FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2017
Media Contact: Angela Huffman, 614-390-7552
Farm Groups Urge President Trump to Implement GIPSA Protections
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In denouncing Secretary Perdue’s withdrawal of the two Farmer Fair Practices Rules on October 17, 2017, Organization for Competitive Markets stated it would call on President Trump to do by executive order what the Secretary was unwilling to do: implement the proposed GIPSA rules. Today, a coalition of more than 80 agricultural organizations including National Farmers Union, R-CALF USA, National Family Farm Coalition, and Organization for Competitive Markets sent a letter asking President Trump to do just that. The rules would provide the most basic of protections to American family farmers and ranchers as they endure increasingly consolidated markets and unfair treatment from multi-national and foreign meatpackers.
Since 1980, 90% of U.S. hog farmers and 41% of U.S. cattle producers have gone out of business, and over one million U.S. family farmers and ranchers have been driven off the land. Today, 71% of America’s poultry growers live below the federal poverty level. A large contributor is the fact that the Packers & Stockyards Act of 1921 (P&S Act) is not being enforced and U.S. farmers and ranchers do not have a fair opportunity to compete in the marketplace. The GIPSA rules are one of the few ways farmers can begin to reverse this trend. The letter asks President Trump to fulfill his commitment to making rural America great again by immediately implementing the rules following Secretary Perdue’s decision to side with the few multi-national and foreign meatpackers that dominate the market.
“While these rules were issued in 2016 under the prior administration, their development has been an ongoing process led by farmers and ranchers since 2010. The prior administration simply did not get the job done. You, Mr. President, have the opportunity to make the difference in the future of rural America and preserve America’s family farmers and ranchers,” the groups wrote.
In a recorded statement explaining the basis for his withdrawing the rules, Secretary Perdue stated agricultural packers and processors are supposed to “treat everyone fairly and not in a predatory fashion,” concluding, “These are moral actions that I don’t know or believe that regulation and litigation solve.”
OCM President Mike Weaver stated, “I am beyond outraged. It is clear from Secretary Perdue’s statement that USDA’s anti-monopoly public policy is to simply ask China’s Smithfield, Brazil’s JBS, which owns Cargill pork, JBS beef and Pilgrim’s Pride chicken, and the other agricultural conglomerates to please stop being a bully in the marketplace playground. Perdue is either the most naïve Secretary of Agriculture we have ever had, or he is simply in bed with the multi-national corporate monopolies. I think it’s the latter.”
The groups concluded in their letter to President Trump, “Secretary Perdue’s decision ignores all previous USDA Secretaries’ interpretation of the intent and purpose of P&S Act and is releasing the abusive market power of foreign corporations and foreign countries onto family farmers and consumers alike. We call on you, by executive order, to do what others have failed to do and are unwilling to do: return justice to the marketplace by implementing the [rules].”