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Monday, July 15, 2024

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President Joe Biden calls on the nation to 'lower the temperature' on politics; Utah governor calls for unity following Trump assassination attempt; Civil rights groups sound the alarm on Project 2025; New England braces for 'above-normal' hurricane season.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

MN farmers push for more protection from corporate agriculture in Farm Bill

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Monday, June 17, 2024   

With a September deadline looming for Congress to finish work on renewing the Farm Bill, Minnesota family farmers are pushing for more regulations to curb the abuses of large factory farms.

Advocacy groups say too much of the funding meant for small, rural communities is being snapped up by corporate entities running huge operations that push small farmers out of the market.

Matthew Sheets is an organizer who represents family farms for the Minnesota-based Land Stewardship Project. He said they want several items included in the final bill.

"I'm really hoping that they can get something done," said Sheets. "I mean, the Farm Bill is an incredibly important piece of legislation not just for farmers, but for families. We're all connected to the food system, right? And the farm bill is the most comprehensive piece of food-system legislation that Congress passes."

The Farm Bill is an omnibus, multi-year law renewed every five years that governs a wide array of agricultural and food programs. The current version of the Farm Bill expires on September 30.

Sheets said family farmers are calling for sweeping changes to reduce the level of subsidies for large-scale factory farm operations through conservation programs - that should instead support smaller, independent farms.

They also want stronger measures to restore competition in livestock markets, rein in abuses by large meatpackers, and level the playing field for independent producers.

"Minnesota is fortunate that we have pretty robust local control laws," said Sheets. "These laws mean that counties and even townships, in some cases, have the final say on whether or not a large factory farm is actually built before any groundbreaking happens."

Sheets said large corporate-owned operations are getting in line for subsidies in energy projects, rural land development, and market enhancements - which, he believes, ought to benefit family farmers and rural communities.

"Those dollars are supposed to be for energy projects in rural areas," said Sheets. "They're also supposed to be for conservation practices, for things that build up the land and build up rural communities. And we know that factory farms don't do that."


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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