Protecting Food. Empowering Whistleblowers.

Food Integrity Campaign Blog

Senate Farm Bill Misses Opportunity to Protect Whistleblowing Farmers

Food Integrity Campaign | July 16, 2018

The recent Farm Bill debate featured a robust defense of the rights of whistleblowing contract farmers. Leading the charge was Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). Livestock and poultry contract farmers enter into agreements with large companies to grow animals for meat. Often, these contracts include strict provisions to prevent farmers from speaking up in the face of unfair treatment such as paying farmers less than they are owed and pitting farmers against each other in opaque pricing systems.

Senator Booker introduced an amendment that would have protected farmers from retaliation when they speak up about abusive practices by their corporate employers. Had these protections been in place already, they would have made it easier for whistleblowers like poultry farmer Craig Watts, whom the Food Integrity Campaign represents, to have spoken up safely without fear of retaliation.

Consider the powerful speech Senator Booker made during the Senate floor debate:

“Recently I had some contract farmers come into my office to meet with me. These farmers were terrified, terrified of coming to D.C. and actually talking to Congresspeople and Senators. They were terrified that the integrators they contract with might find out that they were talking to us and raising legitimate concerns about the abuses they were suffering. This is in the United States of America…

…We’re making our farmers, our small business people afraid of even talking about the abuses they’re suffering from these massive, multinational, agricultural corporations…Our contract farmers should not have to live like this. They should not have to be afraid that they will be retaliated against for engaging in lawful activities like speaking with members of Congress or the USDA or for joining together in producer associations.”

We at FIC are grateful for Sen. Booker’s leadership on this important issue. Let’s join him in fighting for the whistleblowers who fight for the integrity of our food system.


  1. Heidi says:

    Please put these protections in place so that the small farmer and the consumer may survive against corporate greed.Report

  2. Nina Diamante says:

    Whistleblower farmers need to be protected.  This is criminal how animals and being tortured.  NinaReport

  3. perttiveijalainen says:

    The BigMeat is, of course, against whistleblower contract farmers the same way as the BIgAg is against any reasonable regulation of its nefarious practices. Nothing new to it.
    So what is the way out? A consumer protest. A really big one – and based on the voting recors of both the saenators and comgress members. The most direct way to influencing these so-called “representatives” of people who really represent only those who pay their campaign bills. Nothing else is important for them.Report

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