William & Mary Business Law Review
Old MacDonald had a Trust: How Market Consolidation in the Agricultural Industry, Spurred on by a Lack of Antitrust Law Enforcement, is Destroying Small Agricultural Producers
The U.S. agricultural industry is controlled by a handful of large corporations. Unprecedented levels of market consolidation has created a power disparity, where controlling corporations alone shape markets, often to the disadvantage of small agricultural producers. A primary, and often overlooked, cause of this consolidationdriven bargaining disadvantage, and its resulting harm, can be found in the lacking enforcement of the nation’s antitrust laws. Faulty metrics and lax legal interpretations employed by regulatory agencies have permitted large corporations to grab control of nearly every sector of the industry. From the seeds farmers plant to the markets they sell their goods into; the American food chain is one of the most consolidated areas of the entire economy. This unfettered concentration has been disastrous for small producers, increasing their costs and suppressing their profits, all while consumer costs continue to rise. Overall, this Note will present that a lack of enforcement of antitrust laws is a leading contributor to increased market consolidation of the agricultural industry, wreaking havoc on small producers, consumers, rural communities, and as a result, the whole nation.