[scroll down just a bit to see letter on this I sent yesterday to my 24 colleagues in our County Legislature; email them at email@example.com to get more on board Food and Water Watch sign-on letter to Gillibrand!]
[do you remember how many family farms there used to be in Dutchess County before being killed?...
for much, much more on this see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/08/nyregion/08towns.html ;
http://www.dutchessland.org/aboutdlc-history.htm ; http://www.petitiononline.com/SaveLand ;
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: Mara Schechter
Subject: Fair Farm Bill rally this Thursday
Do you care about sustainable, healthy food for your community? Do you want to support small farmers in New York and fight big agribusinesses? Come join Food & Water Watch at our...
Rally for a Fair Farm Bill!
Outside Senator Gillibrand’s office
11 Clinton Ave (at Clinton & Broadway) Albany, NY
Thursday, March 15th, 2012
12 pm – 1 pm
Come join Food & Water Watch to show Senator Gillibrand that the Capital District wants this year's Farm Bill to work for families, farmers, and the environment, not just big agribusiness. She has a chance this year to make some real change and mend our broken food system, but she needs to hear from YOU.
12:45 Press conference, present coalition letter with 50 orgs/farmers, make a group call to Gillibrand’s office in DC
1:00 Take action like writing a letter if you have time
RSVP and also invite your friends to our facebook event:https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/346105182101961/ (or forward this email to friends)
If you can’t come but want to help out, let us know—there’s a lot to do to make this rally a big event! Hope to see you on the 15th!
Food & Water Watch
Learn more: www.foodandwaterwatch.org/fairfarmbill
Sign and spread the petition: http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9181
[here below: letter I've just sent off to my Co. Leg. colleagues on this; follow up with your emails to them!]
From: Joel Tyner
Subject: Colleagues-- sign-on letter here to save family farms in Farm Bill-- re: antitrust, mergers...
Please let me know as soon as possible if you might be interested in signing on to this coalition sign-on letter for the Fair Farm Bill campaign to demonstrate support to Senator Gillibrand. It’s a great way to show that, as a key player on the Agriculture Committee, she can be a leader for a more level playing field and better food system through this year’s Farm Bill (and she has been supportive in the past).
For more information on this, feel free to contact Food & Water Watch Field Organizer Mara Schechter at (203) 912-8418 or firstname.lastname@example.org; see:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Senator Gillibrand,
We are writing to urge you to stand up for New York’s consumers and family farmers and lend your vocal support for a competition title in the 2012 Farm Bill. A strong competition title is critical to ensuring that consumers have access to quality, independently produced food and that family farmers receive fair prices for the food they produce.
Our food system is not working for most Americans. Most supermarket aisles do not offer good, nutritious foods as feasible options. Instead, what consumers will find is an abundance of cheap, processed foods that are generally unhealthy, or meat from factory farms produced with antibiotics and artificial hormones and vegetables raised with pesticides and often produced halfway around the world.
At the same time, small and midsized farmers who have been the backbone of America’s food system are driven out of business or are barely making ends meet. The disappearance of farmers in the middle is happening rapidly. While the number of giant farms (with more than $1 million in gross farm earnings) grew by 93 percent between 2002 and 2007, we lost 27,000 midsized independent family farms. According to the USDA’s most recent Census of Agriculture, less than half of all farms in the United States break even; the rest rely on off-farm income to cover their expenses.
The problems of our broken food system, including lack of consumer choice, loss of family farms, growth of large polluting factory farms, and food deserts that leave many without access to basic groceries, can be traced to the extreme consolidation of our food system. A small number of extremely large corporations control every sector of the food system, from beef processing (where four companies control 83% of the market) to dairy (where one company – Dean Foods – controls 40% of the fluid milk market alone), to grocery stores (where five companies control over 50% of the market).
With such dominance, these companies are able to manipulate the market, resulting in a host of problems for consumers, farmers, and the environment. They use their market dominance to pressure family farmers to get bigger by giving preferential treatment to large factory farms, use the lack of competition to set artificially low prices for farmers, and use that same position to set prices artificially high for consumers.
In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress directed USDA to issue rules (collectively known as the GIPSA rule) to address unfair and anti-competitive trade practices that have become rampant in the livestock and poultry sectors. Congress included these provisions to address concerns over the increasingly abusive contract and marketing practices employed by meatpacker and poultry companies that have harmed farmers, ranchers, and growers for decades. Meatpacker and poultry companies opposed these provisions in the Senate, but compromise language included in the final Farm Bill required USDA to use their existing authority under the 1921 Packers & Stockyard Act to take action. Long delays by the USDA allowed House Republicans to prevent almost anything from being accomplished. In the end, only four contract fairness provisions for poultry growers were finalized and none of the livestock rules went into effect.
We still need the complete proposed rule from the 2008 Farm Bill to be implemented, but in the context of broader reforms that make markets work for farmers and consumers. The 2012 Farm Bill presents an opportunity to create a fair Farm Bill that works for all Americans. A competition title – that recognizes that markets only work if there are rules that ensure a leveling of the playing field for small and midsized farmers – will result in better choices for consumers, more vibrant rural economies, and a healthier environment.
We urge you to support a competition title in the 2012 Farm Bill that:
-- Places a moratorium on mergers of large food and agricultural companies and reviews prior mergers for antitrust issues
-- Bans meatpackers from owning livestock, which can be used to manipulate the market
-- Requires contracts for farmers and ranchers that have a pre-arranged price, a firm delivery date, and transparency
-- Investigates and enforces antitrust laws across the food system
We greatly appreciated your support of the GIPSA rule, and we urge you, as a leading member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to continue to stand with New York’s farmers, ranchers, growers and consumers by supporting a comprehensive competition title in this year’s Farm Bill.