Outlining how power over America’s farmland has increasingly has been taken over by huge corporations as family farmers suffer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday unveiled her latest 2020 policy proposal aimed at “leveling the playing field” for working Americans.
The Masschusetts Democrat’s agricultural plan targets mergers like those of Bayer-Monsanto and Dow-DuPont, which she says allow corporations to “crush competition and seize control over key markets,” and aims to give family farms more control over their business.
“Bad decisions in Washington have consistently favored the interests of multinational corporations and big business lobbyists over the interests of family farmers.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)The Democratic presidential hopeful released her plan exclusively to the Des Moines Register before publishing a Medium post on Wednesday detailing the proposal. The plan was introduced ahead of her latest trip to Iowa to meet with farmers and discuss rural issues at a forum with other candidates.
“Iowa feels this very directly,” Warren told the Register in a recent interview.
Thanks to monopolies, she added, “The number of purchasers of soybeans or hogs has shrunk dramatically. The number of seed providers has shrunk dramatically, and the diversity of the seeds has shrunk. Concentration in those industries has put a real squeeze on small- and medium-sized farms in Iowa.”
As Warren explained in her Medium post, her plan would reverse the $66 billion Bayer-Monsanto merger which was approved by regulators last year and gave a single conglomerate control more than a third of the world’s seed market, and work to ensure that such mergers don’t continue:
While agricultural giants are major drivers of Iowa’s economy, their practices and consolidation of power have left family-run farms behind. Over the past four decades, more than 32,000 farms have shut down across the state, according to the U.S. Agriculture Census.
In addition to appointing federal regulators to oversee agricultural mergers and reverse those that are unfair to working Americans, Warren plans to give farmers more control over their business by ending contract farming, which becomes expensive for farmers contracted by companies like Tyson and Perdue, and enacting a national right-to-repair law which would allow farmers to repair their equipment locally or on their own instead of being required to use a large dealership.
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