Published Nov 14, 2010

Consolidation in the Food Industry

By Sarah Carlson

Mary Hendrickson from the Univ. of Missouri recently presented about this topic at Iowa State in a Sustainable Agriculture class. Towards the end, the last few slides of the presentation seem like the main focus that PFI farmers are figuring out: how to keep earnings behind the farmgate and stay independent while selling enough supply to cash flow and reach more customers. Mary’s questions seem good for us to reflect on who has access to food both financially and physically but doesn’t talk about the subsidies and safety nets available for the current industrialized food system.

I was not at the talk so can’t comment but looking at these slides it seems like consolidation didn’t happen overnight but was encouraged through various methods to occur and continue occurring.

Secretary Vilsack at a recent conference in Des Moines said we need both biotechnology and alternative production systems to feed the world.

Considering the current landscape of consolidation, can we have both?

PFI members are actively working on this alternative vision of agriculture/food production in light of this consolidated landscape but the recent introduction of Wal-Mart into the picture, whether they are genuine or not seems that it could distract or undermine the important work you are all doing.


To see slides or information about Mary’s program click on this link