WBRC: Marshall County chicken farmer plaintiff in federal lawsuit against USDA

By Stephen McLamb | December 21, 2017

WBRC FOX6 News – Birmingham, AL

(Source: WAFF)

MARSHALL COUNTY, AL (WAFF) – A Marshall County chicken farmer is part of a lawsuit filed against the USDA.

It’s getting national attention.

“Family farm, mom and pop operations will not be in existence probably in five more years because of this if this goes through,” said chicken farmer Jonathan Buttram.

Buttram said rollback of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration rules enacted by the USDA will have devastating effects on local farmers.

Chicken farmers raise chickens on behalf of big companies through contracts. Buttram said GIPSA rules protected the small farmer from getting bullied by big corporations.

“If we’re being mistreated by the chicken company or packers we can’t sue them. We can’t do anything. We have no rights. We’re basically turned into sharecroppers,” said Buttram.

Buttram, an Alabama farmer, and the Organization for Competitive Markets are filing suit hoping the rules will be reinstated, and it’s getting national attention in national publications.

Tom Super with the National Chicken Council said the rules were pushed out by the Obama administration at the last minute and flew in the face of congressional and eight circuit court decisions. Super said eliminating the rules will save the consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Buttrum questions whether the consumers who will benefit or is it really the big chicken corporations.

“We’re being taken out and we care about the food supply. These large packers and integrators do not care. The bottom line is the money, the dollar,” said Buttram.

The NCC praised USDA’s withdrawal of GIPSA rules on competitive injury, unfair practices and undue preferences.