Statement by RMFU President Dr. Dale McCall on White House Executive Orders on Competition
In response to nearly every sector enduring crushing levels of corporate power, President Joe Biden today signed an executive order aimed at promoting competition and fairness throughout the economy. The order includes 72 directives that will be carried out by 12 federal agencies, many of which target the agricultural sector. For instance, it advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to offer livestock farmers greater recourse against corporations when they are treated unfairly, restructure the inequitable system that determines poultry growers’ wages, and prevent corporations from retaliating against farmers who speak out about discriminatory conduct. It would also give farmers the right to repair their equipment – which many companies currently restrict – limit “Product of USA” labels strictly to meat raised domestically and support the development of local and regional food systems.
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Dr. Dale McCall offers these comments on the executive order.
“Action by the Biden Administration to restore competitive markets for farmers and ranchers is long overdue yet entirely welcome. Whether it comes to the companies that sell seeds and fertilizers and fuels to farmers and ranchers to companies that buy grain and cattle, big business is getting bigger while controlling markets while farmers and hometown main streets struggle to survive.
“Farmers and ranchers no longer have choices to make decisions based on accessible and transparent markets. Instead, a handful of corporations – be it railroads, meat packers, grocers, seed companies, or tractor manufacturers – have all the control over their customers and are using this power to transfer cash from the hands of producers to the accounts of investors.
“Government has both the right and responsibility to protect individuals from market concentration and provide regulatory oversight and enforcement to assure equal economic opportunities for the families who literally grow and raise food and fuel and fiber from the ground up. I applause President Biden’s announcements directing USDA to make it easier for a farmer or rancher to bring forward a claim of injury, requiring more transparency for the “Product of USA” label, and expanding our food supply by creating opportunities for distribution models such as food hubs and farmers markets.
“This executive order is a first step forward. Congress needs to step up to create additional policies and provide tools to USDA and other federal departments to restore vibrant rural communities as well as financially healthy farms and ranches.”
Dr. Dale McCall is president of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, a general farm organization whose members grow all kinds of crops, raise a variety of livestock, and whose operations may be found on the Eastern Plains, Western Slope, and Front Range corridor as well as in New Mexico and Wyoming. McCall maintains an active role in his multigenerational family farm located near Yuma, Colorado.