Catch shares lead to consolidation of Alaskan fisheries

A recent study documenting consolidation and specialization in Alaska’s fisheries over the past three decades illustrates a broader trend taking hold in coastal communities across the country. Catch share programs, a new fisheries management system, are turning fishing rights into tradable commodities, driving up the cost to fish and consolidating fishing rights into the hands of a few wealthy owners. For instance, in Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fishery, just four companies own 77 percent of the rights to fish a single crab species.

Think tank proposes ‘farmer protection bureau’ to battle ag consolidation

America’s family farmers increasingly are out-muscled by large agribusinesses in trying to make a living, said the think tank Center for American Progress on Tuesday. It called on Congress to create an Independent Farmer Protection Bureau with offices nationwide to even the fight by …

Sanders calls for ag trust-busters, large government role in farming

Fundamental change in U.S. agricultural and rural policy is "an absolute necessity," said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday in calling for Teddy "Roosevelt-style trust-busting laws to stop monopolization of markets and break up massive agribusinesses." In a position paper, Sanders, pursuing the Democratic nomination for president, endorsed supply management — federal control over farm production — higher minimum prices for major commodities such as grain and milk and a return to a government-owned grain reserve "to alleviate the need for government subsidies and ensure we have a food supply in case of extreme weather events."

Big Ag says Sen. Warren’s proposals ‘miss the mark’

After a week in which Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who's running for president, was in the spotlight for her call to check the power of big agribusiness and "level the playing field for America's family farmers," Big Ag began to hit back, insisting her ideas are out of touch with reality.  

At Iowa forum, Democratic presidential candidates vow to take on Big Ag

Antitrust enforcement took center stage at Saturday’s Heartland Forum in Storm Lake, Iowa, a platform for Democratic presidential hopefuls to share their visions for rural America. Nearly all of the candidates said tackling consolidation would be part of their rural agenda, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar calling it a main priority. Farmers at the forum were buoyed by the candidates’ attention to an issue that is a top priority for many rural communities that have been hollowed out by the effects of economic concentration and the powerful grip of agribusiness.(No paywall)

In new ag platform, Warren pledges to take on Big Ag

Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her agriculture policy platform Wednesday, three days before she is set to participate in a Democratic presidential candidates’ forum in rural Iowa. The platform calls for curtailing consolidation in agriculture by breaking up big agribusiness companies, reversing agriculture mega-mergers, and more. (No paywall)

In a generation, mega-farms will dominate ‘production’ ag, analyst predicts

Twenty years from now, vastly fewer but much larger farms will generate the lion's share of agriculture output, said chief executive Brett Sciotto of Aimpoint Research. Speaking at a farm conference on Monday, Sciotto said current trends in agriculture point to 100,000 "production" farmers in the country, one-quarter or one-fifth of the current crop of mid- and large-size farms that dominate the sector.

Data consolidation threatens sustainable agriculture, says international panel

If you care about reducing pesticide use, promoting agricultural biodiversity, and supporting small farmers, then you should also care about who’s amassing agricultural data. That’s the message of a new report from a group of sustainable food policy experts. (No paywall)

Madison looks at former meat factory for wholesale food market

Madison, Wisconsin, was hit particularly hard by the 2015 merger of Kraft and Heinz and its accompanying layoffs. Now, the city is assessing whether the former meat processing site could be repurposed into a food terminal for regional producers. If the terminal is approved, the city will join others who are building infrastructure for medium-scale regional food distribution.