The largest federal farm payments were disproportionately paid to farm operations primarily made up of managers, or those who did not actively work on the farm, according to a new government watchdog report released in May. Farm investors and managers received nearly $260 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture subsidy payments in 2015, the Government Accountability Office reported. The top 19 operations receiving farm subsidies in 2015 had an average of nine managers receiving payments.
Steve Morris, Director of Natural Resources and Environment for the GAO, said a trend identified in 2013 is still evident in the 2015 data. “When you look at the definition of ‘actively engaged’ and how that’s breaking out, I think some of those patterns remain consistent,” he said.
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.
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Accountability Office (GAO) found that the process the USDA uses to determine safety standards for pathogens in meat is outdated.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.
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.