Is It Time to Break Up Big Ag?
In the spring of 2020, Dairy Farmers of America, the nation’s largest dairy coöperative, purchased Dean Foods, the country’s largest milk processor, for four hundred and thirty-three million dollars. D.F.A. formed in 1998, out of a merger of four regional co-ops. Last year, its members, more than twelve thousand dairy farmers, sold fifty-six billion pounds of milk, about twenty-five per cent of the nation’s total, and the organization as a whole brought in nearly eighteen billion dollars in revenue. With the acquisition of Dean, D.F.A. gained unprecedented power as both a milk supplier and buyer. Pete Hardin, the editor and publisher of the dairy trade journal The Milkweed, told me, “It’s the poster child for agricultural concentration—and what Big Ag has become.”
Read the full story in The New Yorker.