NFFC is hopeful about executive order ‘promoting competition’

NFFC Blog, NFFC Weighs In

Today, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. A few of his more relevant recommendations include:
– Making it easier and cheaper to repair items (eg, tractors) you own
– Strengthening USDA tools to stop the abusive practices of some meat processors
– Increasing opportunities for farmers to access markets and receive a fair return.
 
NFFC would like to give the administration the benefit of the doubt, but as board president Jim Goodman writes, this isn’t our first merry-go-round.
“While any Administration’s efforts to promote competition and restrict consolidation in the agricultural sector are to be applauded, we have heard little but talk and seen little but crocodile tears when it comes to putting farmers’ interests over those of consolidated agribusiness.
 
The Obama Administration held a series of USDA/DOJ workshops on competition in agriculture around the country in 2010 to ‘explore the appropriate role for antitrust and regulatory enforcement in agriculture’. And what exactly came of those efforts?— absolutely nothing. The Administration and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack did nothing to rein in consolidation or make any effort to put policies in place regulating markets and increasing competition so farmers could get a fair price for their labor and pay a fair price for their inputs. Will anything of benefit to farmers and farm workers come from President Biden’s round of executive orders? I’m hopeful, but we farmers have been disappointed before.”