Thursday, September 29, 2022

Play

Flooding and power outages are concerns as Ian ravages Florida, advocates urge remembering those with disabilities amid the hurricane, and there may be a link between flood risk and abandoned mine land.

Play

Floridians are urged to stay put as Hurricane Ian ravages the Gulf Coast, the U.S. suspects the Nord Stream pipelines were sabotaged, and the White House pledges to end hunger by 2030.

Play

Baseball is America's pastime, and more international players are taking the stage, rural communities can get help applying for federal funds through the CHIPS and Science Act, and a Texas university is helping more Black and Latina women pursue careers in agriculture.

Cyberattack Offers Chance for Reform in Meat Industry

Play

Tuesday, June 22, 2021   

HELENA, Mont. -- Ranchers see opportunities for reform in the wake of a cyberattack on the world's largest meatpacking company.

JBS controls nearly a quarter of beef processing in the U.S., and a ransomware attack on the Brazilian-based company in late May sent shockwaves through the industry.

In its wake, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and two of his Republican colleagues have introduced legislation to appoint a special investigator to look into anti-trust issues within the industry.

Steve Charter, a member of the family agriculture group Northern Plains Resource Council, and an independent rancher near Billings, supports the bill.

"Not only the meatpacking industry, but our whole food system is so vulnerable and it's so concentrated and it's so monopolistically controlled," Charter asserted. "So this is a probably once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to possibly push through some real reform."

Four companies control 85% of U.S. beef processing. Charter argued prices for cattle producers are unsustainable, but the meatpacking industry said other factors have made prices low for producers, including drought, higher feed prices and a labor shortage.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also is looking into cracking down on large packers. It is considering new rules to strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act, a century-old law designed to protect meat markets from anti-competitive practices.

Charter pointed out country-of-origin labeling would also improve conditions because large meatpackers are able to use beef from other countries in their product but still call it U.S.-made.

"Country of Origin Labeling: It's kind of a no-brainer, and why wouldn't we want it? Consumers want it, producers want it," Charter contended. "But it's just another example how much these big packers have, to prohibit honest labeling of what it is."

Charter added he's a third-generation rancher, and generations four and five work on his ranch. He's not sure whether the ranch will make it to them.

"We're going to need to get our share of the producer's dollar in order to be able to keep this ranch in the family," Charter acknowledged. "And that's true of many, many operations like mine."

Disclosure: Northern Plains Resource Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, and Rural/Farming Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
The State of Florida encourages the public, especially citizens with disabilities and other special needs, to plan ahead for an emergency situation and know what to do in the event of an emergency. (Pixabay)

Health and Wellness

In an appeal to the public as Hurricane Ian barreled toward Florida, an advocate for persons with disabilities urged everyone to consider checking in …


Social Issues

The average cost of keeping a roof over your head in Utah's metro areas is a lot more than it used to be - if you're renting. A recent University …

Environment

Washington state is considering a cleaner future for its buildings. The Washington State Building Code Council is holding public hearings, including …


According to a new poll, 90% of voters 50 and older in Wisconsin say they're extremely motivated to vote in the November election, with issues such as inflation on the top of their minds. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Those 50 and older make up more than half of Wisconsin's registered voters, and a new statewide poll shows they want candidates to hear their …

Health and Wellness

A popular fishing site on the Columbia River for members of the Yakama Nation has been listed as Superfund site by the federal government. Now comes …

Food insecurity among adults ages 65 and older living alone reached the highest rates in 20 years between 2020 and 2021. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Some 35 million people in Wyoming and across the U.S. struggle to put food on the table, and older adults experiencing food insecurity face numerous …

Social Issues

A Texas human-rights advocacy and immigration-reform group opened two new community centers this week to help residents better understand their freedo…

Health and Wellness

A pilot program launched by the Todd County School District and the county's local health department offers free mental-health case-management service…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021