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Press Releases: Agricultural PolicyPress Releases Found: 42
February 9, 2015
Annapolis, MD—Maryland Senator Richard Madaleno (D-18) introduced two pieces of legislation on the Senate floor today that will create new protections for poultry contract growers while also bringing equity to ongoing efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay by requiring some of the biggest polluters of the Bay to contribute to conservation measures. Madaleno’s sponsorship of the Farmers’ Rights Act and the Bay Tax Equity Act is a critical first step toward correcting injustices within Maryland’s agricultural sector that have had a negative impact on the livelihoods of local growers and the health of the Bay.
The Farmers’ Rights Act will help Maryland lawmakers take meaningful steps toward protecting the region’s contract growers from the often-abusive practices of giant poultry companies by putting forth a set of guaranteed grower’s rights, while prohibiting many of the abusive practices, that force contract growers into poor working conditions and leave them with a tremendous amount of debt.
The Bay Tax Equity Act, which is a new version of legislation introduced last year, will hold Maryland’s poultry companies, some of the biggest polluters of the Bay, partially accountable for their contribution to nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay by requiring them to pay their fair share towards the necessary costs of Bay restoration. The bill would require poultry companies to contribute to the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Cover Crop program, a $20 million per year initiative designed largely to address the massive amounts of excess chicken waste produced on the Eastern Shore where the chicken companies operate. Presently, this program is funded entirely by state taxpayers, including the diversion of funds from the annual $60 tax placed on the state’s septic users. By shifting the financial burden of the Cover Crop program over to the profitable companies who create the problem in the first place, the BTEA would allow 100 percent of the septic money collected to go towards the critical need of upgrading the state’s septic systems.
July 3, 2014
Press release: Fifty organizations sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling on the U.S. government to maintain respect for the government of El Salvador’s procurement of seeds for a successful food security program.
September 13, 2013
“It is widely known that phosphorous pollution from manure applied to farmland is a major source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Phosphorous pollution creates algae blooms that consume oxygen and create “dead zones” where fish and shellfish cannot survive, block sunlight that is needed for underwater Bay grasses and smother aquatic life on the floor of the Bay.
“EPA statistics reveal that agriculture alone contributes 42 percent of the phosphorous pollution in the Bay; manure accounts for 37 percent of the loads of phosphorus to the waterway. This isn’t surprising since there are over 304 million chickens raised in Maryland that produce 1.3 billion pounds of waste annually, much of which gets dumped untreated onto fields, where it can leach into groundwater or run-off into the Bay.
“Farmland in the Lower Eastern Shore, where the chicken industry is most active, is already saturated with phosphorus. According to researchers, up to 80 percent of the fields sampled on the Lower Eastern Shore contain so much phosphorus that they simply can’t absorb anymore. Worse yet, a recent study suggests that even if phosphorous application were stopped today, it would take decades to reduce phosphorous levels in soils sufficient to protect our waterways.
August 30, 2013
Statement from Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter Washington, D.C.—“It’s common practice for government agencies to release information they hope to sneak past consumers on Friday afternoons before a holiday weekend. So it’s not surprising that this afternoon the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) gave the green light to certain chicken […]
August 26, 2013
Press Release: Four groups representing, farmers and ranchers, rural communities and consumers filed court papers on Friday, Aug. 23, to defend mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) from a spurious lawsuit filed by the meatpacking industry.
July 2, 2013
Media Statement: We’re calling on Secretary Vilsack to start the process to revoke the equivalency status of Australia’s privatized inspection system AEMIS. The latest import rejections for visible fecal and ingesta contamination point to a failed system.
July 1, 2013
Press Release: A report released today by Food & Water Watch analyzes the connection between the rapid proliferation of GE crops and affiliated pesticides in the United States and the rise of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” that have led to the steadily increasing use of more dangerous herbicides.
June 20, 2013
Media Statement: The stunning defeat of the House Farm Bill demonstrates how dysfunctional the House of Representatives has become
June 10, 2013
What Little Difference a Year Makes: Senate-Passed Farm Bill Nibbles Around Edges of Broken Food System
Media Statement: Today, the U.S. Senate passed a farm bill that did little to address the stranglehold that food processing firms have over America’s unsustainable and unfair food system. The Senate fiddled with minutiae but did nothing to stem the rising tide of mergers, takeovers and buyouts that further consolidates the food and agribusiness landscape.
May 23, 2013
Media Statement: Food & Water Watch commends USDA for listening to tens of thousands of consumers and hundreds of farm, consumer, rural, faith, food and environmental groups and releasing a final rule on country origin labeling (COOL) that makes sensible changes to the labeling requirements for meat.