The Pew report concludes that the wholesale corporate farm takeover is resulting is "the disappearance of open and competitive livestock markets." In turn, this transformation in livestock agriculture "has led to concerns about the economic leverage that large corporations hold over independent farmers and ranchers," the reports notes. So much so that "early in 2010, the USDA and the Department of Justice initiated an unprecedented series of joint public workshops around the country to investigate the state of competition in agriculture markets. Hundreds of independent livestock producers attended the workshops, and many testified that it is increasingly difficult to survive economically. They urged the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) to better regulate the anti-competitive practices of large agribusiness."
In 2010, the GIPSA proposed rules, as required by the 2008 Farm Bill, intended to protect independent farmers and help reduce the power of consolidated meatpackers. In August 2010, a bipartisan letter from 21 senators to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged speedy adoption of these regulations, but the final rule, released in December 2011, contained only a few of the needed reforms. Some members of Congress are asking for further rescission of some of these intended protections. (Read more)