Anti-Monopoly Reform

The Problem

Today, no greater concentration of corporate power, monopolistic practices, and exclusion of economic prosperity exists than in the food and agriculture markets. Because our government has failed to do its job, a handful of transnational corporations and their overpaid CEOs control our farm and food system, driving family farmers off the land, abusing workers, degrading our environment, and leaving consumers without healthy and safe food choices. 

These monopoly corporations focus almost entirely on their bottom line, abandoning their responsibility to be good stewards of those things under their control. This corporate consolidation has had a disproportionately negative impact on communities and farmers of color and has not delivered the benefits to the American consumer that was promised in a “get big or get out” economy. 

Read our new report: “The Food System: Concentration and Its Impacts” 

Four Companies Control 80% of Soybean Processing, 77% of Beer, 73% of Beef Processing, and 67% of Pork Processing

Our Work

Independent family farmers, working people and the rural communities they call home need bold action now. This requires thoughtful research, better government policy, and market innovation. Family Farm Action Alliance is working with a broad range of allies on campaigns across the spectrum to build an inclusive economy that revitalizes rural America. 

Taking Action at the State Level

Most state attorneys general have strong antitrust authority. This authority is granted by both federal and state statutes. Unfortunately, most state attorneys general do not fully assert their authority against the monopoly control in the food and agriculture sectors. While an attorney general may be aware of their authority and have some awareness of the issues to be addressed, far too often, they do not have the information and resources to act. In other states, the citizenry are unaware and do not push to make anti-monopoly a priority of their elected officials. 

Family Farm Action Alliance is working to remove the barriers holding back state anti-monopoly enforcement and pushing state attorneys general to take on abusive corporate power on behalf of their citizens. We are providing them with the research, information, and stakeholder support they require to take action against the industrialized food and agriculture system.

State and Federal Policy Development

As a handful of corporations gained monopoly control of the markets, they have assimilated economic power that they mold into political influence. The result has been government programs and subsidies designed to allow them to maintain their control of the market and further their profitability at the expense of the farmers, ranchers, working people and consumers.

We are developing advancing the following policy recommendations to end this trend of monopoly control:

  • Promote fair and competitive markets for family farmers and ranchers by strengthening antitrust enforcement. 
  • Address injustices for farmers of color and create opportunities for the next generation of diverse farmers.
  • Enforce antitrust laws against those corporations that collude to deny workers a fair wage.
  • Establish a moratorium on all large agribusiness, food and beverage manufacturing, and grocery retail mergers and acquisitions until such time as Congress can implement policies to provide for a fair marketplace for America’s farmers, ranchers, working people, and rural communities.
  • Implement merger and acquisition guidelines at both Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission that require a review of harm to competition prior to approval.
  • Strengthen restrictions on the corporate foreign ownership of farmland at the state level.
  • Enact a national “Right to Repair” law and amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to allow farmers to repair and maintain their own equipment and technology. 
  • Ban the use of employment non-compete agreements for non-leadership corporate employees.
  • Restore the Packers and Stockyards Administration within the United States Department of Agriculture until such time as Congress adopts an Independent Farmer Protection Bureau (IFPB) modeled after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The IFPB must have the power to investigate and stop market power abuses, protect farmers’ contract rights, and fully enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act.
  • Implement new comprehensive rules at the United States Department of Agriculture or adopt statutory measures maximizing the farmer protection provisions of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. The highest priority is restoring an individual producer’s right to bring their own claim to recover damages they or their farming or ranching operations suffered at the hands of an abusive meatpacking monopoly.
  • Adopt Commodity Research and Promotion Program (checkoff) reforms to stop these mandatory government assessments from being used to promote abusive monopoly control of our food and agriculture system.
  • Restore federal Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for pork and beef.

Family Farm Action Alliance’s partner organization, Family Farm Action, advances our policy positions in both state and federal capitols. Together, we represent a seamless chain of action from research and policy development to the adoption of the policy through legislative action by elected officials who support our vision.

Family Farm Action assisted with the drafting of legislative packages, which, if passed, would place a moratorium on all large agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing, and retail grocery, would provide producer protections in the Packers and Stockyards Act, and would fund technical assistance for Black farmers to acquire legal title to their farms.