Call your members of Congress

US Capitol

This week (Sept. 11-14) Iowa Farmers Union members joined nearly 300 family farmers and ranchers in Washington, DC for the annual National Farmers Union Fall Fly-in.

If you weren’t able to make the trip with us this year, you can still help us deliver the message.

THERE ARE TWO ISSUES WHERE WE NEED YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

Call or email your Senators and member of Congress

When you call or email, here’s what we need you to say:

(1) CONSERVATION SPENDING & THE FARM SAFETY NET

Congress should act NOW to strengthen the safety net for family farmers and ranchers.

Net farm income has dropped more than 40 percent over the past three years. At the same time, input costs remain high, and it has become harder for farmers to get credit.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have marked up an ag appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017. The bill includes 20 percent cuts to vital conservation programs like CSP (House version only) and EQIP (House & Senate versions), while failing to address the current crisis in the farm economy.

Please ask your Senators and member of Congress to:

  • Maintain full funding for all Farm Bill conservation programs, particularly CSP and EQIP.
  • Increase funding for FSA guaranteed and direct loan programs.
  • Start work NOW on the next Farm Bill to work on improving the safety net for family farmers and ranchers.

(2) CORPORATE CONSOLIDATION IN AGRICULTURE

Congress should address the impacts of the recent wave of corporate consolidation in agriculture.

The top 6 agricultural input companies control 63% of the global seed market and 75% of the ag chemical market. New mergers (Dow/DuPoint, Bayer/Monsanto, ChemChina/Syngenta) will soon shrink that list of companies to four.

The top 4 U.S. meat processors slaughter 85% of cattle, 74% of hogs, and 54% of chickens. Other pending mergers threaten competition for ag fertilizer (Potash Corp/Agrium) and precision agriculture (John Deere/Precision Planting).

This type of consolidation leads in increased costs for farmers and increased prices for consumers, while leading to less innovation and less private sector research.

Far from protecting family farmers from anti-competitive practices, the House has included a rider in its ag appropriations bill (the “GIPSA rider“) that would strip USDA authority to enforce the Packers & Stockyards Act by requiring pricing transparency in livestock contracts and protecting family livestock producers from retaliation if they speak out about unfair contract practices.

Ask your Senators and members of Congress to:

  • Support holding hearings to examine corporate consolidation in agriculture;
  • Oppose the GIPSA rider in the House version of the ag appropriations bill.
  • SPECIAL ACTION ITEM: Thank Sen. Grassley for scheduling hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee the examine the recent mergers in the ag sector.

Iowa Farmers Union
PO Box 1883 Ames, IA 50010-1883
info@iowafarmersunion.org