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19-year-old Mitchell Matthew grew up helping on his family’s Illinois farm. Here, he stands in front of a greenhouse bursting with tomato plants. (Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media)
19-year-old Mitchell Matthew grew up helping on his family’s Illinois farm. Here, he stands in front of a greenhouse bursting with tomato plants. (Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media)

The Matthew family farm, M&M&m Farms, outside of La Harpe, Illinois, looks different from the farms surrounding it. It’s not filled with neat rows of soybeans or lines of corn that’s over-my-head high in late July. The Matthew’s place is a bit more disorganized and far more diverse.

“A lot of people grow corn or beans,” Mitchell Matthew tells me as we take an afternoon stroll around his parent’s hilltop property. “Here, we grow everything. Everything you can think of.”

Mitchell points out peach trees, apple trees, cherry trees, and blueberry bushes. Greenhouses filled with tomatoes are nestled into fields of sunflowers, sweet corn, and popcorn, and there are beds of zucchinis, peppers, onions, leeks, green and yellow beans, and squash.

Sheridan's Frozen Custard is a popular stop in Kansas City's hot weather (Sheridans, via Twitter)
Sheridan's Frozen Custard is a popular stop in Kansas City's hot weather (Sheridans, via Twitter)

Even as government officials brace for a recurrence of bird flu this fall, the massive spring outbreak is still affecting food producers.

Kansas City residents, flocking to local favorite Sheridan’s frozen custard stands because of this week’s heat wave, are met with notices that the custard recipe has been changed because of an egg shortage.

“Federal regulations require frozen custard to contain at least 1.4 percent egg solids by weight,” the signs say. “Due to the egg shortage caused by the avian influenza outbreak, our dairy is currently unable to purchase enough eggs to meet that standard, requiring a slight change in our product recipe."

JBS USA's headquarters in Greeley, Colorado. (Stephanie Paige Ogburn/KUNC)
JBS USA's headquarters in Greeley, Colorado. (Stephanie Paige Ogburn/KUNC)

A federal lawsuit that alleges Colorado-based meatpacking company JBS USA engaged in wide-scale discrimination against Muslim employees is heading to trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer denied the company’s request for summary judgment in a case that stems from 2008, when the company’s Greeley beef plant fired Somali Muslim employees who requested that breaks be scheduled to coincide with prayer time during Ramadan, a month of the Islamic calendar that requires daytime fasting and prayer.

In 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces workplace discrimination laws, filed two lawsuits against the company, one in Colorado and one in Nebraska. The Nebraska case was decided in JBS’s favor. The Colorado lawsuit, which accuses the company of engaging in a pattern of religious discrimination, has been winding through the legal system.

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