Act Now for Factory Farm Reform - Waterkeeper

Act Now for Factory Farm Reform

By: Ellen Simon

From sick workers in slaughterhouses to empty shelves at grocery stores, the coronavirus pandemic further exposed a food system in crisis.

We deserve farm and food systems that are resilient, healthy, and fair for everyone — workers, farmers, animals, and all the rest of us that need clean water and good food to eat. The current factory farm production system pollutes air and water, creates dangerous and unfair working conditions, harms independent farmers and rural communities, and makes our food less safe. That’s why we need to take immediate action to reform the corporate-controlled industrial production system.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Farm System Reform Act (S. 3221) at the end of last year. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced a House version of the bill this year (H.R. 6718), and co-sponsors keep joining. 

This critical legislation would:

  • Ban new construction and expansion of large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and phaseout existing large CAFOs by 2040.
  • Provide a $100 billion voluntary buyout program for contract farms that want to transition from the corporate-controlled system and become independent farmers.
  • Hold giant multinational corporations like Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods responsible for the pollution created by the animals they own, rather than shifting that responsibility to contract farmers.
  • Strengthen the Packers & Stockyards Act to better protect farmers and ranchers from unfair, discriminatory, monopolistic, and anti-competitive practices.
  • Restore mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for meat, and including dairy products.

For far too long, the corporate-controlled industrial production system has harmed farmers, workers, and communities and polluted our nation’s waterways with pathogens, excess nutrients, and harmful algal blooms. Transitioning away from the corporate CAFO model to a fair, competitive system that supports independent farmers is essential to protecting clean water and establishing a fair, healthy food production system.

Write your Senators and ask them to pass the Food System Reform Act today! It’s time for a better system.