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NFU lobbies for stronger antitrust action with Fairness for Farmers campaign

24 September 2021

The National Farmers Union, the second-largest farm group representing nearly 200,000 farming families in the US, has launched a campaign to expose the negative effects of consolidation and monopolies in the agriculture industry on family farms and rural towns.

Reuters reports that the campaign, which it said will include a public relations blitz and lobbying, is part of an effort to push Washington to crack down on monopolistic behavior in the industry as lawmakers propose legislation to bring more price and market transparency to highly consolidated farm markets.

Meat companies have faced scrutiny for their market power, which critics say has allowed them to buy at low prices from small farm suppliers, who have few other options to sell to, and then make big profits on the retail market.

The Department of Justice is conducting an investigation into alleged price-fixing by big meat companies like Koch Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride, which has resulted in several indictments.

NFU president Rob Larew expressed optimism that the Biden administration would act.

“We have a president who is committed to taking on the challenge of fighting consolidation in agriculture,” Larew said at a press conference launching the campaign.

Republican Montana Senator Jon Tester and Democratic Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison attended the event.

In his July executive order on competition, President Joe Biden directed the US Department of Agriculture to better enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act, a century-old law regulating meat industry competition.

The White House also recently attributed higher meat prices to “a lack of competition.”

The North American Meat Institute, which represents packers who control 95% of US meat processing, denies that packer concentration is related to rising meat prices.

“This endeavor has clear goals: to curtail consolidation in agriculture and bust the monopolies, which hurts farmers, ranchers and consumers,” NFU President Rob Larew said at a press conference on 22 September.

NFU is calling for these solutions:

Larew added: “I do believe we are in for a fight. The giants who dominate our food and agriculture industry are not going to be toppled without a struggle.” He concluded: “But Farmers Union members, and everyone who joined me today, are not afraid of a fight and are ready to stand up for fairness.”

For more information, please visit the Fairness for Farmers webpage by clicking here.

Source: Reuters



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