Archive for the ‘Farm Aid’ Category
Trump Administration moves to remove safeguards for Poultry Farmers, in favor of giant meat production and packaging companiesWednesday, April 19th, 2017
Farm Aid works hard to protect rights of farmers. You can offer your support for them: www.FarmAid.org
by: Joseph Erbentraut
Farmers already concerned with President Donald Trump’s policies on trade and immigration just got another reason to worry.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week delayed implementation of an Obama administration rule aimed at making it easier for livestock producers to sue the large meat-processing companies they contract with over abusive practices.
The USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration rule, proposed in 2010 and approved by the Obama administration in December, had been set to take effect later this month. The USDA postponed it for at least six months.
The government delay was welcomed by industry groups, including the National Chicken Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council. The groups claim the rule would welcome frivolous, “government-sanctioned” lawsuits targeting corporations, and could raise prices for consumers and put farmers out of business.
Colin Woodall, vice president for government affairs at National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said his organization wants the rule eliminated altogether.
“Our request to the Trump administration is that they withdraw this rule and throw it away,” Woodall told HuffPost. “We don’t believe there’s anything that can be done to fix it. We believe it’s bad across the board.”
Influential members of Congress agree. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman, this week called the rule “disastrous.” House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) similarly criticized the rule last month.
The meat industry typically contracts with farmers to raise animals until they are old enough for slaughter. Farmers, particularly those in the highly consolidated poultry industry, have increasingly accused companies like Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride of deceptive and retaliatory practices.
One lawsuit filed earlier this year called the companies a “cartel” and said they have colluded to depress pay for contractors, who are saddled with high debt that threatens their businesses. The industry rejects the allegations.
“We’re hoping to bring about a change in this system,” a West Virginia farmer who has been raising chickens for Pilgrim’s Pride for 16 years, told The Associated Press this year. “It has to be done. If not, the American family farmer is going to disappear.”
Lawsuits, however, run into the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, which courts have interpreted to require an extremely high burden of proof. Farmers suing companies must prove practices they’re forced to follow affect not just one farmer, but the entire industry.
“It’s like if your house was burned down by an arsonist and you would have to show that all the houses in your neighborhood or city were impacted by that to prove you were damaged by the arson,” Paul Wolfe, senior policy specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, told HuffPost. “That’s very hard to do in any case.”
The Obama rule would change that, and is long overdue, according to Barbara Patterson, director of government relations at the National Farmers Union, the nation’s second-largest farm organization.
“This rule is such common sense and such a plain-language interpretation of the regulation that it’s hard to believe that they need more time,” Patterson said. “These are pretty basic protections and there has been plenty of time to review this. It should have been put into place eight years ago.”
It remains unclear whether the Trump administration will scrap the rule. Trump’s pick for agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate. A vote on his nomination has been scheduled for April 24.
Supporters said they hope Perdue’s background as governor of Georgia — the biggest U.S. producer of broilers — shapes his thinking on the rule. Georgian Zippy Duvall, who served on Trump’s agriculture advisory committee and is president of the powerful American Farm Bureau Federation, recently expressed support for some aspects of the rule.
“We hope that he [Perdue] has heard this story from the poultry farmers in his state, and hopefully that experience will help him rethink this decision that was made without him,” Wolfe said.
Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) similarly criticized the rule last month.
[Thanks so much to Phil Weisman, from Illinois, who sent me a copy of the Front Page of the Chicago Sun-Times from Monday, September 23, 1985, the day after the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois.
Willie Wows 78,000
by: Andrew Herrmann
CHAMPAIGN — Some 78,000 field hands heard the calling of farm distress and lent a hand here yesterday.
And after 14 hours of nonstop country and rock music, the crops of Farm Aid were harvested.
They called it the biggest country-and-rock concert ever, but the music was merely the plow that tilled the minds of Americans to open them to problems of many of the nation’s farmers.
Backer’s hoped to raise some $50 million from the concert, the media coverage and a toll-free hotline set up to take donations.
Willie Nelson, who organized the event, said at midnight that the hotline had generated $5 million.
More than 55 entertainers played from 10 a.m. until past midnight, encompassing a rare blend of country music and rock n’ roll. And a rare blend of fans, too.
We’re grateful for the support of so many who’ve made donations to Farm Aid’s Family Farm Disaster Fund. If you’d like to support ranchers who have incredible losses due to wildfires, please give today at farmaid.org.
In addition to the financial loss caused by disasters like this, many farmers suffer the emotional toll of disasters long after the disaster occurs. Mental health services to support these farmers are critically important.
Farmers and ranchers work hard to grow food and fiber for our country. Their recovery is essential for the health and vitality of America’s rural communities.
All of us gain when we create a strong, family-farm centered system of agriculture. Family farmers offer us health by bringing us good food, and they protect our future by caring for our soil and water. If we want good food from family farms, we need…
Wildfires have ravaged more than 2 million acres of farm and ranch land in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. Family farmers and ranchers face damaged homes, charred land, burnt fences, and dead or injured animals. In response, Farm Aid has activated our Family Farm Disaster Fund to raise funds in support of local recovery efforts and to directly address the needs of family farmers and ranchers affected by the wildfires.
You can help! Please click the link below to donate today to support farmers and ranchers in the affected areas.
Grateful Dead perform “The Wheel,” “I Need a Miracle” and “Uncle John’s Band” live at the Farm Aid concert in Austin, Texas on July 4, 1986.
Farm Aid was started by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 to keep family farmers on the land and has worked since then to make sure everyone has access to good food from family farmers. Dave Matthews joined Farm Aid’s board of directors in 2001.
Farm Aid features the best that music has to offer, while remaining true to its ultimate mission.
GREAT MUSIC, SUPPORTING FARMERS, AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA SINCE 1985
Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on the land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised more than $50 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on the land.
Learn more about Farm Aid’s work in this video:
Farm Aid accomplishes its mission by:
PROMOTING FOOD FROM FAMILY FARMS
I joined the Farm Aid team in late August of 2016. Before Farm Aid, I worked in agricultural economic development in local government, owned a small farm in North Carolina and studied sustainable agriculture, food systems and nonprofit administration. I am beyond thrilled and honored to serve as Farm Aid’s Program Manager. I have the privilege of working with the dozens of food and farm organizations across the country that participate in our grant program.
FARM AID’S GRANT PROGRAM
Since the first concert in 1985, Farm Aid has granted over $22 million to more than 300 organizations. That amounts to over 2,000 grants given! These grants strengthen the viability of family farming in America by helping farmers thrive, growing the good food movement, or taking action to change the agricultural system to one that is more supportive of family farming. Our grantees are on-the-ground partners, and we rely on them to keep us informed of, and inspired by, the work being done for and by family farmers.
Our grantees are on-the-ground partners.
This past fall was my first time involved in Farm Aid’s grant review process. I was so inspired and humbled by all of the work highlighted in the proposals we received. For the 2016 grant cycle, more than $500,000 was granted to 79 organizations in 35 states and Washington, DC. Each year, the Farm Aid concert allows us to meet new organizations in the concert region who then become first-time grantees. For 2016, the concert region included Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington, DC. We are so excited about our new partnerships and the work these organizations are doing! I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of them.
- San Antonio Rose
- I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)
- I Fall To Pieces
- Crazy Arms
- Release Me
- Don’t You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)
- This Cold War With You
- Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away
- Night Life
- Deep Water
- Faded Love
- Just Call Me Lonesome