Every once in a while, I take a look at the bills introduced by my friend Sen. Peter Welch. As one might expect, any such search turns up a lot of expensive and/or unworkable liberal foolishness like the Green New Deal, but once in a while I find one that can win my support.
Such a one is the Fairness for Small Farmers and Ranchers bill that Sen. Welch introduced on July 28. It has to do with a lot of complicated agriculture regulations and antitrust law, and I confess I am about 40 years out of date from when I ran the Cabinet Council on Food and Agriculture for President Reagan.
But the thrust of the bill is to shine Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission spotlights on agribusiness mergers that work to the disadvantage of family farms, extend support for local and regional food projects, promote transparency and fair contracting practices in transactions between big agribusiness and farmers and ranchers, and authorize USDA rural development grants to fund small meat processing facilities.
The bill authorizes $100 million over five years to assist beginning, retiring and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, which is the kind of provision liberals always have to add to satisfy their clamoring interest groups.
But all in all, it’s a good thing that our Senator is focusing on helping small farmers and ranchers prosper in a world of anticompetitive agribusiness mergers.