Source: National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Last week's Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) joint workshop on competition in agriculture set the stage for farmer-owned co-ops to show how they promote a more competitive agricultural sector, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) said.
"Family farmers across America have built farmer cooperatives that promote competition, bolster farm income and the rural economy, and help to bring transparency to the marketplace," said NCFC President Chuck Conner. "While farmer cooperatives were touched on only briefly in this workshop, I hope that DOJ and USDA will use the future workshops to look more closely at how producers can use co-ops as a tool to level the playing field.
"In addition, we continue to be concerned about rhetoric from some that equates being large in size with stifling competition. A large farmer co-op simply has more member-owners — many of whom have medium to small-sized operations — than a smaller cooperative," Conner continued. "At the same time, the statement made by Christine Varney, the assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division, that 'with [being] big comes a lot of responsibility' is true and a standard that, we believe, large farmer co-ops in this country meet."