In this file:
· JBS plans switch to beef at Mountain States Rosen lamb plant, leaving lamb producers high and dry
· JBS awarded permit for new freezer warehouse
· JBS invests $19-million in safety measures amid COVID-19 pandemic
JBS plans switch to beef at Mountain States Rosen lamb plant, leaving lamb producers high and dry
Carrie Stadheim, The Fence Post
Jul 29, 2020
The impending purchase and transformation of the nation’s second largest lamb processing facility has sheep producers nationwide wondering whether they will get their lambs sold this fall.
Brazilian beef packing giant JBS recently acquired Mountain States Rosen, a bankrupt lamb packing plant across the road from a JBS beef processing plant in Greeley, Colo. JBS has said it plans to use the processing plant to grind hamburger and cut steaks, which leaves the current industry with about 350,000 more lambs than available processing facilities can handle.
With about 3,500 lamb carcasses sitting in limbo right now, the Jorgensen family of Mt. Pleasant, Utah, said their 2020 lamb crop — their sole source of income — could soon become a liability. About half of U.S. lamb is marketed through food service and because of the economic shutdown, that market has fallen apart, leaving Jorgensen and many others unable to sell as much lamb as usual.
Carson Jorgensen raises sheep in central Utah on private and federal land along with his grandparents, parents, brother, wives and children. After learning of the plant’s sale on Saturday, Jorgensen has in recent days sent letters to Vice President Mike Pence, his Utah Congressional delegation, and congressional representatives from Montana and Wyoming, to help them understand the grim situation sheep producers face with the sudden disappearance of 20 percent of their sheep slaughter capacity. Jorgensen’s ranching friends across the country are also contacting their congressional delegates.
Jorgensen believes JBS is violating anti-trust laws by purchasing the plant and halting much of the country’s lamb processing.
He asked the politicians to urge the U.S. Department of Justice to demand a stay in the plant sale, which is expected to be finalized July 31, 2020.
The situation lamb producers face is dire enough to call for President Trump’s attention, Jorgensen believes.
“I believe this crisis rises to the level of the Trump Administration invoking the Defense Production Act,” he wrote. “Our industry and others need time to assess the damage, understand the short and long term impacts, and determine a path forward… Time is of the essence. Without immediate action, lamb production in the Western United States will be destroyed,” he said in a letter to Vice President Pence.
Jorgensen is holding out faith that the industry will gain the attention of decision-makers in Washington, D.C. Like his 84-year-old grandfather who initiated and saw to completion a World Trade Organization tariff appeal in the 1980s, he’s dedicated to ensuring survivability for America’s sheep ranchers.
“JBS is coming after the lamb market. It is widely believed they did this to take the market share and fill it with imports,” he said. He is pleading with ag producers nationwide to join him in asking the DOJ to look into anti-trust violations.
“For JBS to do this while they were just subpoenaed in the DOJ anti-trust investigation is just blatant,” Jorgensen said. The country’s biggest four beef packers — JBS, Cargill, Marfrig/National Beef and Tyson are currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice to determine if their beef pricing and cattle purchasing activities were legal during the COVID pandemic. While beef prices more than doubled, the price of fed cattle dropped by more than 20 percent at times.
“This is a wake-up call for all American farmers and ranchers, if this follows through it will decimate the sheep industry in the Western United States,” Jorgensen said.
Glenrock, Wyo., sheep rancher Brad Boner serves as the president of Mountain States Lamb Cooperative. The cooperative, which is comprised of 149 sheep ranching families in 11 western states, owns 87 percent of the now bankrupt MSR.
MSR bought the processing plant about four-and-a-half years ago from JBS when JBS stated its intent to stop processing lambs there, Boner said. With the plant being located across the road from a JBS cattle plant, the lamb plant has always utilized wastewater and steam services from JBS.
STATE OF EMERGENCY ...
JBS awarded permit for new freezer warehouse
By: Ryan McGaughey, AgWeek (ND)
Jul 29th 2020
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Following the recommendation of the Worthington Planning Commission, Worthington City Council members unanimously approved Monday night a conditional use permit (CUP) for a new freezer warehouse at Worthington’s JBS facility.
Project Ice is currently planned at 186,083 square feet, with an option to add an 84,683-square-foot warehouse addition in the future for the meatpacking business using the property. Construction is already set to begin this week, JBS engineer Jeff Buysman said Monday night.
According to company officials, the new freezer warehouse could create approximately 70 new jobs ranging from $17.05 to $21.30 per hour, plus benefits. The expansion could store up to 25 million pounds of frozen product and 2.5 million pounds of fresh product, increasing the plant’s overall production capacity.
One condition of the CUP is that 74 parking stalls be provided within one year of receiving a building permit, along with a parking plan showing where an additional 59 parking spaces would go if employment intensifies...
JBS invests $19-million in safety measures amid COVID-19 pandemic
By Ana Mano, GFM Network News
via Canadian Cattlemen - July 30, 2020
Sao Paulo | Reuters –Brazilian food processor JBS SA has invested more than 100 million reais ($19.3 million) in health, safety and contingency measures at all its Brazilian production units, according to a Wednesday company statement that comes as the novel coronavirus continues to ravage local meat plants.
The company said the funds were invested in dozens of actions in the last three months, which included hiring new health professionals, increasing the bus fleet to transport workers to and from plants and acquiring 180,000 face shields for employees.
The measures cover the company’s 135 production units, distribution centers, offices and other facilities in the country, where it employs 130,000 people, it said.
JBS has suffered a string of COVID-19 outbreaks at plants in states, including Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Rondônia, which have threatened its exports.
After the pandemic started, Chinese authorities blocked imports from Brazilian meat plants as a preventative measure against the virus, including a JBS chicken facility and a JBS pork facility in southern Brazil.
Currently, there are a total of six Brazilian meat plants blocked by Chinese authorities over coronavirus concerns, including two owned by BRF <BRF S.A> and one by Marfrig .
To ensure the implementation and effectiveness of these measures, JBS said it has been conducting periodic audits of all its operating units, the statement said.
Brazilian labor prosecutors have tried to negotiate additional protection for JBS employees, urging mass testing and physical distancing among production line workers. JBS has repeatedly defended its own safety protocols...