In December 2017, we sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for illegally withdrawing critical protections intended to shield family farmers and ranchers from predatory and retaliatory practices by big agribusiness corporations. These protections were known as the Farmer Fair Practices, or GIPSA Rules.
Today, with legal representation by Democracy Forward, we filed a new brief in our suit. In it we detail the experiences of farmers and ranchers harmed by discrimination, blackballing, and other terrible tactics at the hands of large agricultural corporations. The GIPSA Rules would have allowed farmers and ranchers to fight back against these abuses.
- Mike Callicrate of Colorado was retaliated against by all four of the major meatpackers after speaking out about unfair practices. First, they lowballed him on price, and then they refused to buy cattle from him at all. Mike was forced to shut down his operation and was unable to seek justice without adequate marketplace safeguards in place.
- Jonathan and Connie Buttram of Alabama were retaliated against by poultry corporations for working to secure better treatment for contract poultry growers. The corporations threatened them, discriminated against them, and cheated them out of tens of thousands of dollars in pay for their hard work. Then they blackballed them, so their children won’t be able to carry their family farm into a fourth generation.
- Jim Dinklage of Nebraska felt the sting of retaliation and predatory practices from a meat packer when he stood up to them several times after being shorted on payment for his cattle. These corporations don’t like it when livestock producers push back or question their ways; it’s their way or the highway. They blackballed Jim in his professional business as an agent for all-natural feed additives.
As we geared up for this lawsuit, we talked with dozens more farmers and ranchers with heartbreaking stories of the injustices they’ve faced, but they couldn’t speak out due to the threat of retaliation by the large corporations they deal with.
Will you stand with Mike, Jonathan, Connie, Jim, and those whose stories can’t be told? Please help us make sure the public truly understands what’s at stake by donating to our awareness campaign. We can’t waste this opportunity to shine a spotlight on corporate agribusiness abuses, nor the government’s complicity.
With your support, we will keep fighting to ensure family farmers and ranchers have a fair chance to produce food for our communities. Together, we can take back a marketplace that works for America’s farmers and ranchers, not against them.