Obstacles to Market Access for Family Farm Hog Producers
Objectives of this project included:
1) Document farmers’ experiences with packer activity restricting access to markets and causing lower prices to farmers. Identify changes in packer procurement that adversely impact independent producers.
2) Identify economic impact of packer concentration and vertical coordination on family farm livestock production.
3) Complete a legal analysis of Packers and Stockyards enforcement.
4) Publish, disseminate and create discussion of the report, with recommendations.
This project makes clear the pattern of meatpacker policies and practices that are resulting in vastly decreased market access and lower prices for independent hog farmers. In particular, meatpackers’ use of long-term production contracts with large-scale producers, as well as increasing expansion of packer production of finished hogs in their own facilities (or in joint ventures with large-scale producers), result in independent hog producers being reduced to residual suppliers, used by meatpackers to “fill in” the packers’ supply needs around their large captive supplies. Several changes in industry, producer and government policy and practice are proposed in the report to address the issue of inequitable access and prices.
The publication and dissemination of the report, along with the increased understanding of the issues by participating organizations and hog producers, has raised the awareness of hog producers, farm organizations, and policymakers of the problems and potential solutions related to market access for independent hog farmers. The project highlights the understanding that for a sustainable agriculture to advance in the region beyond the “niche” phase, independent family farm livestock producers must have fair access to markets, both conventional and alternative.
For more information:
Land Stewardship Project
2200 4th St.
White Bear Lake, MN 55110