process will result in changes benefitting the chicken sector in Canada and all Canadians."

Addressing these critical issues will not affect the significant amount of legal imports of chicken that make Canada the 13th-largest importer of chicken in the world. The Canadian chicken sector supports more than 87,200 jobs from coast to coast in Canada and contributes $6.8 billion to Canada's gross domestic product (GDP).

Duties Relief Program

The Duties Relief Program administered by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) was not designed for agricultural goods and does not provide adequate safeguards to address the potential for diversion into the domestic market that is presented when chicken is imported into Canada for further processing and subsequent re-export. Specifically, the group said it has identified the following concerns with respect to the Duties Relief Program:

• Marinated products, which were banned from the Import to- Re-export Program of Global Affairs Canada due to concerns regarding the possible diversion to the domestic market, are permitted under Duties Relief Program.

• Participants have up to four years to re-export the chicken they've imported.

• Imported products can be substituted with lower-value cuts and even spent fowl.

• The program duplicates the Import to- Re-export Program, which was created specifically for agricultural goods and has adequate verification and safeguard processes in place.

The Canadian government announced on Oct. 5, 2015, that dairy, poultry and egg tariff lines subject to the tariff rate quota would be excluded from the Duties Relief Program.

Spent fowl are old laying hens, a byproduct of egg and hatching egg production. While broiler chickens are raised for meat consumption, spent fowl hens lay eggs, so when their productivity declines, they are processed for their meat.

Chicken coming into Canada is subject to import controls, but spent fowl is not; there is no limit on how much can be imported. In 2012, Canada imported more spent fowl breast meat than was actually produced in the entire U.S. This is impossible, of course, and points directly to the existence of import fraud. This still occurs in 2016. Chicken meat is being fraudulently declared as spent fowl in order to bypass import controls, which not only takes away jobs and income from Canada's chicken farmers and processors but also deprives the public coffers of legitimate import-generated revenue, the group said.

In order to ensure that no broiler meat is being imported illegally as spent fowl in order to circumvent import controls, the group is requesting that the Canadian government incorporate a DNA test developed by Trent University that can distinguish broiler meat from spent fowl meat.

Chicken Farmers of Canada estimates that the economic impacts from illegal spent fowl imports on the Canadian chicken sector in 2015 amounted to:

• $86.7 million in farm cash receipts;

• 2,771 job losses;

• $69.6 lost in taxes, and

• $208 million to Canada's GDP.

Tyson CEO stepping down at year's end

Tyson Foods Inc. announced today that Donnie Smith will be stepping down as chief executive officer, effective Dec. 31, 2016. Tom Hayes, president of Tyson Foods, was appointed by the company’s board of directors to succeed Smith as CEO. Smith, who has been CEO of the company since November 2009, will be available to consult with the company for a three-year period.

“Tom Hayes is a proven leader who has played an important role in creating today’s Tyson Foods and driving growth across our company,” said John Tyson, chairman of the board of directors. “The plan we have announced today will result in a smooth leadership transition that positions Tyson Foods for continued growth and innovation. The board’s decision to name Tom CEO at this time was based on both his track record and how his skills align with the company’s strategic direction and continuing evolution. The board has the utmost confidence in Tom’s ability to build on the platform Donnie has created, to expand further into developing markets, new product categories and proprietary food experiences and to continue investing in our core nine categories.

“Donnie is leaving the company in great hands, having developed an impressive pipeline of management talent while positioning us for continued growth and change," he continued. "The board and I thank Donnie for his many contributions and wish him all the best.”

Smith has helped build a platform to support the company’s hybrid strategy of branded prepared products and fresh chicken, beef, pork and specialty meats. Hayes was appointed president earlier this year and is leading Tyson Foods’ transition to the hybrid model. Working with Smith to leverage Tyson Foods’ scale and develop brands to drive growth, Hayes has been responsible for retailed packaged brands, international and global growth, North American sales, strategy and new ventures, as well as the support functions of corporate affairs and operations services.

“I take great pride in having led Tyson Foods for the past seven years. In addition to helping the company deliver growth and strong shareholder returns, I am also proud of the efforts we have undertaken to make Tyson Foods a company with a conscience, focused on providing consumers wholesome, affordable food and making a positive difference in people’s lives,” Smith said, “When Tyson acquired Hillshire Brands in 2014, with the support of the board and the family, we embarked on a new strategy to integrate the strengths and products of each company into one company, and the resulting hybrid model has been a success in no small part thanks to Tom’s strategic, operational and commercial accomplishments. I am confident that Tom is the right CEO to continue the transition we have started and lead Tyson in the next phase of its strategic development and growth. I look forward to supporting Tom and the rest of the management team.”

Hayes said he was humbled to be named the next CEO of Tyson Foods and grateful to the board and the family for providing him with the opportunity to lead the company.

“Tyson Foods is well positioned to realize numerous growth opportunities. Our company has a solid strategy that leverages compelling market dynamics and an experienced and highly capable management team and many thousands of hard-working and dedicated associates,” Hayes said. “I am especially thankful for Donnie’s unwavering support and advice. He has set a wonderful example of how to greet every challenge and opportunity with the same diligence, thought and skill that have come to define his career.”

Hayes is a 29-year veteran of the consumer products industry. Prior to his role as president, Hayes was chief commercial officer of Tyson Foods, overseeing all North American sales, in addition to the foodservice prepared foods business. He also previously served as president of foodservice. Previously, Hayes served as chief supply chain officer for The Hillshire Brands Co. responsible for operations, including procurement, manufacturing, food safety and quality, engineering and logistics. Before that, Hayes was senior vice president and chief supply chain officer for Sara Lee North America responsible for supply chain activities for the company’s North American Retail and Foodservice businesses and, prior to this role, president of Sara Lee Foodservice.

Before joining Sara Lee in 2006, Hayes served as group vice president of US Foodservice Inc., where he oversaw the turnaround needs of broad line distribution facilities in the Northeast. Hayes has also held general management, sales and marketing roles at ConAgra Foods, The Fort James Corp., Stella Foods and Kraft Foods.

Hayes has served on the executive committee of the board of the North American Meat Institute and the board of directors for the International Foodservice Manufacturers Assn. Hayes earned a bachelor degree in psychology from the University of New Hampshire and a master of business administration degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.