The voices of farmers are not easily heard above the constant presence of marketing and advertising from corporations and the food service industry. Our goal at RAFI is not only to hear farmers’ stories, but to amplify their voices and give everyone a chance to stand with farmers in their struggle for a fair food system.
Sign Our Petition: Tell the USDA to Ensure Fairness for Farmers
The USDA is responsible for protecting farmers. The Grain Inspectors, Packers, and Stockyards Administration, or GIPSA, has the authority to create rules to limit the potential abusive and opportunistic behaviors of major agribusiness corporations toward independent livestock farmers.
In 2010, USDA and GIPSA drafted rules, which were put up for public comment. Thousands of farmers, consumers, and organizations all over the country submitted their comments.
But for the past four years, Congress has blocked the USDA’s action by inserting a “rider” in the federal appropriations budget that effectively prevented the USDA from protecting farmers.
In 2015, frustrated farmers and consumers came together and told their representatives to remove the “GIPSA rider.” The USDA now has the green light to follow through on their commitment.
The rules included:
– Prohibiting companies from retaliating against farmers for speaking against abusive contracting practices or for joining together in producer associations,
– Requiring companies to give farmers information about how their pay is calculated, if they ask for that information,
– Prohibiting companies from using contracts to block farmers’ legal rights to a jury trial; and,
– Clarifying that the law does NOT require farmers to prove “competitive injury” to the entire industry when they file a complaint or take legal action to prove that they have been personally harmed by an abusive practice by their poultry company.