Posted by Dave on December 6, 2010
In the past 30 years America’s food system has become dangerously over consolidated, which has made our food less safe, our nation obese, driven tens of thousands of family farmers off the land and fundamentally undermined the integrity of our democracy.
This week we’re traveling to Washington DC to deliver your comments to the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Agriculture, asking for the Obama Administration to break up agribusiness' corporate monopolies. Already more than Food Democracy Now! members have made 100,000 comments, asking that the administration take a strong stand against abuses of corporate concentration in our food and agricultural system.
For the past year, the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Agriculture have held a series of public hearings across the country investigating the impacts of concentration in food and agriculture and we’ve traveled to every one. We’ve made a point of traveling to every hearing because we felt it was important to witness this historic event and make sure that the voices of family farmers and America’s citizens were represented.
Now we’re making the final trip to Washington DC to help make sure your voice is heard. Already the DOJ has launched potentially history-making investigations into corrupt competitive practices by Monsanto and Dean Foods, the nation’s largest dairy processor.
Tell the DOJ and USDA that you support these investigations and want them to put an end to the monopolistic practices that harm family farmers, the environment and offer Americans unhealthy and unsafe food.
Here at Food Democracy Now! we’re encouraged by the Obama administration’s willingness to take on some of the most powerful interests in our economy. These investigations are an important first step, but they need to follow through and take action to break up the corporations that have repeatedly violated our nation’s antitrust laws and in order to do so they’ll need your support.
Whenever power is concentrated in the hands of a few, abuses inevitably occur. In the past several decades, giant corporate agribusiness has slowly gobbled up smaller companies and driven family farmers off the land, all the in the name of “efficiency” and “free market" capitalism.
If there’s one thing that we’ve all learned in recent years, concentration of wealth and anticompetitive actions in our nation’s economy harm all of us. And this couldn’t be more true than in our nation's food system. It may be hard to believe, but most meals that Americans eat today are controlled by only a handful of companies.
Concentration has grown so great in our nation’s food supply that it’s time for the government to start enforcing our nation’s antitrust laws, take a quick look at how alarming it actually is:
- 1 company (Monsanto) controls the seeds of 93% of soybeans and 80% of the corn grown in the U.S.
- 4 companies (Tyson, Cargill, Swift and National Beef Packing Co.) control 83% of the beef packing industry.
- Just 4 companies (Smithfield, Tyson, Swift and Cargill) control 66% of the pork-packing industry
This incredible imbalance in who controls how our food is raised, processed, distributed and sold has created a serious imbalance in how family farmers are treated in their contracts, the prices they are ultimately paid and opportunities that they have to hand their farm down to their children. At the same time, the prices for consumers are increasing, while the farmer’s share has drastically declined, leaving more profits for giant agribusiness at the expense of consumers, farmers and our democracy.
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team