USDA will seek improvements to salmonella controls

Pointing to the tens of thousands of salmonella illnesses linked to poultry products each year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Tuesday that the USDA would mobilize "a stronger and more comprehensive effort" to reduce the risk of the disease-causing bacteria in raw poultry meat. The process could include pilot projects that encourage "pre-harvest controls" on the farm, an area not directly under USDA jurisdiction.

Koch Foods indicted as part of poultry price-fixing conspiracy

A federal grand jury in Denver indicted Koch Foods, the fifth-largest U.S. poultry processor, for taking part in a nationwide conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for poultry products, announced the Justice Department on Thursday.

USDA aid for producers who culled pigs and poultry during pandemic

Producers who were forced to destroy pigs, chickens, and turkeys last year due to the pandemic are eligible for federal compensation ranging from 32 cents per chick to $258.57 for a heavyweight hog, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday. The new Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program is the latest in coronavirus relief programs that have paid $24.3 billion to farmers since May 2020.

With eye to revival, USDA to revisit animal welfare rule for organic farms

Eleven months after President Trump took office, the USDA said it lacked the authority to implement livestock welfare rules for organic farmers, despite having spent years working on them. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday that the USDA will reconsider that 2017 interpretation, a step that could lead to a revival of the regulation to give chickens, pigs, and cattle on organic farms more elbow room than they commonly get on factory farms.

Senators prod USDA for pandemic payments to contract growers

Ten weeks ago, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack restarted the USDA’s coronavirus relief program for farmers and ranchers. But payments to contract growers, the farmers who produce hogs, poultry and eggs under contract for the owner of the animals, remain on hold and lawmakers from poultry …

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.