Anyone who has followed California agricultural politics in recent years knows residents have a soft spot in their humane hearts for animals raised for production or slaughter. That’s baby cows, fowls, and sows y’all. California fired its first shot for humane treatment of farm animals way back in 2008 with the Humane Society led ballot initiative Proposition 2. California voters overwhelming passed Prop 2 63-to-36 percent banning confinement of egg-laying hens, calves raised for veal, and pregnant pigs. The initiative did not provide specific square-foot guidelines as to what constitutes confinement but rather required that animals needed to turn freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.
Generally speaking, pork barrel politics amounts to politicians trading favors to constituents or special interest groups for political support, often as campaign contributions. Pork barrel spending, better known as earmarks in federal spending bills, have surged in 2018. Who may be profiting this year? Smithfield Foods.
It’s no secret. Pigs poop. A LOT! Now if you live in China maybe that’s not so much of an issue with the mostly traditional-age old way of raising pigs in backyards in relatively small numbers. But if you happen to live in North Carolina it’s a different story altogether.
There’s a fast moving technological gene-editing technique called CRISPR that’s the center of a yet to be finalized massive patent fight and for which the U.S. government has no current oversight. As Dave Dickey writes, what can possibly go wrong?
One hardly knows where to begin commenting on USDA’s $12 billion farm aid package designed to help farmers and ranchers financially blindsided by the POTUS’s trade war with China. The Market Facilitation Program is complicated but here are the highlights:
MFP includes $4.77 billion in direct payments to farmers. Soybean farmers get the lion share – $3.6 billion. On the other hand, the total allotted to corn farmers is $95 million. Pork producers fair little better at just over $290 million. Beef producers get zero. Soybean farmers will receive $1.65 a bushel, wheat producers 14-cents a bushel and corn farmers 1-cent a bushel on half of their production. Hog farmers get $8 a pig. For row crops, the money will not be paid till after harvest. And oh yeah, it’s capped at a maximum of $125,000 a farmer.
Ironically I was on some R-and-R in St. Louis, headquarters to Monsanto, when a California jury dropped the mother of all H-bombs on Bayer’s newest acquisition: Monsanto’s flagship weed killer Roundup contributed to high school groundsman Dewayne Johnson’s non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Put bluntly the jury ruled Roundup causes cancer and it awarded terminally-ill Johnson $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages. Yup $289 million total. Bayer, which purchased Monsanto just two months ago, has taken a massive financial hit, losing more than 10 percent of share value. So how did Monsanto and Bayer lose?