“The Corporate Meatpackers Have Infiltrated Congress”-Bill Bullard



For Immediate Release

Press Release Courtesy of  R-CALF USA

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America “Fighting for the U.S. Cattle Producer”

Congressional House Leaders Kowtow to Corporate Meatpackers to Help Them Force More Family Farmers and Ranchers Out of Business

Billings, Mont. – The Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives released today its version of the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which slashes funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agency charged with preventing meatpackers from engaging in unfair, deceptive and discriminatory livestock procurement practices that have forced independent farmers and ranchers out of the business.

“Congressional leaders have sent a powerful message to the American people – It’s corporate profits over the wellbeing of family farmers and ranchers and consumers, period,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

family farmers

Photo: Troy Freund, courtesy of NFFC

Bullard said the meatpackers have enlisted the aid of key congressional members to help them avoid U.S. laws that prohibit meatpackers from engaging in unfair trade practices against U.S. farmers and ranchers who sell their livestock into one of the most concentrated, monopolistic marketing systems in the entire U.S. economy. “Four powerful meatpackers now control about 85 percent of the U.S. fed cattle market and these four meatpackers have coerced Congress into derailing a USDA rulemaking that would, for the first time, properly implement the 90-year-old Packers and Stockyards Act that was intended to prevent monopolistic meatpackers from taking advantage of independent farmers and ranchers,” he said.

The meatpackers have specifically targeted an important rulemaking by the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) that belatedly implements the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 (PSA). The GIPSA rulemaking, known as the GIPSA rule, does this by imparting fairness and transparency in the livestock marketplace and by holding meatpackers accountable for their unfair cattle procurement practices that have contributed to the loss of over half a million U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers during just the past three decades.

“The GIPSA rule would prevent meatpackers from giving secret, sweetheart deals to their corporate livestock suppliers while refusing to pay family farmers and ranchers so much as a fair price for their livestock,” said Bullard adding, “Now Congress has given these same meatpackers a sweetheart deal by including language in the appropriations bill that stops the GIPSA rule dead in its tracks.”

Section 721 of the Republican’s draft Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill states:

None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used to write, prepare, develop, or publish a final rule or an interim final rule in furtherance of, or otherwise to implement, the proposed rule entitled ‘‘Implementation of Regulations Required Under Title XI of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; Conduct in Violation of the Act’’ (75 Fed. Reg. 35338 (June 22, 2010)).

Bullard said the GIPSA rule is the proposed rule formally titled “Implementation of Regulations Required Under Title XI of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; Conduct in Violation of the Act’’

John Kinsman

John Kinsman, President, Family Farm Defenders. Photo: Troy Freund, NFFC

“The corporate meatpackers have infiltrated Congress and they are doing to the GIPSA rule exactly what they did to prevent USDA from implementing the consumer-friendly country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law for nearly seven years,” Bullard commented.

Bullard said that Congress’ support of the meatpackers’ shenanigans is not what the American people want or deserve. “If this type of corporate greed is going to be stopped, then the American people must rise up right now to tell their members of Congress that they are ashamed of Congress’ effort to put corporate meatpacker profits ahead of the wellbeing of family farmers and ranchers, consumers, and rural America,” he concluded.

What can YOU do?

Contact your legislative leaders. Also, please support American Farmers. For further information, please contact:

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 46 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call406-252-2516.

3 thoughts on ““The Corporate Meatpackers Have Infiltrated Congress”-Bill Bullard

  1. Family farmers surround the land that I was raised on in Oregon and the land my husband was raised on in Montana. But they are relatively small farms who sustain themselves. Big agriculture seems to lead to a deterioration in quality. Oh that we could all just live off our own land. But then, what would big city folk do?

  2. Excellent blog! And a great comment by Bethany. I totally agree. Small self sustaining farms are the way to go. It’s what actually built this country in the first place. Quality and the ethics of the product produced should be the first priority. People have to demand more and thusly hold these big companies to the same standards.

  3. I am a vegetarian, however I am also supportive of small farmers who raise their livestock humanely and contribute to local economies. Communities hopefully will become more involved and pro active to support their local farmers every way possible. Sustaining our individual communities and being tolerant of different lifestyles goes a long way toward a viable future.

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