The price of plenty: how beef changed America

The long read: Exploitation and predatory pricing drove the transformation of the US beef industry and created the model for modern agribusiness The meatpacking mogul Jonathan Ogden Armour could not abide socialist agitators. It was 1906, and Upton Sinclair had just published The Jungle, an explosive novel revealing the grim underside of the American meatpacking industry. Sinclairs book told the tale of an immigrant familys toil in Chicagos slaughterhouses, tracing the familys physical, financial and emotional collapse. The Jungle was not Armours only concern. The year before, the journalist Charles Edward Russells book The Greatest Trust in the World had detailed the greed and exploitation of a packing industry that came to the American dining table three times a day …

US farmers count cost of catastrophic ‘bomb cyclone’ in midwest

With grain stores ruined and many fields still under water from last months extreme weather, producers are facing devastating losses Five weeks after historic flooding in the midwest, waters still cover pasturelands, corn and soybean fields. Much of the water has receded, but rivers still run high and washed out roads force people to take long detours. Residents in Missouri are putting their ruined possessions on the street and corn stalks heaped by floodwaters look like snowdrifts in the fields. In March, more than 450,000 hectares (1.1m acres) of cropland and 34,000 hectares of pastureland flooded, according to record-breaking cold in January and unprecedented snow in February. Huge blocks of loose ice jammed waterways, and the Climate models predict more …

How Americas food giants swallowed the family farms

Across the midwest, the rise of factory farming is destroying rural communities. And the massive corporations behind this devastation are now eyeing a post-Brexit UK market When the vast expanse of rural Iowa was carved up for settlers in the 19th century, it was often divided into 160-acre lots. Four farms made a square mile, with a crisscross of dead-straight roads marking the boundaries like a sprawling chess board. Within each square, generations of families tended pigs and cattle, grew oats and raised children, with the sons most likely to take over the farm. That is how Barb Kalbach saw the future when she left her familys land to marry and begin farming with her new husband, Jim, 47 years …