Thanks to AFGE’s efforts, leading lawmakers both in the House and the Senate share the union’s concerns and reject the grain industry’s attempt to privatize grain inspection.
Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Sherrod Brown are leading the fight against grain inspection privatization in the Senate, warning that handing over control of the United States’ grain inspection to private businesses would return the system to where it was before 1976 when grain inspection was federalized following scandals over corruption and bribes by private inspectors.
“While American farmers were producing high quality grain, private individuals and companies charged with inspection were short-changing foreign customers by inaccurately weighing grain, shipping in dirty vessels and accepting bribes,” Sen. Stabenow said at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing this week.
Leading the fight against grain inspection privatization in the House are House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson and House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Ranking Member Tim Walz. AFGE last week sent a letter to the congressmen thanking them for their leadership.
AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. also recently testified against grain inspection privatization. The House Agriculture Committee has already marked up a bill to reauthorize the grain standards act which does not include privatization, and it is likely to be considered by the entire House of Representatives later this month. In the Senate, the next step for the Agriculture Committee is to mark up a reauthorization bill.