Minnesota Farmers Union & Minnesota Attorney General’s Office pushing back against agricultural market consolidation
ORONOCO, Minn. (KTTC) – The Minnesota Farmers Union and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office are teaming up to address antitrust reform within the agricultural industry.
According to the National Farmers Union, farmers receive around 14 cents of every food dollar that consumers spend.
On average, farmers earn $1.07 for every seven dollars consumers spend on a pound of bacon and 24 cents for every four dollars spent on a loaf of bread.
“Farmers don’t get a fair shake when 85 percent of the beef cattle are slaughtered by four companies. Beef producers aren’t going to get a fair price for that cattle. That is not a relationship that you can negotiate in,” Minnesota Farmers Union Director of Government Relations Stu Lourey said.
Wednesday, around two dozen farmers from all over the region met at the People’s Co-op in Oronoco to share their concerns with state leaders.
“What are we not thinking about? What do we need to be paying attention to? What are you seeing in your community that Farmers Union needs to know and even more directly that your elected representatives need to know,” Lourey said.
In the past year, with the help of the Farmers Union and state legislature, the Attorney General’s Office has added two lawyers and one law clerk to work on antitrust reform.
“We work to achieve antitrust reforms and break up a hugely consolidated market that wasn’t fair for farmers,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said.
His office is also pushing legislation for resources to track and understand the risks of market consolidation.
“We are going to devote more staff to antitrust. We’re going to prosecute more civil cases into antitrust. We’re going to build up our staff that does it,” Ellison said.
The Attorney General says it’s important for his office to pave the way for antitrust reform to bring justice to those who help put food on our tables.
“Those people who make the most important contribution to us eating every day, are not being treated fairly in these markets,” Ellison said.
Ellison also talked about how the federal government plans to allocate one billion dollars of AARP funds to expand independent meat processing to create more options and competition for farmers.
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