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Harrisburg Calls on Senator Casey to Support Fair Farm Rules as Part of Statewide Day of Action, Sept. 27

9/23/11

Charlie Furman, 612-245-3394, cfurman@fwwlocal.org

 

 

Harrisburg Calls on Senator Casey to Support Fair Farm Rules as Part of Statewide Day of Action, Sept. 27

 

As part of a Food & Water Watch Statewide Day of Action on Tuesday, Sept. 27, activists in Harrisburg will be calling on Senator Bob Casey to demand that he supports Fair Farm Rules that level the playing field for independent family farmers.

 

Nationally, nearly 27,000 midsized independent family farms have been driven out of business over the past five years, and the ones who have survived are being squeezed by a market that gives preferential treatment to big agribusinesses. The 2008 farm bill included some new reforms to protect small and medium-sized farmers who raise cattle, hogs, and chickens, but those reforms are being blocked by the handful of large processing companies that dominate the meat and poultry industries. Food & Water Watch and our allies are asking Senator Casey, as a key member of the Agriculture Committee to stand up for Pennsylvania’s small farmers, consumers and the environment and support Fair Farm Rules.

What: Food & Water Watch will be conducting a public call-in campaign asking people to make a call to Senator Casey’s office on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Where: Outside of Strawberry Square in Harrisburg, on the corner of 3rd and Walnut.

When: Tuesday, Sept. 27, 10:30 am

Interviews available: Speakers include Kirsten Reinford, farm manager of Joshua Farm and Charlie Furman, a field organizer from Food & Water Watch. Other members of the community will also be available for comment.

Background: Fair Farm Rules refer to the GIPSA rules, named for the branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would oversee the rules: the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration. The rules prevent meatpackers from giving “undue preference” to large producers, like factory farms, that put small independent producers at an economic disadvantage. Many of the changes are technical, but very meaningful to small and midsized farmers and ranchers. The new rules would:

· Stop price premiums and secret preferential contracts granted to cattle and hog factory farms.

· Prevent one buyer from representing multiple meatpackers at an auction. This practice effectively eliminates competitive bidding on livestock, which hurts small-scale producers.

· Prohibit retaliation against poultry growers who speak out about abuses.

· Protects poultry growers who make expensive upgrades and investments and prevents companies from requiring growers to make expensive upgrades to their facilities if they are in working order.

Consumers lose out as small and midsized farmers are pushed out of business. They are left with fewer healthy sustainable choices and more antibiotic and artificial hormone ridden meat and poultry. Additionally, when so few companies control the market they have no reason to pass savings on to consumers, which leads to higher grocery bills. Senator Casey has indicated his support for the rules, but has not publicly advocated for their implementation or asked President Obama to expedite their approval. Food & Water Watch and its allies urge Senator Casey to defend these rules which are in the best interest of both farmers and consumers in her/his district.

Please RSVP to: Charlie Furman, 612-245-3394, cfurman@fwwlocal.org

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Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control. www.foodandwaterwatch.org

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