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Hog Farmers Launch Lawsuit
Against USDA

Pork Producers Rally Against Agriculture Secretary in Iowa

Campaign for Family Farms
Blairstown, Iowa

Date: May 14, 2001

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s first visit to Iowa is being met with protests and a federal lawsuit.

On Monday morning, May 14th, hog farmers and members of Iowa CCI and the Campaign for Family Farms joined together at a Blairstown ethanol plant to denounce Veneman’s decision to overturn hog farmers democratic vote to end the mandatory pork tax, and to announce their federal lawsuit against USDA.

"We’re denouncing Veneman’s contempt of family farmers and her blatant disregard for democracy," stated Iowa CCI member and Marshall County, Iowa, hog farmer Larry Ginter. "We’re also announcing that we’re filing a federal lawsuit challenging Veneman’s decision to keep the pork tax, even though hog farmers voted it down."

Last fall, over 30,000 hog farmers voted 53% to 47% in a nationwide referendum to end the mandatory pork tax. Hog farmers voted against the pork tax because it is undemocratic, hasn’t benefited them economically, and is being used to promote factory farms and corporate concentration in agriculture.

A federal judge has allowed the Campaign for Family Farms to file a lawsuit against the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which asks the court to order USDA to end the pork checkoff program and prohibit the collection of the $54 million a year pork tax.

“This lawsuit is about family farmers fighting back," said Rhonda Perry, a hog farmer and member of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. "We are confident that we have a very strong case, and that ultimately democracy will prevail."

"As long as the Bush administration is going to force us to pay their failed and undemocratic tax, hog farmers and the Campaign for Family Farms will rally, protest, and sue to end Bush’s pork tax and maintain our democratic vote," said Jim Joens, a Wilmont, Minnesota, hog farmer and member of the Land Stewardship Project.

Member groups of the Campaign for Family Farms are the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and Land Stewardship Project from Minnesota.

Published in In Motion Magazine, May 27, 2001

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