This morning, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced the Farm System Reform Act of 2019 (FSRA). The legislation is made up of a meticulous set of agricultural reforms that uplift independent family farmers, protect rural communities and public health, and overhaul our broken food system. Among the reforms is the first-ever nationwide ban on factory farms.
In May of 2018, Food & Water Watch identified the need for a ban on factory farms and launched the first national campaign dedicated to stopping these destructive facilities. The group applauds Sen. Booker for recognizing the role stopping factory farming must play in fixing our nation’s food system.
“Factory farming is at the heart of climate disaster. It fuels toxic air pollution and water contamination, feeds off of dangerous and unfair working conditions, wreaks havoc on independent farmers and rural communities, threatens food safety, and causes unnecessary animal suffering,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Action. “The Farm System Restoration Act is the bold approach we need.”
FSRA bans factory farms by placing an immediate moratorium - or “pause” - on the construction of new or expanding large factory farms while also initiating a phaseout of existing large factory farms by 2040. It includes $100 billion for farmer buyouts and debt forgiveness over the span of 10 years, along with programs for transitioning to alternative and healthy agriculture activities like pasture-based livestock, specialty crop cultivation, or organic commodity production.
Other essential components of FSRA include mechanisms to:
- Hold meat companies responsible for harm caused by the factory farms that raise their animals
- Provide a $100 Billion voluntary buyout program for contract farmers who want to transition away from factory farms
- Strengthen the Packers & Stockyards Act to protect family farmers and ranchers:
- Prohibit the use of unfair tournament or ranking systems for paying contract growers
- Protect livestock and poultry farmers from retaliation if they raise concerns about their contract or join together in grower associations
- Prohibit meatpacker ownership of livestock more than 7 days prior to slaughter
- Prohibit meatpackers from buying livestock for slaughter using unfair forward contracts
- Require meatpackers to acquire at least 50% of their livestock through spot market sales
- Restore mandatory Country of Origin Labeling
- Prohibit USDA from labeling foreign imported meat products as “Product of USA”
“With a transformational bill like FSRA, our nation’s food system will finally put public health, independent farmers, and the environment first. This is not just a rural issue - we all need clean water and healthy food to survive,” continued Hauter. “As climate change continues to cause chaos, now is the time to make agricultural center stage. FSRA is the sweeping solution we need.”
To access our report The Urgent Case for a Ban on Factory Farms, visit: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/insight/urgent-case-ban-factory-farms