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Farmer’s Bill of Rights Resolution Introduced to Congress

24 Feb 2020 12:03 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

From left to right: Senator Cory Booker, Rep. Deb Haaland, and Rep. Chellie Pingree.

The Farmers Bill of Rights resolution, which affirms the rights of family farmers, ranchers, and traditional agricultural communities across the country, was introduced to Congress by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Representatives Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME). Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is also a cosponsor of the Senate resolution.

“Corporate consolidation in the agriculture sector is causing serious harm to our rural communities," Senator Booker said in a press release, "We need to level the playing field to ensure that family farmers and ranchers can retain control over their lands, their food security, and their livelihoods. Farmers are on the front lines of our nation’s biggest challenges—from climate change to environmental justice—and it is our responsibility to ensure that they receive our full support.” 

The resolution outlines ten basic rights that family farmers and ranchers should have access to:

1.     Right to fair, open markets.
2.     Right to feed their community.
3.     Right to fair capital.
4.     Right to protect natural resources.
5.     Right to local land control, property rights, and protection of tribal lands and sovereignty.
6.     Right to food security.
7.     Right to repair.
8.     Right to transparent labeling.
9.     Right to rural opportunity.
10.  Right to preserve a diverse community of farmers and farming practices.

The resolution aims to ensure fairness in farm and food markets so rural communities and new generations of farmers can thrive.

Representative Haaland said, “Small farmers are largely responsible for sustainable practices and uplifting rural communities, but the decks are stacked against them, because large corporate farms are sucking up all the resources and blocking them from prosperity. Our Farmers Bill of Rights is the radical idea that we owe small farmers and ranchers and our traditional communities basic rights. This Farmers Bill of Rights is a commitment to leveling the playing field and giving control of our most precious resources back to the folks who grow our food and keep our families health.”

Representative Pingree said, “Farmers deserve to know that they are protected from volatility in the markets, in their wages, and in their crucial place in America’s food landscape. The Farmers Bill of Rights will help protect land and markets while giving historically underrepresented farmers a voice in the future of American agriculture. I’m proud to join Rep. Haaland and Senator Booker in introducing this bill that will restore legal protections for farmers across the country.”

The bill has been endorsed by a number of organizations including: American Grassfed Association, CASA del Llano, INC, Citizens Regeneration Lobby, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, Dakota Rural Action, Family Farm Action, Farm Aid, Farm to Table - New Mexico, Food and Water Watch Action, Friends of the Earth, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Indiana Farmers Union, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Land Stewardship Project, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network (MSAN), Missouri Farmers Union, MOSES (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service), National Family Farm Coalition, New England Farmers Union, New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Open Markets Institute and Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Organic Consumer Association Organization for Competitive Markets, Regeneration International, Renewing the Countryside, Slow Food USA, Union of Concerned Scientists, Wisconsin Farmers Union, and Women Food and Agriculture Network.

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