Opinion: Congress seeks to drive out independent agriculture

A former USDA administrator writes: Recently certain members of Congress began efforts to protect Big Ag and forgo meaningful regulations meant to protect small farmers and ranchers from abuses such as retaliation, bad faith, denial of due process and fraud.

Chad Ingels, a corn, soy and hog farmer in northeastern Iowa, pulls weed in his no-till soybean field on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Ingels uses herbicides as well as insecticides and fungicides, when needed, on his fields.

IowaWatch Connection Podcast: Health Impacts Of Widely-Used Pesticides Uncertain

From our friends at Iowa Watch: Iowa’s wide expanses of row-cropped fields produced roughly 2.5 billion bushels of corn and 554 million bushels of soybeans in 2015. And for many, those high yields are thanks in part to pesticides. But what impact, if any, do those chemicals have on our health? It’s a controversial topic and the answer is hard to pin down. In many cases, those we spoke with said the jury is still out.

A plate of bacon. A Harvest Public Media investigation found that while America's slaughterhouses produce cheap meat to eat, the industry remains to be one of the most dangerous for its workers.

Dangerous jobs, cheap meats

The meatpacking industry has made a lot of progress on worker safety since publication of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” in 1906, but some things remain the same: the work is mostly done by immigrants and refugees; they suffer high rates of injuries and even, sometimes death; and the government lags in oversight.