Washington, DC – The Biden-Harris Administration released its Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain. The plan aims to address competition and fairness in the meat and poultry sector by dedicating $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to expand independent processing capacity.
“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) applauds the Administration’s Action Plan. Now is the time for serious reform to restore fairness, transparency, and competition in agriculture and address concentration and consolidation, the structural root of many challenges that farmers, ranchers, and food processors face,” said Eric Deeble, NSAC Policy Director.
“This plan is a very positive step to ensure farmers and ranchers receive fair prices and that the entire processing sector is more resilient, flexible, and fair to workers, too. Increasing independent processing options for farmers and ranchers also creates a more competitive market that benefits consumers,” Deeble added.
While the ongoing pandemic did not create a vulnerable and unstable food system, it has certainly exposed long-existing problems with concentration that have been squeezing producers for years and have created barriers to entry for new producers. The “economies of scale” that have helped highly concentrated packers rake in record profits has cut the farmers share of the food dollar and helped to hollow out rural main street. The Administration’s plan would help decrease consolidation, improve worker conditions, support more resilient local and regional markets, and ensure farmers and ranchers can earn a fair price.
“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) looks forward to working with the hard-working team at USDA to ensure this support reaches small and very small federally inspected processors. We urge them to help these existing processors, as well as new and farmer led processors, who are ready to expand to meet regional demand,” said Deeble.
The White House Fact Sheet is here.
For a deeper analysis of the impacts of consolidation and concentration in the agriculture industry on farmers and the broader food system, as well as a path forward, read NSAC’s two-part blog series by NSAC Policy Associate, Billy Hackett:
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more: http://sustainableagriculture.net