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November 14, 2012 8:37 AM Obama’s Game of Chicken: How the Administration Took on Big Ag, and Lost

By Paul Glastris

Two years ago, in an effort that went largely unnoticed by the mainstream press, the Obama administration launched a frontal assault on the giant meat and dairy processing companies that dominate rural America. In the most far-reaching attempt to reform Big Ag in a half-century, the administration’s top brass went after a system that allows de facto monopolies to bully farmers into contracts, force them into debt, pay them arbitrarily, and leave them powerless, penniless, and afraid to speak out.

The attack failed, miserably.

In the November/December issue of the Washington Monthly, Lina Khan presents the untold story of this failed crusade and what it means for future efforts to reform America’s food industry.

Read “Obama’s Game of Chicken” here.

Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly. This article was supported by the American Independent Institute.

Comments

  • golack on November 14, 2012 11:06 AM:

    and they say indentured servitude has gone out of style...

  • Anonymous on November 14, 2012 11:16 AM:

    Would you all please enter the 21st century and have an electronic version? I don't buy paper magazines anymore; I have a Nook and an iPad. I want to subscribe but not to the dead tree version.

  • SecularAnimist on November 14, 2012 11:21 AM:

    If any readers would like to launch their own, personal "frontal assault on the giant meat and dairy processing companies that dominate rural America", it's easy to do.

    Switch to a vegan diet.

    And to the extent possible, consume organic and locally grown foods. There are farmers markets everywhere now.

    Side-effects include improving your health and reducing your carbon footprint and other negative environmental impacts.

  • Russell Sadler on November 14, 2012 11:29 AM:

    If you eat chicken -- or beef or pork -- you need to read this entire article. This scandal is sitting at your dinner table right now.

  • Varecia on November 14, 2012 11:48 AM:

    The chicken, beef and hog farmers need to extract themselves from the corporate ag system and organize their own cooperative packing and processing system. I realize the corporations are using continuing debt to keep the farmers chained to their operations, but I don't see any answer short of an alternative cooperative processing and packing system that bypasses the corporations entirely.

  • Varecia on November 14, 2012 12:58 PM:

    SecularAnimist on November 14, 2012 11:21 AM:
    "If any readers would like to launch their own, personal "frontal assault on the giant meat and dairy processing companies that dominate rural America", it's easy to do.
    Switch to a vegan diet..."

    While I really do understand the broader rationale for such an approach, it would appear to be a little tone deaf to the present plight of the struggling livestock producers under discussion, and anyone else involved in businesses that rely on these products after processing. Corporate America wants to keep the livestock producers indentured, and the response from the left is "Throw the baby out with the bathwater."
    If I were a chicken farmer who read that suggestion, I would feel that there was truly no one who was hearing my concerns.

  • exlibra on November 14, 2012 1:51 PM:

    Would you all please enter the 21st century and have an electronic version? -- Anonymous, @11:16 AM

    Um... The article is on top of the Wash. Monthly's home page. Plus, the link to the article had been included, *twice*, in Glastris' posting. If you're reading Political Animal, you can read that article, too. No need to be self righteous about dead trees and 21st century...

  • Marko on November 14, 2012 2:46 PM:

    I wonder what Anon thought of our "21st Century Captcha"?