Monday, July 26, 2010

A Fair Deal For Farmers & Ranchers

I got this email from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition:

Farmers and ranchers who raise livestock and poultry deserve a fair deal and a level playing field with meat and poultry processors. Some members of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, however, would prefer to allow powerful meat and poultry packers and processers to continue to get away with unfair and deceptive trade practices.

The Subcommittee held a hearing last week that focused on a new set of USDA rules that would restore competition and contract fairness to livestock and poultry markets. The new rules, mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill, are strongly supported by NSAC and have been praised by major farm organizations including the National Farmers Union, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund-United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) and by more than 60 other organizations including NSAC who signed this letter last week in support of the new rules.

Several members of the House Agriculture Subcommittee, however, made crystal clear that they were firmly allied with large corporate packers and processors and had little concern farmers and ranchers. Chairman David Scott (D-GA), Ranking Member Randy Nuegebauer (R-TX), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Steve King (R-IA), Walt Minnick (D-ID), David Roe (R-TN) and Michael Conaway (R-TX) spent the good part of two hours slamming the proposed regulations. They expressed alarm over the potential consequences for some of the most powerful and wealthy corporations in the nation, whose unfair and deceptive practices and sheer market power over those who produce our food could be curtailed by the regulations. They rebuffed the concerns of USDA Under-Secretary Edward Avalos who testified that part of the drastic decrease in our farming population is in response to packer and processor market concentration and the lack of fair prices and fair dealing in the marketplace.

All of us who care about our nation's farmers and ranchers must tell our Senators and Representatives that we support USDA's proposed rules protecting farmers and ranchers from the unfair and deceptive trade practieces of livestock and poultry packers and processors.

Call or email your Representative and Senators.

Urge them to support the USDA proposed rules that restore competition and contract fairness to livestock and poultry markets. Tell them we need a level playing field for family farmers and ranchers.
Urge them to Contact USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and express their support for the proposed rule.

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