By Steph Larsen
Everybody these days seems to love the idea of family farmers and ranchers, and most consumers would argue that livestock producers deserve a fair price for what they sell.
Big livestock producers shouldn't get paid more just for being big.
And yet right now, big producers do get paid more all the time for the exact same quality livestock. Technically this kind of "price discrimination" is against the law, but the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has let meatpackers bully independent farmers and ranchers this way for decades. Nobody likes a bully, though, and USDA has finally thrown their hat into the ring and taken on the meatpackers.
Last June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed new rules requiring meatpackers to treat family farmers and ranchers fairly and equally when they buy their livestock - an end to current practices like asking who you are and how many head you have to sell before quoting you a price. This is a change from the decades that USDA let meatpackers pay family farmers and ranchers less than mega-producers for the same quality livestock.
Now meatpackers are spending their corporate dollars spreading misinformation because they can’t tell the truth and win. They're trying to pressure USDA to back off on this rule so they can carry on with business as usual.
Farmers and ranchers need your help to fight back against meatpackers. USDA allows citizens like you to give your opinion on rules they write before they become law. Click here to visit our action page and tell USDA that you support their efforts to level the playing field for family farmers and ranchers.
Your personal stories written in your comments make an even bigger impact. Are you:
- A farmer or rancher who has been hurt by low livestock prices?
- A beginning farmer who can't sell your animals?
- Living in a rural community that has felt the negative impacts of fewer families on the land?
- A consumer who wants more choices when it comes to purchasing meat?
Tell USDA about it today! We only have until November 22, 2010 to support farmers and ranchers in this fight.
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