Opinion: OSHA and Big Meat should be investigated over COVID-19 response

Last month our worst fears were confirmed after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a pair of COVID-19 safety violation related fines against Big-Meat giants China WH-group owned Smithfield Foods and Brazilian-owned JBS. Mismanagement at Smithfield’s meat packing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota resulted in almost 13-hundred COVID-19 positive tests. Four plant workers died. JBS is equally culpable. At the JBS USA plant in Greeley, Colorado 290 workers tested positive for COVID-19. Six have died.

Covid-19

Rural communities are bracing for a looming recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, expecting that it could devastate already shaky economies.

As the virus shuts down schools, factories, restaurants and other businesses, rural towns contend with a smaller tax base, less access to high-speed internet and growing strain among lenders.

#AgAlerts: Farmer suicides; unharvested corn; meatpacker rules; bees

For decades, farmers have been engaged in an epic battle of David vs. Goliath, farmer vs. meatpacker. Just a handful of companies—including Tyson, JBS, and Cargill—control over 80 percent of the meat market. These companies set the price farmers and ranchers receive for their animals, and often work together to ensure that they stay low.

#AgAlerts: New feed mill and meat packaging facilities; weather; plant-based meat taste

A roundup of news, reports, and research on agribusiness and related issues. Cargill opens expanded $34m feed mill at Texas site | Feednavigator.com   

A renovated Cargill feed production facility in Temple, Texas has gone live; it has been expanded to 70,000 square feet to address feed demand in the region. Inside the little-known world of flavorists, who are trying to make plant-based meat taste like the real thing | Washingtonpost.com

These new foods are the opposite of whole foods. Some nutritionists and food industry leaders are wondering if the food system is being led astray by foods that need their flavor and appeal inserted industrially. China trade deal in sight | Agweb.com

The Trump Administration said the U.S. aims to sign “Phase One” deal this month (possibly in Iowa).  China’s Xinhua News Agency said U.S. and China had reached a “consensus on principles” during Friday’s phone call. 

Rain, early snows delay U.S. harvest in latest blow to farmers | Reuters.com

The farmers just can't catch a break with the weather.

Agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. But it can also be a part of the solution.

The global food production system, which
includes agriculture, accounts for more than a third of manmade greenhouse
gases, according to an August report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change.

And while past focus has been on industries
such as fossil fuels and transportation, new attention is being put on
agriculture’s role in the climate change
solution. On September 18, a coalition representing 10,000 farmers and ranchers
delivered a letter to congress supporting the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution to
transition the United States to 100 percent clean energy by 2030.

Farming, more than any other industry, might be the best hope for curbing climate change.