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.
Walmart sells 50 percent or more of all groceries in one in every ten metropolitan areas and nearly one in three “micropolitan” areas across the country, according to a report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, out last week. In 38 of these regions, Walmart sells 70 percent or more of all groceries.
Open Markets strongly condemns the decision by the Supreme Court today in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas. The ruling guts the 21st Amendment to the Constitution and empowers dominant retailers, such as Amazon, to take over America’s markets for beer, wine, and spirits.
Open Markets Food & Power reporter Claire Kelloway covers the story of a new law in Maine granting loggers and haulers the right to bargain collectively with forest owners and sawmills. Maine’s new law expands the antitrust exemption for farmers’ cooperatives to include loggers and haulers. Yet the need for the exemption reveals a much deeper question about how we interpret antitrust laws and who is, and is not, allowed to economically cooperate.
Last week, several senators called on the USDA to stop giving federal trade-related farm aid to foreign-owned corporations, particularly Brazil’s JBS, the largest meatpacker in the world. This follows a bill by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., that would require USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to only purchase foods from American companies, when available. Read the latest story by Open Markets Food & Power reporter Claire Kelloway on how the debate around foreign corporations receiving federal contracts misses the larger question of whether or not these contracts will trickle down to farmers at all.
A recent study documenting consolidation and specialization in Alaska’s fisheries over the past three decades illustrates a broader trend taking hold in coastal communities across the country. Catch share programs, a new fisheries management system, are turning fishing rights into tradable commodities, driving up the cost to fish and consolidating fishing rights into the hands of a few wealthy owners.
As lawmakers’ calls to break up big agribusiness monopolies grow, Open Markets, Food & Water Watch and the Organization for Competitive Markets called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to block the proposed acquisition of Iowa Premium by National Beef.
The Open Markets Institute, Food & Water Watch, and the Organization for Competitive Markets submitted a letter to the Justice Department supporting a letter by The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (“R-CALF USA”) on March 28, 2019, regarding the proposed acquisition of Iowa Premium, LLC, (“Iowa Premium”) by National Beef Packing Company, LLC (“National Beef”).