Legislation was recently unveiled that would significantly alter the landscape of animal agriculture in the United States, particularly livestock production. The Farm System Reform Act of 2019 would establish a moratorium on expanding large factory farms and would also slowly phase out large concentrated animal feeding operations over the next 20 years. Introduced by potential Democratic presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker, the bill is being promoted as a remedy for continued consolidation in livestock production.
“Our independent family farmers and ranchers are continuing to be squeezed by large, multinational corporations that, because of their buying power and size, run roughshod over the marketplace,” Senator Booker said in a press release. “We need to fix the broken system – that means protecting family farmers and ranchers and holding corporate integrators responsible for the harm they are causing.”
The legislation would strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act to address some of the issues surrounding the amount of influence that meatpackers have on livestock markets. The bill would also restore the mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements for beef and pork. The Farm System Reform Act would go further to expand the labeling requirement to include dairy products. Labeling standards would also be enhanced to prohibit the U.S. Department of Agriculture from classifying imported meat products as a “Product of USA.”
Some of the supporters of the Farm System Reform Act thus far include the Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, Family Dairy Farms LLC, the Indiana Farmers Union, and the American Grassfed Association. “I have seen first-hand how hard it is to challenge the multinational corporations who control the meat industry,” Kansas Rancher Mike Callicrate said in a statement. “Things like country of origin labeling on meat, updates to the Packers and Stockyards Act, and resources to get folks out of a system that is bankrupting them will make a big difference.”