NFFC statement on the defeat of the regressive House farm bill.
As of May 1, Niaz Dorry will lead the work of both organizations.
More than 50 family farmer, labor, and consumer organizations urged federal agriculture policymakers to take immediate steps to help US dairy farmers, who have struggled for years with milk prices that are well below their costs of production.
On April 17th each year, members of La Via Campesina – the largest umbrella organization in the world for family farmers, fisher and herder folk, hunters/gatherers/foresters, and indigenous peoples – commemorate the massacre of landless peasants in 1996 in the Amazonian state of Pará, Brazil. Nineteen members of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) were attacked and killed while hundreds more peasants were injured by Brazilian military police during their protest for comprehensive agrarian reform. This struggle for justice continues in Brazil today. Events planned for April 17th worldwide may be viewed online (http://bit.ly/2GUu8Y0April17th).
We would like the 2018 farm bill to reach and support everyone, but evidence so far suggests a callous and divisive intent.
Ben Burkett, NFFC former board president raising soy, old growth pine trees and roughly 20 different vegetables in Mississippi, added, “As a 4th generation family farmer this merger concentrates too much seed stock and intellectual property into one company, further declining rural America.”
These principles have been drafted as the basis for returning equity, diversity, and sustainability to the food and agriculture system, overall, and to food producers of all kinds, in particular.
We are very disappointed in the House vote yesterday moving forward with its regressive tax reform. This bill would take hard-earned income from struggling rural communities and put it into corporate coffers and the pockets of millionaires.
If there was any hope that Secretary Perdue and this administration would stand up for small- and medium-sized family farmers and the rural communities they support, that has been dashed now.
Today, a broad-based coalition of 210 farm, rural, worker and consumer advocacy organizations released principles for a fairer farm bill that would address the lack of competition in every link in the food chain. The groups point out that growing consolidation in the agribusiness, food processing and supermarket industries lowers prices for farmers and wages for farmworkers and other food chain workers, erodes rural economies, and raises prices while limiting choices for consumers. The letter calls on Congress to address the ongoing consolidation of these industries with policies that address unfair contracts for farmers, increase market transparency, reform USDA guaranteed loans and guarantee worker rights.
As members of Congress return to Capitol Hill today, 85 farm and farmer support organizations sent letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging them to better protect farm families from an unprecedented spike in crop loss from herbicide drift. Experts estimate that dicamba, used on Monsanto’s latest seed line, has already damaged at least 3.1 million acres of farmland, an area the size of Connecticut.
As the formal talks to renegotiate NAFTA begin in Washington, DC this week, family farm organizations from Canada, the United States and Mexico denounce the direction of the talks. Despite repeated demands by civil society organizations in all three countries, the governments have refused to open the talks to the public or to publish proposed negotiating texts. All signs point to negotiations designed to increase agribusiness exports and corporate control over the food system rather than to support fair and sustainable trade and farming systems.