PRESS RELEASE: Main Whistleblower Safety Specialists, Farmers, and Slaughter Plant Whistleblowers Obtainable to Talk about Biden-Harris Meals Provide Chain Announcement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 26, 2022
Leading Whistleblower Protection Experts, Farmers, and Slaughter Plant Whistleblowers Available to Speak about Biden-Harris Food Supply Chain Announcement
WASHINGTON-Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign experts and whistleblowers are available to speak about the Biden-Harris Administration announcement to strengthen food supply chains, level the playing field for growers, and lower prices for consumers. Our experts have been working to bring farmer, worker, and consumer concerns about the food system to public attention for over 44 years. We believe this announcement is an important step forward in improving safety, transparency, and accountability in the food and agriculture sector. As USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack states, “The funding and new rule we’re announcing today ultimately will help us give farmers and ranchers a fair shake, strengthen supply chains, and make food prices fairer.”
Last year, after President Biden’s 2021 antitrust executive order, we launched the #Fair Shake Week of Action campaign. Fifty five organizations joined us on social media to stand up against exploitative practices of the meat industry and share about the impact of corporate consolidation. We are encouraged by the Biden-Harris response which makes available $200 million to expand competition in meat processing, $25 million in workforce training, and includes a new Packers & Stockyards Act rulemaking to protect poultry farmers from further abuse.
Over the past 50 years, fewer and fewer multinational agribusiness corporations have come to control more and more of our food system—this has resulted in skyrocketing prices at grocery stores while big firms have reported record earnings. Currently, a handful of corporations control our food from farm to fork. With unchecked power, companies have standardized exploitative practices that are harmful to farmers, rural communities, animals, and plant workers. Regarding farmer fairness, Rudy Howell, farmer whistleblower and FIC client, said in part of a statements:
“Once you sign your contract, the company won’t let you just be a farmer. They control everything on your farm. I don’t want to do anything that harms my neighbors, or the environment. Even if I wanted to, I can’t change their rigged system.”
Further, farmer whistleblower and FIC client Trina McClendon, while testing before the US House Judiciary Committee, stated:
“The unlucky grower at the bottom of the ranking [in the tournament system] runs the risk of being crushed by loan debt and mandatory facility upgrades. With the tournament system, if the company sends a grower poor quality chicks or feed, the grower ends up taking the hit instead of the company because of factors totally out of their control. The only one to receive an advantage is the company.”
The proposed “Transparency in Poultry Growing Contracts and Tournaments” rule, which was published in the Federal Register today, will make needed improvements to the poultry payment system, by requiring poultry companies:
● to disclose the number of flocks and minimum flock stocking density that they will contractually guarantee annually, as well as any “sale of farm” policies.
● when finalizing a new contract, to disclose to prospective growers the income range, broken down by quintiles, of current growers in a prospective grower’s region.
● to disclose information about the quality of the inputs they provided, and any relevant feed discrepancies, to growers both when inputs are delivered and on settlement sheets, when growers receive their pay.
● to provide each grower with anonymous information about the quality of the inputs provided to every other grower in their “tournament group” on settlement sheets.
● to disclose how their tournament system formulas account for input quality variability.
The rule will also require poultry company CEO’s to sign agreements that require the implementation of internal controls frameworks necessary to provide accurate disclosures, and compliance with USDA audits of disclosed data.
we represent multiple farmers other workers affected by unchecked consolidation. We have whistleblowers farmers and experts on staff willing to talk about the practical implications of the increased funding and the impacts the new rulemaking will have on farmers.
For additional comments or to speak to FIC food whistleblower clients or staff experts, please contact:
Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign Director
The Food Integrity Campaign is a program of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, the organization’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, DC