Today, from meat to beer to seeds, the food industry is highly consolidated. The removal of a long-standing ownership structure, one that distributed profit and opportunity across America’s landscape, means that now, most land and most animals are now cared for by corporations, not by individuals.
Commodity trader Archer Daniel Midlands (ADM) is in advanced talks to purchase fellow commodity trader Bunge, Bloomberg reported this week. That deal, if completed, would create a $34 billion grain company rivaling Cargill, the world’s most dominant trading house.
During President Donald Trump’s recent trip to China, Montana Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) negotiated a $300 million beef cattle deal between the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Chinese e-retailer JD.com. The deal calls for the retailer to buy $200 million of cattle between 2018 and 2020, and invest $100 million in a new feedlot and packing plant in Montana.
Anheuser-Busch InBev was consistently in the news last year as it closed its blockbuster $100 billion acquisition of SABMiller. But beyond headline-generating deals, the brewer is finding new ways to expand its reach, particularly in the craft sector. The company’s wholly-owned venture capital firm has been quietly investing in beer ratings websites, delivery services, and international craft brewers—an indication that, despite cuts to its domestic craft acquisition program, the mega-brewer is finding yet more ways to put pressure on the independent and craft beer sector.
In Wisconsin, some of the state’s biggest agricultural cooperatives want to weaken farmers’ control over their own cooperatives. Farmers in the state argue that the changes–in the form of amendments to the state agricultural laws–are simply meant to enhance the power of larger-scale cooperatives, and stray from the true intent and purpose of a farmer cooperative.