“Under Contract” Farm Freedom Docu to Show in D.C. #StandWithFarmers
This year I went to Farm Aid and found out more about the plight shared by most family farmers. I even visited the Under Contract booth. Corporations are ravaging the land, crops and seed supply – they are running the vestige of real farmers out of America. If things were bad for farmers in the 1980s (my grandfather is one of many who lost his land via the Savings and Loans scandal) – think of what it is like now! Our food system is like an overloaded Jenga game and the farmers are bearing the weight that’s about to topple.
One of these under-the-radar problems is…contracts. AKA, the “Walmart method” of absolutely smashing the little guys after having milked them for all their labor and value. We’ve now come full circle in America – back to “the company store” – devastating and possibly starving out a family after taking their labor. But the family farmers can’t really leave the contracts, either, so what does that sound like to you?
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Did you know that only 3% of poultry farms are entirely independent and that contract farmers raise 97% of the chicken consumed in the United States? But they face unfair challenges and hidden risks under the production contracts that are commonly offered by large corporate firms today. That’s what Under Contract is about. It looks like a riveting film, sure to raise consciousness and shine a light in a dark place.
As an example of a Walmart tactic, Walmart signs up businesses for contracts where the company then produces the material ordered. Walmart then demands a ridiculously low price and leverages another company against them (Walmart uses international companies using slave labor via Free Trade – no one in the U.S. can compete). If the company refuses the demand, they could be toast after having produced all the unsold product. But accepting the at-cost price is nearly as devastating and companies often go-under anyway – does that seem fair?
That example may not be the exact same scenario in this new documentary about burdensome farming contracts; but, to be sure, shady practices are being deployed on farmers by large poultry corporations that are akin to taking slave labor. Or, as Robert Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Ag Economics at Auburn University says in the preview below: “modern serfdom.”
The public doesn’t know how the farmers are being treated…the American Dream is a nightmare for them. Nothing trickles down for them, no matter how much the poultry market expands. It should definitely give us pause before we ever buy into dieting trends that are actually sirens wafting out of corporate conference rooms. American farmers seem to be ignored when it comes to “Fair Trade.”
National Family Farm Coalition says, “Every year more farmers are forced into a system infamous for unfair and anti-competitive practices, a system which allows them little-to-no control over the way they raise their animals or how they are compensated, and one that is largely invisible to the general public. ”
They invite you to two upcoming events – second event is below the video:
On Monday, December 5, join Congresswoman and Maine farmer Chellie Pingree (D-ME) [she is an organic farmer herself], the National Farmers Union, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA for a film and panel discussion examining the struggles of contract farmers and the opportunity to reform this unjust system via the USDA’s “Farmer Fair Practices” rules, which will soon be available for public comment and review.
Farmers interviewed in the documentary will be in attendance.
South Orientation Theater, Capitol Visitor Center
First Street Northeast
Washington, DC 20515
Monday, December 5
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
5:30pm to 7:30pm
International Brotherhood of the Teamsters25 Louisiana Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Join the DC release of Food Chain Workers Alliance’s report No Piece of the Pie: U.S. Food Workers in 2016 on December 6. There will be a panel of food workers based in the U.S. and globally discussing their campaigns for justice that includes:
- Teamsters seeking to improve conditions at foodservice giant U.S. Foods;
- Worker organizers with Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC); and
- A video message from migrant workers in Thailand facing prosecution for uncovering egregious labor abuses at a chicken processing facility.
Light food and drinks will be provided. This is a great opportunity to meet food workers, food justice advocates and supporters. You won’t want to miss it!
This article (“Under Contract” Farm Freedom Docu to Show in D.C. #StandWithFarmers) can be republished with attribution to Heather Callaghan, source article and Natural Blaze.com, keeping all links and bio intact.