Warren targets America's family farmers with plan to bust up big agribusiness

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren – a 2020 presidential hopeful – unveiled a plan on Wednesday focused on supporting America’s family farmers, while taking aim at multinational companies that she says are amassing growing amounts of power.

“Today a farmer can work hard, do everything right — even get great weather — and still not make it,” Warren wrote in a blog post on Medium. “It’s because bad decisions in Washington have consistently favored the interests of multinational corporations and big business lobbyists over the interests of family farmers.”

In her post, she specifically targets some of the nation’s largest agribusiness corporations – including Tyson, Bayer-Monsanto and Dow – which she said possess immense market power obtained, in some cases, through mergers that should have never been approved.

The tenants of her plan include:

-Appointing “trustbusters” to review and reverse anticompetitive mergers – like the $66 billion Bayer-Monsanto deal.

-Committing to breaking up agribusiness that has become vertically integrated. For example, she says Tyson controls about every aspect of bringing chickens to market, with the exception of owning the farms.

-Attacking consolidation by giving farmers more options and bargaining power in the marketplace.

-Warren also lists a number of ways the sector is “rigged” against smaller businesses – including the government’s checkoff programs and the need to use an authorized agent to repair equipment. She also says the U.S. should re-write its country of origin rules concerning beef and pork.

These themes are consistent with her campaign message that the federal government is not working in the best interests of middle class Americans, but rather in the interests of the wealthy.


The solutions are strikingly similar to proposals she unveiled in a plan to break up big technology companies earlier this month. The liberal firebrand said companies like Amazon and Facebook were stifling competition and preventing new companies from entering the space.

The announcement on agriculture comes as Warren is headed to Iowa – an important primary state – where an estimated 90 percent of the region is covered in farmland.