The recent discussion of tariffs and a potential trade war between the U.S. and China wasn’t a major concern for a group of farmers who regularly gather at their local grain elevator, the first stop for corn and soybeans before the crops enter market channels around the world.
ByErin McKinstry/For The Midwest Center of Investigative Reporting |
They’re not making any more farmland. According to the USDA, the number of acres rented out has remained steady over the last 50 years, at around 40 percent.
The difference is the landowner is increasingly not the farmer next door or a landlord intimately involved in the farming operation.
Instead, many farmers rent from multiple owners who may have little to no connection to farming or the local community and who may own land strictly for investment purposes.
With the new planting season beginning, legal battles over dicamba are heating up in
federal and state courts.
Monsanto, BASF and DowDuPont are defendants in lawsuits initiated by farmers
seeking millions in compensation for crops they say were damaged last summer.
The plaintiffs have brought 14 cases in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri but, as a result of a February ruling, they will be heard together by a federal panel in St. Louis.
Meanwhile, a coalition of food safety, environmental and farming groups is asking the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to rescind the Environmental Protection Agency’s conditional approval of the new version of Monsanto’s dicamba herbicide, known as
XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology.
A new report released today from a congressional watchdog agency says the U.S. Department of Agriculture can do more to keep foodborne illness-causing pathogens out of meat and poultry products. The Food Safety and Inspection Service, a branch of the agriculture department, inspects approximately 6,500 meat and poultry processing plants nationwide. The inspectors test meat to ensure that salmonella and campylobacter bacteria, two common pathogens that cause roughly 2 million Americans to fall ill and each year, aren’t present in the food supply at unsafe levels. The new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the process the USDA uses to determine safety standards for pathogens in meat is outdated. The standards for ground beef, for example, have not been updated in more than 20 years, the report said.
An Indiana-based company has recalled more than 206 million eggs over reports of illness related to a strain of salmonella.
Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana, issued the voluntary recall Friday of eggs produced from its Hyde County, North Carolina farm after an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration traced the rare strain back to the farm.
Iowa is home to nearly one third of the nation’s hogs, with more than 22 million hogs at a given time.
Agriculture experts weigh in on the question of proper antibiotic doses for hogs in this IowaWatch Connection podcast.
ByPam Dempsey, Anna Casey and Dave Dickey/The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
As China and the U.S. swap threats of import taxes on billions of dollars of goods, financial markets fluctuated and farmers are frustrated, saying they worry over hard-built trade relationships with one of their largest customers.
ByPam Dempsey and Dave Dickey/The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Argentina and Brazil may fill China’s soybean needs if China imposes a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybean exports. And experts say : “China is the world’s largest consumer, and the U.S. is the largest producer, … so they’ll need to replace the U.S. with some other country,”
ByStaff of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Earlier this month, the U.S. and China both announced billions of dollars in taxes on billions of dollars worth of imported goods - China is seeking tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. products that include soybeans and pork while the U.S. announced taxes on $150 billion worth of 1,300 Chinese products, including electronics. Here’s a look at what farm organizations in the Midwest have to say.
ByPam Dempsey/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Congressional leaders said they would explore federal help for farmers should tariffs be put in place but Tamara Nelson, senior director of commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said the moves would not help. “Farmers don’t want aid, farmers want to be able to trade,” she said.