In the past 25 years, the food system in the United States has undergone a fundamental shift as industrial systems have overtaken independent farmers and ranchers and a handful of companies have consolidated an unprecedented amount of power. These companies rely on factory production methods and, concerned solely with their own bottom-lines, pump out their products with no regard for the harms they cause to our climate and water, public health, the animals they raise, their workers and neighbors, and rural economies. Help us fight for a better food system by signing up for our action alerts now.
Farmers deserve freedom of speech. Farmers deserve to be treated with dignity, free from company intimidation or retaliation. Farmers deserve the right to organize. These are rights that have been denied to many livestock and poultry farmers for far too long.
This summer, the USDA will release a rule aimed at guaranteeing basic fairness in the livestock and poultry industries.
Freedom to speak the truth. The rule must ensure that farmers are not financially punished or otherwise disadvantaged in the market for making public statements, especially to government officials or the media.
Freedom to join together in producer associations. Poultry companies should not be allowed to discriminate against growers for joining together with other growers to advocate on their own behalf.
Protection from corporations enforcing a self-serving system. Farmers’ pay should be based solely on things within their control. Differences in pay based on inputs provided by the corporation should be considered undue preference. This includes industry “common practices” developed by the corporations to serve the corporations.
Clear criteria with detailed, specific rules that adequately cover different types of livestock, and are suitable for the future. One set of criteria will not be adequate to protect farmers from undue prejudice across all livestock sectors. Therefore, specific criteria must be established for all sectors of livestock, such as poultry, hog, and cattle. Criteria must be established for analyzing various interactions between companies and farmers to ensure the future of the industry is not dictated by powerful corporations.