COP27: Food industry plan to end deforestation ‘falls short’
A plan to end deforestation in soy, palm oil, beef and cacao production by 2025 — released by 14 major agricultural commodity companies including Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, and JBS — falls far short of what would be needed to meet global climate goals, environmental groups say. No paywall
Study: Cut beef, boost whole grains to make school lunches more sustainable
Reducing the amount of meat served in school lunches and increasing servings of whole grains could help reduce the National School Lunch Program’s environmental impact while expanding the market for foods produced in more ecologically friendly ways, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Communications Earth and Environment.
Cattle market reformers see resistance from big ag groups
A band of senators from the Midwest and northern Plains, with the best chance in years to inject transparency into the consolidated cattle market, pressed on Tuesday for a federal mandate for meatpackers to buy more cattle for cash, rather than through obscure formulas. "We need some sunlight," said Montana Sen. Jon Tester.
Brazil’s Amazon beef plan will ‘legalize deforestation’
For many, the overriding image of agriculture in the Amazon is one of environmental destruction. About 80 percent of deforestation in the region has been attributed to cattle ranching, tainting beef exports. But Brazil’s beef industry hopes to tempt buyers back to the Amazon region, which …
Cattle reformers in Senate unite on price discovery bill
In order to increase market transparency, four senators said on Tuesday they would file legislation to require meatpackers to buy a portion of their slaughter cattle on the cash market. The bill also would create a contract library that discloses the purchase terms that packers offer for cattle, so producers might know if a fair price is being offered.
Food prices rise, outpaced by U.S. inflation rate
Pulled by strong meat prices, September food prices were 4.6 percent higher than a year ago, said the Labor Department on Wednesday. The monthly Consumer Price Index report said the annual U.S. inflation rate was 5.4 percent in September, compared with 5.3 percent in the preceding month.
More competition in meatpacking or ‘bust them up,’ senators are told
With four companies dominating the meat industry, Congress and federal regulators must intervene to assure that livestock farmers get a fair price from processors or “if need be, bust them up,” the president of the National Farmers Union said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. It was the …
White House slams Russia over ransomware attack on JBS
President Biden will meet President Vladimir Putin as planned on June 16 "as a vital part of defending America's interests," said a White House spokeswoman on Tuesday after holding Russia culpable for the ransomware attack on meatpacker JBS. "The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals."
Beef slumps while pork exports surge
For the first six months of the year, exports of American beef tumbled by 15 percent, probably due to Covid-19 turmoil, while pork exports soared by 28 percent compared to 2019 levels, said the USDA on Tuesday. Large shipments to China were the primary factor in the surge in pork shipments, …
Beef fuels biggest increase in grocery prices in nearly a decade
Grocery prices climbed by 5.6 percent, their largest 12-month increase since December 2011, although the U.S. inflation rate is a mild 0.6 percent, said the Labor Department on Tuesday. Beef prices skyrocketed by 25 percent, with most of the increase in the past three months when coronavirus …
Coronavirus slowed U.S. exports of beef and pork in May
Beef exports were the smallest in 10 years during May and pork exports were the lowest in seven months, "due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing," said the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Chief executive Dan Halstrom said the global economic slowdown and stay-at-home orders in some Western Hemisphere nations also were factors. (No paywall)
Indictments could be a sign of increased antitrust enforcement in farm sector
After years of failed attempts to draw attention to market concentration in the meat sector, farmers are cautiously optimistic about federal investigations into alleged antitrust violations in the chicken and beef industries. And grand jury indictments of four chicken industry executives could be a sign of more antitrust action to come, says a former attorney at the Department of Justice. (No paywall)
‘The workers are being sacrificed’
new FERN investigation, published Friday in collaboration with Mother Jones, reporters Esther Honig and Ted Genoways tell the stories of workers in America's meatpacking plants who are facing high rates of Covid-19 — and of the industry's chilling disregard for its workforce. (No paywall)
Cattle and biofuels clamor for aid, as Schumer proposes broader plan
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue should tap “USDA’s bank,” a Depression-era agency with easy access to billions of dollars, to bail out cattle ranchers hit by sharp declines in beef prices as Covid-19 mounts, said ranch activists on Monday. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck …
Texas Panhandle community chokes on fecal dust from feedlots
Cattle outnumber people 40 to one in Deaf Smith County in the Texas Panhandle, giving the county seat of Hereford its title as the "beef capital of the world." But the area is also a hotspot of citizen complaints about manure dust storms created when fierce winds hit feedlots housing tens of thousands of animals, according to FERN's latest story, written by Chris Collins and produced in collaboration with The Texas Observer and Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.(No paywall)
Beef packing merger threatens last competitive cash cattle market in U.S.
Last month, the nation’s fourth-largest beef packer, National Beef, announced plans to take over Sysco-owned Iowa Premium, a regional packer focused on processing Black Angus steers for the Upper Midwest. National Beef is majority-owned by the Brazilian firm Marfrig. (No paywall)
A ranch that produces not just beef, but medical parts
Just south of the Oregon border in Macdoel, California, the Prather Ranch has made a successful business not just selling top quality beef — but parts for the medical industry. "The hides are used to make purified collagen used in cell research. And the bones? Some have been made into screws for knee surgery," reports Lisa Morehouse in FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with KQED's The California Report.
USDA nominee earned $100,000 in ‘pink slime’ trial
Texas Tech professor Mindy Brashears, President Trump’s nominee for agriculture undersecretary for food safety, collected $100,000 as an expert witness for Beef Products Inc. in its defamation lawsuit against ABC-TV last year.