Family Farm Action to fill the progressive void in rural communities, give voice to communities devastated by corporate consolidation
Today, a new political organization launches to fight for America’s family farmers and rural communities. Agriculture leaders are joining together in Kansas City, Missouri for the official launch of a new non-profit organization, Family Farm Action. Family Farm Action will fight to protect America’s family farms and rural communities from multinational agribusiness monopolies that are destroying rural economies and way of life.
The organization’s launch coincides with the release of a new report, Consolidation, Globalization and the American Family Farm outlining the plight of America’s family farmer and the urgent need for political change in rural communities. It states, “This corporate control has allowed the top firms to reap record profits paying lower prices to the farmers who produce our food and charging higher prices to consumers on the retail side. Agribusiness monopolies are quickly draining wealth from America’s rural communities.”
Family Farm Action will get political — presenting polling and research, pushing state-level legislation, and campaigning for initiatives and pro-family farmer candidates. Family Farm Action will fill a significant void, as most existing agricultural political organizations traditionally represent Republican candidates and corporate agriculture. Industry-backed lobbyists and political groups have virtually unchallenged influence over agricultural policy and politics, even though their agenda is broadly unpopular.
“American family farmers have many great nonprofit organizations who advocate for family farm agriculture, but it is time all of us family farmers have a political voice,” Joe Maxwell, President and CEO of Family Farm Action explained. “Our freedom and our democracy is threatened by the corporate stranglehold large corporations have on our country; it’s time to fight back,” concluded Maxwell.
“I am proud to Chair Family Farm Action,” stated Lillian Salerno, former USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development under President Obama. “The concentration in the market and the economic power that a few multi-national corporations have over family farmers and rural America must come to an end or the end will come to rural America as we know it,” Salerno concluded.
Corporate consolidation, much of it foreign owned, has hurt family farmers and destroyed rural communities. Foreign buyers now own 25 million acres of U.S. land — roughly the size of Virginia. One Chinese corporation took control of over 100,000 acres of U.S. farmland through the Smithfield acquisition, and now controls one in four pigs in the United States. Five multinational corporations—soon to merge to just three—dominate the market for seeds and fertilizer. “Contract farming” pushes families deep into debt, often making them beholden to a single corporation for survival. Overall, over 1 million family farmers have being driven from the land.
Family Farm Action is calling for a new “Farmers Bill of Rights” to level the playing field and let family farmers compete. The platform calls for limitations on contract farming, new restrictions on foreign ownership of American farm land, and renewed anti-trust provisions to break agribusiness monopolies.
The launch of Family Farm Action is supported by the President of the National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, “I am excited to see a new organization join our fight for America’s family farmers,” stated NFU President Roger Johnson. “We can only overcome the influence industrial agriculture has over the U.S. agriculture policies if those of us with like minds join together with one voice.”
At the announcement, Mike Weaver, President of the Organization for Competitive Markets explained how in the recent China Beef Trade Agreement the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association had signed off on allowing both Canadian and Mexican cattle to be marketed as U.S. Beef. He declared, “The American family farmer needs an organization who can politically stand toe to toe with NCBA, NPPC and the other industrial agriculture political voices. I know Family Farm Action can do just that as we work together to end the abusive nature of multi-national corporations and the monopolies.”