Conaway-Costa Farm Bill Amendment Threatens Hard-Won GIPSA Rule


June 11, 2012 – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee is voting on amendments to the Farm Bill. We found out last night that one of those amendments – the Conaway-Costa Amendment – will be designed to gut the GIPSA rule that protects contract poultry farmers from company abuses. The industry attacked the GIPSA rule last year, and Congress prevented the USDA from implementing the strong, complete protections that farmers deserve. Now, they are going after the compromise rule. Farmers won the GIPSA rule because you spoke up for it, and because hundreds of contract growers risked their livelihoods in order share their stories. Without the GIPSA rule, farmers will have limited protection from the kind of unfair treatment that has become common in the industry. The compromise GIPSA rule, finalized last year, addressed many of the unfair practices that growers say were common in the industry. The finalized rule represented a compromise between the industry and farmer organizations. Even the National Chicken Council, the trade organization representing poultry companies, praised the FY2012 appropriations compromise that led to the final GIPSA regulations. The Conaway-Costa amendment would undo those compromise regulations over the opposition of National Farmers Union, American Farm Bureau Federation, and more than 100 farmer, consumer and community organizations around the country. Contract poultry farmers deserve basic standards of fairness and access to information in their business dealings with poultry companies. Each of the hundreds of farmers who spoke up for these regulations during the rule-making process did so at risk of retaliation and the loss of their family’s livelihoods. Some of them are now struggling to keep their family farm. American farmers deserve better.   TAKE ACTION If your Representative is on the House Agriculture Committee, can you call them today? The Committee will begin voting on Farm Bill Amendments at 10 a.m on Wednesday. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representative. (If you aren’t sure who represents you, you can find out here.) You can use this simple message:
Hello, my name is ________ and I am Representative _______’s constituent. I am calling to ask the Representative to vote against the Conaway-Costa Amendment and any other Farm Bill amendments that would weaken the final USDA GIPSA rule. Last year, the USDA wrote a strong rule that helps farmers get the fair treatment they deserve and puts in place good business practices in the industry. Will the Representative vote against the amendment?
Then send Becky an email at becky@rafiusa.org and let us know what you found out. Your call today helps defend the hard-won rights that farmers deserve. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, now is a great time to send your representatives a message. You can use this sample message:
[YOUR REP’S NAME/TWITTER HANDLE], oppose Conaway-Costa #FarmBill Amend & protect farmers’ rights!
  HOUSE AG COMMITTEE MEMBERS • Frank Lucas (R-OK) Committee Chairman • Bob Goodlatte (VA), Vice Chairman • Collin Peterson (D-MN), Ranking-Member • Timothy V. Johnson (IL) • Joe Baca (CA) • Tim Holden (PA) • Mike McIntyre (NC) • Leonard Boswell (IA) • Dennis Cardoza (CA) • David Scott (GA) • Henry Cuellar (TX) • Jim Costa (CA) • Timothy J. Walz (MN) • Kurt Schrader (OR) • Larry Kissell(NC) • Bill Owens (NY) • Chellie Pingree (ME) • Joe Courtney (CT) • Peter Welch (VT) • Marcia L. Fudge (OH) • Gregorio Sablan (NMI) • Terri A. Sewell (AL) • James McGovern (MA) • Steve King (IA) • Randy Neugebauer (TX) • K. Michael Conaway (TX) • Jeff Fortenberry (NE) • Jean Schmidt (OH) • Glenn Thompson (PA) • Thomas J. Rooney (FL) • Marlin Stutzman (IN) • Bob Gibbs (OH) • Austin Scott (GA) • Scott R. Tipton (CO) • Steve Southerland, II (FL) • Rick Crawford (AR) • Martha Roby (AL) • Tim Huelskamp (KS) • Scott DesJarlais (TN) • Renee L. Ellmers (NC) • Christopher P. Gibson (NY) • Randy Hultgren (IL) • Vicky Hartzler (MO) • Robert T. Schilling (IL) • Reid J. Ribble (WI) • Kristi Noem (SD)