Quick Takes: Assets of Old Farmer Co-ops Now Owned by Foreign Ag Giants

With Justice Department approval of the sale of Cargill’s hog division, pork-producing companies that used to be held close to home are now in the hands of Chinese and South American multinational corporations.
Photo by Richard Tsong Taatarii
Photo by Richard Tsong Taatarii

The Justice Department has approved the purchase of Cargill Inc.’s pork division by Brazilian ag giant JBS. Pork

Yet another portion of U.S. food production may have fallen into the hands of a foreign-owned corporation now that the U.S. Department of Justice has approved purchase of Cargill Inc.’s pork business by Brazilian-based JBS.

Known among Missouri farmers for decades, Cargill acquired the pork cooperative of MFA Inc. (originally Missouri Farmers Association, founded outside of Brunswick, Missouri, in 1914) several years ago as competition declined in the face of full integration of the U.S. pork industry. Now the majority of U.S. hog production is largely out of farmers’ hands and in the hands of large multinational corporations, some of which are headquartered far from America’s shores.

This is the second time in as many years that Missouri pork, with deep roots in farmer owned cooperatives, has drawn even further away from the family farms where they began. In 2013 China’s Shuanghui Ltd. swallowed Smithfield Foods. Smithfield, in turn, had bought out the bankrupt Missouri-based Farmland Industry’s hog business.

Farmland, which had its main offices in Kansas City, Missouri, ceased business operations in 2003 and was once known as a the largest farmer owned co-op in the world.

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Topics: Economy

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