While touring Ohio during his “Back to Our Roots” RV tour, USDA Secretary Perdue doubled down on the Trump Administration’s decision to turn its back on family farmers and side with multinational corporations in withdrawing the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, or GIPSA Rules, that would have protected U.S. farmers and ranchers from predatory and retaliatory practices by large agricultural businesses.
According to Perdue, the reason American independent farmers do not succeed is that there are “other people” that do it better. He justified his statements by saying that is the “American capitalistic society.”
“Once again Perdue shows his colors, siding with multinational corporations. The world’s largest beef corporation, Brazil’s JBS, recently doubled its annual profits all the while independent farmers and ranchers are being squeezed off the ranch. It is not the American way to allow multinational corporations to use predatory and retaliatory practices to dominate and control the markets,” said Organization for Competitive Markets. “For over a hundred years we have recognized that government has a responsibility to be the referee and ensure there are market safeguards to protect small business women and men and farmers and ranchers, and that was the reason the Packers and Stockyards Act was passed in 1921.”
Perdue also claimed that protecting U.S. farmers will drive up prices for consumers.
In response, OCM added: “Evidence shows that allowing corporations to abuse America’s family farmers also abuses consumers. When only four companies control our food system, consumers are denied choice and oftentimes pay higher than fair market value for their groceries, as was evidenced in Secretary Perdue’s home state of Georgia when reports indicated poultry processors were colluding to gouge consumers.”
Background: Last fall, Secretary Perdue rescinded the “Farmer Fair Practices Rule”— rules that made it possible for poultry and livestock farmers to take legal action against multinational agricultural corporations when those corporations engaged in abusive and unfair practices. When growers contract with these corporations, they face huge risks of abuse, through practices like predatory pricing and collusion, bad faith, and retaliation. The fair practices rule that was withdrawn by USDA was the product of almost 10 years of work and would have helped farmers and ranchers make sure they could hold the multinational corporations accountable. In November, more than 80 farm organizations wrote to President Trump urging him to reverse USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue’s unlawful action.
In December, with representation by Democracy Forward, the Organization for Competitive Markets and farmers in Nebraska and Alabama sued the Trump Administration seeking to reinstate the rules and protect farmers and ranchers.
December 7, 2018