In this file:
· Senator Booker bill would restore MCOOL, eliminate feedlots over 1,000 head
· Farm Reform Act a “Direct Attack” on Cattle Production NCBA’s Lane Says
Senator Booker bill would restore MCOOL, eliminate feedlots over 1,000 head
Carrie Stadheim, Tri-State Livestock News (SD)
Jul 16, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced legislation in July 15, 2021, to create a level playing field for independent family farmers and transform the broken system built by multi-national meatpacking companies. The Farm System Reform Act would, among other things, strengthen the Packers & Stockyards Act to crack down on the monopolistic practices of meatpackers and corporate integrators, place a moratorium on large factory farms, sometimes referred to as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and restore mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements. U.S. Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. This reintroduction also follows President Biden’s recent executive order promoting competition in the marketplace, which is an important first step toward restoring fairness for independent family farmers and ranchers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many of the serious weaknesses in our food system, said the Booker news release. In particular the hyper consolidation of our livestock and meat industry led to a near collapse of the supply chain in the early days of the pandemic. Consumers found empty shelves at their grocery stores, at least 259 meat processing workers died of COVID after their employers failed to provide safe working conditions, animals were cruelly killed, and farmers were left with no market for the livestock they produced. This broken system is not the result of inevitable market forces, but rather flows directly from the influence multinational meatpackers – who continued to make record profits during the pandemic – have over federal farm policy.
Booker says economic concentration in agriculture has been hurting our country, especially rural America, for decades. The top four beef packing companies control nearly 85% of the market. The top four pork packers control 71% of the market. These companies have too much market power, and it comes at the expense of independent family farmers, who earn just 14.3 cents of every dollar spent on food. Agricultural concentration hurts consumers too, who see higher prices, poorer quality, less innovation, and reduced access to food. Making things worse, U.S.D.A. has continued to allow beef and pork products that are shipped to the U.S. and processed or repackaged here to be labeled “product of U.S.A.,” even when the animal was raised in another country. This allows multinational meatpackers to pass their imported meat off as American, further eroding fair competition and preventing shoppers from supporting local rural communities.
“Large, multinational meatpackers, because of their buying power and size, are putting our food system at risk and harming everyone along the supply chain. We need to fix the broken system – that means giving family farmers and ranchers a fair shot and holding corporate integrators responsible for the harm they are causing,” said Senator Booker. “We must immediately begin to transition to a more sustainable and humane system. An important first step is ending our reliance on huge factory farms and investing in a system that focuses on resilient and regenerative production.”
Senator Booker is a known vegan.
According to the vegetarian resource group...
Farm Reform Act a “Direct Attack” on Cattle Production NCBA’s Lane Says
By Katie James, AgWeb
July 16, 2021
This week New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker re-introduced his Farm System Reform Act, a bill he says would “transform a broken system.” Similar legislation was introduced in the House by Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA). The lawmakers claim the legislation will “create a level playing field” for independent family farms, Drovers’ Greg Henderson reports.
"Economic concentration in agriculture has been hurting our country, especially rural America, for decades,” Booker said. “The top four beef packing companies control nearly 85% of the market. The top four pork packers control 71% of the market. These companies have too much market power, and it comes at the expense of independent family farmers, who earn just 14.3 cents of every dollar spent on food.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) was quick to label the bill as “misguided,” and Ethan Lane, NCBA’s vice president of government affairs joined host Chip Flory on AgriTalk to discuss the bill further.
“In the political sphere we talk about astroturf—it's when you set up a group that's supposed to look and feel like something other than what it really is—and you have these family farm action type groups that kind of ride in on bills like this and say, ‘Gosh, this is so great for real small family farms and ranches,’ but they're always funded and staffed by animal rights extremists, and this is the case here as well,” Lane says. “You can't eliminate the feedlot system in the highest quality beef producing system in the world, and the most sustainable system in the world and expect it to survive. This is this is a direct attack on cattle production.”
Getting rid of the feedlot system, and encouraging more grass-fed beef production, won’t result in the same efficiency that we have today, Lane notes...
more, including audio 11:01 min.]