Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Ahead of her latest trip to Iowa, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday unveiled her plan to reduce the power of large agricultural companies and even the playing field for family farms. (Photo: @ewarren/Twitter)

Elizabeth Warren's Plan to Lift Up Family Farmers Includes Barring Big Ag Mega-Mergers Like Monsanto-Bayer

The senator unveiled her plan to fight conglomerates like Bayer-Monsanto just before heading to Iowa to meet with farmers

Julia Conley

Outlining how power over America's farmland has increasingly has been taken over by huge corporations as family farmers suffer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday unveiled her latest 2020 policy proposal aimed at "leveling the playing field" for working Americans.

The Masschusetts Democrat's agricultural plan targets mergers like those of Bayer-Monsanto and Dow-DuPont, which she says allow corporations to "crush competition and seize control over key markets," and aims to give family farms more control over their business.

"Bad decisions in Washington have consistently favored the interests of multinational corporations and big business lobbyists over the interests of family farmers." —Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)The Democratic presidential hopeful released her plan exclusively to the Des Moines Register before publishing a Medium post on Wednesday detailing the proposal. The plan was introduced ahead of her latest trip to Iowa to meet with farmers and discuss rural issues at a forum with other candidates.  

"Iowa feels this very directly," Warren told the Register in a recent interview.

Thanks to monopolies, she added, "The number of purchasers of soybeans or hogs has shrunk dramatically. The number of seed providers has shrunk dramatically, and the diversity of the seeds has shrunk. Concentration in those industries has put a real squeeze on small- and medium-sized farms in Iowa."

As Warren explained in her Medium post, her plan would reverse the $66 billion Bayer-Monsanto merger which was approved by regulators last year and gave a single conglomerate control more than a third of the world's seed market, and work to ensure that such mergers don't continue:

Bad decisions in Washington have consistently favored the interests of multinational corporations and big business lobbyists over the interests of family farmers.

[...]

Mergers mean that farmers have fewer and fewer choices for buying and selling, while vertical integration has meant that big agribusinesses face less competition throughout the chain and thus capture more and more of the profits. The result is that farmers are getting a record-low amount of every dollar Americans spend on food, food prices aren't going down, and agribusiness CEOs and other corporate executives are raking it in.

While agricultural giants are major drivers of Iowa's economy, their practices and consolidation of power have left family-run farms behind. Over the past four decades, more than 32,000 farms have shut down across the state, according to the U.S. Agriculture Census.

In addition to appointing federal regulators to oversee agricultural mergers and reverse those that are unfair to working Americans, Warren plans to give farmers more control over their business by ending contract farming, which becomes expensive for farmers contracted by companies like Tyson and Perdue, and enacting a national right-to-repair law which would allow farmers to repair their equipment locally or on their own instead of being required to use a large dealership.

The plan would also require transparency regarding the origin of meat products and bar foreign investors from buying up farmland in a bid to open up more than 27 million acres across the country which are owned by foreign entities.

Beef and pork can be given a U.S. origin label if it is processed in the United States — even if the animals are not born and raised here. This misleads consumers looking for American-grown meat and undermines American beef and pork producers.

That's why I will push hard for new country-of-origin rules for beef and pork — and use the trade tools available to me as president to push Canada and Mexico to accept them.

[...]

Iowa has the right idea. It passed a law prohibiting foreign individuals or entities from purchasing farmland for the purpose of farming. I support a national version of that law, and as president, will use all available tools to restrict foreign ownership of American agriculture companies and farmland.

Supporters on Twitter applauded Warren's latest policy proposal aimed at making sweeping structural changes to America's economic system, forcing Washington to place the needs of working families over the desires of companies like Bayer-Monsanto, and calling attention to policies affecting owners of small farms.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'You Tell Me What We Should Cut': Sanders Not Budging on $3.5 Trillion

"Poll after poll tells me, and tells you, that what we are trying to do is enormously popular."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Set to Admit Even Fewer Refugees Than Trump's Record Low

The "paltry" number of those admitted so far would be well below the 62,500 ceiling President Joe Biden had set for the current fiscal year.

Andrea Germanos ·


In 'Landmark' Decision, EPA Finalizes Rule Cutting Use of Super-Pollutant HFCs

The regulation will drastically curb the use of "the most potent super-pollutants known to mankind at the moment," one climate campaigner said.

Julia Conley ·


Biden's Envoy to Haiti Resigns in Protest Over 'Inhumane' Deportations

The Biden administration's move to ramp up deportations at a time of overlapping crises will "add to Haiti's unacceptable misery," wrote Daniel Foote.

Kenny Stancil ·


Pfizer CEO—Biden's 'Good Friend'—Is Privately Working to Tank Drug Price Reforms

Pfizer's chief executive Albert Bourla is reportedly urging his employees to fight Democrats' plan to let Medicare directly negotiate drug prices.

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo