Below is a statement from Chairman David Scott announcing that he will be introducing legislation to help small family farmers and ranchers and address the national crisis in our nation’s beef supply chain:
“What has been missing from the conversation is help for the very beginning of our food supply chain, which is our nation’s small family farmers and ranchers. And, helping our nation’s small family farmers is one of my top priorities.
In our hearing examining beef market consolidation earlier this year, I was very disheartened to learn that the cattle industry has lost an average of 17,000 cattle ranchers per year.
My bill will apply to small family farmers and ranchers. According to USDA, the average beef cattle herd is 44 head, and operations of 100 or fewer beef cattle account for 90 percent of all farms and 44 percent of the beef cattle inventory.
Yet, we are losing an average of 17,000 cattle ranchers per year. This is a national crisis.
Therefore, it is very critical that my bill will target these small family farmers and ranchers so that they will be able to secure their fair share of the food dollar and we can at the same time stem the tide of losing 17,000 farmers per year.
To that end, I will be introducing a bill to provide small cattle farmers and ranchers with relief and long-term opportunities to increase their market power.
First, my bill creates a new program that strengthens the Federal safety net and makes insurance products work better for small cattle farmers and ranchers, both in terms of coverage and accessibility.
The second pillar establishes a grant program at USDA to help small farmers and ranchers and producer-owned cooperatives to undertake innovative business initiatives.
By developing more direct-to-consumer and direct-to-institution markets, my legislation will give small farmers and ranchers more control over where they sell their cattle or meat products and provide them with opportunities to add value to their products and increase their profitability.
I look forward to working with my colleagues here in Congress and our House Agriculture Committee on this very important piece of legislation.”