Sunday, June 26

Macro farms, in the target in the US



As is the case with ‘Big Tobacco’ or ‘Big Pharma’, the large and powerful tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, U.S suffers the impact and consequences of domination of the “Big Ag” and the “Big Meat”, who control agriculture and meat. Is a oligopoly that has been growing exponentially and consolidating in the last four decades in the country. and the president Joe Biden, and more ambitiously still the Democratic senator Corey Booker, They have put on the target To the system.

For Biden, the fight is part of his broad agenda of fight against monopolies and in efforts to stop the shot inflation, of which 25% comes from the increase in the price of meat. already in July dictated a executive order which urged the Department of Agriculture to be more aggressive in investigating possible violations of a 1921 law designed to ensure fair competition and consumer protection. In December that department received a letter from the attorneys general of 16 states, including Republican-led agricultural heavyweights like Iowa, urging a more effective fight against manipulation and fraud in the meat market. And the president began the year with a meeting on January 3 with small farmers in which he announced and detailed a plan to support them with $1 billion and help them become independent. “The capitalism without competition is not capitalism, it is exploitation“, the president told them.

The domain of four corporations

Although there are two million farms in the US and the small family members account for 89%, are the 5% of the great those responsible for 60% of meat production. And they are subject to the prices and conditions fixed by four large transnational corporations dedicated to processing and packaging, who are the ones who act as an intermediary between the farmer and the seller. Those four companiesCargill, Tyson, la brasileña JBS y National Beef Packing, also part of a Brazilian conglomerate) respectively control 85% of the beef market, 70% of pork and 54% of chicken In U.S.A. During the pandemic increased their profits by 300%.

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His dominance and his system have triggered in the US the presence and weight of the macrogranjas industrial, also called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs for its acronym in English. And as reported by numerous experts and analysts and associations such as Food & Water Watch, this dominant factory farm model suffocates communities and the small independent farmer American, who often enters a debt spiral and that takes only 14.3 cents of every dollar that Americans spend on food. The 70% of chicken farmersFor example, they live below the poverty level. And in the agricultural world suicide rate is 3.5 times higher than that of the general population.

The model, it is also denounced, contributes to the climate change and deforestation triggers the pollution of the air and of land and aquifers, raise the disease risk Y threatens food security and is weighed down, moreover, by dangerous and unfair working conditions and the animal abuse.

Booker’s proposal

Although the measures proposed by Biden have been well received (except by industry representatives), those who advocate a more radical transformation ask the president to support and promote in Congress the Proposal for the Farm System Reform Law presented by Booker. That rule would impose a step that the American Public Health Association already requested in 2019: a immediate moratorium on the opening of new macro-farms industrial or in the expansion of existing ones (between 2011 and 2017 they grew by 7.6%).

Booker’s proposal would also enhance the regenerative Production, would create a fund 100 billion of dollars to help farmers make the transition that distances them from the macro-farm model, which is intended to be gradually eliminated until its disappearance in 2040, and would transfer fines and responsibility for the pollution that they now disregard to large corporations. In addition, like the Biden plan, it would strengthen controls to guarantee the “made in America“that now large corporations raffle with cattle raised outside US borders but processed and packaged in the country.

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Although at the moment the bill only has Democratic backing and is guaranteed the Fierce Lobbyist Opposition and a Legal Way of the Cross, in the first sessions in which it has been addressed in the Senate, it has been proven that arouses sympathy in some republicans, especially from agricultural states. That, in a Congress as polarized and blocked as the US, is news.


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