A recent press release crossed my desk and I though it noteworthy. Poultry farmers going to Washington DC is not an everyday occurrence or for that matter a yearly occurrence. Not many farmers can afford a trip to our Nation’s Capitol however when something as important as saving their livelihood is at stake many beg, borrow, or steal to make the trip. Poultry farmers don’t have paid lobbyists in Washington, DC.
At issue are the USDA Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) Proposed Rule Change which would give contract poultry farmers a more level playing field in their dealings with the corporate giants that they contract with. As with anything that might take away the massive control exerted over farmer’s, and as you will notice in the press release, the companies are lobbying hard in congress against these new rules.
The Old Farmer Lady’s question is why? If everything is as beautiful in the relationship between companies and the farmers why would the corporate ag lobby congress hard against anything that is beneficial to the farmers?
If you believe statements coming from the National Chicken Council (NCC) the answer would be that they are trying to protect the farmer. I’m sorry but I need to invoke a little bit of common sense here. If the NCC says that they are trying to protect you then you had better tell them no thanks you can take care of yourself. Their idea of protecting farmers is more than likely not for your own good!
Wasting taxpayer dollars, which by the way are not in the bank to spend, a movement by those who would like to kill the Proposed Rule Change suggest that USDA needs to do an extensive economic analysis. In some instances this might be necessary however in this case it is a waste of time and money. This issue is not new and has been studied, analyzed, and scrutinized every which way you can think of. Nothing has changed except for more good farmers going out of business.
Over the past 20 years I can’t count how many times this issue has come to the forefront only to be killed by those who don’t want to see farmers regain control of their farms. Power, wealth, and influence have always been a factor. Since poultry farmers have none of the above it’s not a far stretch of the imagination to figure out why changes have been killed over the years.
Ironically USDA GIPSA has the power to change the Rule. It doesn’t take an Act of Congress to do this. Poultry farmers shouldn’t have to spend a day in Washington, DC knocking on Congressional doors. But alas those with the lobbing power have made it a Congressional issue.
This subject is far from being over and you will read more postings by me. OFL will be taking a hard look at those for and against contract poultry farmers gaining a level playing field in their dealings with corporate giants.