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Minnesota Farmers Union opposes Cargill's plans to acquire poultry producer

The group says consolidation doesn't benefit farmers.

The Minnesota Farmers Union doesn't like the idea of Cargill buying a major chicken producer

Cargill earlier this month announced a joint venture with Continental Grain to acquire Sanderson Farms, a poultry producer, for $4.53 billion, with the deal expected to close by the end of the year.  

The Minnesota Farmers Union's full board voted unanimously this week to go on record in opposition of Cargill buying Sanderson Farms and sent a letter to Minnesota's congressional delegation with its thoughts on the acquisition. 

“Farmers Union members have long pursued an open and competitive marketplace where family farmers thrive,” said Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Gary Wertish in a news release. “Increased consolidation does not benefit farmers, nor consumers. Instead, it concentrates power into the hands of a few and leaves farmers with fewer market opportunities and consumers with higher prices.”

Minnesota farmers aren't the only ones who oppose the acquisition. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice urging a review of the deal. 

Grassley is urging the antitrust division to "scrutinize" the proposed acquisition to make sure it "will not reduce market access" or "facilitate anti-competitive and predatory business practices" in the industry.

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“As you know, the poultry industry recently has been investigated for conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for chicken products, and pass on the costs to consumers and other purchasers," Grassley's letter says.

"Further, the Antitrust Division should consider whether the proposed acquisition will result in more limited choices of poultry products and higher prices for consumers.”

The Minnesota Farmers Union is a nonprofit membership-based organization that works to protect and enhance the economic interests of farmers, ranchers and rural communities. 

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