Biden Administration Puts Brakes on Faster Meat Plants -- Market Talk

16:20 ET - The Biden administration's push to halt or reverse Trump-era federal policies moves to chicken processing plants, as the USDA withdraws a proposed rule that would have let meatpackers process up to 175 birds per minute, versus the current ceiling of 140. Food and Water Watch, which criticized the Trump administration move, says the withdrawal will protect food safety and workers' health. The National Chicken Council, which has sought faster processing speeds, says the withdrawal is a typical part of a new administration's process of reviewing under-way rulemaking, and hopes the Biden USDA will ultimately allow the speed increase. (; @jacobbunge)

Post Partnering With Plant-Based Meat Company Hungry Planet

Post Holdings Inc. said Monday it is in a partnership with plant-based meat company Hungry Planet Inc. that includes a financial investment.

Consumer packaged goods holding company Post said its Foodservice and Refrigerated Retail units will work with Hungry Planet to expand the distribution of Hungry Planet's plant-based meats to address growing demand.


Arcos Dorados Replacing Plastic Trays With More Sustainable Materials

Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. said Monday it will substitute the plastic food trays currently used by its guests with trays made from more sustainable materials in order to continue its commitment to positively impact the environment.

Latin America's largest restaurant chain and the world's largest independent McDonald's franchisee said that since implementing its plastics reduction program in 2018, more than 1,300 tons of single-use plastic have been removed from its operations.

China Misses US Agriculture Buying Targets -- Market Talk

13:21 ET - While China's purchasing of US agricultural exports accelerated greatly in 2020 versus the previous year, they still missed the targets set by the so-called "phase one agreement" between the two nations last year. Chinese purchases of US agriculture totaled $23.5B in 2020, missing the target of $36.6B, according to data from the Peterson Institute of International Economics. China also missed its targets for buying manufactured goods and energy, according to the group. With President Biden inaugurated last week, market followers are now watching to see how the Biden administration reacts to China missing its predetermined targets, and how diplomatic relations will continue forward. Higher Chinese buying has been one factor elevating grains futures in recent months. (; @kirkmaltais)


Lack of Surprises Support Cattle Futures -- Market Talk

15:18 ET - A lack of surprises in Friday's cattle on feed report helped provide support to live cattle futures Monday - with the most-active cattle contract finishing up 0.4% to $1.2295 per pound, while lean hogs finished trading up 0.6% to 76.625 cents per pound. The January Cattle on Feed report was mostly as expected, according to Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. As of January 1 the US had 11.97 million head of cattle on feed, 100% of last January's total, the USDA said Friday. Placements of cattle totaled 1.84 million head, the highest for December since 1996. Lower grains futures translates to lower feed costs for livestock producers. (; @kirkmaltais)


Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jan 25 
Source: USDA, based on Wall Street Journal calculations. 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
Jan 25       +$ 50.14            +$ 38.71 
Jan 22       +$ 51.11            +$ 40.71 
Jan 21       +$ 43.45            +$ 39.47 
* Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production. 
A positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of 
production of the animals. 
This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite 
values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices. 
          For Today              Choice  105.3 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)      Select  102.4 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Monday rose $3.91 per hundred pounds, to $226.73, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $2.87 per hundred pounds, to $216.21. The total load count was 91. Wholesale pork prices fell 93 cents, to $80.41 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

Corrections & Amplifications

This item was corrected on Feb. 24, 2021 to show that January's USDA cattle on feed report showed placements at their highest for December since 1996. An earlier version incorrectly said placements were highest since January 1996.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

01-25-21 1732ET