FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
dthews@nfudc.org

WASHINGTON (July 29, 2014) – NFU President Roger Johnson today took his argument directly to consumers in a Huffington Post op-ed explaining why the proposed merger between Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands Co. will hurt consumers, farmers and ranchers alike.

“We are told time and again by multinational companies proposing mergers that consumers will benefit from better prices,” Johnson wrote. “But we’ve seen how well that concept works in the real world, as anyone who has flown lately, or purchased prescription medication, or felt the sting of “Too Big to Fail” banking, or dealt with a cable company can attest.”

Johnson explains the Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently considering a massive marriage between the largest meat company in the nation, Tyson Foods, and the 11th largest meat company, Hillshire Brands Co. “The scale and scope of this merger will substantially reduce competition in the meat sector, which is already very concentrated,” he explained. “In fact, just four companies slaughter and process nearly 81 percent of the cattle nationally, and in the pork sector, the top four firms control 65 percent of hog sales.”

Johnson points out that for grocery shoppers, the proposed Tyson-Hillshire merger means Big Meat will now have even more control over prices. “Over the decades, we’ve heard the same tired propaganda: That consolidation helps everyone,” he concluded. “But a century of broken promises and a little common sense tells us differently. Mergers help the big get bigger and leave the small guys helpless to their whims. The DOJ needs to say no to this latest power grab.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.

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