Twenty-Nine House Members Support Mistreatment of Family Farmers and Ranchers
Washington, D.C. – A barricade has been erected by the U.S. House of Representatives that supports the mistreatment of U.S. family farmers and ranchers. Up until now the congressional obstruction was carried out secretly behind closed doors. For the first time, however, a roll-call vote was recently taken that reveals which members of Congress are working for the multinational meatpackers. They work to guarantee that family farmers and ranchers have no recourse when meatpackers engage in wrongful actions such as retaliation, fraud, bad faith, and denial of due process. These wrongful actions are driving tens of thousands of family farmers and ranchers out of business each year.
"We now know the names of these Congressional members who work at the behest of these meatpackers that are trying to force independent livestock producers out of business so they can take control of our food supply," said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.
These meatpacker-beholden members of Congress include:
Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Rodney Alexander (R- La.), Sanford Bishop, (D-Ga.), Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), John Culberson (R-Texas), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Kay Granger (R-Texas), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.), Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.), Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.), and Keven Yoder (R-Kan.).
Their stealthy work began with the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. The U.S. House included a meatpacker-protection rider that prohibited the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from finalizing rules to prohibit meatpackers from retaliating against livestock and poultry producers who complain to USDA or to their members of Congress regarding unfair or unlawful treatment. In addition, the rider prohibited USDA from finalizing rules to stop meatpackers from engaging in fraud, bad faith, denial of due process and other unfair, deceptive or discriminatory practices. Similar meatpacker-protection language was slipped into the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. Shamelessly, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations has recently voted to again include the meatpacker-protection rider in the 2014 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that will soon be voted on by the entire U.S. House.
Not surprisingly, the meatpacker-protection rider (Amendment No. 7) was sponsored by Republican Representative Steve Womack of Arkansas. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the largest beef packer in the United States, is headquartered in Arkansas.
According to Bullard, the 25 Republican and 4 Democrat Representatives who voted 29 to 17 to pass the meatpacker-protection rider do not support family farmers and ranchers.
"Quite to the contrary, what they propose essentially authorizes multinational meatpackers to continue to engage in retaliation, fraud, denial of due process, and bad faith. Their actions will authorize these multinational meatpackers to continue to run rough shod over the hard-working U.S. farmers and ranchers with no fear of consequences," said Bullard.
On Tuesday, the White House reportedly stated that it would veto the 2014 Agriculture Appropriations Bill due to budget cuts for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
"Like the failed House version of the 2013 Farm Bill that also included language to protect the appalling and abusive actions of the meatpackers, the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, and the White House should again reject completely the efforts of beholden congressional members to assist their meatpacker buddies in the exploitation of U.S. farmers and ranchers," concluded Bullard.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.