Dear President Trump
Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) is urging the immediate removal of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. At a Tuesday meeting in Wisconsin at the World Dairy Expo, Perdue supported the idea of inevitable bigness in agriculture with this statement, "In America, the big get bigger and the small go out."
WIFE urges you to replace Perdue with a Secretary of Agriculture who understands and sympathizes with small and average farmers and ranchers and not big packers and processors.
Perdue went on to state, "I don't think in America we, for any small business, have a guaranteed income or a guaranteed probability of survival." WIFE is not purposing a profit guarantee but is asking for a level playing field that would allow a profit. Secretary Perdue has not concentrated on leveling the playing field but seems especially concerned with the growth of industrial farming.
The share of U.S. farms operated by women nearly tripled over the past three decades. Using Census of Agriculture data from 1978 through 2007. Secretary Perdue's Big Farm Inevitability thinking would be especially harmful for women.
The USDA is called "The Peoples' Department". It is not the department for big businesses. Secretary Perdue seems to be pushing a factory farm model of agriculture rather than supporting smaller farmers who are the life blood of Rural America. This attitude is contrary to President Donald Trump's promise to support our farmers and ranchers.
With fewer and fewer places to sell our products and no support from our government to stop concentration in the agriculture market, farmers and ranchers are squeezed. The farmer's share of retail prices for our products is the lowest in history working to promote prosperity in agriculture. Opening foreign markets is great for international companies but the added value to our products does not trickle down to the farmers and ranchers. Export trade needs to be coupled with adequate oversight by using the Packers and Stockyards Act to prevent a few companies reaping all the profits through monopolistic practices. This is something Secretary Perdue does not seem to want to do.
What we need is a national agro-industry strategy that grows family agriculture in the food supply chain, rather than Secretary Perdue's plan to make agriculture bigger.
WIFE is a national grassroots organization dedicated to promoting prosperity in agriculture for family farmers and ranchers.
I thank you for your attention to this matter.
Diane McDonald, President
Women Involved in Farm Economics