Farmers spoke out during a U-S Senate hearing in Washington D-C this morning on so-called “economic concentration” in agriculture. That’s the consolidation of agri-businesses that puts more power to control prices under fewer large corporations. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin sites one example of how family farms are being squeezed out.Harkin says 47-percent of the consumer food dollar went to farmers in 1950. Today the number is only 21-percent. The Iowa democrat says economic concentration or “vertical integration” is forcing family farmers out as prices we pay at the grocery store go up.Panelists say they’re looking for ways to protect family farmers from anti-competitive practices. North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan calls economic concentration the root of very serious problems in the ag industry.Farmers and ranchers who spoke at the hearing were from states including: New York, Minnesota and New Mexico. Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge is scheduled to address the Democratic Policy Committee in a session later today. The morning hearing was carried live over the Internet.
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