The Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform (CCAR) is a national alliance of organizations working to provide a voice for farmers and ranchers involved in contract agriculture, as well as the communities in which they live.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that now, more than ever, we need a resilient food system that produces quality food, sustains rural economies, and cares for our air, water, and land. It has also starkly revealed the fragility of our current food system, in which a handful of corporations control our food system from farm to fork. The unchecked consolidation and vertical integration that has been allowed over the past 50 years has created a dramatic imbalance of power between corporations and producers and their communities, allowing corporations to manipulate the marketplace and push down the prices paid to farmers and ranchers, driving them out of business.
It doesn’t have to be this way! An extremely consolidated corporate food system is not inevitable. With enforcement of existing laws, rules, and regulations, as well as new, forward-thinking policies, agencies can create open, transparent, and competitive markets that benefit independent producers, rural communities, and eaters — not just corporate shareholders.
- Producers, communities and our country do better when we have a diversity of independent farmers and ranchers on the land.
- Fair, open and competitive markets are essential to a democratic and equitable food system.
- The impact of market concentration and monopoly power in the livestock and poultry sectors is harmful to our country’s farmers and ranchers, rural communities and eaters.
- Sound oversight is critical, and regulatory agencies have an obligation to farmers and ranchers, as well as eaters, to ensure a fair, open and competitive livestock and poultry sector.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), other agencies and Congress should work to increase competition; empower farmers to secure a fair price for their products; and protect farmers from unfair, deceptive and abusive practices in livestock and poultry markets.
Steve Etka serves as the Policy Director for the Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform.