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Trump ag secretary Sonny Perdue personally lobbied to keep meatpacking plants open during pandemic, emails show

It’s well-established that Trump administration officials wanted meatpacking plants to keep operating, often with industry pressure, as workers fell ill and died by the dozens. But new emails obtained by nonprofit Public Citizen show Perdue personally lobbying to keep plants open, including pressing Robert Redfield, the former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director.

July 2, 2021 |

GRAPHIC: The people who pick America’s fruits and vegetables are getting older

The average age of farmworkers born outside the U.S. steadily increased from 2008 to 2019, while the average age of U.S.-born workers has stayed about the same over the same period. 

Foreign-born farmworkers are on average 5 years older than their U.S.-born counterparts. 

An analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Environmental Research Service attributes the trend to a decline in younger immigrants entering the U.S. workforce. 

The age of the average immigrant farm worker was nearly 42 in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available.

June 16, 2021 |

COVID-19 outbreak at Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant in Missouri likely larger than originally known, OSHA documents say

Smithfield Foods has refused to say how many employees have fallen ill at its Milan, Missouri, plant. But OSHA records say at least two workers died and possibly as many as 300 had COVID-19 or had come into contact with someone who did.

May 10, 2021 |