The United States loses an average of 17,000 beef producers each year, said House Agriculture chairman David Scott in filing legislation that would increase USDA support of small producers and help them find local and regional markets for their beef. "We believe we are on the right track," Scott told reporters last week.
Colorado voters will decide on Nov. 3 whether the gray wolf, nearly hunted to extinction a century ago, will have a home west of the Continental Divide in their state. If they approve Inititiative 114, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission would be charged with planning for and carrying out the reintroduction of the gray wolf by the end of 2023, including the possibility of compensation for livestock lost to wolves.
As Covid-19 spreads in meatpacking plants across the country, a number of groups representing ranchers and farmers have joined with a key labor union to call for stronger protections for meatpacking workers. The alliance comes as the tally of meat industry workers who have contracted the disease approaches 25,000, even as companies restrict information about outbreaks at their facilities. (No paywall)
Closures at meatpacking plants due to outbreaks of Covid-19 have sent shockwaves through the livestock industry. With thousands of confirmed cases among plant workers and operations stuttering across the country, the backlog of animals awaiting slaughter is growing and farmers are running out of options. The bottleneck promises to have long-term consequences for American ranchers and is injecting new urgency into calls for relaxing federal regulations that limit small farmers’ access to livestock processing.(No paywall)
The EPA said on Thursday that although it will allow the continued use of cyanide in the anti-predator M-44 device, it will add safety requirements, including that the devices be placed farther away from residences.
Just a few months after news broke that the nation’s top attorneys are investigating Big Chicken for alleged antitrust violations, similar allegations are piling up against Big Beef. Consumers, ranchers, and a meat distributor have now filed lawsuits alleging that the country’s biggest beef companies have broken antitrust law by conspiring to raise the price of beef and lower the amount paid to producers.
Newly released documents in a lawsuit between a group of independent Montana cattle ranchers and the USDA show that millions of dollars from an industry marketing fund are being diverted to the top cattle lobby, which some ranchers have long claimed misappropriates those funds for political use. The case could reshape how the beef checkoff, as the marketing program is called, is administered.(No paywall)
An estimated 40 companies worldwide are in the race to bring to market cell-based meat — "clean meat" in the eyes of proponents and "fake meat" according to ranchers. Asked if the product qualifies as meat, Deputy Agriculture Undersecretary Mindy Brashears responded, "This is something we will be talking about. That is an important priority for us."
In his new book, Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, FERN contributor Ben Goldfarb makes the case that this widely vilified rodent, which was trapped nearly out of existence in the U.S., is not only making a comeback but could play a major role in mitigating the effects of climate change and other problems afflicting farmers. (No paywall)
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s 2017 injunction against the collection of the Montana state beef checkoff in a decision released Monday. The ruling supports ranchers’ claim that the state's beef checkoff program impinges on their First Amendment rights by obligating them to pay taxes to support “private speech.” As the case between the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) and the Department of Agriculture unfolds, it has greater implications for checkoff programs in other states. No paywall
One of the best-known scientists in the GMO world, Alison Van Eenennaam, “aims to create a bull that will father only male offspring” through a bit of gene editing with CRISPR, said MIT Technology Review.
U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed federal charges against Navada rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons "with prejudice," meaning the government cannot try them again for an armed standoff over cattle grazing on public land, said the Los Angeles Times. "The court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated," said Navarro, because prosecutors failed to share evidence with the defendants.
Federal prosecutors “willfully” failed to share evidence with lawyers defending Cliven Bundy and two sons, who are on trial for an April 2014 armed standoff, ruled U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A federal judge in Las Vegas said Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who led a standoff with the government over cattle grazing, can be released on bond from jail during his trial on weapons and conspiracy charges.
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.
Karen Budd-Fallen, a Wyoming-based lawyer with a history of representing ranchers against the Bureau of Land Management, has announced that she’s in the running to be the BLM’s next director. With a long career of protecting private-property rights, Budd-Fallen, “has challenged grazing regulations and endangered species protections, and in a landmark case attempted to sue individual BLM employees under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.
Under a program funded by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), prisoners in six states are planting sagebrush, a plant native to Western grasslands that has been depleted by development and by ranchers' preference for other grasses that make better forage for livestock. Sagebrush provides valuable habitat for big-game and birds, while providing enough shade to keep moisture in the soil.
A wealthy Italian family plans to pump groundwater out of rural New Mexico to supply 155,000 households in sprawling Albuquerque, 140 miles away. Local ranchers have criticized the plan, fearing that the $600 million project will deplete the ancient aquifer they depend on for their cattle and families.