A tiny handful companies control almost every link in the food chain. These firms stand between 2 million farmers and 300 million consumers and exert tremendous power over consumer food choices and prices and exacerbate to the often-precarious economic condition of farmers. Many of the fundamental questions Americans are asking about their food system are questions about economic power and equity – for farmers, consumers and workers throughout the food supply chain.…
(June 11, 2013) Last night, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Farm Bill, S.954. Having failed to reach an agreement on what amendments to debate, the Senators left over 200 amendments on the table without a vote. None of the amendments supported by FARFA were voted on.
The next step will be for the House of Representatives to take up its version of the Farm Bill. This could happen as early as next week. Stay tuned for news on what amendments are introduced and ways to get involved.…
The Honorable Debbie Stabenow
Chairwoman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition
The Honorable Thad Cochran
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition
The Honorable Frank Lucas
Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture
The Honorable Collin Peterson
Ranking Member, House Committee on Agriculture
May 2, 2013
Dear Chairwoman Stabenow, Chairman Lucas and Ranking Members Cochran and Peterson:
The 2013 Farm Bill represents an opportunity to take powerful steps to protect independent livestock and poultry producers from unfair and deceptive contract and marketing practices. In the few years since enactment of the 2008 Farm Bill, the United States has lost 4 percent of its beef cattle operations and 7 percent of its hog operations.
Today, there are only a handful of beef packers, hog processors and poultry integrators. Farmers and ranchers often have little alternative but to accept the terms and prices offered by the few, large firms that dominate the industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) should police the marketplace to protect livestock and poultry producers from the unfair, abusive and deceptive marketing and contracting practices that are routine in these markets.…
Agribusiness wins on the Continuing Resolution. But, with your help, we will be back for the next round!
Thank you to everyone who called your Senators, urging them to support the Tester Amendments to protect family farmers and remove the Agribusiness riders from the Continuing Resolution (CR).
Unfortunately, despite the hard work of many organizations and individuals, the Senate passed the CR with the Agribusiness riders still in it. The Senate leadership used a procedural mechanism to prevent the Tester Amendments from even being voted on.
Yesterday, the House passed the Senate’s version of the Continuing Resolution, and it will now go to the President for his signature. Since the CR must pass to prevent a government shutdown, there is no realistic chance to stop it.
Senator Tester’s Amendments would have removed policy riders that favored the large biotech companies and meatpackers.
The first amendment would have removed an anti-competitive rider designed to protect meatpackers.…
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!…
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” we asked you to take action on last year. Although it was stripped out of the previous versions of the CR, now it’s back!
Though cloaked in “farmer-friendly” language, this “farmer assurance provision” is simply a biotech industry ploy to continue to plant genetically modified (GMO) crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally. …
USDA has issued a new proposed rule for Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) – and it’s good! As background: COOL was mandated in the 2008 Farm Bill thanks to the work of a coalition of organizations representing farmers and consumers. But the rules implementing COOL for meat were poorly written and allowed meat packers to label cuts as “product of the USA, Mexico and/or Canada,” for example. Cuts from different countries could be commingled, and the result was that consumers still had no idea where their meat was coming from. The World Trade Organization found that the rules violated international trade requirements.…
Now that the Senate is done, the House of Representatives is beginning to work on its version of the Farm Bill. The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to do the “mark up” of the House Farm Bill this week, beginning on Wednesday.
Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) plans to introduce an amendment to help small-scale slaughterhouses through technical assistance, grants, and more. The lack of small-scale slaughterhouses in many areas of the country is a huge barrier to the ability of local farmers to raise livestock for market. …
Thank you for all of your calls on the Senate Farm Bill! Unfortunately, despite strong grassroots support, the Senate leadership prevented these amendments from even being voted on:
- The Tester Seeds and Breeds amendment to ensure that some of your tax dollars are spent on classical plant breeding, rather than just genetically engineered seeds;
- The Grassley Packer Ban Amendment to prevent giant meatpacking companies from unfairly manipulating the market by owning their own feedlots; and
- The Paul Raw Milk amendment to remove the interstate ban on raw milk and stop FDA harassment of farmers and co-ops simply because they cross state lines. …