ByHuiqi Xu, Maureen Strode and Andrew Withers/For the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
The injury rate in the poultry processing industry is already higher than many other industries. Yet the rate would be higher still if not for faulty data collection methods and widespread underreporting problems across the meat and poultry processing industry, according to a 2016 Government Accountability Office report.
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.
ByMorgan Niezing, Payton Liming, Jiwon Choi/For the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
With their expansive deck overlooking a pond, Shirley Kidwell and her family used to spend summer days outdoors reading, but the growth of large animal farms in the area has eliminated that pastime. “When that odor hits, you’ve got to go inside and a lot of times we go downstairs to the basement to get away from it,” said Kidwell, the owner of a small farm in Callaway county, Missouri, and the secretary for Friends of Responsible Agriculture, who lives within a mile of a farm with 5,600 hogs. Kidwell and other residents are particularly worried about a new 10,000-hog farm moving to Callaway county. It would be built less than a mile from Kidwell’s home. According to a 2017 report from the office of the inspector general, there are currently 450,000 animal feeding operations in the U.S. The majority contain less than 300 animals, but approximately 18,000 raise thousands of animals. Air pollution from those operations can create numerous respiratory health problems, such as asthma, and contribute to climate change.
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.