Farmers face increasingly concentrated supply markets for seeds, fertilizer, equipment and many other inputs. At the same time, they face increased concentration in the markets into which they sell their crops, milk, livestock, and poultry. The result is higher costs and reduced income. For more than a century American law has sought to control such risks by antitrust and agriculture specific laws whose intent was to ensure competitive markets both for inputs and outputs. In addition, the law has long provided specific protections in farming contexts against excessive buyer power. This framework still exists, but it has failed so far to provide real protections for farmers. This presentation is to provide a critical overview of the competitive and legal issues facing farmers today.
Co-sponsored by the Thurman Arnold Project, the Law, Ethics & Animals Program, and the Yale Student Environmental Coalition