Posted on January 3, 2022
People have strange hobbies.
For example, a Great Plains friend of mine once trained a chicken to play dead. Remarkably, on command, his chicken would take a whole-body flop that could have taught Steve Martin a thing or two about physical comedy.
Another friend, a retired professor, is (unsurprisingly, really) even more iconoclastic: he reads Securities and Exchange Commission […]
Posted on August 13, 2021
In a sweeping, 72-point executive order on competition, the Biden Administration announced it was taking dead aim at the heavily concentrated “multinational companies (that) increasingly dominate markets for crops, chemicals, seeds, and meat,” reported Bloomberg.
The competition order–that “reach(es) from the FDA to the Pentagon”–includes “directives… such as rules that would help chicken farmers and ranchers… […]
Posted on April 21, 2021
In a now too-common story in U.S agriculture, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) last month agreed to pay farmers $45 million to settle what the March 13 Wall Street Journal described as “price-fixing allegations leveled at its peanut processing division.”
While $45 million is, indeed, peanuts to ADM—its estimated 2020 revenue will top $65 billion—this isn’t the first […]
Posted on June 10, 2020
While Tyson Foods says it’s “feeding you like family,” we recently learned that it and the rest of America’s Big Meat members sometimes need a war-like White House declaration just to cut a fat hog.
More striking than the order itself was its effect: it didn’t work.
A week after President Donald J. Trump ordered […]
Posted on February 14, 2018
Maybe it’s a sign of our fast-changing times, but paradox and irony seem as common today as lunch and supper. For example, the world’s largest taxi company, Uber, owns no taxis and the world’s second largest air force is the U.S. Navy.
The same is true of the American beef sector. As of mid-January, the owner […]
Posted on November 16, 2016
The more the American meat and milk sectors industrialize—via integrated contract production, fewer bigger players, machine-centered scale—the more these key parts of American agriculture resemble industry itself: commoditized products, razor-thin margins, and extended periods of steep losses.
This shift from what we once quaintly called animal husbandry has also shifted economic and political power to a […]
Posted on December 9, 2015
In the world of agricultural cooperatives there’s none bigger than Minnesota-based CHS Inc. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the energy, grain, food, and farm supply giant did $42.9 billion in business in its fiscal year 2014.
That makes the mighty CHS bigger than Deere & Co., DuPont, and Tyson Foods, and far bigger than […]
Posted on July 2, 2014
Two of the world’s biggest meatpackers, Tyson Foods and JBS SA, are in a bare-knuckled, checkbook throw-down over who will own Hillshire Brands, the Chicago-based maker of branded processed meats and packaged food.
Which ever firm wins this brawl will matter less to Tyson and JBS than to you or me because it will enable one […]