Action Alert: Suspend USDA Subsidies that Contribute to Overproduction in the Pork and Poultry Sectors

Action Alert

From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

STOP Wasteful Government Backed Loans SIGN THE ONLINE Petition to suspend USDA subsidies that contribute to overproduction in the pork and poultry sectors The Issue

Hog and poultry prices paid to farmers have hit rock bottom lows. These sectors have expanded in recent years to unsustainable levels and much of that expansion has been supported by favorable government-backed loans provided through USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA).    Despite the current oversupply and low prices in the market, FSA continues to provide loans to new and expanding hog and poultry operations.  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack should take action immediately to end this counterproductive and destructive lending.

Taxpayers have had to pay twice for their trouble.  In the last six months, the USDA has bought millions of dollars of pork and poultry products in order to stabilize prices, which are falling because of overproduction. This continuing overproduction fueled by USDA's use of loans is significantly contributing to further consolidation of the marketplace, putting more independent family farmers out of business.   When similar over-supply circumstances have existed in the past, the Farm Service Agency has placed restrictions on or suspended issuance of federal direct and guaranteed loans.

The first thing we need to do is end government loans to new and expanding hog and poultry operations.

What You Can Do--- sign the online petition

Our goal is to collect more than 3,000 signatures over the summer.  We need your help to spread the word and meet our goal! Please sign the petition and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to sign our petition. Petition Letter The Honorable Tom Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture 200-A Jamie L Whitten Building 1400 Independence Ave SW Washington, D.C. 2050

Dear Secretary Vilsack, We are requesting that USDA suspend all loans to specialized hog and poultry facilities. USDA is currently guaranteeing loans to new production facilities, which contribute to over-supply in an already saturated marketplace. At the same time, USDA is using taxpayer dollars for bonus pork and poultry buys in order to stabilize prices resulting from overproduction. (On March 31st, USDA committed to a $25 million bonus pork buy, and in May the industry asked for an additional $50 million pork buy.) The use of USDA loan programs for new specialized hog and poultry facilities is an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars. When similar situations occurred in the past, USDA suspended the use of loan programs for the construction of these specialized facilities to ensure that the Agency did not continue to contribute to the overproduction situation. In a January 8, 1999, explanation of why USDA was suspending loans to specialized hog facilities, FSA says: "It is inconsistent with USDA policies for FSA to continue to finance construction of additional production facilities through direct loans and loan guarantees while other agencies within USDA expend resources to ameliorate over-supply conditions." Federal Register-January 1999 Continuing overproduction in both the hog and poultry industries is resulting in long-term depression of producer prices, closing of pork plants, cancelling of poultry contracts, integrator requests for government assistance and further concentration of markets. All the while, USDA continues to make loans that further exacerbate the problem. For these reasons: We call for USDA to suspend all direct or guaranteed farm ownership or operating loans for the construction or expansion of specialized hog or poultry production facilities. Sincerely,

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