Residents of tiny Lone Jack, MO, are fighting a proposal by a local ranch to expand its feedlot from around 600 cows to nearly 7,000. It is the latest in a series of communities pushing back against a national trend toward concentrated animal agriculture. (No paywall)
The meatpacking industry is famed for using all parts of the animal except the oink or the moo. Even by that standard, a tiny Canadian pharmaceutical company, BLES Biochemicals, does the industry one better, by collecting an off-white foam — a pulmonary surfactant — from the lungs of cattle at a slaughterhouse for eventual use in helping premature babies breathe, reports Stat, the medical news site.
The U.S. Cattlemen's Association petitioned the USDA to establish label requirements for laboratory-grown meat and alternative proteins, said the weekly Tri-State Livestock News, of Belle Fourche, S.D. "We look forward to working with the agency to rectify the misleading labeling of 'beef' products that are made with plant or insect protein or grown in a Petri dish," said USCA president Kenny Graner.
A coalition of 55 environmental, agricultural, and food-safety organizations signed a letter urging the Iowa General Assembly pass a moratorium on new and expanded factory farm development in the state. Iowa currently houses nearly 23 million hogs, a record for the state and the highest number in the country.
Eleven months into the Trump administration, the Agriculture Department decided it lacks statutory authority to implement the livestock welfare rules that is wrote for organic farmers, and will announce today that it is killing the regulation. Groups representing conventional agriculture cheered the decision, which was disclosed at the end of last week, while the organic industry and its allies in Congress said USDA disregarded public sentiment and "could damage a marketplace that is giving American farmers a profitable alternative."
In one of USDA's biggest decisions in the Trump era, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue killed the so-called GIPSA rule on fair play in livestock marketing. Two months later, the farm group Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) filed suit in the U.S. appeals court in St. Louis for reinstatement of the rule, issued in the closing weeks of the Obama administration.
The Government Accountability Office urged federal regulators, in the words of Harvest Public Media, "to better protect meatpacking workers, who are often exposed to dangerous chemicals, not allowed bathroom breaks and refused medical treatment." The GAO report said workers sometimes decide not to report problems for fear of retaliation, making it harder for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to get a clear picture of conditions.
In Montana's Tom Miner Basin, just outside the protected wilds of Yellowstone National Park, ranchers are embracing a variety of non-lethal strategies to deal with an influx of grizzlies, reports Ensia in a story done in partnership with the Food & Environment Reporting Network. It's an experiment that could have broad implications for how the livestock industry manages these and other top predators as climate change restricts their traditional food supply.
Beginning on Wednesday, from 60,000 to 100,000 livestock and poultry operations will be required to report emissions of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide, said Drovers. The EPA previously exempted livestock farms from filing the reports but a federal court, in response to a lawsuit filed by environmentalists, vitiated the exemption.
The U.S. pork industry is spending billions of dollars to build five new plants and expanding another existing plant in the Midwest. But that investment will pale in comparison to the money needed to supply those packing plants with pigs, according to Successful Farming. The five new plants alone will be capable of processing at least 40,000 hogs a day.