• Reed Perkins

Policy: Independent Farmer Protection Bureau

Although the total acreage being farmed remains roughly the same, the total number of farms operating in Minnesota has been in steady decline for decades. [1] This sort of market consolidation is hitting our family farmers hard and we need a way to help them fight back. We need a program that can “investigate and stop abuses of market power; protect farmers’ contract rights …; combat anti-competitive practices in seed and other input markets”—and even have the power to “review and block mergers in markets that affect farmers." That's why I'm in favor of the establishment of an agency that will advocate for farmers directly in their fight to maintain the livelihood, their culture, and their families in the face of a changing US economy. The Center for American Progress has presented a pilot program to meet these needs: and it's called the Independent Farmer Protection Bureau. [2] The push for farmer protection policies has been going strong in Iowa for years now, and Minnesota needs to get on board. [3] While there has been some talk of a national agency to accomplish these goals: Our farmers should not be forced to wait on action from Washington. [4] After the financial crisis of 2007-2008, a number of rules were put into effect to help protect consumers from predatory banking regulations. It was determined that allowing multi billion dollar banks with armies of lawyers to gang up on middle class families who didn't have time to find loopholes in financial laws was unfair. [5] We need to take the same stance to protect our independent farmers from both the banks and the big agribusiness looking to monopolize markets, seeds, and land. The bottom line is that today a farmer can do everything right, be responsible, hard-working, and even get the weather they need, but still fail because the current playing field just isn't level between the family farmer and billion dollar companies. That's not the way things should work. We have the power to give control back to our independent farmers and we should do it both because having family farms is better for our small towns than letting four companies own every bit of land in western Minnesota from Canada to Iowa, but also because it's the ethical thing to do. I want Minnesota to work for the family farmer again and the establishment of an agency working on their behalf is one the places we need to start. Join me in fighting for a Minnesota-run Bureau that can keep our farmers in their homes and on their fields for generations to come. [1] http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-continues-to-lose-farms/414124913/?refresh=true [2] https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2019/05/07/469385/fair-deal-farmers/ [3] https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/70-orgs-call-for-moratorium-iowa-factory-farms [4] https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-agriculture/2019/05/08/liberal-group-proposes-antitrust-agency-at-usda-614833 [5] https://democracyjournal.org/magazine/5/unsafe-at-any-rate/

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Reed Perkins

I'm running for State Senate in Minnesota's 1st district because your voice deserves to be heard.

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