Weekly livestock news: August 28, 2023

Congressional battle over EATS Act brings delay and risk to new farm bill

The soon-to-expire farm bill is now at risk because of an agriculture battle that has broken out over the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression, or EATS, Act. The bill aims to repeal California’s animal confinement law, Proposition 12. Farm state congressional delegations do not expect the 2023 farm bill to be passed by the September 30 deadline but are hopeful the $1.5 trillion bill will be passed and signed by the president by the end of 2023. On Monday, 171 bipartisan members of Congress sent a letter to House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson and Ranking Member David Scott, opposing inclusion of the EATS Act in the bill. “The EATS Act could harm America’s small farmers, threaten numerous state laws and infringe on the fundamental rights of states to establish laws and regulations within their borders,” the congressional letter says. Food Safety News reports.

Minnesota judge dismisses beef producers’ price-fixing lawsuit against meatpackers

A Minnesota District Court judge on August 17 dismissed a multidistrict price-fixing lawsuit against meatpackers Cargill, JBS, Swift Beef, National Beef Packing and Tyson Foods. The processors had faced allegations from beef producers who claimed the companies conspired to manipulate the price of fed cattle bought in the United States. Judge John R. Tunheim dismissed the case because the plaintiffs “failed to establish antitrust standing.” According to court documents, the ranchers didn’t adequately explain the causal connection between manipulating fed cattle prices and lower cow-calf prices, Meat + Poultry reports.

The nation has fewer hog farms but more hogs per farm than it used to

While midwestern states—Iowa in particular—continue to lead U.S. hog production, it’s clear the industry has experienced some change. By 2017, there were half as many hog farms as there were a decade earlier, and the largest farms, often specialized operations, raised 93% of the pigs. The shift reflected “the movement to widespread use of production contracts and the emergence of larger operations,” according to a report written by seven USDA economists. The largest farms, with more than 2,000 head, held 61% of U.S. hogs in 1997. Their share grew to 91% in 2017, although they represented only an eighth of the 66,439 hog farms in the nation. In addition, hogs traditionally were raised on the same farm from birth until they were ready for slaughter. They have since been displaced by feeder-to-finish operations, Successful Farming reports.

Tractor Supply announces inaugural class of FFA Future Leaders Scholarship recipients

Tractor Supply Company announced the 146 recipients of its inaugural FFA Future Leaders Scholarship. The Tractor Supply Foundation established the scholarship in 2022 in partnership with the National FFA Organization, committing $5 million over the next five years. The 146 recipients represent 38 states and a wide range of backgrounds and academic interests. Ninety-two $5,000 scholarships were awarded to students attending trade schools or two-year colleges. Fifty-four $10,000 scholarships were awarded to members pursuing agriculture-related four-year majors. Scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to interview for career opportunities at Tractor Supply stores or distribution centers while pursuing their education.

Biden administration announces $667 million in new grants and loans for rural broadband

The Biden administration announced a new investment of $667 million in grants and loans to build broadband infrastructure in rural areas of the United States, continuing a push toward internet-for-all by 2030. There are 37 new recipients, representing the fourth round of funding under the USDA program, called ReConnect. Another 37 projects received $771.4 million in grants and loans announced in April and June. The largest award went to the Ponderosa Telephone Co. in California, which received more than $42 million to deploy fiber networks in Fresno County. In total, more than 1,200 people, 12 farms and 26 other businesses will benefit from that effort alone, according to the USDA. The Associated Press reports.

SoundByte: Hyvisc and Hyaovet

Hyvisc® and Hyaovet® (both hyaluronate sodium) are the industry-leading, FDA-approved HAs currently available for the intra-articular treatment of joint dysfunction in horses due to non-infectious synovitis associated with equine osteoarthritis, according to manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim. Read more in the SoundByte from Veterinary Advantage.