Packers Scurry for Cover

For decades a handful of corporations have dominated the American food system. The rapid trend toward vertical integration, further exacerbates the economic concentration in packing, processing and production already in existence. As the livestock sector has become extremely concentrated and integrated, packers and processors increasingly control production at all stages. Packer ownership of livestock (vertical integration) is driving the economic nightmare and environmental catastrophe of concentrated, industrial livestock production.
In June, USDA proposed new rules (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration or GIPSA) that promote fairness and competition for all producers. Now corporate agribusiness is pitching a fit.

The packers and the National Pork Producers are scurrying for cover in a report they commissioned that claims that the USDA's plan to increase competition in the meat processing industry could cost the economy 22,800 jobs and as much as $1.5 billion in lost value. Perhaps this laughable figure represents the amount packers fear they will lose when they are no longer able to swindle livestock producers.

This rule is a huge step forward for livestock producers in the Midwest and Great Plains who for decades have battled to get fair access to an equitable marketplace. It's a strong rule, but it can be improved. The public have until November 22 to provide comments and pressure the USDA to improve the rule (

This is not only important for people currently involved in livestock production but for the next generation of livestock producers, providing them the ability to get into the business.