Missouri meat processing plant workers cite unsafe COVID conditions

Meat processing workers at Smithfield Foods in Milan, Missouri, were raising concerns about their working environment even before nearly 600 employees of a Smithfield plant in South Dakota contracted COVID-19.

Smithfield shut down its South Dakota plant indefinitely Sunday, and some workers in Milan fear it’s only a matter of time before the coronavirus overwhelms their community, too.

Jury orders Monsanto, BASF to pay peach farmer $250 million in punitive damages

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - A federal jury determined that German agribusiness giants Bayer and BASF will have to pay $250 million in punitive damages to Bader Farms, the largest peach farm in Missouri, for damage caused by their dicamba-related products. The verdict comes at the end of a three-week trial of a case where Bader Farms alleges it is going out of business because of damage incurred by the companies' dicamba herbicides moving off of neighboring fields and harming their 1,000 acres of peach orchards. 

On Friday, the jury ruled that both Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018, and BASF acted negligently and Bader Farms should receive $15 million in actual damages for future losses incurred because of the loss of their orchard. 

Read also Reporter’s notebook: Five key takeaways from trial of peach farmer’s lawsuit vs. Bayer, BASF

Bader Farms will receive a total of $265 million. BASF and Bayer will have to sort out what portion of the damages each company pays. 

Bader Farms is among thousands of farms, comprising millions of acres of crops, that have alleged dicamba damage since 2015.

These farmworkers were forced to labor on empty stomachs

During an incident in Kennett, Missouri, in summer 2018, H-2A workers labored through high temperatures while denied breakfast and with little access to water. Their legal status was supposed to protect them.

Columbia power plant opts for “clean closure”

While Columbia has been proactive about cleaning up its coal ash — cinders that it used to spread on icy and snowy streets in the winter — it still gets 70 percent to 80 percent of its energyfrom coal-fired power plants in the Midwest, and most of that comes from the Sikeston Power Plant in southeast Missouri and the Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois.

Poultry processing workers still face high number of injuries
Conditions at a Tyson plant in Sedalia, Missouri — the state’s second-largest — are a window into what workers face industry-wide.

Although the meat and poultry processing industry’s injury rate has been dropping for years, it remains higher than average for manufacturing, and vast numbers of injuries never get reported in the first place, according to a 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office.