January 2014 – Over the holidays, we published the above video of poultry farmer Craig Watts. In it, he says that family farmers like himself are becoming an extinct species. Why? Because farmers like Craig are not given a fair chance. Do you believe in fairness for all farmers? We sure do. It’s common-sense basics: to ensure that independent growers get a fair crack in the marketplace against Big Ag. The time to fight for the rights of our nation’s independent producers against abuses by large corporations, for common sense, and for long overdue reforms to commodity subsidy programs, is right now. A small group of Senators and Representatives is meeting this week to negotiate a final version of a new farm bill. This may be our last chance to make changes that are desperately needed in order to work for sustainable farmers and a better food and farm future. Your voice matters. Farmer voices matter. Speak out today!
Call or email your senators and congressperson today! 877-757-6910
Then call the number above and tell the operator who you are trying to reach. There’s so much at stake. Big Ag is trying to push through an amendment that would strip farmers and ranchers of basic legal protections against unfair treatment at the hands of large corporations– such as retaliation, where a corporation can bankrupt a farmer for raising a grievance. If Big Ag wins and USDA can’t enforce what’s known as the GIPSA rule, independent meat and poultry producers have no legal protection against outright abuse. Adding insult to injury: long-overdue, common-sense subsidy reforms that will save taxpayers money and were approved by bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate last year are on the chopping block in these behind- the- scenes negotiations! Limiting subsidies and eliminating loopholes in the commodity programs – known as payment limitation reform – will keep mega-farms from abusing the system. It ought to be a no-brainer. And majorities in the House and Senate have already approved identical reform provisions. Yet still a handful of dedicated opponents are fighting tooth and nail to strip out the reforms. We need your help: your legislator sits on the powerful farm bill conference committee – and that committee is meeting NOW. Your phone call will make a difference! Can we count on you to make a call or email today? Let’s not let these huge issues slip through the cracks in the final hours – this may be our last best chance to make a difference on the farm bill! (For a sample email or call script, see below). Thank you for all that you do! Sample email or phone script:Hi, my name is XX, and I’m a constituent and a voter calling about the farm bill. Since you are a member of the farm bill conference committee, I ask you to: – Please oppose any amendment that strips fair market protections from independent farmers and ranchers by preventing enforcement of GIPSA rules. Growers deserve a fair shot in the marketplace and protection from abusive practices! – Please oppose any attempt to weaken or remove common-sense commodity subsidy reforms in the 2014 Farm Bill! Payment limitation reform for commodity subsidy programs was supported on a bipartisan basis last year in the House and Senate and must be included in the final bill – it saves money and limits the ability of mega-farms to abuse the system! Thank you for your time! Click here to find out who represents you. Call the number above and tell the operator who you are trying to reach.
The Contract Farmer Organizer will conduct farmer outreach, build and maintain relationships with our farmer network, and collect research data along with contract farmers in livestock and other agricultural sectors.
As people of faith who care about our hungry neighbors, we have much to be concerned about. The proposed farm bill is slated to eliminate nearly $21 billion in SNAP benefits over the next decade, eliminating access to these benefits for almost 2 million Americans. Take action by Monday.
We can cheer the fact that the Farm Bill negotiators rejected the intense pressure from poultry companies and meatpackers to roll back key protections that require them to use fair business practices in their dealings with farmers.