Following up on OCM’s 2017 national policy brief, “Consolidation, Globalization, and the American Family Farm,” we have launched a new policy reporting series highlighting these issues at the state level. We outline the plight of family farmers and the rural communities they call home, showing how specific policy decisions made at both the state and federal level have driven the wealth off the farm, out of rural communities and into the pockets of a few global corporations.
In January, at a briefing for Missouri legislators at the state capitol, we presented the findings of our first state-level report and called for immediate action to help level the playing field for Missouri family farmers. A central concern is a 2013 law allowing international companies to own Missouri’s agricultural land. Following the passage of that law, Chinese company Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. purchased Smithfield Foods, giving Chinese-sponsored business entities control of about 25 percent of Missouri’s pork production. The day following our briefing at the Missouri Capitol, legislation was introduced which would repeal the 2013 law and prohibit any alien or foreign businesses from acquiring agricultural land in the state. Representatives from Family Farm Action, Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Friends of Responsible Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and others have testified in favor of the legislation.
In March, we released our second state-level report, focusing on North Dakota. The report paints a picture of rural communities struggling as farming is increasingly industrialized and consolidated, to the point of creating near monopolies. As a result, family farmers, once the economic engine of North Dakota are being lost. Only one in 10 farmers in North Dakota are considered young farmers with few returning to an industry where the outlook is so grim. At our legislative briefing at the North Dakota Capitol, there was a strong turnout from both sides of the political aisle. We’ll continue to work with North Dakota legislators on policy when the legislative session begins in early 2019.
Our next report will focus on Ohio and will be released later this Spring. Read our reports online at www.competitivemarkets.com/category/policy-research.