FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WASHINGTON—Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign experts and farmer whistleblowers are available to speak about the Department of Agriculture’s proposed regulations under the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act’s provisions prohibiting undue prejudice, unjust discrimination, and deception to provide for clearer, more effective standards to govern the modern marketplace.
Our whistleblower experts have been working for decades to protect meat and poultry producer whistleblowers from retaliation. This new rule is an important step in leveling the playing field between producers and the highly consolidated industry. As USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack states, “Highly concentrated local markets in livestock and poultry have increasingly left farmers, ranchers, growers, and producers vulnerable to a range of practices that unjustly exclude them from economic opportunities and undermine a transparent, competitive, and open market—which harms producers’ ability to deliver the quality, affordable food working families depend upon.”
Over the past 50 years, fewer and fewer multinational agribusiness corporations have come to control more and more of our food system—this has resulted in skyrocketing prices at grocery stores while big firms have reported record earnings. Currently, a handful of corporations control our food from farm to fork. With unchecked power, companies have standardized discriminatory and retaliatory practices that undermine competition.
Regarding retaliatory practices in poultry production, Rudy Howell, farmer whistleblower and client, said:
“Years of being a top producer and never having had a single disciplinary action against me, and still [the poultry company] sent me packing for speaking up about the consequences of corporate influence in the food industry. …I’m not the only farmer they did this to, and there are countless others too afraid to talk for fear the poultry companies will do them the same.”
The proposed “Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity under the Packers and Stockyards Act” rule, aims to:
In response to the new proposed rule our Government Accountability Project Food Integrity Campaign Director, Amanda Hitt, states:
“The USDA’s proposed rule is an acknowledgment of the economic impacts of discrimination and retaliation. It is our hope that this important step towards correcting an egregious imbalance of power leads to greater accountability, fairness to farmers, and ultimately a more just and sustainable food system.”
Government Accountability Project represents multiple clients with alleged retaliatory actions and who are affected by the lack of competition and unchecked consolidation. We have whistleblower farmers and experts on staff willing to talk about the impacts this new rulemaking would have on the economics of this market and the impacts it will have on farmers to speak freely without retaliation.