Long-time family farm proponent and friend of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), Dr. William Heffernan, was presented with the National Farmers Union (NFU) Meritorious Service Award for Agriculture and World Agriculture during NFU’s 104th Convention in March, in Denver. The award is designed to recognize individuals and families who have made a major contribution to the betterment of family farm agriculture.
Heffernan, former economics professor at the University of Missouri, conducted extensive research on concentration in the food processing, wholesaling and retailing sectors.
His research has been invaluable for family farmers and ranchers nationwide, as well as for organizations proposing laws to increase competition in U.S. agricultural markets.
Heffernan’s research includes nationwide data on the number of meat processors that buy producers’animals and sell meat to retailers. In the 1990s, it was determined that only four firms controlled the processing of 87 percent of beef nationwide. The reports produced by Heffernan were widely quoted and used as evidence of the need for regulations that would reduce the control of the nation’s handful of processors.