“Farmer Cooperatives: Providing for America” is the theme of a new campaign launched this month by the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC).
NCFC launched the new campaign at its 81st Annual Meeting in Santa Barbara, California last week to tell the story of this country’s 2500 farmer cooperatives to policy makers, government officials, and the American public. The campaign will emphasize the central role that co-ops play in preserving the family farm, supporting the rural economy, and bringing innovative products to consumers in the U.S. and around the world.
“From corner groceries, to superstores, to school lunch programs, farmer cooperatives provide the affordable, abundant food, fiber and fuel that America needs,” said NCFC President & CEO Chuck Conner in his speech to attendees. “Through our ‘Farmer Co-ops: Providing for America’ campaign, NCFC will be carrying these messages and more to policy makers, government officials and the American public.”
NCFC launches the campaign as the first Department of Justice (DOJ)/U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) workshop on antitrust issues in agriculture is approaching on March 12 in Ankeny, Iowa.
NCFC and its members maintain that the officials holding the workshops must realize that the Capper-Volstead Act, which provides limited antitrust immunity to farmers forming co-ops, is a cornerstone to ensuring competition in agriculture and a vibrant rural economy. Without Capper-Volstead, farmer co-ops could not exist, and any two farmers coming together to talk about price would face harsh civil and criminal antitrust penalties.
“The DOJ/USDA hearings on antitrust in agriculture may seem harmless, but I can tell you this—the officials with DOJ are questioning the very foundation of farmer cooperatives—the Capper-Volstead Act,” Conner continued. “Our job is to tell the true stories of co-ops, and the benefits that they provide to their farmer-owners, to their local rural communities, and to consumers in the U.S. and around the world. In doing this, we aim to ensure that our children and grandchildren can continue farming in partnership with their co-ops.”
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