An extremely effective way to garner more support for the PRIME Act is to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Letters to the editor can be powerful tools to educate and influence your community in a timely manner, as well as to get your legislators’ attention.
Surveys show that letters to the editor are among the most widely read sections of a newspaper or magazine. And the timeliness of an issue (in this case, the impact of COVID-19 on meat processing plants) makes a letter much more likely to get published. So, please consider taking a few minutes to give it a try.
Sample Letter to the Editor
Submitted by Name, Street Address, City, State, Zip, Email, Phone (Please do not publish my contact information.)
The article about COVID-19 outbreaks in meat processing plants left out an important aspect: the corporatization of the meat industry. A small handful of large companies control most of our food system, and they are often able to ensure that any regulations benefit them at the expense of everyone else.
A law that would allow livestock growers to take their animals to small, local processors, called “The PRIME Act,” would create a safer and more cost-effective option for small farmers to get meat and poultry to their customers. But the law has been stalled in Congress for 5 years without a hearing.
I hope U.S. Represenative __________ and Senators ________ and _________ will work to protect our small farmers from regulations written by and for the big corporations and provide a more reliable source of food for consumers.
General Tips for Writing and Submitting a Letter to the Editor
- Include your name, address, email address, and phone number at the top of your letter. Editors often require this information because they will need to verify your identity. You can state that this information is not to be published.
- Keep it short! Most publications prefer letters of 175 words or less, although they may allow up to 200 for a particularly well-written and timely one. If you have trouble writing something that short (and it can be difficult), then write your first draft the way you want and ask a friend to cut it down.
- Use simple language; clearly explain why the issue is important. If you have a reasonable and specific suggestion on how to improve the situation, state this as concisely as possible.
- Always use your own words; never copy and paste a letter. If the editors get several identical letters, they will ignore them.
- Include the name of your state or federal legislators (depending on the issue) in the final sentence. Many legislators have online searches for anything that mentions their name, so this is a great way to make sure they read your letter!
- Proofread your letter or ask a friend to help you proofread. Editors will ignore letters that contain bad grammar, are confusing, or are poorly written rants.
- Submit your letter by email if the publication allows it. This format enables the editor to cut and paste your letter.
- If there was an article published within the last few days that connects with the topic of your letter, be sure to reference it at the very beginning.