Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Play

Postal unions fight for higher standards of service, a proposed high-speed rail line could make a N.Y.-D.C. trip just an hour, and a study finds oilfield gas flares are more harmful than had been thought.

Play

The FBI says China and Russia are sowing election integrity disinformation, President Biden commits $60 million to help Puerto Rico, and New York City's mayor is bewildered by the silence over the migrant crisis.

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.

Through USDA Efforts, Ranchers Flex Some Selling Muscle

Play

Thursday, July 22, 2021   

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- The beef or chicken you buy from the grocery store is often processed by the same small number of companies.

Advocates for farmers and ranchers said it hurts producers and consumers, but they are encouraged by new federal efforts to steer the supply chain to smaller plants.

The Biden administration recently announced sweeping plans to bolster competition among a range of industries, including agriculture. Tied to that is a USDA investment to increase production capacity among non-corporate processing plants.

Donald Rude, a rancher from northeastern North Dakota, said it is hard to make a profit when the markets are dominated by only a handful of operations.

"We're making, say, $1.20, $1.50, and they're selling the meat in store for, say, $6, $7 a pound," Rude explained. "I mean, that's a big gap. And their gobbling up all the profit is not fair to the consumer."

He said the potential to shop their livestock around paves the way for better prices, and less sticker shock for consumers.

The USDA said because of consolidation, federally inspected meatpacking plants have declined by roughly 40% since 1990. Currently, there are only 18 licensed local slaughter plants in North Dakota for ranchers to consider.

Industry groups criticized the federal initiative, saying it will lead to unintended consequences for customers and producers.

Nathan Kroh, scientific information coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture's meat and poultry inspection program, said the 18 slaughter plants that offer inspections are the first step in getting a rancher's product to the masses.

But he noted the local plants often are overbooked, leaving producers in a bind.

"A lot of our ranchers will actually just sell through the auction market for the larger facilities to take, and then they're at that price," Kroh observed.

That means they have to take what they can get, versus looking for a better price structure on the local scene.

Kroh added the federal rollout includes a new $55 million grant program for plants trying to be certified for inspection status.

North Dakota has more than 70 sites that are currently custom-exempt, meaning the meat they take in can't be sold for retail.

Disclosure: North Dakota Farmers Union contributes to our fund for reporting on 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 Environmental Defense Fund estimates methane emissions account for at least 25% of global warming. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

A new study found gas flaring in oil-producing states like North Dakota is not as effective in limiting harmful emissions when compared to long-standi…


Social Issues

Community and technical college faculty members are preparing for the legislative session in Olympia, and among the top priorities for the American …

Social Issues

The Holyoke area is home to many Puerto Rican families who say they will do what they can to help people there as they recover from the latest hurrica…


In recent years, a range of studies and reports show Minnesota has some of the worst racial disparities in the nation, including in the areas of homeownership and education. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

On the heels of a regional conference, multiple groups are working on new solutions for reducing the poverty gap in Minnesota. Nonprofits, …

Social Issues

The pandemic took a toll on the nursing profession, resulting in shortages across the nation and especially Texas, ranked the second-hardest-hit …

Social Issues

Advocates for a man wrongfully imprisoned for decades due to misconduct by a Durham Police detective and released in 2016, want the city to honor a …

Social Issues

Groups fighting hunger in California say untold suffering could be avoided if the policies championed at the latest White House conference are put int…

 

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