As meat plants reopen, Iowa, South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Nebraska are coronavirus leaders

As many as 18 percent of workers in meat and poultry plants are infected with the coronavirus in Iowa and South Dakota, while Pennsylvania and Nebraska account for one-quarter of the Covid-19 cases nationwide, said CDC scientists and state public health officials. The CDC released the report as Smithfield Foods, one of the giants of the meat industry, began to reopen a hog plant that was a coronavirus hot spot three weeks ago.(No paywall)

Smithfield closes pork plant indefinitely; hot spot for coronavirus

Under pressure from state and local officials, Smithfield Foods said that its mammoth pork plant in Sioux Falls "will remain closed until further notice" and suggested Covid-19 cases could jeopardize the U.S. food supply. The pork plant was linked to 38 percent of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Dakota.(No paywall)

A shipping ‘standstill’ and herd culling if African swine fever is found

The USDA will move quickly to eradicate the African swine fever if the viral disease is discovered in the United States, said Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City. The USDA would order a 72-hour nationwide "standstill" of hog shipments, as a step to prevent spread of the virus, and it would kill all infected and exposed hogs, potentially thousands of animals or more.

Hog epidemic in Asia means less meat worldwide, says UN food group

World meat production will decline for the first time in two decades because of the devastating epidemic of African swine fever in China, the world’s largest pork producer, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Thursday.

How CAFOs divided an Arkansas community

As a young man, Johnny Carroll Sain dreamed of owning an industrial hog farm like his uncle. Eventually, he did, raising hogs for Cargill on 55 acres in northern Arkansas. He's out of the business now, and in FERN's latest piece, published with Arkansas Life, he explores how industrial meat production has damaged the environment, the economy, and the social cohesion in his rural community. (No paywall)

Pork leads increase in U.S. meat production

U.S. red meat and poultry production will climb by 2.3 billion pounds in 2019 from this year’s level, says the first USDA forecasts of meat production for the coming year. Pork output will be up by nearly 3 percent, to 28 billion pounds.

Smithfield verdict raises hopes for opponents of industrial ag

The $50-million verdict last week against North Carolina hog producer Murphy-Brown is being hailed as a potential game-changer in the growing grassroots opposition to industrial farming operations around the country. No paywall

More hogs on U.S. farms, and even more to come

The U.S. hog inventory is up 3 percent from a year ago, according to a quarterly report by USDA. Beef and poultry production are also expanding, leading USDA to forecast a nearly 4-percent increase in the meat supply this year. The increase is so large that per capita meat consumption is expected to increase by 5.6 pounds, to 222.4 pounds per person.

Coalition urges Iowa legislators to end new factory farm development

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.