Big money

But not for small farmers

November 15, 2012

A number of recent reports have examined the problem of consolidation in agriculture.

A New York Times business feature, for example, explored the dairy industry, detailing how consolidators rake in profits at the expense of the small dairy farmer.

On Mother Jones, Tom Philpott wrote about the same thing happening in the pork industry, using charts from a new Food & Water Watch report titled "The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies."

And on Grist, Twilight Greenaway took a look at the same FWW report, focusing on its organic-food section and the consolidation in the soy-milk industry:

In addition to soy milk, the FWW report tackles pork in Iowa (where consolidation has led to twice the production yet much fewer dollars for farmers), dairy in New York state (where most small producers have been pushed out), chicken in Maryland (where big poultry farms have driven out other kinds of farming), and fruit and vegetable production in California’s Central Valley, where “the global reach of transnational agribusiness giants can serve to drain wealth from rural economies.”

In every instance, these reporters point out, profits are channeled to the top, away from the on-the-ground producers. Meanwhile, the quality of life goes down for the folks and animals involved in making the foods and beverages we eat and drink.

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