A Brazilian-owned meat processing company undercut its competition by more than $1 per pound to win nearly $78 million in pork contracts through a federal program launched to help American farmers offset the impact from an ongoing trade war.
ByDave Dickey/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
As Dave Dickey writes, the chicken industry says consolidation has benefited consumers through increased productivity. But chicken farmers say weakening of the Packers and Stockyards Act had done little beyond lining Big Ag's pockets at their expense. And this could mean some voters may change their mind in 2020.
Since the USDA began buying meat, produce and dairy from U.S. farmers last fall, the food people receive from food pantries has been more fresh and more nutritious. But it’s also presented challenges for those who get the food from growers fields to the dinner tables that need it across the country.
Cargill Inc. opened a $48.8 million poultry plant in China. The new facility is set to produce 32,000 tons of protein products each year. The location in Chuzhou, Anhui is the company’s second operation in the country.
ByClaire Hettinger/The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Farmers, chicken enthusiasts and community members came together to eat dinner and watch a documentary at the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting’s event Dinner and Docs held June 18 The City Center in Champaign, Illinois.
The documentary was a Netflix film called “Rotten: Big Bird,” which shows “the ruthlessly efficient world of chicken production pits vulnerable growers against each other and leaves them open to vicious acts of sabotage,” according to Netflix.
Chlorpyrifos - scientists say there is no acceptable dose to avoid brain damage. Its use is banned in several European countries. Yet its residues are found in fruit baskets, on dinner plates, and in human urine samples from all over Europe. Now producers are pushing for a renewed EU-approval - perhaps in vain.
ByClaire Hettinger/ The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Sonja Solomonson is in the minority of farmers who produce chicken and other poultry. She lives on a small farm with a small flock, while her competitors raise thousands of birds, contracted with one of the major agribusiness companies.
Five companies — Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms, Perdue Farms and Koch Foods — produce 61% of the chickens Americans eat, about nine billion per year, which doesn’t leave much room for alternative methods of farming birds.
A new spinoff from DowDupont could mean fewer
seed and pesticide options for farmers, who are already facing mounting
challenges that include low commodity prices, poor weather conditions and a
growing trade war. On June 1, DowDuPont separated its
agricultural chemical and seed business into a standalone company called
Corteva Agriscience. Dow Chemical and Dupont Nemours, Inc. merged in 2017, and made $86 billion in sales last year. Its agriculture division provided pesticides and seeds to farmers, but the company also made paints, silicone and other chemicals in its material science and specialty products divisions. Before the merger, Dow offered more pesticide products to farmers, while Dupont sold more variety of seeds.
U.S. Department of Agriculture data hints a low number of farms are receiving funds from the farm bailout program. It is reported that at a single farm was handed over $2 million, an excessive amount of money when many farms still haven’t received their share.
BySophia Schillinger and Sabine Martin /IowaWatch and the Cedar Falls Tiger Hi-Line |
The rainbow trout released into Prairie Lakes were fine to eat because they came from a hatchery. But trying to distinguish what fish to eat from one Midwest state to the next can be difficult, an IowaWatch/Cedar Falls Tiger Hi-Line investigation showed.
That’s because rules guiding what’s safe to eat vary in each state. Also, despite fish sampling by the states, knowing where to fish is hard because fish from only a few waterways where people fish are tested each year, the investigation showed. Anglers at farm ponds are on their own when it comes to the health of the fish they catch because the state’s natural resources department (DNR) does not sample fish in private water bodies for contamination.
ByKacen J. Bayless and Seth Bodine /Columbia Missourian |
The status of health care in rural parts of Missouri paints a bleak picture for farmers who live and work in such a dangerous profession. On top of working under constant risk of injury and death, farmers have very few options when it comes to the types of care they can receive. And, when and if that care is available, patients can be billed exorbitant costs.