Photo from Flickr user scrap_pile. The Department of Agriculture last week finally proposed rules to protect poultry farmers from abusive and discriminatory practices by giant chicken processing companies. Called the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, the new rules come 6 years after the Obama Administration first attempted to regulate the industry, then retreated under heavy pressure from […]
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Photo from Flickr user chriswaits. Dairy farmers in the Northeast and Midwest are dumping massive quantities of milk, as a sharp decline in exports has driven milk prices down to a seven-year low. Meanwhile, independent farmers and members of Congress say that a new USDA insurance program designed to keep struggling dairy farmers in business is failing […]
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A generation ago, America’s farm and food economy was dominated by small family enterprises. Today, just four companies control 65 percent of pork slaughter, 84 percent of cattle slaughter, and 53 percent of chicken slaughter. Milk production is largely shaped by one large processor, Dean Foods, and one large cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America. Recent mergers, such as the Brussels-based Delhaize’s (Food Lion) acquisition of the Dutch company Ahold (Giant, Stop & Shop), have reduced the number of large grocers down to four. What does all this consolidation mean for our food economy?