Opinion: Will feds rise to the long-term challenges of COVID-19?

It’s really no wonder that the latest Pew Research Survey said that just 17 % of Americans currently trust government to do the right thing all or most of the time. In all fairness it just isn’t the current POTUS. Trust in the federal government has been declining for years in the wake of a boatload of poorly mishandled crisis – the invasion of Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion, the inability to sign up for the Affordable Care Act to name just a few.

Mass testing at meat plant finds 27 more coronavirus cases

Rantoul Foods will partially shut down Monday to undergo additional sanitization following a mass testing event at the plant Friday and Saturday that found 27 more cases of Covid-19 among employees, according to a company release. The total number of employees that contracted the illness is now at 82.

Covid-19 cases rise at Central Illinois meat packing plant

The number of Covid-19 cases at one of Central Illinois’ largest meat processing plants now stands at 52, health officials and plant management said Thursday.

Secretary Perdue Issues Letters on Meat Packing Expectations

These letters establish the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) clear expectations for the implementation of President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order signed last week. The President's Executive order directs plants to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance specific to the meat processing industry to keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.

Opinion: New proposed GIPSA rules fail to fully protect livestock producers

For far too long meat packers and large livestock dealers have put their thumb on the scale of justice when it comes to treating individual livestock producers fairly and justly.  

Just four meat-packers – Tyson Foods, Cargill, Brazilian-owned JBS and Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods — control the lion's share of all meat processing in the U.S...better known as Big Meat. Big Meat is empowered to treat producers shabbily through its use of Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules that make it practically impossible for individual livestock producers to go to the courts when mistreated.  It's been that way for decades even as the livestock industry rapidly consolidates further consolidating its power over the farmer.  

The 2008 Farm Bill was supposed to be a springboard to end all this tom-foolery.  It demanded that GIPSA develop new rules to identify when Big Meat goes over the line, becoming self-serving in efforts to create an unfair business environment. The Obama Administration tried mightily to move GIPSA along but all the rules were blocked by Congressional Big-Ag toadies who successfully delayed until Barack Obama was out the door. The new POTUS and newly minted USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue didn't waste much time in putting an all out stop on the Obama-era GIPSA rule plan. On Inauguration Day the White House postponed institution of the rules by 60 days.  In October of 2017 USDA and Perdue withdrew the Obama-rules.  And then for good measure Perdue buried GIPSA by putting it under USDA's Agricultural Marking Service.

Processing plant hit with Covid-19 under scrutiny since March

The meat processing plant hit with a coronavirus outbreak came under scrutiny by health officials in March before it was cited for being more than 90% out of compliance with infection control practices last week.

Public health officials said they visited Rantoul Foods- , which had 47 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of May 5 -   on April 27th after receiving reports of  Covid-19 cases among company employees.