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Booker, Haaland, Pingree Introduce Farmers Bill of Rights Resolution

February 6, 2020
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME), today introduced a groundbreaking Farmers Bill of Rights resolution, which affirms the rights of family farmers, ranchers, and traditional agricultural communities in New Jersey and across the country. This resolution outlines ten basic rights for family farmers and ranchers that everyone should have access to. The Farmers Bill of Rights highlights the critical needs and fundamental agricultural rights of America’s rural communities, Native Nations and historically underserved farmers and ranchers. The resolution aims to ensure fairness in farm and food markets so rural communities and new generations of farmers can thrive. New Jersey’s nearly 10,000 farms compete in a national marketplace and would benefit from the reforms outlined in the Farmers Bill of Rights. U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is a cosponsor of the Senate resolution.

 

“Corporate consolidation in the agriculture sector is causing serious harm to our rural communities,” Senator Booker said. “We need to level the playing field to ensure that family farmers and ranchers can retain control over their lands, their food security, and their livelihoods. Farmers are on the front lines of our nation’s biggest challenges—from climate change to environmental justice—and it is our responsibility to ensure that they receive our full support.”

 

“Small farmers are largely responsible for sustainable practices and uplifting rural communities, but the decks are stacked against them, because large corporate farms are sucking up all the resources and blocking them from prosperity. Our Farmers Bill of Rights is the radical idea that we owe small farmers and ranchers and our traditional communities basic rights. This Farmers Bill of Rights is a commitment to leveling the playing field and giving control of our most precious resources back to the folks who grow our food and keep our families health,” said Rep. Haaland.

 

“Trade wars, climate change, and unpredictable markets make farming harder and harder every day. And small farmers work incredibly hard for the fraction of a percentage of the American food dollar that they receive—currently less than .15 cents per dollar,” Rep. Pingree said, “Farmers deserve to know that they are protected from volatility in the markets, in their wages, and in their crucial place in America’s food landscape. The Farmers Bill of Rights will help protect land and markets while giving historically underrepresented farmers a voice in the future of American agriculture. I’m proud to join Rep. Haaland and Senator Booker in introducing this bill that will restore legal protections for farmers across the country.”

 

Large corporations and foreign interests have steadily monopolized the country’s agricultural sector, leaving little room for the family farmers and ranchers who are the backbone of agriculture in the United States. Farmers now sell into an ever more concentrated marketplace that has reduced the prices they receive for their crops and livestock and has contributed to collapsing farm income.

 

The Farmers Bill of Rights

  • Highlights the challenges facing our family farmers and ranchers, including historically underserved farmers and ranchers.
  • Recommends a strict cap on foreign ownership in order to ensure that all American farmers can access domestic farm land.
  • Gives historically underserved farmers and ranchers access to capital and an equal voice against increasing corporate concentration and abusive practices in America’s farm and food markets.
  • Supports strong Country of Origin Labeling.

 

Support for the Farmers Bill of Rights

 

“Family Farm Action has been working with our partners for a long time to help Congress understand how important these rights are. We are grateful to have leaders like Senator Booker, Representative Haaland, and Representative Pingree who heard our call and are willing to stand up to the monopolies that control the farm and food sector.” – Wes Shoemyer Family Farm Action Board Member

 

“I applaud Representatives Pingree and Haaland for responding to the dire situation of African-American, Hispanic, Tribal, and other small-scale, family farmers and ranchers by introducing a House Resolution, the Farmers Bill of Rights. For too long, these historically underrepresented farmers have been getting the short end of the nations' agricultural stick; unfair competition, limited and diminishing capital and credit access, and deteriorating rural communities and ways of life. I join Representatives Haaland and Pingree in charging Congress with actualizing these rights in future farm and food, environmental, and trade legislation.” – Anna Mulé, Slow Food USA

 

“With corporate consolidation threatening agriculture across the country, the Farmer’s Bill of Rights outlines a vision for a better economy and food system. Thank you to Rep. Haaland, Rep. Pingree and Sen. Booker for their clear commitment to protecting family farmers, particularly those from under-served communities.” – Jason Davidson, food and agriculture campaigner with Friends of the Earth

 

“Farmers from across all sectors of agriculture are coming together in recognition that our systems of agriculture are not fair to the farmers and laborers who work our land to provide food and public benefits to our community. The time has come to stand together and be recognized for the important work that we do and the basic rights that we all deserve.” – Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service

 

List of Endorsements:

American Grassfed Association

CASA del Llano, INC

Citizens Regeneration Lobby

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture

Dakota Rural Action

Family Farm Action

Farm Aid

Farm to Table - New Mexico

Food and Water Watch Action

Friends of the Earth

Illinois Stewardship Alliance

Indiana Farmers Union

Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Land Stewardship Project

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network (MSAN)

Missouri Farmers Union

MOSES (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service)

National Family Farm Coalition

National Family Farm Coalition

New England Farmers Union

New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

Open Markets Institute and Missouri Rural Crisis Center

Organic Consumer Association

Organization for Competitive Markets

Regeneration International

Renewing the Countryside

Slow Food USA

Union of Concerned Scientists

Wisconsin Farmers Union

Women Food and Agriculture Network

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