Agricultural subsidies, renewable fuels, and conservation often surface in discussions of the next farm bill, but Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, say s concentration and anti-competitive actions in agriculture also deserve attention in the farm bill debate.
"Concentration is one of the most important issues in agriculture today," he told reporters in a Dec. 19 press conference. "Vertical integration leaves the independent producer with even fewer choices of who to buy from and sell to. And, it hurts the ability of farmers to get a fair price for their products."
"Remarkably, the last farm bill did not include provisions regarding concentration," he says. "So, I plan on putting together a package of bills that will focus on anti-competitive activity in the industry."
Grassley, who will continue to sit on the Senate Agriculture Committee in the next Congress, also wants to introduce bills several other pieces of legislation to stoke the concentration debate. Some of those bills might include a ban on packer ownership of livestock; a limit on mandatory arbitration agreements; and a review of agribusiness mergers.