Karl's Feed
Jul 1, 2015

Out of the pits, Chicago traders seeking booths with a view

CHICAGO, July 1 (Reuters) – For many Chicago commodity
traders like Redmond Harkins, little will change when the city’s
fabled futures pits shut down after more than 165 years of
open-outcry dealing.

The 27-year veteran dealer will continue taking the
hour-long train trip to the storied Art Deco Chicago Board of
Trade building on West Jackson Boulevard, where most futures
dealers long ago abandoned the art of trading soybeans or hog
futures through flailing hand signals and guttural shouts.

Jun 29, 2015

U.S. rains attract grain buyers’ attention, but not business

CHICAGO, June 29 (Reuters) – Heavy rains swamping U.S.
farmland are grabbing the attention of global grain buyers as
prices of corn and soybean futures soar on concerns about damage
from the deluge.

But demand for U.S. exports probably will not surge as the
weather worries spread beyond the farmhouses and coffee shops of
the rural Midwest. There is still plenty of cheaper grain
available from other countries.

Jun 29, 2015

Civil War buffs on Confederate flag debate: It’s complicated

BENSENVILLE, Illinois (Reuters) – If you’re looking for simple answers about the Confederate flag’s place in contemporary America, don’t ask a Civil War reenactor.

“Long story short, it’s complicated,” said Mark Edmondson, who played a Union infantryman at a reenactment event in suburban Chicago over the weekend.

Jun 22, 2015

Bird flu cuts egg-laying hen flocks, poultry meat stocks grow

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The worst-ever U.S. bird flu outbreak has cut the country’s inventory of egg-laying hens to the smallest in at least seven years, while the stockpile of frozen poultry in storage has swelled due to bans in about 40 countries of U.S. meat imports, government data showed on Monday.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza has claimed 48 million birds since December, most of them chickens and turkeys either killed by the disease or culled to control its spread, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Jun 17, 2015

Floods disrupt grain shipping on Illinois River

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Flooding halted barge traffic on the Illinois River on Wednesday and high water levels prompted futures market operator CME Group Inc to declare force majeure for all corn and soybean shipping stations for the first time in more than two years.

Barge lines have voluntarily stopped shipping traffic after heavy rains, river merchants said. CME, which owns the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and other markets, said a majority of shipping stations on the river were unable to load crops due to high water levels.

Jun 17, 2015

Foster Farms suspends workers amid probe into chicken abuse claim

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Foster Farms LLC, one of the top U.S. chicken producers, has suspended five workers as it investigates claims of animal abuse at some of its Fresno, California, facilities, the company said on Wednesday.

The company’s internal investigation follows the recent release of hidden-camera footage by an animal rights group, Mercy For Animals, that allegedly showed workers punching chickens, mistreating young chicks and apparently scalding live birds in hot water to remove their feathers.

Jun 9, 2015

Animal welfare group says Costco egg supplier mistreats hens

CHICAGO, June 9 (Reuters) – An undercover investigation by
the Humane Society of the United States found unsanitary and
“inhumane” conditions at a Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, farm that
supplies eggs to retailer Costco Wholesale Corp, the
animal welfare group said Tuesday.

Footage collected at a Hillandale Farms facility in April
and May by someone “associated with” the Humane Society showed
hens laying eggs in cramped cages with deceased birds. Broken
eggs and dead chickens were on the floor.

Jun 8, 2015

Bird flu vaccine, under development, divides U.S. poultry industry

CHICAGO, June 8 (Reuters) – The death of more than 46
million chickens and turkeys in a bird flu outbreak is opening a
rare fissure within the usually tight-knit U.S. poultry
industry, pitting farmers with infected flocks against those who
so far largely have sidestepped the worst outbreak in U.S.

At issue: whether to vaccinate poultry against the highly
pathogenic bird flu virus.

Jun 1, 2015

Bill to ease Chicago pension payments gets final legislative OK

By Karl Plume

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Reuters) – A bill to restructure
Chicago’s payments to its public safety workers’ retirement
funds by lowering contributions in the near term won final
legislative approval on Sunday from the Illinois Senate.

The 38-20 vote on the last day of the Democrat-controlled
legislature’s spring session will send the measure to Republican
Governor Bruce Rauner.

Jun 1, 2015

Standoff over Illinois budget set to stretch into summer

By Karl Plume

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Reuters) – A standoff between Democrats who control the Illinois legislature and the state’s Republican governor will extend into the summer after no deals emerged by the end of the spring legislative session on Sunday.

Democrats and Governor Bruce Rauner failed to agree on a budget compromise, leaving Illinois with a new state budget that has a revenue shortfall of at least $3 billion.