Plus: Help secure farmers’ right to repair their equipment
FARM ACTION FOCUS: CORRUPT MEATPACKER JBS GOES TO WALL STREET TO FUND GLOBAL TAKEOVER
Far from its beginnings as a small butcher shop in Brazil, JBS is now the world’s largest meat processing company. The company is headed up by the corrupt billionaire brothers from Brazil, Joesley and Wesley Batista. JBS’ growth is the result of decades of abusive and illegal activity, and no one and nothing has been left untouched by the company’s harms as they rose to market dominance. But JBS has run into trouble: With their extensive criminal track record, the company now struggles to finance their global takeover of the meat industry.
So they’ve come up with a new scheme: listing on the New York Stock Exchange so they can rake in cash from Wall Street investors and buy out the rest of their competitors. If Wall Street funds even more JBS expansion, more farmers across the country will have fewer options to sell their cattle, and JBS will be emboldened to squeeze them even further.
WATCH THIS: TIME TO INVESTIGATE KOCH INDUSTRIES’ IOWA FERTILIZER ACQUISITION
Koch Industries’ plan to buy OCI Global’s Iowa fertilizer plant stinks to high heaven.
The Iowa plant was built with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on the promise that it would introduce competition against companies like Koch, lowering costs for farmers and consumers. If this deal goes through, taxpayers will have effectively subsidized the expansion of Koch’s control over the heavily concentrated fertilizer sector.
The good news is that this isn’t a done deal, and Farm Action is fighting back. We recently led 17 organizations in urging FTC and DOJ to investigate Koch Industries’ planned acquisition of the Iowa plant. In order to safeguard our economy, our enforcers must prevent dominant firms like Koch from capitalizing on investments made with public resources.
WELCOME TO FARM ACTION, NERMA!
Farm Action and Farm Action Fund’s new Senior Development Director, Nerma Moore, Ph.D., has come on board to lead the team in raising the necessary resources to fight abusive corporate consolidation in our food and farming system.
Having watched her grandfather run his farm until he was 93 years old in rural Mississippi, and her dad raise chickens and grow fruit trees, Nerma’s connection to and empathy towards farmers drives her efforts.
Nerma uses the more than 13 years of combined experiences gained and results she accomplished through her varied roles in the non–profit, real estate, start–up, communications, and higher education sectors to guide her work. Please join Nerma and help fund our fight by chipping in whatever you can at farmaction.us/donate.
LATEST USDA GRANTS DRIVE AGRICULTURAL CONSOLIDATION WITH TAXPAYER FUNDS
This week, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced the rollout of $207 million in funding through programs claiming to advance renewable energy and domestic fertilizer. But when we took a closer look, we saw that USDA is directing at least a quarter of these taxpayer funds to clean up waste for the largest industrial agriculture operations.
One project alone gives more than $32 million to BioGas Corp in North Carolina, which processes waste from Smithfield Foods, a Chinese corporation that owns one in every four hogs in the U.S. Smithfield has saturated the North Carolina farming landscape, forcing independent hog farmers out of business and polluting the air and water of surrounding communities.
“USDA claims these are renewable energy investments, but they are nothing but another scheme to funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to the largest, corporate controlled operations while America’s farmers get the crumbs,” said Farm Action’s Angela Huffman.
OP-ED: THIS FARM BILL COULD REIN IN BIG AGRICULTURE’S LOBBYING POWER
In his recent Civil Eats op-ed, Will Harris of White Oak Pastures calls on Congress to empower family farmers by including the OFF Act in the farm bill to reform our corrupt government checkoff programs. Will’s is the latest addition to the growing chorus of farmer voices calling for this critical legislation.
“If the OFF Act were included in the upcoming farm bill, we could prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the checkoffs,” he writes. “To me, that sounds like the bare minimum requirements for a government program handling nearly a billion in funds taken from farmers.”
Join the movement to reform checkoff programs by using our OFF Act Advocacy Toolkit to help lawmakers understand the need for this common-sense legislation.
SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT TO HELP SECURE FARMERS’ RIGHT TO REPAIR THEIR OWN EQUIPMENT
Farmers deserve the right to repair their equipment as they see fit, but multinational farm equipment manufacturers like John Deere are imposing severe restrictions on who can repair the products they sell — resulting in losses of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential yields.
Our country’s lack of right to repair laws affects life off the farm, too. Americans who utilize countless technologies from phones to hearing aids have also been subjected to abusive repair restrictions for far too long.
But we have the power to restore this vital right for farmers and consumers across the country. U.S. PIRG and iFixit sent a petition for rulemaking to FTC to protect consumers’ right to repair products they have purchased. Farm Action is submitting a comment in support of the right to repair, and we’re counting on our supporters to join the fight alongside us. Your comment in support of the right to repair will make a difference! Check out our resources on this issue to help you get started.
REVEALED: USDA’S “FLAWED” TRACKING OF FOREIGN FARMLAND OWNERSHIP
In response to lawmakers sounding the alarm about increasing rates of foreign corporate farmland ownership across the country, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report detailing USDA’s “flawed” tracking of foreign farmland ownership.
The report details the challenges impeding USDA’s tracking efforts, including a handbook that provides "limited instructions" on collecting information, data entry errors, and funding constraints.
"Without improving its internal processes, USDA cannot report reliable information to Congress or the public about where and how much agricultural land is held by foreign persons," the report says. Check out our blog to learn why foreign corporate farmland ownership harms American farmers and rural communities.
WHAT’S THE TALK?
Here’s what the Farm Action team has been reading:
Marketplace reports that as Washington state sues to block the harmful proposed merger between Kroger and Albertsons, the retailers have announced that the deal could be pushed out to August.
A new report from Groundwork finds corporate profits have driven more than half of the inflationwe’ve seen since input costs have come down.
Herbicides are growing less effective while companies are reducing funds for research and development, reports U.S. News. Industry consolidation often leads to reduced research and development because there’s less pressure to produce innovative products as markets become less competitive.
EDairy News reports on a letter sent by U.S. farmers and ranchers, including Farm Action,in support of the massive German farmer protests over oppressive policies that harm farmers while enriching the elite few.
Agrochemical companies Syngenta and Corteva must face an FTC lawsuit over their unlawful efforts to curb competition from generic rivals, reports Reuters. The companies’ “loyalty programs” pay distributors to limit their purchases of generic crop-protection products, which has kept pesticide prices artificially high.
Our work is made possible by supporters like you. Please consider making a donation to fund our fight to create a food system that works for everyone, not just a handful of powerful corporations.
Written and edited by: Jessica Cusworth, Dee Laninga, and Angela Huffman
Farm Action develops and advances bold solutions to stop corporate monopolies and empower farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. 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 farmer-led 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.