Agriculture | KUNC

Agriculture

Third generation hog farmer Chad Leman, making his daily rounds, points to dozens of 300-pound pigs.

"These pigs should be gone," he said.

He means gone to the meatpacking plant to be processed. But with pork processing plants shut down due to worker safety concerns, he's faced with a grisly task: He needs to kill the pigs to make room for more.

And Leman isn't the only one. With meatpacking plant closures and reduced processing capacity nationwide, America's hog farmers expect an unprecedented crisis: the need to euthanize millions of pigs.

Beef prices are on the rise while live cattle prices are falling. One reason for that is COVID-19 disrupting meat processing plants. There are more cattle and less product because some cows can’t get processed. But many suspect there's more to the story.


Chris Descheemaeker ranches black angus, red angus cross with her family outside of Lewistown, Montana. The coronavirus pandemic, she says, comes after a few tough winters and an already tough market.


It’s hard to keep some items stocked in stores these days. We’ve all heard about the toilet paper shortage. But what about eggs?


Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET on April 10

In recent days, top U.S. government officials have moved to assure Americans that they won't lack for food, despite the coronavirus.

As he toured a Walmart distribution center, Vice President Pence announced that "America's food supply is strong." The Food and Drug Administration's deputy commissioner for food, Frank Yiannas (a former Walmart executive) told reporters during a teleconference that "there are no widespread or nationwide shortages of food, despite local reports of outages."

Jake Billington has worked at the livestock auction at the Twin Falls Livestock Commission in southern Idaho for 28 years.


As water becomes more scarce in the Mountain West, a new analysis finds that a surprising amount is being used to raise cattle.

It looks like President Trump’s partial trade deal with China won’t bring in the promised $40 billion or so worth of agricultural trade for the U.S. this year. 

Every summer for the past three years, the phones have been ringing like crazy in the Office of the Indiana State Chemist. Farmers and homeowners were calling, complaining that their soybean fields or tomato plants looked sick, with curled-up leaves. They suspected pesticides from nearby farms — a kind of chemical hit-and-run.

It was up to investigators like Andy Roth to find the true culprit.

Esther Honig / KUNC

Harmful emissions from the agriculture sector are increasingly scrutinized as the climate changes. Now, energy companies want to help dairy farmers reduce emissions.

Virginia-based Dominion Energy and Vanguard Renewables Ag of Massachusetts have announced a $200 million partnership to convert methane from cow manure into renewable natural gas.

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