FARM ACTION FOCUS: FARM ACTION’S VISION FOR THE NEW YEAR AND BEYOND
After Farm Action’s banner year in 2022, we’re thrilled for the opportunities that lie ahead to reform our food and farm system. While the 2023 and 2028 Farm Bills are in our bullseye, we also still have two years ahead to enact change during the remainder of President Biden’s term.
Our objectives for the 2023 Farm Bill include changing how we talk about agriculture while calling for Food, Not Feed, to shift government farm programs to support regenerative agriculture and raising food to feed our neighbors. Looking ahead to the 2028 Farm Bill, we’ll focus on policies that support transformational and structural food and farm system change. These policies level the playing field for local and regional markets and independent producers so they have fair access to market opportunities. Meanwhile, we’ll continue holding the Biden Administration’s feet to the fire on anti-monopoly reform to ensure the agencies follow through on Biden’s executive order to revive antitrust enforcement and promote competition throughout the economy.
This year’s farm bill is a critical step on our path to fundamentally change our food system to work for our farmers, consumers, and food system workers — but there are many steps that follow, and we’ve got a long fight ahead of us. With the help of supporters like you, we’re confident we can transform our food system to ensure it is fair, competitive, and accessible for all. Read more in our “News to Chew on” blog.
FARM ACTION APPLAUDS FTC’S PROPOSED RULE TO BAN ANTICOMPETITIVE NONCOMPETE AGREEMENTS
Farm Action applauds the FTC for its proposed rule to prohibit employers from binding their workers with noncompete clauses. The rule would require employers to withdraw existing noncompete clauses and would cover employees, contractors, interns, and volunteers.
“Noncompete clauses are essentially traps that enable corporations to hold workers hostage and entrench their monopsony power,” said Farm Action’s Joseph Van Wye. “Denied the freedom to seek other employment, workers are more vulnerable to the whims of their employers, subjecting them to low wages and unsafe working conditions. Today, FTC has made a bold stance of support for America’s workers — one we have sought for a long time.”
Stay tuned to learn how to get involved in the public comment period on the proposed rule.
UPCOMING EVENT: FOOD NOT FEED SUMMIT February 7-8 | Washington, D.C. and online
Join Farm Action and nearly 40 allied organizations of farmers, health and nutrition advocates, faith leaders, conservationists, and ranchers like Mike Callicrate to fight for a better farm bill this February.
This powerful coalition is calling for a farm bill that prioritizes supporting farmers in producing healthy food for Americans, not just feed for corporate-controlled livestock operations. The Food Not Feed Summit is our opportunity to shift federal farm subsidies toward fiber-rich foods and regeneratively raised livestock and poultry within a system that’s fair and equitable from seed to fork.
Are you interested in making meaningful change for farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and all of us who eat? Kick off the new year by joining a country-wide network of advocates who share your values, and take charge in the movement for a fair, inclusive, and competitive food and farm system.
As a Local Leader, you’ll enjoy special email updates with exclusive engagement opportunities, as well as bi-monthly calls where you can talk to high-profile guests and connect with other leaders across the country. Join us for the first meeting of 2023 on Tuesday, January 17th at 6:00 p.m. EST, where we’ll be joined by DeShawn Blanding from the House Agriculture Committee.
Joe Maxwell says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is closing off a “premium market” for U.S. corn producers amidst the trade dispute with Mexico over genetically modified corn. He adds that non-GM seed is available to producers and could lead to premiums of $0.50-$1.00 more per bushel.
Luke Goldstein, The American ProspectJohn Deere says farmers can fix their own tractors—sometimes Willie Cade, a Farm Action Local Leader and right to repair advocate, says the details of John Deere’s agreement with the Farm Bureau “shows the company’s cards and makes us wary of the agreement…it seems targeted at taking the wind out of our sails.”
Consolidated fertilizer corporations are raking in massive profits off the backs of struggling farmers. "They make excuses for price gouging…the truth is that they’re exhibiting monopolistic practices within the marketplace,” said Joe Maxwell.
Foreign corporate ownership drives up land prices and blocks new farmers from accessing land. Joe Maxwell tells the Missouri Independent that foreign corporations are focused on a "long-term investment…and that artificially elevates that land value.”
BIG AG MYTHBUSTERS: IS INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE REALLY CLIMATE-SMART AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND?
It’s become clear that industrial agriculture’s toxic, extractive, inefficient, and carbon-intensive practices harm the environment and pass cleanup costs along to taxpayers, family farmers, and rural communities.
As consumers and policymakers have wised up to this, agrifood giants have conjured up marketing ploys like “climate-smart agriculture.” The crux of Big Ag’s “climate-smart” claim is that the efficiency of intensive production models protects the environment and reduces pollution. But their profit-driven models are as inefficient as they are environmentally destructive.
Instead of using cropland to feed people, Big Ag puts about 50% of U.S. cropland to work just feeding livestock. This perpetuates the inefficient and sprawling feed-meat complex, a system of subsidies and consolidation that produces less food and feeds fewer people.
We urgently need to hold agrifood corporations responsible for the damage they’ve caused, which includes the exploitative way they do business with farmers and the way they pollute low-income communities and communities of color only to offset the damage for a profit.Check out our Mythbuster blog to arm yourself with the facts and help us push back against the corporate-created myth that industrial agriculture is environmentally sound.
WHAT’S THE TALK?
Here’s what the Farm Action team has been reading:
Politico reports that the USDA will continue contracting with JBS, a meatpacker tied to a bribery case. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said barring JBS from government contracts could hurt taxpayers because there is so little competition in the industry.
Advocates are hesitant to praise the Right to Repair deal between the Farm Bureau and John Deere given the manufacturers’ inconsistent history with past repair commitments. "Like Charlie Brown, farmers have lined up for the kick too many times to let Lucy pull the ball away again,"says PIRG’s statement on the issue.
Timothy Wise of IATP writes that the study claiming to show the catastrophic impacts of Mexico’s genetically-modified corn ban on U.S. farmers and Mexico’s food security “greatly overstates the impacts of the ban" and “was actually commissioned by CropLife, the biotech trade association."
Written and edited by: Jessica Cusworth, Dee Laninga, Angela Huffman, and Joe Maxwell
Farm Action leverages its research, policy development, and advocacy campaigns to create a food and agriculture system that works for everyday people rather than a handful of powerful corporations. Our political partner organization, Farm Action Fund, is building the political muscle to take action in our state and federal capitols and at the ballot box.
Together, our two organizations represent a seamless chain of action from research and policy development, to the adoption of the policy through legislative action by elected officials who support our vision.