LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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05/20/2020 | 05:32 pm

TOP STORIES

 

USDA, FDA Chart Path to Keep Farms, Food Plants Open Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Food and Drug Administration unveiled an agreement to prevent coronavirus-driven disruptions to fruit and vegetable production, echoing steps the government has taken to ensure the operation of meat and poultry processing facilities during the pandemic.

The USDA and FDA signed a memorandum of understanding charting a course for the USDA to invoke the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law, to keep running FDA-regulated facilities that grow, process or store food. The measure comes as activity is ramping up at farms and packing houses across the country, and agricultural workers from North Carolina to California have tested positive for the virus.

 

Danone to Place Greater Focus on ESG -- Update

Danone SA said Wednesday that it will place greater focus on its ESG goals by adopting the French "Entreprise a Mission" legal framework, and setting up an independent committee to oversee and report on its progress.

The move is part of the company's aim to get B Corp certification by 2025. The certification is issued by nonprofit B Lab to companies that meet certain social and environmental criteria and that make themselves legally accountable to balance the interests of their stakeholders with the interests of their shareholders.

 

STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Ryder Adds Food Capability for E-Commerce

Ryder Systems Inc. has added food-grade capabilities to three facilities in its e-commerce fulfillment network, citing a rise in online ordering.

The Miami-based supply-chain and transportation company said a new fulfillment center near Philadelphia is equipped to handle food logistics and two other fulfillment centers, near Los Angeles and Dallas, have received certification from the Food and Drug Administration to handle food.

 

Eurozone Food Inflation to Be Shored Up by Persistent Supply Issues in Summer -- Market Talk

1302 GMT - Harvesting and supply issues rather than stockpiling caused the eurozone's food inflation to jump in April and these effects will persist throughout the summer, says David Oxley, senior Europe economist at Capital Economics. The eurozone's harmonized headline inflation for April was nudged down to 0.3% from the initial estimate of 0.4%. More detailed data released Wednesday show that about three-quarters of the increase in food inflation in April was due to higher fruit and vegetable prices. However, with core inflation--which exclude food and energy prices--falling and the economy still in a deep recession, "the European Central Bank is sure to keep policy ultra-loose for the foreseeable future," Oxley says. (maria.martinez@wsj.com)

 

Germany Moves to Clean Up Meat Industry Amid Coronavirus Surge

BERLIN -- The German government on Wednesday moved to curb a string of Covid-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants, including imposing a ban on subcontracting, tougher hygiene inspection regimes and higher fines for breaching these rules.

The bill was flanked by other coronavirus measures, among them steps that would shield some medical and pharmaceutical companies from foreign takeovers.

 

FUTURES MARKETS

 

Livestock Futures Finish Down -- Market Talk

15:11 ET - Livestock futures on the CME finish trading with August live cattle futures down 1.5% at 97.625 cents a pound and lean-hog futures down 0.8% at 55.8c. For hog futures, today's close continues the lower trend established earlier this month, with the contract shedding roughly 10c a pound in the past two weeks, or 14%. According to livestock traders, there's signs hog cutouts will likely continue to slide going into June, with a recovery unlikely until buying for the Independence Day holiday begins. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

 

CASH MARKETS

 
Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - May 20 
 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
 
May 20       +$122.57            +$ 79.99 
 
May 19       +$117.45            +$ 75.34 
 
May 18       +$145.32            +$ 96.69 
 
 
* Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production. 
ßA positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of production of the animals. 
 
Beef-O-Meter 
This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite 
values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices. 
 
                                 Beef 
          For Today             Choice  184.0 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select  189.4 
 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 
 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday fell $5.43 per hundred pounds, to $404.04, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $2.31 per hundred pounds, to $391.18. The total load count was 155. Wholesale pork prices rose $2.16, to $98.94 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

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