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Press Release Archive (2009)

Concentration in the Seed Industry Leads to Less Choice, Higher Prices for U.S. Farmers (12.09.09) - American farmers are feeling the effects of a concentrated seed industry. Seed options are diminishing while prices increase at historic rates. A new report, Out of hand: Farmers face the consequences of a consolidated seed industry, examines these troubling trends, substantiating the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into alleged anticompetitive conduct in the seed industry.

As Climate Talks Begin, Obama’s Change Mandate in Question (12.03.09) With Copenhagen around the corner and failure of this week’s WTO negotiations, the Obama administration’s international agenda and leadership style are coming under scrutiny. The potential confirmation of controversial former pesticide lobbyist Islam Siddiqui as the U.S. trade representative for agriculture threatens to further undermine this administration’s credibility in international forums by privileging U.S. corporate interests over the global public interest and common good.

Siddiqui Fails to Answer for Anti-Organic, Anti-Sustainable, Anti-Consumer Record (11.04.09) - NFFC and Pesticide Action Network North America expressed disappointment today with Islam Siddiqui’s testimony and answers during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on his nomination to become the next USTR Chief Agriculture Negotiator.

80+ Groups and 38,000 Individuals Unite Against Siddiqui Nomination (11.02.09) - In an unprecedented effort to block a USTR agriculture nominee, over 80 groups sent a letter today to Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Charles Grassley of the Senate Finance Committee urging the rejection of Islam Siddiqui as Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative.

Broad Coalition Decry White House Defense of Pesticide Lobbyist Nomination (10.27.09) - Sustainable agriculture advocates from around the country today expressed deep disappointment with the Obama Administration’s defense of nominating Islam Siddiqui, a former pesticide lobbyist as our chief agriculture trade representative at the office of the United States Trade Representative.

Family Farmers Denounce Senate Ag Hearing for Failure to Address Real Causes and Solutions to Dairy Crisis (10.27.09) - NFFC denounced today’s Senate Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on the dairy crisis for failing to spotlight the voices of real family dairy farmers and instead relying on the same corporate processors and giant dairy cooperatives who have created the current economic disaster.

Washington Post Publishes NFFC Letter in Response to Outrageous Anti-Dairy Farmer Op-Ed (10.20.09) - The Washington Post published a response by NFFC to their outrageous October 9 “Got Money?” editorial condemning $350 million in emergency money for dairy farmers. NFFC’s letter told the Post to lay blame at food processors making record profits off the backs of consumers and farmers.

NFFC Press Teleconference Urges Direct Payments to Dairy Farmers (10.13.09) - NFFC held a press teleconference today to thank Congress for $350 million in emergency appropriations for dairy farmers. However, NFFC warned that unless a broken pricing system is replaced and antitrust measures are taken to address the lack of competitive markets for farmers’ milk, thousands of dairy farms will still be lost this year.

Over 90 Farm, Consumer and Other Groups Request Zero Funding for Animal ID Program (9.22.09) - Over 90 organizations representing conventional farmers and ranchers, organic farmers, property rights activists, and consumers have sent a letter to Senate and House conferees for the Agriculture Appropriations bill urging them to zero out funding for the National Animal Identification System for 2010. NAIS will place undue burdens on America’s farmers and ranchers while doing nothing to address food safety and animal disease concerns.

U.S. Dairy Farmers Link with Intl. Farmers to Protest Global Dairy Crisis (09.18.09) – NFFC, as a member of the international farmers movement La Via Campesina, has released a statement highlighting the common struggles of dairy farmers around the globe who are all suffering from an unprecedented economic crisis as farm milk prices have collapsed globally.

September 22: U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis Criticizes Agribusiness-Backed Global Harvest Initative's Failed Ideas to Feed the World (09.22.09) – The U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis criticized the new Global Harvest Initiative, backed by Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, John Deere and DuPont, for continuing to advocate a failed approach to feeding the world and addressing global hunger. The September 22 Global Harvest Initiative Symposium on “Agriculture at a Crossroads”—featuring Senator Richard Lugar—relied heavily on panelists who have consistently pushed chemical-intensive production; unproven biotechnologies that have been linked to farmers’ loss of land, suicides and environmental contamination; and “free trade” in agriculture as the solutions to feeding the world.

