Presidential Candidate Announces Legislation to Ban Feedlots

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The week, Democratic presidential candidate and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker announced legislation to phase out concentrated animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs.

The Senator says his proposed Farm System Reform Act of 2019 is an attempt to “transition to a more sustainable and humane system.” Booker’s bill also goes after what he calls “monopolistic practices of multi-national meatpackers” and would reinstate mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements.

The New Jersey Democrat says the bill would place an immediate moratorium on new and expanding large CAFOs and by 2040 the bill would phase out existing large CAFOs. The EPA defines large concentrated animal feeding operations as those farms or facilities with at least 700 dairy cows, 1,000 head of cattle on feed, 2,500 hogs or 125,000 broilers.

Over the course of a decade, a $100 billion would be set aside for voluntary buyouts for producers who either want to transition to other types of agriculture production, or pay off outstanding debt.

In a news release, Booker said that, “independent family farmers and ranchers are continuing to be squeezed by large, multinational corporations that, because of their buying power and size, run roughshod over the marketplace.” He says that to protect family farms and ranches, corporate integrators need to be held responsible for the “harm they are causing.” Booker labels CAFOs as “large factory farms,” claiming the operations “are harmful to rural communities, public health, and the environment, adding “we must immediately begin to transition to a more sustainable and humane system.”

When it comes to meat labeling, the legislation would also restore mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements for beef and pork as well as expand to dairy products. Additionally, it would prohibit the Department of Agriculture from labeling foreign imported meat products as “Product of USA.”

As noted by Politico, Booker, a vegan, has said he’s not interested in telling Americans what to eat. However, proposing sweeping reforms to the U.S. food system is routine for the Senator.

 


3 comments

Frank December 17, 2019 - 4:57 pm

Corey Booker is ignorant and should not be able to make any laws!!vote him out..

Reply
Edward Herrmann December 17, 2019 - 6:35 pm

I almost never agree with Liberal lawmakers and their propositions to implement radicle changes to the country. I feel producers of livestock make large capital expenditures to meet financial needs and the needs of meeting the food supply of our nation. As a family farm and a farmer, I can side with smaller producers that were hurt by large CAFO’s. We were subject to making numerous changes to comply with State and local laws, as a result of being engaged in animal production as a smaller producer. Many of those changes were environmental and changes in management with available facilities. The larger operations caused many of these changes to be implemented that resulted in our own demise. The costs were not always covered by available program monies, and many banks in the past tightened up lending practices. Additionally, market losses and depressed prices made feeding livestock impractical without a production contract. Those independent contracts dictated the size and type of facilities needed to meet their needs. The capital expenditures were usually enormous. If a contractor wanted out of the production contract, as producer, your left holding the bag. I’m not describing anything foreign to many farm operators, you all know of the stories and problems with the entire issue from your own local perspectives. Therefore, Senator Booker has the basic right ideas, but it needs severe fine tuning in order to have farmers actually support his proposed legislation. I reserve mixed feelings about this, but something might need to be done to enable smaller producers to become competitive again.

Reply
Kris Descheemaeker December 17, 2019 - 7:52 pm

Sen. Booker’s statement "that to protect family farms and ranches" shows how misunderstood our industry is. To eliminate the "large factory farms" he is going to eliminate the very market we the cow calf producer depend on to purchase our feeder calves. "Transition to a more sustainable and humane system" may look sensible to Sen. Booker, but in reality creating smaller finishing operations to provide the consumer who choses to eat meat is going to create a lot more harm to public health and the environment than the efficient process we now have in place with the "Large factory farms" that are not farms, but the next step in the process of providing a safe, nutritious and humanly fed animal that provides a protein source to keep our nation healthy. Politicians and the extreme environmentalist love the buzz word "Sustainable", but these people rarely understand sustainability in regards to the agriculture industry. We are in our fifth generation of family in the ranching business. With out treating the land and cattle in a "sustainable" manner we would have been out of business long ago. Please everyone let’s all get together and defeat the Farm System Reform Act of 2019 in congress.

Reply

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