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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Livestock manure makes 'big stink' for MO family farmers

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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 Missouri 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 pointed out.

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 the 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 contended. "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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