In an NPR article released yesterday, John Burnett wrote of the hope small farmers have in Obama's plans. Beginning in the 1980s, those in the U.S. agriculture industry began to see markets becoming increasingly concentrated. Now, less than two percent of farms are responsible for half of all U.S. agricultural sales. Ag markets are heavily concentrated. No one can deny this fact.
With President Obama's election cam the creation of a new division, an antitrust division of the Department of Justice. According to the DOJ, this antitrust division's primary goal will be to more carefully watch ag monopolies. This news has been heavily restricted to agriculture-focused media, but hopefully people will start to take notice on a broader scale. The article also spoke of the annual OCM meeting, an organization of which Attorney David A. Domina is a part.
Farmers across the U.S. are growing exceedingly frustrated, but are hopeful that this new antitrust division will make great strides in promoting transparency and unfair competition in ag markets. The antitrust representatives are acting in ways they never have before.
Usually their job was primarily reactive, but now farmers are seeing highly proactive antitrust enforcers who are going and meeting with farmers, ranchers and producers face to face. This must be an issue that concerns more than just the farmers. It must concern the average American consumer. Why? If the packers own everything, they can manipulate the prices however they want. Consumers are unnecessarily paying more.
If you would like to learn more about this issue, you can read the article in full at: Small Farmers See Promise in Obama's Planson npr.org.