Washington, D.C., June 15, 2023 – This week, R-CALF USA joined 102 farmer, rancher, consumer, labor, farmworker and faith organizations in a letter sent to the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, urging Congress to stand with American farmers and remove a policy rider from its FY24 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
The policy rider would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from writing, preparing or publishing proposed rules to strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, one of the most important federal statutes for U.S. farmers and ranchers.
The letter explained why the proposed rules are particularly crucial stating that because of the highly concentrated and vertically integrated nature of the livestock industries, this concentration gives the multinational meatpackers overwhelming market power and allows for continued anticompetitive practices that are particularly harmful to American family farmers.
The letter included specific examples of behavior the rules would prevent and cited that American farmers and ranchers are being driven out of business every day and for decades have been demanding action from their government to ensure fair markets. It also notes that this is not the first time the packers have used appropriations riders to prevent USDA from addressing their monopoly power.
The letter concluded with describing the rider as “an unacceptable attack on the ability of the USDA to do its job: protecting American farmers and ranchers and ensuring fair and competitive markets,” and called on committee members to reject the rider and stand with American farmers and ranchers.
“This is the most important issue to cattle producers today,” said Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA CEO. “We must get this language removed.”