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Southeast Minnesota Farmers Union hosts antitrust meeting

Attorney General Keith Ellison joined members of Minnesota Farmers Union today for a broad-ranging discussion at People’s Energy Cooperative in Oronoco.

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) Executive Committee member Linda Larson organized the event.

“Our policy is shaped by the people who show up,” said Larson, who is also the president of the Dakota County Farmers Union. “The better informed our members are, the better our policy will be.”

Farmers Union was formed more than a hundred years ago by farmers who joined together to market their products. Farmers Union continues to advocate for a fair marketplace and launched the Fairness for Farmers campaign in 2021 to raise public awareness of the need for a competitive marketplace to benefit not only farmers, but also consumers and workers.

“Farmers Union has made antitrust a strategic priority through our Fairness for Farmers campaign because our members understand firsthand that consolidated markets aren’t fair for farmers, workers or consumers,” said MFU Government Relations Director Stu Lourey. “We are proud to work closely with the Attorney General’s office to help him champion a fair marketplace. He’s a fighter and if we’re going to make real change, we need to engage in the fight.”

Ellison said the people who feed us every day have the right to make a living. It isn’t fair that farmers earn $1.07 for every $7 consumers spend on bacon or $1.98 for the $10.49 that consumers pay retail for top sirloin steak, referencing the Farmer’s Share statistics shared by National Farmers Union.

“What we have now are highly concentrated markets, farmers who feed all of us basically scraping by, and a group that has used their economic dominance to try to dominate the political sphere,” Ellison said. “We are committed to working together to make sure that the markets are fair, and farmers can get a price that can sustain a family, allow them to grow and give their kids a real future. That is what we’re fighting for, and we must convince society that the people who make our food are critically important and must be treated that way.”