Speak up for farmers, not agribusiness.
As we alerted you yesterday, Monsanto and Agribusiness companies have managed to insert two dangerous provisions into the Continuing Resolution (“CR”) that is about to be voted on by the U.S. Senate.
The first provision is the “Monsanto rider” that destroys the few protections that currently exist against the planting of new genetically engineered crops.
The second provision will allow giant Agribusiness companies to continue abusive and deceptive practices that hurt livestock and poultry farmers.
The good news is that Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) is introducing amendments to strike both of these riders!
Can you take a few minutes to call your U.S. Senators today to urge them to support the Tester Amendments? The vote is likely to occur this afternoon (Thursday, March 14), so we need your help right now!
If you don’t know who represents you, you can find out online at www.senate.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
My name is _______, and I am a constituent. I am calling to ask that Senator _______ support both of the Tester Amendments to strike the biotech and anti-competitive riders from the Senate Continuing Resolution.
The Tester Amendments protect family farmers from abuses by the meat industry and support review of biotechnology products. These two amendments will stand up for family farmers, ensure that independent producers have a fair chance in the livestock market, and ensure that courts can review biotechnology products Please vote yes on the Tester Amendments.
Though wrapped in a “farmer-friendly” package, the biotech rider (section 735) is simply an industry ploy to continue to plant GMO crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally.
The provision is intended to force USDA to grant temporary permits and deregulations of GMO crops even if a Federal court rules that USDA hadn’t adequately considered the environmental or economic risks to farmers. This would negate any meaningful judicial review of USDA’s decisions to allow commercialization of GMO crops.
If a GMO crop approval was shown to violate the law and require further analysis of its harmful impacts (as several courts have concluded in recent years, for example with GMO alfalfa and GMO sugar beets) this provision would override any court-mandated caution and allow continued planting and commercialization while further review takes place.
The provision is completely unnecessary. No farmer has ever had his or her crops destroyed following such a court ruling. Every court to decide these issues has carefully weighed the interests of farmers, as is already required by law.
The anti-competitive rider (section 742) deals with a law from the 1920s, the Packers and Stockyards Act (“PSA”), which was intended to provide protections against anti-competitive behavior in the livestock and poultry industries. In essence, the PSA was the Sherman Antitrust Act for agriculture. Although the PSA is a good statute, the USDA never properly implemented it. And that failure over the years has allowed large corporations to practice a variety of abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices that undermine the free market.
A coalition of family farmer, independent rancher, and consumer groups fought for a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill directing the USDA to issue implementing regulations under the PSA. And we won. But the fight wasn’t over. The big meatpackers managed to hamstring many of the proposed regulations. And now they want to completely eliminate the few protections we did get, leaving the meatpackers free to continue their abusive practices that hurt farmers.