Company dealings with farmers they contract with in the poultry industry has been at issue for at least the past twenty years. It’s been a long hard battle for contract farmers to try to gain any fairness and personally I can’t count the times in those twenty years that I’ve traveled to Washington DC to speak with our illustrious politicians about the issue.
USDA Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) has the authority to write and publish rules without any approval from congress. With visions of campaign contributions dancing in their heads the House caved in to corporate agriculture’s power and influence and stopped the USDA GIPSA Proposed Rule from being written and published. They’ve used the next best thing and cut funding in the House Ag Appropriations for the rule to be written and published.
No additional funding was required for the rule to be written and published. The House cut USDA funding specifically for writing and publishing the GISA Rule.
The Senate Ag Appropriation Committee is a different story. The GIPSA rule came out of committee intact. It now goes to the Senate floor and insiders are saying that we can expect an amendment from the Senate floor to be introduced to kill the bill.
It’s no secret that contract poultry farmers are afraid to speak out about the issue for fear of having their contract terminated. To further back this up anonymous calls and letters have been excepted by USDA GIPSA and now Senate offices. One would think that this is enough to convince our illustrious politicians that there is definitely a problem.
What confounds me even more is that fear of speaking out goes on unchecked in this country. We have no problem sending our young men and women to war in other countries because of tyranny yet we have tyrants bullying farmers by holding a contract over their heads. Furthermore, most of our enlisted troops come from rural America and many come from farms where their parents are afraid to speak out. That is just plain WRONG!
I received an email (below) from a friend asking for calls from constituents to be made to Senate offices . It’s apparent that a hand full of corporate types have more voice than thousands of farmers. We need to stop just writing history about the GIPSA Rule and get it done. Farmers needed this rule in place twenty years ago. Please take the time to call your Senators and tell them to take a stand for farmers and oppose any amendment that would delay or kill the GIPSA rule. Many voices will over ride the hand full of corporate type voices.
The meat and poultry industry is fighting hard against the proposed USDA GIPSA rule, which would protect contract farmers from unfair treatment. The House of Representatives has already passed legislation that would kill the rule. Now, we have to be sure that the Senate doesn’t pass similar legislation.
In the beginning of September, we made it through the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting without any bad amendments being offered to kill or delay the rule. That is really good news. This historic rule will protect farmers’ investments and end many unfair practices in the poultry, hog and livestock industries.
But we are not out of the woods yet. Senators can still offer an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill on the Senate floor that would kill the GIPSA rule.
Please call both of your senators this week and ask them to oppose any amendments to stop or delay the GIPSA rule. You can reach your senators at (202) 224-3121. Ask to speak with the agriculture legislative assistant. Here is a sample message to use:
I am a constituent who strongly supports the proposed USDA rule on poultry and livestock. The rule will level the playing field for growers and correct many of the abuses that they are facing. Will the Senator stand up for farmers and oppose any amendments to the appropriations bill that would stop or delay USDA from writing a final rule? Please call me at ______ to let me know where the Senator stands on this important issue.
P.S. Some senators are on the fence on this issue. Calls are best way to make sure they know that they should support farmers. Please take a minute to call (202) 224-3121 and ask your Senators to protect farm jobs and farm families.