Thursday, September 16, 2021


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.


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.


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.

Down on the Farm: More Competition and Market Fairness


Thursday, July 8, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Farmers all over the U.S. contribute to the nation's food supply. But the meat and chicken you buy at the market typically is processed by only a handful of companies. After years of frustration producer advocates, including a Minnesota group, see hope in pending federal action.

The Biden administration says it's poised to announce farmer protections when it comes to market concentration. Among other things, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be directed to draft rules making it easier for ranchers to file complaints.

Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, cheered the move, and said while it might not resonate with the general public, it's important action in his industry.

"That's all the farmers are asking for, you know, is just a fair shake," said Wertish. "Everybody's the same. Everybody wants to be treated fairly no matter what type of job they are in, and how they work and farmers are no different. "

He said not only do farmers get paid less for their livestock under a heavily concentrated market, consumers wind up paying more for the final product.

Industry observers note four companies control roughly 80% of the beef market, with similar structures for other commodities. Groups advocating for processors have resisted reforms, saying they will lead to frivolous lawsuits.

Another planned move by the Biden administration would involve limiting the scope of "Made in the USA" labeling.

Wertish said currently, livestock can be raised overseas and processes minimally in America while still getting that label. He says that's not fair to Minnesota farmers.

"We're proud of the job that we do," said Wertish. "And we should be able to proudly display that on the label and the consumer should know what they're actually buying. "

While corn and soybeans are the top agriculture commodities in Minnesota, hogs and cattle also are in the top five. Prior to the anticipated order from President Joe Biden, the USDA recently announced it planned to bolster certain protections amid bipartisan calls from lawmakers to address the issue.

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…


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