Trump Administration withdraws new protections for American farmers
PORTLAND— Congresswoman Chellie Pingree released the following statement today on the Trump Administration's decision to withdraw the USDA's Farmer Fair Practice Rules, which would have helped level the playing field between poultry farmers and the large processors they contract with.
"The Trump Administration's decision to withdraw these long-awaited and much-needed protections for American farmers is extremely disappointing but not surprising. From big banks to fossil-fuel giants, the Trump Administration has consistently put the interests of the largest corporations before those of hard-working Americans. Now, you can add the handful of meat and poultry processors that dominate the market to the list.
"I've sat down to talk with contract poultry farmers about the terrible conditions they work under. Their lopsided contracts with giant processors have put their families into poverty or caused them to lose their homes. They can't even speak out without fear retribution from these companies.
"After nearly 10 years of delay, these rules were finally going to help restore a more level playing field for farmers. It's terrible that the Trump Administration has yanked them back just as farmers could see light at the end of the tunnel."
On the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Congresswoman Pingree has actively fought against appropriations amendments that blocked the USDA from writing the rules for years. She helped defeat such an amendment in 2015, which allowed the Obama Administration to finally release the rules in December 2016. The Trump Administration quickly moved to delay their implementation before deciding this week to withdraw them totally.