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Tina Arapalu harvests lettuce at her Easy Valley Farm. Workshops and conferences from Oregon State University Extension Service helped her get her business up and running
By The Skanner News
Published: 10 February 2020

WASHINGTON, DC — Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today announced that he has joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) in introducing a groundbreaking Farmers Bill of Rights resolution—which affirms the rights of family farmers, ranchers, and traditional agricultural communities in Oregon and across the country. 

“Family farms have been the backbone of Oregon’s agricultural economy for generations,” said Merkley. “These farmers’ dedication to responsible stewardship of our land and agricultural innovation are woven into the fabric of the Oregonian spirit and have contributed to communities in every corner of our state.

That’s why we must make sure family farmers have a level playing field to compete.”  

The resolution outlines ten basic rights that all family farmers and ranchers should have access to and highlights the critical needs and fundamental agricultural rights of America’s rural communities, Native Nations, and historically underserved farmers and ranchers. The resolution aims to ensure fairness in farm and food markets so rural communities and new generations of farmers can thrive. Oregon is home to more than 38,000 farms, which compete in national and international marketplaces and would benefit from the reforms outlined in the Farmers Bill of Rights. 

Farmers now sell into an ever more concentrated marketplace that has reduced the prices they receive for their crops and livestock and has contributed to a decrease in net cash farm income. 

The Farmers Bill of Rights

  • Highlights the challenges facing our family farmers and ranchers, including historically underserved farmers and ranchers.  
  • Recommends a strict cap on foreign ownership in order to ensure that all American farmers can access domestic farm land. 
  • Gives historically underserved farmers and ranchers access to capital and an equal voice against increasing corporate concentration and abusive practices in America’s farm and food markets. 
  • Supports strong Country of Origin Labeling. 

The resolution is endorsed by American Grassfed Association, CASA del Llano, INC, Citizens Regeneration Lobby, Community Involved in, Sustaining Agriculture, Dakota Rural Action, Family Farm Action, Farm Aid, Farm to Table - New Mexico, Food and Water Watch Action, Friends of the Earth, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Indiana Farmers Union, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Land Stewardship Project, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Mississippi, Sustainable Agriculture Network (MSAN), Missouri Farmers Union, MOSES (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service), National Family Farm Coalition, National Family Farm Coalition, New England Farmers Union, New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Open Markets Institute and Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Organic Consumer Association, Organization for Competitive Markets, Regeneration International, Renewing the Countryside, Slow Food USA, Union of Concerned Scientists, Wisconsin Farmers Union, and Women Food and Agriculture Network. 

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