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Campaign for Family Farms Hails
Senate Action to Ban Packer Ownership of Livestock

Senators Wellstone and Johnson lead passage of amendment

Campaign for Family Farms
Washington, D.C.

On December 14, 2001 the U.S. Senate passed, by a 51-46 vote, an amendment to their version of the Federal Farm Bill that would ban meatpackers from owning livestock and make them divest all of the livestock they currently own.

The Campaign for Family Farms, a coalition of Midwest grassroots family farm organizations, hailed the passage of the amendment. “This is a big victory in the fight against corporate concentration in agriculture. The Campaign for Family Farms stepped up our organizing for this vote four months ago. We worked closely with Senator Wellstone who showed great leadership, as did Senator Johnson. The House of Representatives better follow the Senate because this is the direct voice of the people saying ban packer ownership of livestock,” said Paul Sobocinski, a hog farmer member of the Land Stewardship Project and spokesperson for the Campaign for Family Farms.

The Campaign for Family Farms took the lead in organizing phone banks, mass mailings, and a media campaign targeted to livestock producers to support the amendment. Their work activated thousands of livestock producers from Maine to California to urge their senators to support the Johnson-Wellstone amendment.

“Over the past couple of weeks I have called hundreds of hog farmers about the Johnson-Wellstone amendment. The response has been overwhelming. They really raised their voices on this one. It is good that the voice of the people can still be heard in this country,” said Iowa hog farmer Larry Ginter, a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and spokesperson for the Campaign for Family Farms.

The opposition to the amendment was led by Senator Allen of Virginia and Senator Lugar of Indiana, two well-known supporters of corporate agriculture. “We knew all along how the Senators for Smithfield (Senators Allen and Warner of Virginia) would vote,” said hog farmer Rhonda Perry, a member of Missouri Rural Crisis Center and spokesperson for the Campaign for Family Farms. “But other Republicans and Democrats across the country voted with their farmer and rancher constituents on this one. This is a major victory in establishing fair and competitive markets for independent family farmers.”

The Campaign for Family Farms is a coalition of the following family farm organizations: The Land Stewardship Project (Minnesota), Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

Published in In Motion Magazine, December 21, 2001

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