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.
January 21, 2015: Thanks to thousands of people who spoke up for our national sovereignty and our economy, Americans successfully stopped two damaging trade agreements from being “fast tracked” last year. But it’s not over yet!
As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address, he is still intent on getting authority for the “Fast Track” approach, which prevents an open debate on the terms of trade agreements. And the Republican leadership appears to be prepared to abandon Congress’ constitutional duties and give the President a blank check to essentially re-write our laws.
All of this is being driven by powerful corporations such as Walmart, Cargill, and Monsanto. While the public isn’t allowed to see the draft trade agreements, these companies have been involved in the negotiation process.
The public deserves the right to know what is being proposed in our names for international agreements that could set the rules in our country not only for tariffs — but also for food safety, “Buy Local” preferences, energy and environmental policy, financial regulations, consumer labeling and more.…
Country of Origin Labeling, Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership, San Antonio Water Supply, Citizen Activism Workshop in Austin, TX
As the weather starts to cool down, food and agriculture issues are heating up.
At the federal level, The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that the United States’ mandatory country of origin labels (COOL) rules for meat and poultry are an improper trade barrier. This international power play is a stark reminder of why we need to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which may be coming back in the lame duck session after the elections. (And stay tuned for the latest news on food safety regulations, coming next week!)
Meanwhile, in Texas, San Antonio politicians appear bent on jumping into a financially risky public-private partnership to build a 142-mile pipeline to grab water from rural areas and ship it down to San Antonio in order to allow development over their own environmentally sensitive aquifer recharge zone.…
FARFA joined with seventy consumer, farm and food groups, and businesses on a letter urging the Obama Administration not to restrict efforts to label genetically engineered foods in the ongoing and secret U.S.-EU trade talks.
Through negotiations on the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) with the European Union, the U.S. Trade Representative seeks to establish common regulations covering consumer protections, and has targeted the European Union’s regulations of genetically engineered foods, which includes consumer labeling. U.S. and EU agribusiness firms have been open about their desire to eliminate GMO labeling laws under TAFTA—including the rising number of U.S. states moving to require GMO labeling.
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) and nearly 100 other organizations sent a joint letter to Congress, urging the legislators to protect our Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations. Add your voice by calling today! Get more information by clicking here: http://farmandranchfreedom.org/farm-bill-cool-livestock-competition-fsma
January 22, 2014
Dear Farm Bill Conferee:
The undersigned 98 farm, ranch, consumer, rural, labor and faith-based Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) advocates urge the 2014 Farm Bill conference to reject any changes to the final country of origin labeling rules that do not provide consumers with additional and more accurate information about the source of their food. Consumers and farmers overwhelmingly support the implementation of these commonsense rules.
Updated January 22, 2014:
Congress continues to get closer to a final Farm Bill, and word is that Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is in trouble. We need your help!
The latest proposal to undermine COOL would allow meatpackers to put “product of North America” on the label, replacing labels that actually identify a meat product’s country of origin. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did many things — many of them bad — but it did not create a new country! Simply put, a NAFTA label is not COOL.
January 9, 2014 UPDATE: The Fast Track bill has been filed. Representative Camp (R-MI) and Senator Baucus (D-MT) have filed companion bills in the House and Senate. We don’t know when the vote will occur, so please keep up the calls to tell your Representatives and Senators to vote NO on Fast Track authority for trade deals. Take action now!
International courts, acting at the request of private corporations, overturning the laws adopted by your elected officials. Does that sound like a good idea to you? Scarily, if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement goes through, you’ll see a lot more of this.
The TPP is a new so-called “free trade” agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and a dozen other Pacific Rim countries. But the reality is that the TPP is a permanent power grab by corporations that will make it impossible for the citizens of the TPP countries, including American citizens, to decide what laws and rules they want to live under.…
Farmer, Rancher and Consumer Groups Celebrate New “COOL”
Thanksgiving as Improved Food Labels Take Effect this Week
New, Clearer Country-of-Origin Labels (COOL) Will Let Consumers Know
Where Their Turkey Comes From this Year
WASHINGTON (Nov. 26, 2013) – Following the recent implementation of new country-of-origin labels (COOL) for meat and poultry products, 15 farmer, rancher and consumer groups issued the following statement:
(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.…