Over 90 Farm, Consumer and Other Groups Request Zero Funding for Animal ID Program (9.22.09) - Over 90 organizations representing conventional farmers and ranchers, organic farmers, property rights activists, and consumers have sent a letter to Senate and House conferees for the Agriculture Appropriations bill urging them to zero out funding for the National Animal Identification System for 2010. NAIS will place undue burdens on America’s farmers and ranchers while doing nothing to address food safety and animal disease concerns.

September 4: Family Farmers Plead for No New Doha Round (09.04.09). As trade ministers meet in New Delhi, India today to revive the WTO Doha Round, the National Family Farm Coalition today denounced efforts to further liberalize agricultural markets. Ben Burkett, a Mississippi farmer and NFFC president, said, “We need more food sovereignty, not more free trade. Millions of Mexican farmers have been driven off their land due to the below-cost dumping of corn by U.S. agribusinesses. Now they are working as farmworkers here in the U.S., often working in intolerable conditions.” Burkett also rejected the U.S. government’s demand for more “market access” to developing countries: “Market access is simply a poisonous code for gutting local food systems and family farmers. Countries will now be flooded with imported processed food made from genetically modified commodities. Thanks to the WTO, many countries’ food security is now dependent on highly speculative global markets. This was the root cause of many of the food riots in 2008.”

August 4: U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis Criticizes Clinton/Vilsack Tour of Kenyan Pro-Biotech Institute (08.04.09) - On the eve of an upcoming visit to the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Representatives Donald Payne and Nita Lowey, the U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis today challenged the Obama Administration’s plans to fund a new “Green Revolution” in Africa in tandem with the Gates Foundation. The Working Group believes a new approach to agriculture research is needed instead of the broken status quo that emphasizes biotechnology and industrial agriculture models.

July 31: NFFC Believes Dairy Support Price Increase Unlikely to Stop Farm Bankruptcies (07.31.09) - NFFC today warned Secretary Tom Vilsack that USDA’s plans to temporarily raise cheese and nonfat dry milk prices through the Dairy Product Price Support Program (DPPSP) still falls far short of a real remedy to stop the imminent bankruptcies of dairy farmers across the country. The increase in dairy support price is likely to only produce a Class III price under $12 when costs of production for dairy farmers ranges from $17-30. Paul Rozwadowski said, “We need at least an $18 emergency floor price on all manufactured milk to be able to stay in business and survive. This would be a much less costly solution than USDA simply buying up more products.”

July 21: NFFC Testifies in Congressional Hearing on Dairy Crisis (07.21.09) - NFFC Dairy Subcommittee Chairman Paul Rozwadowski testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry on the corruption and greed plaguing the dairy industry that is responsible for the current record low milk prices. Read the testimony here.

July 14: Family Farmers and and Consumer Group Expose House Ag Hearing for Failure to Address Real Causes and Solutions to Dairy Crisis (07.14.09) - The National Family Farm Coalition held a public flyering and press teleconference today to highlight the failure of the House Agriculture Subcommittee’s hearing on the dairy crisis to spotlight the voices of real family dairy farmers instead of relying on the same corporate processors and giant dairy cooperatives. Paul Rozwadowski, NFFC Dairy Subcommittee chairman and a Wisconsin dairy farmer, said, “While today’s hearing did a good job describing the disastrous conditions we are living under with the dairy price collapse, the Committee chose to have as witnesses the same dairy processors and very large factory farm operations who continue to push their same failed approaches. Instead of spotlighting our broken dairy pricing system, witnesses chose to focus on Dairy Export Incentive payments, Cooperatives Working Together’s “cow retirement” program, and more government purchasing of dairy products, none of which has made a dent in the crisis.”

July 8: Family Farmers, Ranchers and Consumers Demand U.S. Senate Remove Funding for NAIS (07.08.09) - Over 80 organizations send a letter to the U.S. House and Senate asking the funding for NAIS be zeroed out for 2010. While the House does not include new funding for the failed Animal ID program, the Senate included $14 million for it. Groups applaud Sen. Jon Tester's efforts to amend the bill to halt additional funding. Read the letter here.

June 25: Family Farmers Applaud Urgently Needed TRADE Act to Help Fix Broken Food System (06.25.09) - NFFC applauded the introduction of the TRADE Act in the House which offers urgent and necessary reforms to trade agreements that have harmed family farmers around the world while allowing dangerous unsafe food into the United States. Trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Peru FTA are greatly responsible for our current broken industrial food system. The TRADE Act offers stricter standards for imported food and allows for countries to practice food sovereignty principles to ensure countries can have a thriving family farm sector.

