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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

Small farms, ranches hope for better treatment in new Farm Bill

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023   

Congress passed a one-year extension of the current Farm Bill, which means the debate over a new bill will continue well into 2024.

Advocacy groups said they will be using this time to push for bold policy changes, including an end to subsidizing factory farm manure management, and taking steps to restore competition in livestock markets, so independent producers can stay in business.

Darvin Bentlage, a Midwestern cattle farmer, said when it comes to waste, it is more than just the odor communities are left with.

"The corporations in the last five or six years have made billions of dollars, where the communities are left with -- well, the manure and the smell, and the dead animals," Bentlage asserted.

Bentlage and family-farming advocates would also like to see mandatory country-of-origin labeling to better inform consumers about their purchases. The Farm Bill officially expired in September, but Congress has not taken the necessary steps to pass a new one.

Family farmers also support updating and improving enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act, to limit meat packers' power over pricing. Bentlage noted packers are able to pay low prices to cattle farmers, then charge high retail prices, squeezing producers' profits.

He argued it especially hurts small, family-run cattle operations and has forced many out of business.

"A lot of pricing formulas that they have gives them -- the meat packers, I'm talking [about] -- the upper hand over the producers," Bentlage asserted. "I think the modernization, to do that would kind of limit that power."

Bentlage added it would help earn higher profits for local cattle farmers if there was a requirement for packers to purchase purchase 50% of beef on the open market.


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