Amy Mayer / File/Harvest Public Media

The largest meat processor in the world stands on the verge of starting up its plants after getting shut down over the Memorial Day weekend by hackers chasing ransom.

Seth Bodine / Harvest Public Media

The sound of peeping, fuzzy, freshly-hatched chicks drifts through Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, Missouri.

It’s a busy time for third-generation owner Jeff Smith. For hatchery season, which occurs from February to October, 300,000 eggs are delivered every seven days to the hatchery. For hatcheries, getting newborn chicks to their owner is a race against time. He has about a hundred employees working to get 200 varieties of chicks delivered safely to customers. 

“We work 24/7 here, everybody is tapped out on the time and energy that they can put into it,” Smith says. 

The first set of barns for the Costco project was recently completed near the town of Hooper, Nebraska. Approximately 20,000 breeding hens will be raised here.
Fred Knapp / NET News Nebraska file photo

A handful of companies — think Tyson and Perdue — all but control poultry production in the U.S. They’ll soon be joined by a retailer known more for selling rotisserie chickens: Costco, which is building a farm-to-table system based in Nebraska to supply itself.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tossed out a set of proposed changes this week that would have redefined living conditions for dairy and beef cattle, sheep, lamb, poultry and egg-laying chickens on certified organic farms.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media file photo

Seeking what he called “clean” food for lunch, Alexander Minnelli chose ProteinHouse, one of the newer restaurants in downtown Kansas City.

A sign at the edge of Bill Bevans' turkey farm near Waverly, Nebraska, serves as a biosecurity checkpoint.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Midwest farmers are warily watching as one strain of a highly contagious bird flu virus infects and kills humans in China and another less-worrying but still highly contagious strain infects a Tennessee poultry farm. Two years after a devastating bird flu outbreak in the Midwest, many farmers here say they now have a better idea of how to keep bird flu at bay.