Protecting Food. Empowering Whistleblowers.

Food Integrity Campaign Blog

Press Release: President Biden demands a Fair Shake for Farmers and Ranchers in the U.S.

Food Integrity Campaign | January 6, 2022

For Immediate Release:

January 6, 2022

Press Release: President Biden Demands a Fair Shake for Farmers and Ranchers in the U.S.

WASHINGTON—The White House echoed the sentiments of 57 national, state, and regional organizations that spoke up on behalf of farmers and ranchers in their #FairShake Week of Action campaign. In a January 3, 2021 address at the “White House Roundtable on Promoting Competition and Reducing Prices in the Meat Industry,” President Biden himself demanded that farmers and ranchers get a “Fair Shake” (Biden speaking at 1:18:33). That same day, the White House released the Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain.

In September 2021, the #FairShake Week of Action included diverse organizations representing the interests of labor, environment, public health, community agriculture, animal welfare, and farmers. The participants campaigned for greater competition and less consolidation in agriculture. This coordinated week included a robust social media campaign and culminated in the delivery of an organizational sign-on letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.

The administration’s action plan acknowledges the #FairShake advocates’ concerns that unchecked consolidation has resulted in the standardization of abusive and exploitative practices including unfair contracts, devising deceptive pay schemes for farmers, and creating inhumane working conditions in processing plants.

The White House Action Plan included several key items that FIC applauds, such as:

  • The department of Justice and Agriculture’s new joint initiative to better coordinate their efforts—including launching within 30 days a new portal for reporting concerns about potential violations of the competition laws.
  • Support for safer workplaces with fair wages and the creation of new job opportunities in rural communities.
  • The development of three proposed rules to provide greater clarity and strengthen enforcement under the Packers and Stockyards Act in order to protect farmers and ranchers from the abuses of meatpackers and processors.
  • Issuing new “Product of US” labeling rules so that consumers can better understand where their meat comes from.

FIC Director, Amanda Hitt, commented:

“We are encouraged by these bold efforts to level the playing field between producers and giant corporations. These efforts to stem the tide of unmitigated consolidation and curtail anticompetitive practices are an important first step in improving the lives of farmers, workers, and eaters.”

In 2022, FIC will continue to work alongside our partners and farmer advocates to ensure that the implementation of the White House’s Action Plan effectively results in increased protection for food whistleblowers, improving transparency and competition in industrialized meat and poultry production.

 

Watch our video to learn more about Corporate Consolidation in our Food System and the Packers and Stockyards Act: