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.
The proposed deal would join the world’s largest and fourth largest vegetable seed companies, further tightening the stranglehold of the already concentrated vegetable seed industry.
NAFTA should be replaced, not renegotiated, and our farmers will be watching to promote that at every turn.
At a press conference held at the Perkins Restaurant in Tunkhannock, Arden Tewksbury, Manager of Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pro-Ag) announced that several farm organizations, milk cooperatives, and county commissioners have petitioned the USDA in Washington DC asking for a national milk hearing for all dairy farmers. The petition clearly asks the Department of Agriculture to conduct milk hearings that would allow the average dairy farmer to testify and illustrate the severity of the problems that the majority of dairy farmers are experiencing.
The independent family farming, ranching and fishing members of the National Family Farm Coalition have watched their incomes drop, their markets close and their communities deteriorate since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) passed in 1993. It is time for a new and fair trade agreement that supports independent farmers and fishermen and does not exploit workers or the environment for the unwarranted profits of multinational agribusinesses.
On Thursday, April 20, a coalition of environmental, human rights and farm organizations as well as a cohort of university faculty will gather at the New York City offices of pension fund management company TIAA, which manages the retirement money of many cultural institutions in the U.S. including universities, unions, nonprofits and hospitals, to demand that they stop funding deforestation and land grabs around the world.