Few farm groups speak out on George Floyd’s death or protests that followed
The National Farmers Union was the first major farm group to call for racial justice following the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day. A handful of groups said this week that they stand in solidarity with protests nationwide against racism and inequality that were sparked by Floyd’s death.
Amid Covid-19 bottleneck in meat industry, PRIME Act gains support
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.
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 anti-competitive conduct in the broiler chicken industry,” it said.
Label low- and no-calorie sweeteners, says sugar group
The Sugar Association, which describes itself as “the scientific voice of the U.S. sugar industry,” petitioned the FDA on Wednesday to require clearer labeling of foods that contain alternative low- and no-calorie sweeteners. The FDA has six months to respond to the petition.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Not quite ‘truck to trunk‘ (Food Bank News): While the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program has jump-started the movement of millions of pounds of food to hungry Americans, food banks are incurring substantial additional costs, such as storage space for the food when it arrives or vehicles to carry it to distribution points.
The future of water (KUNC): A New York hedge fund is creating a stir in Colorado’s Grand Valley by buying irrigated farmland as an investment in the future value of water, prompting state legislators to look at strengthening a law against water speculation.
Tyson returns to pre-Covid policy (Bloomberg): Tyson Foods said it is reinstating its standard attendance policy, which punishes workers for missing work due to illness, though the company says employees who test positive for the coronavirus will continue to qualify for short-term disability pay.
China cancels ag deals (Teletrader): China has canceled some of its purchases of U.S. farm exports, including corn, pork, cotton, and livestock feed, unnamed Chinese shipping officials told the Wall Street Journal.
Rural counties best and worst for the virus (Daily Yonder): Rural America was at both ends of the U.S. pandemic spectrum in May: Hundreds of counties had few or no cases of the coronavirus, but three-quarters of the 100 U.S. counties with the highest infection rates were rural.