Action Alert: Two Ways to Fight the Big Meatpackers

This week, Congress is debating two bills that are important to our farms and our food — and you have two opportunities to help protect independent producers and strike a blow against the big meatpacking companies.

1) Animal ID: The big meatpackers want mandatory animal ID to help facilitate international trade. Although the USDA is pressing ahead with its final rule through the administrative process, we can stop it by eliminating the funding for the program. The House Agriculture Appropriations Committee is expected to meet on Wednesday, and this will be our first chance to work for an amendment to eliminate funding for Animal ID.

2) Packer Ban: On the Senate side, the full Senate is expected to start debating the Farm Bill this week. Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) will offer an amendment to prohibit meatpackers from owning livestock more than 14 days before slaughter. Meatpackers use cattle and hogs they own to control market access and lower prices paid to family farmers and ranchers. The Grassley-Conrad amendment will help ensure free and competitive livestock markets.

Bonus item: when you call your Senators to support the Packer Ban amendment, you can help independent farmers by also urging them to support the Tester Breeds & Seeds amendment, which sets aside a portion of the government’s research budget to use on classical breeding techniques.


Please help fight back against the big meatpacking companies by contacting your Representative and Senators today!


Take Action #1: Eliminate Funding for Animal ID

If you didn’t call last week, first call your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to work to stop funding for the Animal ID rule until and unless the agency addresses the full costs of the proposal.

If you don’t know who your Representative is, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or find out online at


Hi, my name is ____ and I am a constituent from (state). I urge Representative ____ to work to eliminate funding for the USDA’s Animal Traceability rule. The agency has told the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that the rule is not “economically significant,” but that is simply not true. The rule as proposed by USDA would impose significant costs on independent ranchers, family farmers, backyard poultry owners and livestock businesses.

In a time of economic hardship, it makes no sense to spend our tax dollars on this program when USDA hasn’t even properly evaluated the costs or identified specific, concrete benefits. Please work to stop the funding for this unnecessary and burdensome program.

More information on the Animal ID issue is available here.


Take Action #2: Rein in the meatpackers & support classical breeding

Then call both of your U.S. Senators and ask them to vote YES on the Grassley Packer Ban amendment and the Tester Seeds & Breeds amendments.

If you don’t know who your Senators are, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or find out online at


Hi, my name is ____ and I am a constituent from (state). I urge Senator ____ to vote YES on the Grassley Packer Ban amendment and YES on the Tester Seeds & Breeds Amendment.



The big meatpacker corporations also own their own feedlots. By controlling both the slaughterhouse capacity and these feedlots, they can manipulate the price of meat in the markets to undercut fair prices for small farmers. We need to ban meatpackers from owning livestock to level the playing field for family farmers. Read this fact sheet from WORC for more information.



More and more, agriculture research is controlled by corporations who are focused on expanding their genetically engineered crops. Every year farmers are left with fewer choices of seeds that are not genetically engineered. This amendment would guarantee that USDA spends at least a small percentage of its research funds on non-genetically engineered crops.