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Ellison Releases 'Family Farm Protection Plan' at FarmFest
Minnesota Ag Connection - 08/09/2018

Congressman Keith Ellison today announced his "Family Farm Protection Plan" to restore fairness in farming as Attorney General. Congressman Ellison's plan would make health care more affordable and accessible for Minnesota farmers; enforce laws to break up corporate influence in agriculture, put power back in the hands of family farmers; and protect the rights of farmers throughout the state.

"Minnesota's family farmers work hard, and they deserve a level playing field and a fair shot to get ahead," said Ellison. "As Attorney General, I will put the needs of family farmers ahead of corporate special interests, to ensure more affordable health care and a better agricultural economy for farmers throughout our state."

Agricultural concentration has increased pressures on Minnesota farmers as both buyers and sellers -- limiting the options farmers have in what they produce and how, and restricting options for who farmers can sell their products to, and at what price. These pressures, along with the rising cost and limited access to healthcare, require strong enforcement of Minnesota and federal laws to level the playing field for Minnesota farmers in today's economy.

In addition to the "Family Farm Protection Plan" released today, Ellison today reiterated his intention to host regular community meetings with Minnesotans throughout the state as Attorney General. Nobody knows better the issues they face and the solutions they need than the people facing challenges in cities and counties across our state. That is why Ellison will ensure the Attorney General's Office has a regular presence throughout Minnesota.

Ellison's "Family Farm Protection Plan" includes:

Make Health Care More Affordable and Accessible -- The cost of healthcare continues to rise, especially for Minnesota farmers who often face limited options on the individual market. As Attorney General, Keith Ellison will work to increase access to more affordable health care for all Minnesotans, including farmers throughout our state.

- Defending the Individual Market and Coverage for Preexisting Conditions -- As Attorney General, Keith will fight back against attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act which would take health care away from thousands of Minnesotans, including many who buy insurance on the individual market. Keith will also fight to protect coverage for preexisting conditions, so the health insurance companies can't deny you coverage or charge you more for a prior injury on the job, or a condition like asthma or diabetes.

- Rural Health Access Equity -- Even when Minnesota farmers and rural residents can afford health care, access to good doctors and facilities is often limited, leading many to skip treatment rather than give up a work day to travel hours to the nearest hospital or clinic. As Attorney General, Keith Ellison will leverage antitrust law to ensure large health care providers are meeting their obligation to serve all Minnesota communities.

- Prescription Price Gouging and the Opioid Epidemic -- As Attorney General, Keith Ellison will crack down on pharmaceutical companies who unfairly drive up the cost of prescription medication. Ensuring generic drugs are priced fairly will make health care more affordable for all Minnesotans. Keith will also hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the deceptive and aggressive marketing practices that have fueled the opioid crisis across Minnesota, to get essential resources to those affected.

Enforce the Law to Make the Agricultural Economy More Fair -- In recent years, corporate consolidation in agriculture has made it harder for family farmers to get ahead, squeezing farmers in the middle as massive corporations extend their influence on government policy and reap further profits. As Attorney General, Keith Ellison will enforce the law to make Minnesota's agricultural economy more fair for family farmers.

- Fighting Agricultural Monopolies through Antitrust Law -- Corporate agricultural monopolies have increased pressures on Minnesota farmers as both buyers and sellers -- limiting the options farmers have in what they produce and how, and restricting options for who farmers can sell their products to, and at what price. As Attorney General, Keith Ellison will fight against mergers like Bayer-Monsanto that increase corporate power over farmers, and will enforce antitrust law to break-up unfair market concentration. This includes defending and enforcing Minnesota's corporate farm law.

- Cracking Down on Deceptive Contracting -- As corporate influences has increased in agriculture, more and more farming is done through contract, where powerful companies hire family farmers to produce crops or livestock for the company. But given the outsized power these agricultural corporations hold, these contracts can often be misleading and unfair to farmers -- leaving farmers underpaid for work they did on contract, often after purchasing thousands of dollars in new equipment or resources. As Attorney General, Keith will make sure agricultural contracts are fair and upfront, and will hold companies accountable that frequently fail to meet their obligations to our farmers.

- Ensuring Fairness and Transparency in Market Pricing -- A fair economy only works when everyone plays by the same rules. But when only a few big corporations are buying agricultural products, farmers are left to accept the prices they offer. This problem can hit Minnesota's dairy farmers especially hard. As Attorney General, Keith will ensure greater transparency in market pricing for farm products, and will crack down on offenders of price fixing or bid rigging, to ensure a level playing field for family farmers.

Stand with Family Farmers -- For too long, massive agricultural companies have used their power to influence government policy and keep the deck stacked in their favor. As Attorney General, Keith will advocate for and enforce laws that put power back in the hands of Minnesota farmers and rural residents.

- Protecting Local Control -- When big agricultural businesses use their power to push state and local policies that favor their interests over family farms, rural residents can organize and push back through local organizing, working with their county and city governments, and in their communities. As Attorney General, Keith will ensure rural residents do not lose their voice to the interests of powerful corporations.

- Defending the Right to Organize and Collectively Bargain -- With the power of big agricultural businesses stronger than ever, Minnesota farmers can stand up and push back by banding together to negotiate for better prices when buying and selling. As Attorney General, Keith Ellison will defend the rights of Minnesota farmers to organize and collectively bargain for better contracts and better prices, to make our agricultural economy more fair.

- Holding Companies Accountable for Unsafe Products -- When agricultural companies consolidate, farmers can be left with few options for seeds, pesticides and other farm products, even if those products may be unsafe. When corporations use their monopoly power to push products they know endanger farmers and farm workers, Keith Ellison will use the Attorney General's power to sue those companies and do right by affected Minnesotans.

Ellisonis running to be the People's Lawyer, to hold those in power accountable and protect and defend all Minnesotans.

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