ON THE HILL
Checkoff Reform: By the time you read this, the new Farm Bill may very well be moving through the legislative process. Therefore, to make sure you are up to date, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or watch for OCM emails. We will need your help if we are to get across the finish line on our checkoff legislation. To help you prepare for your contacts with Congressional offices visit www.competitivemarkets.com/toolkits and learn more about The Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, S. 741 and H.R. 1753, and The Voluntary Checkoff Act, S. 740 and H.R. 1752. Ask your U.S. Senators and Representative to co-sponsor these bills. We will not end the abuses without you taking the time to let your elected officials know how you feel about the checkoff programs. Let us know that you did reach out to your U.S. Senators and Representative so we can drop by their offices in Washington D.C. and follow up with them.
GIPSA: We have filed our briefs in our litigation against USDA and Secretary Perdue for having withdrawn the Farmer Fair Practices Rules (GIPSA). President Trump can end this litigation by simply signing an executive order reinstating the rules. It looks like Perdue is clearly working against family farmers and independent ranchers. This issue is in President Trump’s hands, and for those of you who use Twitter, please tweet @realdonaldtrump and urge him to #implementGIPSAnow.
SBA Poultry Grower Loans: Since our last publication, we have had a victory. The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Inspector General issued a report that found poultry processors/integrators exercise so much control over their contract poultry growers that the grower can no longer be seen as an independent small business. The $1.8 billion that SBA has loaned to growers to build the facilities for the large integrators/processors has done nothing more than provide government financing to some of the largest corporations in the U.S. and the world. JBS is the largest poultry processor in the U.S. and is a Brazilian company. In response to OCM’s and others’ efforts, Senator Booker took quick action and added an amendment to the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act requiring SBA to report how it is implementing the OIG recommendations. Thank you, Senator Booker.
IN THE STATES
Virginia SB 374/HB 1348: Beef Checkoff Increase and Corporatization: We did have a limited victory in Virginia. While we would have rather seen this legislation fail, the sponsors did listen to our grave concerns and amended the bill to only allow for a $0.25 checkoff increase (instead of $.75) and returned the authority to appoint members to the state beef council to the Governor. At least we stopped the Cattlemen’s Associations’ power and money grab. Thanks to all who helped.