About the Campaign
Fairness for Farmers is a nationwide campaign run by National Farmers Union. We are fighting for stronger enforcement of antitrust laws and breaking up the corporate monopolies that use their size to unfairly take advantage of farmers and ranchers while forcing consumers to pay higher prices at the grocery store.
With the Biden administration issuing an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, NFU believes now is the time to keep momentum and achieve fairness across the agriculture industry. As President Joe Biden stated:
I’ve directed my administration to crack down on what some major players are doing in the economy that are keeping prices higher than they need be.
My executive order opens up competition in the agricultural business, gives more farmers a chance to compete, which will give Americans more food choices at lower cost.
How Monopolies Impact Farmers & Ranchers
For these conglomerates to influence what we consume, they first need to control the people who produce our food. That is where the real power lies; dominating what is grown, how it’s produced, and most critically, how they can make the most money by paying farmers as little as possible.
Many of the companies controlling markets for farm inputs, like fertilizer, and commodities are vertically integrated, which means they control multiple stages of the supply chain. The most egregious example is the chicken industry, where farmers must sign a contract with a company – known as an integrator – which provides the birds, feed, medication, and processing. Integrators can suppress wages, force expensive upgrades, and even sabotage a farmer by providing poorer quality inputs.
Farm equipment manufacturers have monopolized the market for repair. These companies unfairly force farmers to do some key repairs through solely their dealership networks by restricting access to certain parts or software. This can lead to lengthy repair delays and inflated repair costs. In fact, for Deere and Company, parts and repairs are 6 times more profitable than selling equipment.
How Monopolies Impact Consumers
The strain felt by farmers and ranchers is directly placed on consumers, as they see higher prices and fewer options. And in some cases, like during the pandemic, empty shelves.
With less diversity across the agriculture industry, multinational corporations have too much control over pricing and offerings. This makes the food supply chain vulnerable to bottlenecks and breakdowns. With limited protection against supply chain shocks, in dire times like the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers were met with companies being unable to meet demand. Competition in the industry keeps our supply chain resilient and our food fairly priced.
How Monopolies Impact Rural Communities
Corporate monopolies are slowly erasing our rural communities. If family farms and ranches can’t stay in operation, their loss will impact everyone in that rural area. After all, family farmers and ranchers:
Just how dominant are these monopolistic corporations?
Due in part to this consolidation, the farmer’s share of every dollar consumers spend on food has fallen from 50 percent in 1952 to less than 16 percent today. The people doing the hard work of growing and harvesting our food see scant returns from their labors.
Consumers Are Hurting Too
Though it seems like our grocery stores offer an endless selection, in reality, we have few choices. For one out of three common grocery items, four corporations account for at least 75 percent of sales. And those items aren’t necessarily priced fairly. In the last few years, we have seen multiple instances of corporations colluding to overcharge wholesalers and restaurants, which is often passed on consumers.
What Can Be Done to Stop Consolidation?
- Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) reform
- Improving price discovery and ensuring fair and accurate market information
- Facilitating competition and more diverse market opportunities
- Reinvigorated antitrust enforcement
News About the Campaign
Tell Us Your Story
Corporate consolidation is devastating our agriculture industry and your voice can make all the difference in bringing positive change. Please fill out the form below to share your story or upload a testimonial of how consolidation has directly impacted you and your community. We appreciate your support in our efforts to bring the power back to consumers and those who produce, process and package their food.