Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) introduced the Farmer Fairness Act on Thursday. This bill would extend the environmental liability that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) contract farmers are already subject to under the Clean Water Act to integrator companies.
These companies impose strict contracts on these farmers, who assume all of the environmental liability, a press release from Khanna’s office said. This legislation will make regulation fairer for the hardworking people in the agriculture industry, it said.
“Large agribusiness companies like Tyson and Perdue buy livestock and animal products from farmers,” Khanna said. “The companies control the way livestock is fed, medicated and housed. They dictate what equipment and capital the farmer has to use. Farmers often don’t make enough to live off of because the cost of operations, as mandated by the companies, leaves the farmer in the red. Through all of this, the farmer takes on the liability (especially environmental liability) of the operation.”
The bill is supported/endorsed by: Food and Water Watch, National Farmers Union, and the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.
"Contract farmers are subject to a wide range of unfair practices at the hands of integrators," said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union. "While integrators often control how animals are raised, farmers are left solely liable. We applaud Congressman Khanna for introducing this legislation, which is an important step toward ensuring fairness and protection for family farmers."
Read the full bill here.
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