June 3: Dairy Farmers Host Emergency Rally in Iowa (06.03.09) - Dairy farmers from the National Family Farm Coalition, along with Farm Aid, Iowa Farmers Union and other farm groups, participated in an urgent rally attended by nearly 200 farmers in Manchester, Iowa. With prices for milk collapsing by over 50% for farmers in one year, farm suicides are on the rise and many lifelong farmer's livelihoods are being threatened with extinction.

June 1: NFFC Signs Onto Trinational Statement Against Monsanto GM Wheat - In response to a call from industry groups advocating for commercialization of genetically engineered wheat, NFFC signed onto a statement with groups from Canada and Australia reminding Monsanto consumers have already rejected GM wheat. Read the full counter statement here.

May 20: Dairy Farmers Press Congress for Emergency Action to Stem Economic Collapse (05.20.09). - NFFC held a press teleconference call urging Congress to set an emergency floor price, increase access to farm credit, and calling for a new dairy pricing system.

May 8: U.S. Dairy Farmers Applaud Introduction of New Bill to Fix Dairy Pricing System and Help Staunch Economic Crisis (05.08.09). - The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2009, introduced by Senators Bob Casey and Arlen Specter as S.889, seeks to give dairy farmers a cost of production for their hard work.

April 16: U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis Urges G8 to Reject Failed Green Revolution Policies for Africa (04.16.09). - The U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis urged Agricultural Ministers at the G8 meeting in Treviso, Italy, to reject the approach of S. 384, the Global Food Security Act sponsored by Senators Specter and Casey, and the push for more chemical-intensive agriculture and genetic engineering. Instead, the G8 should listen to the recommendations of the recent UN/World Bank-backed report recommending more agro-ecological practices as the best way to solve global hunger.

March 26: Dairy Farmers Call Vilsack Dairy Measures Inadequate (03.26.09). - The NFFC Dairy Subcommittee today criticized Secretary Vilsack's plan to donate surplus nonfat dry milk for failing to adequately address the deepening crisis in the dairy sector that is the worst since the Great Depression. Farmers also criticized National Milk Producers Federation for failing to represent dairy farmers.

March 26: U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis Criticizes Senate Hearing on Global Food Crisis (03.26.09). - The U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis expressed deep disappointment with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on "Alleviating Global Hunger: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Leadership: held on March 24. The hearing relied primarily on testimonies from industrial agriculture and genetic engineering apologists.

March 12: U.S. Family Farmers, Ranchers and Consumers Criticize NAIS as Threat to Farmer Livelihoods and Local Food Systems (03.12.09) - The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Dairy, Livestock and Poultry held a hearing March 11 examining implementation of NAIS. Congressional representatives failed to understand that NAIS will neither address animal disease nor food safety.

March 4: Dairy Farmers Refute Milk Price Collapse Caused by Overproduction (03.04.09) - NFFC Dairy Subcommittee hosted a press teleconference call stating that until we deal with the reality of a broken pricing system at the CME, massive imports and corruption in our dairy cooperatives, dairy farmers will never be able to obtain fair prices that cover our cost of production. Read New York dairy farmer John Bunting's revealing report “Dairy Farm Crisis 2009: A Look Beyond Conventional Analysis" here.

February 16: NFFC Sends Third Letter to Senator Leahy Requesting Hearings into Dairy Farmers of America (02.16.09) - NFFC on February 9 delivered another letter to Senator Leahy asking for hearings on Dairy Farmers of America's antitrust abuses. The recent collapse in milk prices and $12 million fine of DFA by the CFTC lends even further urgency into DFA's adverse impacts on farmers and consumers. Read the letter here.

February 5: Dairy Farmers and Consumer Group Host Press Teleconference on Collapse in Milk Prices (02.05.09) - Farmers from across the country fault Congress and stimulus for failure to confront greatest dairy crisis since the Depression. Food and Water Watch, a consumer group, points out consumers have yet to benefit from drop in milk prices paid to farmers and warned about food safety dangers if the U.S. has to become reliant on foreign imports.

January 29: Dairy Farmers Urge Emergency Measures in Stimulus Package (01.29.09) - NFFC sent to Congress a letter asking that emergency stepe be taken due to the $5 collapse in milk prices for February. Dairy farmers are now confronting their greatest crisis since the Depression with reports of farmer suicides already occuring. Click here to read the letter.

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