Posts Tagged 'farmers'

Independent Family Farmers Face Reprieve from Big Agribusiness – Take Action Today!

This just in from the fine folks at Food Democracy Now!


There’s been a lot of bad news out of Washington DC lately. In the past 3 weeks we’ve called on President Obama to retract his decisions on 3 newly approved genetically modified (GMO) crops. Incredibly, more than 110,000 American family farmers and citizens have signed a letter calling for a more comprehensive regulatory process that effectively and democratically investigates the impact that genetically engineered crops have on human health, the environment and farmer’s long-term ability to meet the challenges of 21st century agriculture.

At the same time, while GMOs pose a serious threat to farmers’ livelihoods, human health and the environment, they are not the only threat that farmers and our food supply face today. Of equal importance is the unparalleled control that corporations have over contract arrangements with family farmers.

Already in the last year, the USDA has written a set of proposed fair market contract rules under Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) that would make it illegal for packers and slaughter houses to unfairly discriminate against poultry, hog and cattle farmers. Unfortunately, those rules have not been finalized and giant agribusiness meat interests are pressuring Secretary Vilsack and the Obama administration to weaken these vital rules that would provide fair market contract protections for small and midsized farmers for the first time.

Please call the White House today and urge the Obama administration to stand up for family farmers to make sure they receive fair market contracts and no longer experience unfair price discrimination.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/348?akid=297.53115.hgAZSo&t=7

Today’s livestock producers are caught in an unfair system that traps them in debt and forces them to take whatever contracts Big Ag cartels offer them. And even though the Packers and Stockyards Act specifically prohibits price discrimination by meatpackers against small family farm and ranch operations, it has been a standard industry practice for decades.

According to our friends at the Center for Rural Affairs, it’s common for meatpackers to “routinely pay five or six cents more per pound, more in some cases, in purely volume-based premiums to the largest hog producers simply because they are large.” And while six cents doesn’t sound like much, for an independent family farmer operating with a 150 sows, it amounts to receiving $56,000 a year less at market for their livestock. And no one can afford that type of loss, especially America’s family farmers.1

These practices are not only unfair, but they are undemocratic and place family farmers at a serious disadvantage in the marketplace. At a time when the Obama administration and Washington DC are talking about creating jobs and improving economic opportunities for families everywhere, one of the simplest things they could do would be to improve opportunities for family farmers and rural America is to allow farmers to have access to fair markets. The best way to do this is to tell the Obama administration to finalize the fair market contract (GIPSA) rules today.

Click on the link below to tell President Obama it’s time to stand up for family farmers. Not only are they the backbone of our democracy, but they are the ones who provide us with the best, most sustainably raised food in the country.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/348?akid=297.53115.hgAZSo&t=9

Thanks for taking action — your support is greatly appreciated! We need your help to keep the pressure on! If you can, please consider chipping in as little as $10 to help us continue this fight.

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/donate/133?akid=297.53115.hgAZSo&t=12

We rely on folks like you to keep us going. Thanks again for your support.

Thank you for participating in food democracy — your action today may save family livestock producers and help free our food supply from corporate control.

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team

Sources:

1.”Corporate Farming: A Reasonable Hope for Fairness”, Center for Rural Affairs, August 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/349?akid=297.53115.hgAZSo&t=14

Call the White House today to Tell President Obama to enforce fair market GIPSA rules for farmers today!

 

Give Thanks to Those Who Source Our Food

This just in from Food Democracy Now!

This Thanksgiving, give thanks to the farmers and farmworkers who make this meal possible.

It’s that time of year again. Every fall people travel across the country or just across town to share a meal with family, friends and loved ones in order to celebrate another year of health, happiness and good food. Born from the tradition of one tribe bravely and generously helping another tribe in a time of need, this celebration has turned into an annual feast where our nation sits down collectively to share in the gratitude over another bountiful harvest.

Here at Food Democracy Now!, we wanted to take a moment and say that we are all thankful for the opportunity to work with so many amazing people across the country who are dedicated to building a truly sustainable food system that improves the lives of farmers, workers, eaters, communities and the planet.

Every day I wake up looking for a way to convey one of the most important messages of our time: if you want to change the world, change how you eat. In addition, at Food Democracy Now! we strive to give you opportunities to help make that happen through positive action.

Central to the growing understanding of how what we eat impacts the planet is knowing where our food comes from, how it was raised, who grew it and helped that food find its way to our tables. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of incredible people and organizations out there working to educate more Americans and helping bring the change we need to thrive in the 21st century.

One tradition that we have in our household is that at every meal we take a moment to say what we are thankful for. Inevitably, it always comes back to the food: Who cooked it, who helped prepare it and who raised it and brought the food to our tables.

Here at Food Democracy Now!, we’d like to ask you to join us in this tradition by joining us on Facebook and sharing with us what you are Thankful for. If there are any farmers that you’d like to give a shout out to, please mention them too.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/285?akid=233.53115.00i8JC&t=8

As we sit down to eat this symbolic meal, nothing could be as important as honoring the individuals that labor everyday on farms and in the fields, often doing backbreaking work, with very little financial reward to make it possible for us to nourish our bodies.

I wanted to share an important video with each of you and ask that you pass it on.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/282?akid=233.53115.00i8JC&t=10

This video highlights an impressive campaign by The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) who have advocated tirelessly for the rights of farmworkers to be paid a decent wage for the work of picking tomatoes. Every day in Florida, workers go out into the fields under the hot sun to pick the tomatoes that end up on our plates.

For a full bucket of tomatoes, weighing 32 pounds, farmworkers are only paid 45 to 50 cents. Unimaginably, this wage has not changed in more than 30 years. Fortunately, there are groups like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers who are advocating to change this.

Incredibly, these farmworkers are only asking for a raise of as little as a penny a pound.

As we eat our Thanksgiving meals this year, I want to ask that we all begin to think deeper about our food and the consequences that our meals have on everything around us. It’s really unfathomable that as little as a penny per pound could make a difference in someone’s life, but time after time, as we’ve found out, it’s the little changes that eventually add up.

Here at Food Democracy Now!, we’d like to honor all the farmers and farmworkers who make this day possible and to all the people across the country working tirelessly to bring us the stories of those who help make the world a better place by growing and harvesting our food.

With gratitude,

Dave Murphy

Founder and Executive Director

Food Democracy Now!


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