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Mixed Response to Reintroduction of Farm System Reform Act

Brian German Agri-Business, Legislative

Farm System Reform

The Farm System Reform Act has been reintroduced by Senator Cory Booker, with similar legislation also introduced by Representative Ro Khanna. The legislation had originally been introduced in January 2020. Described as “legislation to create a level playing field” by the lawmakers, the bill calls for significant changes in the meat industry. After its reintroduction, the legislation is receiving mixed reviews from the agriculture industry.

“NCBA has long been on the forefront of issues like accurate ‘Product of the USA’ labeling, competitive and transparent markets, and a more resilient supply chain,” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane said in a press release. “While it is positive to see some of these key producer concerns receiving attention from two new members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, we’re also frustrated to see them buried in such a sprawling, misguided package.”

The legislation would place a moratorium on new and expanding concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Cattle feedlots with more than 1,000 head would also be phased out by 2040. A voluntary buyout would become available for those transitioning out of operating a CAFO, supported by $100 million in funding over 10 years. Mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements would also be restored. The legislation also calls for the strengthening of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

The Farm System Reform Act is being supported by hundreds of organizations including United Food and Commercial Workers and Family Farm Action. A letter signed by more than 100 farmers and ranchers across the U.S. also issued a letter of endorsement for the legislation. “We urge you to support and cosponsor the Farm System Reform Act, which represents a light at the end of the tunnel for struggling farmers, and a future where farmers are at the center of a farm system that values and benefits people, the environment and animals alike,” the letter states.

About the Author

Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West