USDA provides update on investigation following 2019 Tyson beef plant closure and COVID-19 pandemic

(Washington, D.C., July 22, 2020) - As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a Boxed Beef and Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report on its ongoing boxed beef and fed cattle price spread investigation. "The closure of the Tyson beef packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, after a fire at the facility, and the COVID-19 pandemic clearly disrupted the markets and processing systems responsible for the production and sale of U.S. beef," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. "The report examines these economic disruptions and the significant increase in the spread between boxed beef and fed cattle prices that resulted from them. While we're pleased to provide this update, we assure producers that our work continues in order to determine if there are any violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action."

Secretary Perdue Statement on Dicamba Plaintiffs’ Attack on EPA Order

(Washington, D.C., June 12, 2020) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement:

"USDA supports the actions taken by the EPA to respond responsibly to the decision of the Ninth Circuit regarding Dicamba. At a time when the security of the food supply chain is paramount, the Center for Biological Diversity and its allies seek to cripple American farmers and further limit their ability to feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world. The Ninth Circuit should not allow plaintiffs' hostility against the American farmer to cloud the fact that the EPA's actions follow both legal precedent and common sense." EPA's order allowing for the limited use of existing chemical stocks already purchased follows EPA precedents from the Obama and Clinton Administrations when the registrations for other crop protection tools were cancelled. #

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Farmers struggle for guidance after federal court bans popular herbicide

Soybean and cotton farmers, pesticide applicators and agriculture officials across the country scrambled for guidance after a federal court ruling to ban the popular pesticide dicamba this week, which means that many farmers no longer have a herbicide that will work to kill weeds in their fields. In some cases, the uncontrolled weeds may damage entire crop fields, costing farmers thousands of dollars.

Cheap chicken, beef came at a cost. How American meat plants bred coronavirus hot spots.

The meatpacking industry has evolved into a marvel of modern efficiency, producing 105 billion pounds annually of poultry, pork, beef and lamb destined for dinner tables across America and the world. That’s nearly double what it produced three decades ago.

But its evolution came at a cost. The same features that allow a steady churn of cheap meat also provide the perfect breeding ground for airborne diseases like the coronavirus: a cramped workplace, a culture of underreporting illnesses, and a cadre of rural, immigrant and undocumented workers who share transportation and close living quarters.