Standing With Family Farmers and Ranchers

By John Crabtree
Center for Rural Affairs

Almost one year ago, on June 22, 2010, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack unveiled USDA’s new rule, under the Packers and Stockyards Act, which will reform livestock markets and restore some competition among meatpackers and poultry processors. It’s been an interesting year. Over 60,000 comments were received by November 22, after the deadline was extended. USDA is currently reviewing the comments and performing a variety of analyses.

Of course, opponents of reform have not sat idly by. The nearly constant whining of the American Meat Institute – the trade association that represents meatpacking interests — coupled with the squawking and squealing coming from the National Chicken Council and National Pork Producers Council while they shill for the packers has been almost deafening at times. And they’ve never bothered to worry about accuracy or analysis in their attacks, resorting instead to hyperbole and alarmist rhetoric.

They’ve gained some allies in Congress, however. But the choice is simple, stand with family farmers and ranchers or stand with meatpackers and their industrial, corporate livestock allies. Now is a good time to call your Representatives and Senators, express your support for USDA’s livestock market reform rule and urge them to publicly communicate their support to Secretary Vilsack. While you’re at it, call USDA and encourage them to hold the line and move the rule forward… it’s time to draw a line in the sand and count who is standing with family farmers, ranchers and rural communities, and who is not.

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The Center for Rural Affairs was established in 1973 as an unaffiliated nonprofit corporation under IRS code 501(c)3. The Center for Rural Affairs was formed by rural Nebraskans concerned about family farms and rural communities, and we work to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities.

Categories: Commentary