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Media Releases, Legislative News, Agricultural Updates


RMFU Comments on Market Competition and Food Supply Chain

We are thrilled to hear the comments today by US Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter and US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack highlighting how concentration in our markets are strangling rural communities.  Whether in the packing industry, the healthcare industry, the banking industry, or the retail sector, concentration allows the manipulation of markets and leads to anticompetitive actions.  These anticompetitive actions drive small, family-owned businesses out of business, prevent new small businesses from gaining market share, and drive down the price that producers receive for their products. We see the results of these actions in the empty buildings on the main streets in our rural communities that once held successful family-owned businesses. 

We appreciate the work that has been done to diversify the income opportunities for the work that family farmers and ranchers do as stewards of our precious resources, however, we are more excited about the prospect of enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act to bring fairness back to livestock markets. We also look forward to more work with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to bring action in the concentrated grain marketing and transport, crop genetics, fertilizer, and chemical industries.

We urge all 18 of our members of Congress across the RMFU states to put politics and party to the side, and support the work the USDA and the DOJ reported on today to bring fairness back to agricultural markets. Allowing family farmers and ranchers to share in the soaring profits of the large multinational companies controlling the markets will help family farmers and ranchers, and the communities they live in to thrive. Survival of family farms and ranchers is not a political discussion, it is a discussion of fairness and moral obligations.

We are supportive and thankful for growth in the number of small USDA plants, the recent USDA Product of the USA Rule, and current and future actions enforcing the Packers and Stockyards Act. We caution that penalties for anticompetitive actions without efforts to break up the concentration that allowed those actions is not sufficient. As long as four companies control 54% of the poultry packing, 67% or the pork packing, and 85% of the beef packing industries, there will not be fairness for family farmers and ranchers, and the communities they live in.

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