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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.