Agriculture

COMMENTARY
A monarch butterfly lands on a flower. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Arkansas wildlife will benefit from legislation pending in lame-duck Congress

BY: and - December 7, 2022

From the Ozarks to the Delta, Arkansas is home to some of our nation’s most cherished wildlife. But right now, more than 375 species across the state are facing significant challenges, due to increasing habitat loss, new invasive species, and extreme flooding. It’s part of a larger national trend where more than one-third of America’s wildlife are at […]

Closeup photo of a man refueling a vehicle. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Big oil supports bills to make sales of 15% ethanol blends year-round

BY: - December 5, 2022

LINCOLN — The U.S. Senate, with volatile gasoline prices top of mind, is inching toward a bipartisan solution to a years-long push for year-round sales of ethanol blends of 15% or more. Bills to codify the change have shared support from agricultural organizations and biofuels boosters, including the congressional delegations from ag states like Nebraska, […]

President Joe Biden meets with congressional leaders Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at the White House. On the agenda was a $37-billion request for disaster relief. Biden met with (L-R) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

More than $37 billion in disaster aid under scrutiny in congressional lame duck

BY: - November 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration wants Congress to approve more than $37 billion to help communities throughout the country recover from various natural disasters, including Hurricanes Ian, which battered Florida and the Southeast U.S. in late September, and Fiona, which hit Puerto Rico.  The supplemental funding request comes on top of a $9 billion COVID-19 […]

The pork industry shifted dramatically over the past three decades. A USDA report tracks how the industry moved away from small operations to CAFOs, production contracts and specialization. (File photo from March 2021 by Danielle Pycior for Investigate Midwest)

Scaling up: 4 ways hog farms changed since the 1990s

BY: - November 28, 2022

Editor’s note: The following story is a compilation of the five-part series “Scaling Up” by Madison McVan published by Investigate Midwest in September and October. The story examines changes in the pork industry over the last few decades. More contracts. More specialization. More pork production, resulting in decreasing costs. A report issued in August by […]

A typical pen format for swine in many Iowa animal feeding operations. (File photo/Iowa Watch)

EPA permits cover only a third of concentrated animal feeding operations

BY: - November 22, 2022

The Environmental Protection Agency is charged with protecting important waterways from pollution, but manure from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, continues to harm waterways — and only one-third of the largest facilities have a federal permit. EPA permits require CAFO operators to tell the agency how much waste the animals will produce and how […]

Iowa farmland stretches to the horizon in 2019. (Lyle Muller / Investigate Midwest IowaWatch)

Chinese farmland ownership has states considering limits on foreign ownership

BY: - November 14, 2022

Amid growing concern about Chinese investment in U.S. agriculture, there has been a renewed push to limit and more closely monitor foreign ownership of farmland across the country. At least eight states considered implementing a new limit on foreign control of agricultural land, and one, Indiana, passed a new law limiting new investment by foreign […]

Black farmer with digital tablet in crop field

Climate funding in the farm bill a target if GOP controls Congress

BY: - November 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — Republicans who may be taking control of Congress in next week’s midterm elections have not been very specific about many policy goals—but the farm bill is an exception. Members of the GOP in the U.S. House and Senate are sending strong signals they want to strip climate funding from the legislation in 2023 […]

Photo of pigs in a feedlot to illustrate story about USDA grants to small meatpacking operations.

USDA gives $73 million to create, expand smaller livestock processors

BY: - November 2, 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its first grant awards on Wednesday — totaling about $73 million — to increase the processing capacity of smaller, independent meatpackers in 16 states. They range from a $292,000 grant to provide independent Montana farmers with a USDA-inspected meat processing facility — which is required to sell the products […]