WASHINGTON—Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign experts and whistleblowers are available to speak about the Biden-Harris Administration announcement to strengthen food supply chains, level the playing field for growers, and lower prices for consumers. Our experts have been working to bring farmer, worker, and consumer concerns about the food system to public attention for over 44 years. We believe this announcement is an important step forward in improving safety, transparency, and accountability in the food and agriculture sector. As USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack states, “The funding and new rule we’re announcing today ultimately will help us give farmers and ranchers a fair shake, strengthen supply chains, and make food prices fairer.”
Last year, after President Biden’s 2021 antitrust executive order, we launched the #Fair Shake Week of Action campaign. Fifty-five organizations joined us on social media to stand up against exploitative practices of the meat industry and share about the impact of corporate consolidation. We are encouraged by the Biden-Harris response which makes available $200 million to expand competition in meat processing, $25 million in workforce training, and includes a new Packers & Stockyards Act rulemaking to protect poultry farmers from further abuse.
“Once you sign your contract, the company won’t let you just be a farmer. They control everything on your farm. I don’t want to do anything that harms my neighbors, or the environment. Even if I wanted to, I can’t change their rigged system.”
Further, farmer whistleblower and FIC client Trina McClendon, while testifying before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, stated:
“The unlucky grower at the bottom of the ranking [in the tournament system] runs the risk of being crushed by loan debt and mandatory facility upgrades. With the tournament system, if the company sends a grower poor quality chicks or feed, the grower ends up taking the hit instead of the company because of factors totally out of their control. The only one to receive an advantage is the company.”
The proposed “Transparency in Poultry Growing Contracts and Tournaments” rule, which was published in the Federal Register today, will make needed improvements to the poultry payment system, by requiring poultry companies:
● to disclose how their tournament system formulas account for input quality variability.
The rule will also require poultry company CEO’s to sign agreements that require the implementation of internal controls frameworks necessary to provide accurate disclosures, and compliance with USDA audits of disclosed data.
We represent multiple farmers and workers affected by unchecked consolidation. We have whistleblower farmers and experts on staff willing to talk about the practical implications of the increased funding and the impacts the new rulemaking will have on farmers.
For additional comments or to speak to FIC food whistleblower clients or staff experts, please contact:
Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign Director