The North Dakota Farmers Union submitted comments this week to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service calling for greater efforts in antitrust enforcement.

“Without competition in the marketplace, farmers and ranchers make less money, and consumers pay more for food,” said Mark Watne, president of North Dakota Farmers Union. “Market concentration is weakening our food supply chain and the ability of everyone to put food on the table."

Watne said the worst example occurred last year in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing meatpacking plant closures that resulted in major financial losses to ranchers when the spread between fed cattle and boxed beef prices soared by more than 300%.

Additionally, Farmers Union is calling on USDA to immediately leverage existing rural development programs for investment in local and regional processing projects and greater support for farmer-owned cooperatives.

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