Coronavirus at meat packing plants worse than first thought, USA TODAY investigation finds

A rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meat packing plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought, according to an exclusive review of cases by USA TODAY and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

And it could get worse. More than 150 of America’s largest meat processing plants operate in counties where the rate of coronavirus infection is already among the nation’s highest, based on the media outlets’ analysis of slaughterhouse locations and county-level COVID-19 infection rates.

#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.

Join us for dinner and a movie; we want your questions

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is hosting its first Dinner and Docs event on June 18. It will be an evening of dinner, a documentary and discussion around U.S. chicken production. The event will also highlight how the media covers issues of food and farming.