Thursday, September 16, 2021

Play

Hundreds of wealthy Americans back the Biden Build Back Better Act; Roger Stone is served with a warrant on live radio; and family caregivers are in need of assistance.

Play

Virginia gubernatorial candidates debate; former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann indicted for lying to FBI; lawmakers set to question oil industry over climate disinformation; and FDA scientists express skepticism over booster shots.

Play

Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

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
Oregon's Hispanic population grew 30% from 2010 to 2020. (Gstudio/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…


Social Issues

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …

Social Issues

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…


Arkansas' rental-assistance program has distributed funds to more than 3,200 households in the state. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas has made some changes to its state rent relief program to make it easier to distribute assistance to residents…

Environment

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The historic clean-energy bill signed into Illinois law yesterday includes measures from closing coal and natural gas plants by 2…

Indiana ranks 44th out of 50 states for bankruptcy. (Andriy Blokhin/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new coalition is forming to push back against predatory lending and urge state lawmakers to take action to protect consumers…

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- More than 200 high earners have written a letter urging Congress to raise taxes to help support social safety-net programs that …

Health and Wellness

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Limiting women's access to abortion and other reproductive health care can have a devastating impact on state economies. According …

 

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