Beef Central news briefs March 27 2013

Beef Central, 27/03/2013


JBS credit upgrade reflects better operating conditions

Credit ratings agency Moody´s has upgraded JBS’s ratings from B1 to Ba3, driven in part by the improved outlook in global processing. The world’s largest beef processor issued a financial statement earlier this week advising of the change. According to Moody’s, the upgrade reflects the significant improvement in JBS’ credit metrics over the last few quarters, mainly as a result of its focus on an organic growth and de-leveraging strategy, as well as good performance of its Brazilian beef operations. According to Moody’s, JBS’s ratings are also supported by the global strength of its operations as one of the world’s largest and diversified protein producers, in terms of protein products including beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and leather; raw material sourcing, from production units spread in five continents; and end-market diversity, as the company exports to more than 150 countries. “The stable outlook reflects our view that the company will remain focused on organic growth, remain committed to conservative liquidity management and make further progress in reducing its financial leverage and maintain liquidity at near current levels”, Moody’s said.


Wagyu breeders support RFDS

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has received more than $33,000 in donations from the Australian Wagyu Association over the past seven years, with the latest contribution of $5350 raised at last year’s AWA annual general meeting being presented during the association’s recent board meeting in Brisbane. The money is raised by auctioning donated items at the annual Wagyu conference and supports the outstanding emergency health care provided by the RFDS throughout rural and regional Australia, according to AWA president Scott Hughes. “Rural and regional Australians, including some Wagyu members, have received critical support from the RFDS and this is one way we can acknowledge this valuable service,” Mr Hughes said. “We are indebted to those members who donate products and services to be auctioned at our annual conference and also to those members who generously bid for these items.” Sommer Davies, RFDS’s Queensland executive manager fundraising (pictured), said the $33,366 contribution over the past seven years put the AWA among the top donors to the service.


Water study guide hot off the press

Last week’s Beef Central opinion piece on city media’s reporting of water use issues surrounding beef production ("Let's Celebrate World Water Day… by sinking the boot into red meat"), has sparked several responses from readers. MLA’s Pip McConachie alerted Beef Central to the fact that the industry service delivery company has partnered with Australia’s number one science magazine, Cosmos, to produce a brand new teaching resource on the subject. Cosmos partnered with the industry sustainability initiative, Target 100, to present science teachers with a free downloadable study guide on sustainable farming in Australia. The Water Study Guide contains:

  • Engaging and challenging lesson ideas and classroom activities in a flexible format.
  • Resources to demonstrate the links between water, food and the environment.
  • Information on how livestock farmers are innovating to use water in more sustainable ways
  • The impact of water use at paddock level, feedlot level and processing level.

This is the first of three new study guides on sustainable livestock farming. Others will be added in coming months. Target 100 is an initiative by Australian cattle and sheep farmers, along with the broader industry, to deliver sustainable farming by 2020. It's a commitment to take positive action, both big and small, to continually improve the way farmers operate, and to improve sustainability throughout the beef and lamb supply chain. To download the new Water Resource Study Guide, click here.



B&J buys Kiwi value-adding company

One of Australia’s largest red meat value-adding companies, Beak & Johnston, has bought New Zealand organic soup and ready-to-eat meal maker, Pitango. The Auckland-based company fell into the hands of receivers in December following the failure of its Australian parent firm, Gourmet Food Holdings, which was reported to owe around A$50 million to major creditor National Australia Bank. Pitango general manager Wade Gillooly wouldn't reveal the price Sydney-based Beak & Johnston had paid, but said becoming part of a family-owned business was a welcome change after a few years of private equity ownership. Pitango produces organic products including soups, curries and pasta sauces, which are sold in supermarkets, and into export destinations like Hong Kong and Singapore. Beak & Johnston already has strong exposure in the organic meat segment through its Cleaver’s range, and has a host of other products sold under the Mr Beak’s flag, providing a strong synergy between the two businesses. B&J was established in 1986 in the aftermath of the formation of Australia Meat Holdings, and exports to more than 15 countries. It has revenues exceeding $300 million.


Perfect human diet documentary goes ‘live’ on April 1

Award winning filmmaker C.J. Hunt’s “The Perfect Human Diet” documentary became the number-one independent film, number one documentary film and top-10 movie on iTunes USA and Canada in January. The film premieres on iN DEMAND, the world's leading supplier of video-on-demand programming, on April 1, from when it will become available to over 50 million viewer subscribers. By exploring new scientific evidence, film-maker Hunt discovered that an ‘authentic human diet’ – including animal protein – is the unexpected solution to the obesity epidemic and diet-related chronic disease. More information regarding the film can be viewed at


Consultation opens on cattle and sheep welfare standards

Public consultation has opened on the draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle and for Sheep. The public consultation period provides livestock producers and the wider community with the opportunity to have a say on significant welfare issues relating to cattle and sheep. The Queensland Government has been working with Animal Health Australia and a wide range of stakeholders to develop draft standards and guidelines to reduce the risks to welfare of cattle and sheep in Australia. Based on the latest knowledge and technology, the new standards will create improved nationally consistent rules for the care and management of livestock across farming enterprises in Australia. The standards will replace the current Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of cattle and sheep. Once finalised, all states and territories across Australia will incorporate the standards into legislation making them legal requirements for livestock welfare. Queensland cattle and sheep producers, interest groups and the public are encouraged to provide comment on the new draft standards to ensure the broad views of the state’s sector are considered. AHA is also seeking comment on associated Regulation Impact Statements which aim to demonstrate the need for the standards and identifies the key costs and benefits for cattle, sheep, producers, government and the wider community. The consultation period remains open for public comment until May 6. The draft animal welfare standards, Regulation Impact Statements as well as supporting discussion papers on key welfare issues can be viewed at the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines website.

For more information on animal welfare standards and guidelines, visit the Biosecurity Queensland website.





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