“What kind of farming system do we want?”
That is a central question asked by Austin Frerick, a food and agriculture researcher at Yale University, in “Get Loud: The Fight for the Soul of Agriculture.” This new video by our partners at the Wisconsin Farmers Union also features farmers Danielle Endvick of The Runamuck Ranch and Lauren Langworthy of Blue Ox Farm. They do an incredible job explaining the struggle that farmers face as they try to make ends meet in a food system dominated by just a few corporate giants.
“Corporate concentration” is an issue Farm Aid has sounded warning bells about for years. But while that sounds like a technical concept, Danielle Endvick explains what it’s like in practice for farmers:
“In the meat industry it’s been really consolidated down to the big four. There are four companies processing 85% of beef in the U.S. Throughout the pandemic, we saw beef prices in the store actually rising, meanwhile animals that I was shipping to market were bringing in less money.”
In the video, Austin Frerick explains:
“Farmers have it the hardest. They’re being both squeezed on the input and output side. So when they buy their seeds, when they buy their fertilizer, a lot of that’s super concentrated so they’re paying monopoly prices for it. And then when they go to sell, they’re selling to monopolies, so not only are they overpaying, but they’re getting underpaid.”
As the video details, farmers have a history of coming together to demand change to create a fair system. To coincide with the release of “Get Loud,” the Wisconsin Farmers Union put together this page with resources, proposed solutions, and ways you can take action.
“Reach out to your legislators and demand some change. Because I think we do need to get a little bit loud about this issue.” – Danielle Endvick
And one more easy way for you to help is by urging your U.S. Senators to co-sponsor the American Beef Labeling Act. It guarantees that eaters would know where their beef was born, raised, slaughtered, and processed. In turn, that helps create a level playing field for American ranchers by helping them get a fair price.