WASHINGTON — Today, the House Judiciary Committee, Antitrust Subcommittee held a hearing on “Addressing the Effects of Economic Concentration on America’s Food Supply.”
In testimony submitted by National Farmers Union, President Rob Larew documented the extreme corporate concentration in America’s farm and food system and discussed steps that must be taken to ensure a more resilient food supply for consumers and a competitive marketplace for family farmers and ranchers.
“A small handful of dominant firms control the market for most farm inputs… processing, food manufacturing, wholesale distribution, food service, and retail grocery,” described Larew. “These very large firms in the middle of the supply chain wield immense market power… As companies have gotten larger and competition has declined, anticompetitive conduct by dominant firms has received insufficient scrutiny.”
“Across the economy, there must be more scrutiny of buyer power, and regulators must consider the need for robust competition at all links of the supply chain,” wrote Larew, “Market participants must be provided with reliable information through truthful and accurate labeling. Furthermore, increased investment is needed to support local and regional production, processing, distribution, and retail options, and appropriate workforce training to support these systems. Finally, in the meat and poultry sector, rules must be implemented that reinvigorate the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA), clearly delineate prohibitions on packers under the PSA, and create needed protections for farmers under contract.”
NFU has long fought for increased competition in the marketplace and last year launched Fairness for Farmers, a national campaign to advocate for solutions and give voice to the farmers, ranchers, and rural communities being harmed by economic concentration.
–National Farmers Union