Coronavirus package allots $13 billion for crop and livestock producers

Row crop farmers would see payments of $20 an acre and livestock producers would be compensated for animals culled during the pandemic under the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill that was unexpectedly challenged by President Trump on Tuesday, a day after Congress passed it. The $13 billion bill includes a $400 million dairy donation program, aid to contract poultry growers, and assistance for textile mills and, potentially, ethanol refineries.

New fair play rule hurts livestock producers, say ag groups

One of the largest U.S. farm groups called for the incoming Biden administration to rescind a new fair play rule for livestock marketing, unveiled by the Agriculture Department on Thursday, that it sees as a setback for family farmers in dealing with the handful of companies that dominate the meat industry.

Pilgrim’s to pay $110.5 million fine in U.S. price-fixing investigation

The second-largest poultry processor in the country, Pilgrim's Pride Corp., said on Wednesday that it will pay a $110.5 million fine as part of a plea agreement with the Justice Department, which is investigating price fixing in broiler chicken products. Pilgrim's announced the plea deal one week after a second former chief executive was indicted on charges of being part of a multiyear conspiracy among industry executives to rig bids and fix prices. (No paywall)

U.S. price-fixing investigation tags another Pilgrim’s Pride chief

A federal grand jury indicted former chief executive William Lovette of Pilgrim's Pride, one of the largest U.S. poultry processors, and five other industry executives on charges of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products, announced the Justice Department on Wednesday.

Peterson, four House ag panelists oppose coronavirus bill

The Democratic-controlled House passed a $2.2-trillion-coronavirus-relief bill without the support of House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson and four other Democrats serving on the Agriculture Committee. They were among 18 Democrats who voted against the bill, which passed, 218-207; no Republicans voted for it.

Poultry execs indicted for price fixing

A federal grand jury indicted four poultry industry executives on a charge of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens, announced the Justice Department on Wednesday. The charges were the first in "an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price-fixing, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the broiler chicken industry," it said.

Chicken company to cull birds as processing capacity plummets

With a 50-percent workforce decline at poultry plants owned by the Delaware chicken company Allen Harim, the company told poultry farmers last week that it will begin killing chickens in the field to reduce pressure on its remaining workers during the coronavirus pandemic.(No paywall)

Smithfield Foods calls timeout to sanitize Sioux Falls plant

One of the largest U.S. meat processors, Smithfield Foods, said it will conduct "deep cleaning and sanitization," beginning on Saturday at the South Dakota pork plant where more than 80 of 3,700 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. (No paywall)

South Carolina flock culled after bird flu discovery

The USDA confirmed a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a turkey flock in South Carolina and said on Thursday that all of the birds had been killed to prevent spread of the disease. It was the first case of "high path" bird flu in a commercial poultry plant in the United States since 2017.