Tell the USDA to support fair contracts for farmers

My brother-in-law, Scott Marlow, works with the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) helping farmers, and asked me to pass along this request for folks to write to the USDA in support of proposed rules that would help provide a level playing field for poultry or livestock farmers, protect farmers’ investments, make pay more competitive, and outlaw retaliation against farmers who speak out. I'll let Scott tell it:

On our web site, we have an action alert on proposed rules for GIPSA (Grain Inspection and Packers and Stockyards Administration), which is the agency that regulates much of the contract livestock industry. Basically, there were requirements in legislation that companies follow the rules for unfair trading practices and other bad behavior, but because the rules had never been written, there was never anything to hold them to. Now the administration has written good rules, what we think are pretty basic rules actually, and of course the industry is howling. (The specifics are on our web site.)

The way the process goes, the administration writes proposed rules, receives comments on the proposed rule, and then the comments are integrated (or not) into the proposed rule and they release a final rule. Right now we have a good proposed rule, and need to make sure that they do not scrap it. The comment period ends on Monday, so we need folks to make their comments before then.

Right now we are getting hammered by a well-financed misinformation campaign (I'm shocked, shocked I tell you) by the industry that is getting large numbers of comments in to Congress to kill the proposed rules. We need as many individuals to send in comments as possible. Also, it looks like the industry may try to make an end around of the process and kill the rule in Congress, and a big show of public support (and awareness) is a huge first step in blocking that strategy. But getting as many individual comments in to USDA before Monday is EXTREMELY important.

Fortunately, there is a nice action alert and comment generator on our web site that takes care of almost all of the details for you. It takes mere seconds. Also, if you have a couple of minutes, writing something in the box at the bottom differentiates your comments and makes them count for more in the tally, so write something in there if you can. The comment period ends Monday, so please do it before close of business on Monday.

Here is the link.

Please send in comments, and get your friends to as well.

Full disclosure: I am not estranged from my brother-in-law. I'm actually very proud of the work he does.