Open Markets Institute Applauds Senator Cory Booker’s Agribusiness and Antitrust Bill
August 30, 2018
For Immediate Release: August 30, 2018
Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., this week introduced a bill calling for a temporary halt on large agriculture-related business mergers. The Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2018 (S. 3404) would place an 18-month moratorium on all “large agribusiness, food and beverage manufacturing, and grocery retail mergers and acquisitions” in order to address the staggering levels of corporate concentration in the food system.
Booker’s bill marks a much-needed intervention to stop the wholesale buy-up of the food sector and reassess our ineffective antitrust enforcement. The Open Markets Institute applauds this effort to curb dangerous levels of consolidation in food and agriculture.
Extreme concentration harms farmers, workers, and eaters. Today, only four companies slaughter nearly 70 percent of all pork, 53 percent of all chicken, and 84 percent of all beef. And in the US seed industry, the four largest corporations sell 76 percent of all soybean, 85 percent of all corn, and 91 percent of all cotton seeds, and just one company has patented traits found in80 percent of US corn and over 90 percent of US soybeans. This leaves farmers with few places to buy critical inputs and sell their products, pushing small producers out of the market until only the largest remain.
“Corporations have consolidated unprecedented levels of power over both the farmer and the consumer,” said Barry Lynn, Executive Director of the Open Markets Institute, “This means higher prices and lower quality for our milk and bread and hamburgers. It also means that rural America is at its breaking point. It’s well past time for Agriculture Department and the Federal Trade Commission to do what the American people hired them to do – which is to make open and competitive markets that free America’s farmers to serve the American people.”
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