April 26, 2002 -- According to news reports from various sources, the Farm Bill Conference Committee is expected to release the final results of their farm bill deliberations later today. Early statements indicate that farm bill negotiators have rejected key provisions supported by family farmers and farm groups from all across the nation, including a ban on packer ownership of livestock and restrictions on large payments being made to factory farms and meatpackers.
This is a travesty, a boondoggle, and an outrage, said Minnesota farmer and Land Stewardship Project member Monica Kahout. Family farmers have consistently called for a ban on packer ownership of livestock, but congress is responding to corporate lobbyists rather htan the people with this bill. This is a farm bill that directly supports corporate livestock factories, pure and simple.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which currently pays for effective conservation practices on family farms, will also face significant changes as a result of the farm bill deal. "The Bill would turn the EQIP into a huge new subsidy for factory livestock producers," said Phil Wright CFF spokesman and Illinois Stewardship Alliance member. "If the conferees go with the House version of EQIP, it could mean up to $50,000 a year for every factory farm in America."
I dont know if Ive ever seen a worse example of corporate special interests at work than through this so-called farm bill process, said Iowa farmer and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement member Larry Ginter. This is a Factory Farm Bill that rips off family farmers and taxpayers, and lines the pockets of the packers and grain traders. Who in America, besides the lobbyists, politicians and agribusiness corporations, actually supports this bill?
Rhonda Perry, a Missouri farmer and Missouri Rural Crisis Center member, agrees. What were facing is a farm bill that refuses to ban packer ownership of livestock, provides millions of dollars in funding to support corporate livestock factories, and facilitates cheap grain prices that will continue to fuel the construction of new factory farms. The American public is sick and tired of paying for bad policies that foot the bill for corporations. Weve got to kill this bill before it kills us.
The Campaign for Family Farms (CFF) is leading the charge for fair and competitive markets for independent family farmers, and for corporate agribusiness accountability to the American public. CFF members include the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Land Stewardship Project (Minnesota).
|Published in In Motion Magazine, May 2, 2002
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