On the September 20th episode, we hear from Jane Wiedenbeck, Field Organizer for the West Michigan chapter of Food and Water Watch, as she tells us about the kickoff meeting for the Fair Farms Campaign.
The Fair Farms Campaign centers around the small and medium sized farm that is local and more able to be sustainable. Because these farms are smaller, they tend to have smaller herds of livestock. Their size make it easier to be organic and have free-range animals. They also have lower transportation costs as the farms are much closer to the market and consumer than larger corporate farms.
The rules in question were created to protect small and medium sized cattle, hog and chicken farmers, allowing them to compete with large factory farms. For example, if a smaller chicken farmer were to bring his livestock to a meat-packer, these laws would bar the intermediary from giving undue preference to larger producers. The price would stay the same no matter the size of the seller’s operation.
Originally passed in 1921, the GIPSA Rules (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration) also known as the Fair Farms Bill, didn’t have the rules for law included until 2008. These rules have yet to be finalized, so they can be enforced by the USDA. They are currently up in the Senate, waiting for funding for finalization.
Food and Water Watch is launching the Fair Farms Campaign to convince Senator Debbie Stabenow to support these rules and stand up to big agribusiness and for local small and medium sized farmers.
“Supporting small and medium sized farms is a step in the right direction toward a more sustainable food system,” says Wiedenbeck.”These rules allow local farms, traditionally the backbone of American agriculture, to be able to compete in today’s agricultural world. ”
The kickoff for the Fair Farms Campaign will be Wednesday, September 21st, from 7-8pm at WMEAC’s office (1007 Lake Drive). The public is invited to attend to enjoy light refreshments and find out more about the Fair Farm Rules. Anyone concerned about food policies and how they affect our community should attend.
Listen to the full interview here.
“A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life. Broadcast on WYCE-FM 88.1 on Tuesdays at 8:30am and 5:30pm, this program is produced by Grand Rapids Community Media Center and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.