The number of new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have increased across the U.S. over the past six years - bringing the total operations just under 20,000, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. From 2011 to 2017, the United States saw more than 1,400 new large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) established. That’s up 7.6 percent. Here's a look at the issue in maps and charts.
Despite a steady increase in demand for organic products among consumers, U.S. crop growers have been reluctant to make the switch from conventional crops, even if it could mean higher profits for farmers struggling with low commodity prices.
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.
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.
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.
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.