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Resolution: Agriculture — 1990

I. LIVESTOCK CONCENTRATION

WHEREAS, three major corporations—ConAgra, Excel, IBP—control over 70 percent of the beef packing industry, and together control major shares of the pork and lamb slaughter industries; and

WHEREAS, Congra and Cargill also have major livestock feeding operations and are huge grain processors, giving them unique control over prices paid to producers and paid by consumers; and

WHEREAS, federal antitrust laws and regulatory measures that were enacted to prevent this domination have been weakened or are not being enforces, forcing out smaller packing firms including Rapid City’s Black Hills Pack; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the South Dakota Resources Coalition supports state measures that would minimize damages and protect South Dakota livestock producers, consumers, and workers from any negative impacts of livestock concentration; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SDRC supports strict enforcement of federal antitrust laws and a strengthening of existing antitrust laws by the Attorney General; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SDRC supports Congressional action to strengthen existing antitrust laws by:

  1. restricting market shares of meatpackers
  2. prohibiting retailing of meat by packing companies
  3. restricting meatpacker feeding of livestock
  4. requiring mandatory price reporting by packers
  5. repealing the Illinois Brick Doctrine

II. BOVINE GROWTH HORMONE

WHEREAS, major chemical companies have been studying and promoting the use of a synthetic copy of a naturally-occurring growth stimulant known as Bovine Growth Hormone (bGH), which is given to dairy cows through a daily injection to induce them to produce more mild; and

WHEREAS, the use of bGH places increased stress on dairy cows, requires additional feed inputs and management time; and

WHEREAS, the long-term safety of bGH for animals and human health is uncertain, with major food chains having refused to accept milk products containing artificial bGH; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Kalter’s studies at Cornell University show that with the use of bGH, 30 percent of the nation’s dairy farmers will not survive because of the economic crunch; and

WHEREAS, South Dakota State University recently studied bGH, paid for in part by American Cyanamid and Monsanto, examining the difference between milk produced by bGH-injected cows and milk from non-injected cows, determining that the two kinds of milk are essentially the same, but failed to assess how this research is relative and beneficial to South Dakota farmers; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the South Dakota Resources Coalition urges a ban on bGH or any similar products until such time as they can be proven helpful to family farming and healthful to consumers and dairy cows; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SDRC urges South Dakota State University to do additional research on the effects on family farming and on consumer reaction.

III.  GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE  (GATT)

WHEREAS, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a multilateral agreement governing the conduct of international trading corporations, originally signed in 1947 by the United States and 22 other countries, now with a new round of negotiations begun—the Uruguay Round—agricultural trade is at the top of the agenda; and

WHEREAS, in fact, our own government has proposed that all farm programs that impact price, production, consumption, or trade in any way be eliminated; and

WHEREAS, Congress must approve whatever agreement comes out of the GATT negotiations; and

WHEREAS, the myth of “free trade” must be challenged. Farmers, consumers, and the environment benefit from a stable and fair market established and protected by Congress; and

WHEREAS, despite public and Congressional pressure, Carla Hills, the U. S. trade representative, has refused to hold field hearings before an agreement has been made; and

WHEREAS, public hearings are required by the Trade Act of 1974 to afford and opportunity for interested persons to express their views on any proposed trade agreement; and

WHEREAS,  GATT will have implications on family farmers and rural communities; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED  that the South Dakota Resources Coalition supports the right of the public to participate in public hearings BEFORE an agreement is reached; and

BE IT FURTHER SRESOLVED that SDRC supports New York Congressman James H. Scheuer’s resolution calling for an environmental impact analysis of a GATT agreement.

IV.  AGRICULTURE POLICY

WHEREAS, the Congressional Budget Office Outlook Report predicts the loss of over 500,000 family farms nationwide if current farm policy is continued from 1991 through 1995; and

WHEREAS, during the same period, a loss of over seven billion dollars in net farm income will result; and

WHEREAS, a loss of one in four farmers means South Dakota farm members will drop to less than 30,000—or a loss of 8750 family farms, and

WHEREAS, farmers adopting sustainable practices protecting the soil and water and limiting use of chemicals and other non-renewable resources would be eligible for new program options; and

WHEREAS, federally funded research ought to serve family farms and sustainable agriculture; and

WHEREAS, the National Academy of Science and the National Research Council have studied chemical agriculture versus sustainable agriculture for five years and then recommended that the government quit encouraging use of agricultural chemicals; and

WHEREAS,  efforts ought to continue to foster targeting program benefits to the small and medium-sized farmers; and

WHEREAS,  conservation compliance provisions ought to be strengthened to protect excessive levels of soil erosion; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED  that the South Dakota Resources Coalition opposes any budget proposals which reduce farm supports in an across the board manner, rather, supporting measures that target the limited funds available in ways that will help ensure a fair income to farmers who rely upon farming for that will help ensure a fair income to farmers who rely upon farming for their livelihood, thus strengthening family farm agriculture; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SDRC strongly supports the House version of the 1990 Farm Bill on pesticide recordkeeping to improve the health and safety of those who produce and harvest our food and to protect the environment; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SDRC supports the Senate’s strong pesticide export reform provision, considering the mounting evidence of the harmful effects of some pesticides on farmers, farmworkers, consumers, and the environment, both in this country and abroad; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SDRC urges our legislators to adopt the Senate bill version of the rural development provisions, which is a more comprehensive approach in resolving the pressing economic and social problems of rural America; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SDRC supports the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council’s recommendation that Congress and the Department of Agriculture change farm policies that have discouraged farmers, particularly those who grow crops subsidized by the   government from trying natural techniques; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED  that SDRC supports Low—Input Sustainable Agriculture (LISA) research to include not only economic impacts, but also social and environmental costs, since environmental costs have rarely been included; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SDRC believes that the 1990 Farm Bill with the improvements we recommend, could significantly improve the lives of small family farmers economically feed the hungry here and abroad, and better protect our fragile environment.

V. ETHANOL

WHEREAS, ethanol provides an additional market for grain; and

WHEREAS, the State of South Dakota requires the use of ethanol blended fuel when possible in state vehicles; and

WHEREAS, the South Dakota Counties of Brookings, Minnehaha, Deuel, Kingsbury, Moody, and Roberts, use ethanol blended fuel in their vehicles; and

WHEREAS, ethanol blended fuel is less polluting than fossil fuels; and

WHEREAS,  ethanol blended fuel is safe for all engines, including small engines such as those found on lawnmowers, snowmobiles, and boats; and

WHEREAS,  ethanol can be derived from grain crops using sustainable agriculture techniques that no not deplete the soil or groundwater; and

WHEREAS,  with the crises in the Persian Gulf and its impact on the accessibility of oil, ethanol blended fuel provides an alternative energy source and a renewable energy resource; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED  that the South Dakota Resources Coalition encourages political subdivisions and the general public to use ethanol blended fuel whenever possible; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED  that SDRC encourages our legislators to promote more urgently the production and use of ethanol blended fuel as an alternative energy resource.

These five resolutions on Agriculture were adopted by the membership present at the 1990 Annual Meeting of the South Dakota Resources Coalition.

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