American Grassfed Association is one of 300 local, state and national advocacy organizations that sent a letter to Congress urging passage of the Farm System Reform Act (S.3221/HR.6718), introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).
Farm System Reform Act
As COVID-19 exposes the exploitation and injustice in the food system, the letter recognizes that “this visionary legislation meets the scale of action necessary to transform our farming and food system in a timeline that reflects the urgency of its problems.” The letter was facilitated by the national advocacy organization Food & Water Action.
Among other things, the Farm System Reform Act would halt the establishment of new factory farm operations (otherwise known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs) and prohibit the expansion of existing ones. It would also provide a $100 billion voluntary buyout program for contract farmers who wish to transition away from the factory farm system.
“Our independent family farmers and ranchers are continuing to be squeezed by large, multinational corporations that, because of their buying power and size, run roughshod over the marketplace. We need to fix the broken system – that means protecting family farmers and ranchers and holding corporate integrators responsible for the harm they are causing,” said Senator Cory Booker. “Large factory farms are harmful to rural communities, public health, and the environment and we must immediately begin to transition to a more sustainable and humane system.”
Fair Markets for Farmers
“The Farm System Reform Act will ensure that huge corporations no longer have a stranglehold on our food supply,” said Representative Ro Khanna. “It’s important for our farmers, the economy, the environment, and animal welfare. I’m proud to see the growing coalition of groups organizing to support the bill.”
As the letter points out, “…The U.S. food system is dominated by factory farms that confine tens of thousands of animals in cramped, unsanitary conditions; these conditions place the safety of our food at risk, pollute our air and water, harm the welfare of animals and workers, extract wealth from rural communities, increase the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria and increase corporate control of our food.”
This legislation will revitalize independent family farm agriculture and rural communities by:
- Placing a moratorium on new and expanding large factory farms
- Phasing out existing large factory farms by 2040
- Holding corporate integrators responsible for harm caused by factory farms
- Providing a $100 billion voluntary buyout program for contract farmers who want to transition away from factory farms
- Strengthening the Packers & Stockyards Act to protect family farmers and ranchers
- Restoring mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for meat, and including dairy products
- Prohibiting USDA from labeling foreign imported meat products as “Product of USA”
The letter calls for passage of the Farm System Reform Act and a ban on factory farms in order to benefit independent farms, rural communities, food safety, our air and water, and the welfare of animals.