Mississippi chicken farmers protest proposed pay cut they say is tied to merger

When Sanderson Farms announced a base pay cut for its growers throughout Mississippi in early August, farmers claimed it was an effort to undercut wages in the wake of a merger between Sanderson and Wayne Farms, another major producer in the state, as Marcia Brown reports in FERN's latest story, produced with The Capitol Forum. (No paywall)

USDA puts into action its pledge to expand meat industry capacity

Three months ago, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the USDA would commit $500 million to expand meat and poultry processing capacity and create a more competitive livestock market. "I believe it is going to leverage literally billions of dollars in investment from investors and local governments," said Vilsack at a meat locker plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

‘Fairness for Farmers’ campaign targets market power of big companies

Buoyed by a Biden administration pledge to vigorously police agricultural mergers, the National Farmers Union launched the nationwide "Fairness for Farmers" campaign on Wednesday to restore competition in the marketplace. "This endeavor has clear goals: to curtail consolidation in agriculture and bust the monopolies, which negatively impact farmers, ranchers, and consumers," said NFU president Rod Larew.

Vilsack: Stronger rules on the way for fair play in livestock marketing

The USDA will propose three rules to give cattle, hog and poultry producers more leverage in dealing with meat processors in an increasingly concentrated industry, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The initiatives would make it easier for a producer to prove unfair treatment by a processor and would write a new regulation on use of so-called tournament systems by processors to determine pay for poultry farmers.

Senate bill calls for half of slaughter cattle to be sold on cash market

Large meatpackers would be required to buy 50 percent of their cattle for slaughter each week on the open market under legislation filed by nine senators. It was the second bill this month aimed at greater transparency in cattle prices.

Consolidation and climate change threaten U.S. fisheries, say FERN panelists

While overfishing no longer threatens U.S. fisheries, other pressing sustainability issues, such as finfish aquaculture and consolidation, top the list of concerns among fishers and fisheries experts, according to panelists who spoke at FERN Talks and Eats in New York City on Monday.(No paywall)

Coalition presses food service companies to improve food sourcing

A coalition of farmers, fishers, students, and advocates rallied at the headquarters of food service provider Aramark on Monday to demand that the company source its food more ethically. The Community Coalition for Real Meals demonstrated in front of Aramark's Philadelphia headquarters on Monday and delivered a petition that the group says has been signed by over 100,000 people.