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helping agriculture that is helping them to stay in business. This is certainly something that ought to be given more attention.
Secondly, we mention here that family agriculture is more consistent with environmental protection.
Family farm agriculture is much more oriented to natural resource conservation than is corporate agriculture and its absentee owners and
managers that Professor Gates referred to in his testimony earlier this morning.
Third, for consumer protection, family agriculture, by maintaining competition among a large number of producers, automatically tends to hold down prices to consumers, provided of course that concentration in the food-processing industry does not jack up prices before the produce reaches the consumer.
Family agriculture is clearly better for consumers than giant corporate agriculture and the administered prices that the corporate pattern brings to every sector of the economy which it dominates.
As far as what we do about the corporate invasion, much can be done. Some things are being done, we are proud to see, on the State level where the corporations are chartered. But we think that much more can be done on the national level.
For the remainder of my time, I want to brieflly touch upon two areas in which we should have increased emphasis in strengthening family agriculture and curbing the corporate invasion : First, stronger antitrust statutes and more stringent enforcement of antitrust law; and secondly, more adequate Federal commodity programs for family farmers who must compete with corporate enterprises.
On antitrust laws we need vigilant administration of antitrust policy against both horizontal and vertical combinations in agriculture. We think we need it now.
It is clear from experience with other sectors of the economy that antitrust action if it is to be effective cannot be postponed until a small number of firms control an entire sector. Action against economic concentration at that stage is virtually impossible because of technical complications and due to the political muscle that such firms are able to muster to frustrate antitrust enforcement.
I think this relates to the quotation that you had of the Farm Bureau. If we think that corporate agriculture has moved far enough we ought to take action now or we are not going to be able to take action at all. If we don't act now, if we don't have enforcement now, if we wait for an even clearer trend or until corporations dominate 85 percent of production in particular crops and so on, our experience is that we are not going to be able to do anything.
If we are going to move against the corporate invasion, it must be at a relatively early stage. I don't suggest that it is that early; there have been tremendous inroads at this point.
Senator STEVENSON. The corporate penetration of agriculture is not uniform, by any means, is it? Has it been much more pervasive in the case of fruits and vegetables, and sugar, than in other commodities?
Mr. BARTON. Yes, that is the case, Mr. Chairman. It has moved into broilers, into citrus, into some of these areas. But it moves extremely rapidly once the corporations begin to get into a particular sector and make a go of it. For example, it is moving very rapidly now in cattle feedlots where you are getting more and more corporations in the Midwest and particularly in the Texas Panhandle area.
In hog production, with the tremendous cycles that we have had between a period of somewhat reasonable prices followed by tremendously low prices, family farmers are being pressed to the wall. It is an area, again, that is ripe for corporations to go in there and start making the contracts on an individual basis with small farmers.
The problem is that when this begins it is difficult to stop it, and within a period of a very few years the corporations can control the entire sector.
Senator STEVENSON. Do you have any observations on the environmental consequences of feedlots!
Mr. BARTON. I think the environmental consequences of feedlots have been pretty well documented. As you get the very large feedlots spanning literally tens or even hundreds of acres, you have no way of spreading out the waste materials of the livestock. So you are bound to have odors and runoff from those feedlots that will tremendously contribute to pollution.
Now the answer to this, we say, is to keep smaller operations and keep the cattle spread out across the land much more, so that you can have natural decomposition of waste material. Indeed, this is protective and supportive of good land in that it builds the land naturally.
Senator STEVENSON. They say the feedlots in the country produce more pollution than all of the municipal treatment facilities combined in the Nation. I don't know if that is true.
Mr. BARTON. I am not prepared to cite a specific statistic, but I would not be at all surprised at that. I would say that it is getting worse rather than getting better as you get larger feedlots.
Senator STEVENSON. I am sorry to interrupt your statement.
Mr. BARTON. That is certainly all right, Mr. Chairman. I am proceeding now to the last page of the statement.
The prosecution of some key cases of economic concentration in agricultural production at this time would serve notice to other business conglomerates that they cannot concentrate production in farming without fear of governmental response. We could, in short, head off the trend toward corporate-dominated agriculture before it is too late.
One more point on antitrust enforcement: In agriculture, at least, Farmers Union is convinced that action should be taken against bigness per se, rather than wait for explicit action on the part of corporations in restraint of trade.
It has been demonstrated conclusively that family agriculture is as efficient or more efficient than corporate production units. In light of the other detrimental effects on the environment, on rural development, or imbalance of population growth and so on, from corporate agriculture, action should be taken against corporate agriculture per
I think this may require some amendment to antitrust law, because as the courts have interpreted antitrust laws in this country, you
have to show intent to monopolize. You can't really move against bigness until you can show explicit restraint of trade.
We think that we are lucky in a sense that the dedication to farming as a way of life has held back the corporate invasion to an extent that now we can take a look at bigness per se in the agricultural sector, and to some degree there is still an opportunity to move in this area.
If it takes amendments to the antitrust law, and it may well take such amendments, and specifically related to agriculture, then we ought to have that amendment.
Senator STEVENSON. I have asked Mr. Frazier to look into that subject further and give us some specific suggestions about changes in the law, and enforcement of existing law, and would do the same in your case.
Mr. BARTON. I will be happy to look into the matter with respect to specific amendments, and to work with you and your staff on possible legislation that Farmers Union would recommend.
Senator STEVENSON. The staff informs me that the Library of Congress has prepared a study on the feed lot issues we were discussing and I order it placed in the record at this point, together with an analysis of corporations by Victor K. Ray "The Corporate Invasion of American Agriculture.
(The information referred to follows:)