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USDA Loan Guarantee Initiative Will Boost Small, Start-up Meat and Poultry Processors

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a new loan guarantee initiative to leverage funding for small and mid-size meat and poultry processors and increase competition in the industry.

In July, President Biden signed an executive order to promote competition in various industries by addressing consolidation and concentrated market power that hurts farmers. A recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that in Arkansas, a key poultry processing state, industry concentration has tripled over the past three decades as Tyson Foods has grown to control an estimated two-thirds of chicken processing. The next-largest competitor accounts for just eight percent of processing.

Below is a statement by Rebecca Boehm, an economist with the UCS Food and Environment program.

“Right now, it’s nearly impossible for small, independent or new meat and poultry processors to compete with corporate giants like Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Foods or Sanderson Farms, which together account for 61 percent of chicken processing revenues nationally and even more market share in places like Arkansas. The new loan guarantees will help expand marketing opportunities for poultry farmers and livestock ranchers, provide new employment options for processing plant workers and give consumers more options to support local food systems.

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Sheep Farming: Reintegration Of The Rams

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Today at Ewetopia Farms, we check on how the rams reintegrated over night. Yesterday we removed a bunch of rams from breeding groups and had to put them in a temporary squeeze so that they wouldn't harm each other after reintegration. This morning we see how and if they have settled down or not. It was a sunny, windless day for a change today so we also spent some time sitting with the rams and discussing ram behaviour and controlling aggressive behaviour. We also check out how all the ewes made out overnight too. It can be stressful on the ewes to move them when pregnant. The we check out the dorset lambs in the tarp barn and give them full access to the other pens now that the breeding ewes are gone.