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Agribusiness

Agribusiness is a term that distinguishes traditional farming from corporate farming. One major difference between these types of farming is that a corporate farmer is usually a contracted employee, rather than the "boss" of the farm. Agribusiness marks the rise of modern techno-farming. Farm are expensive; what with machinery[?], chemicals, petroleum, and genetics.

The goal of agribusiness is to vertically integrate all food production. Corporations want to manage every step of this production, from DNA to consumption.

History of Agribusiness

The corporate farming movement began in the chicken and vegetable indusries and has since expanded to hog, grain production. In 1997, some 60% of hogs sold within the US were sold under some form of contract, whereas in 1980 only 5% of hogs were sold in this manner.

Criticism of Agribusiness

Agribusiness has received criticism because of its tendency to remove farmers from independent production decisions and forcing them to sign productio contracts with corporations.

Agribusiness is also criticized for its tendency to concentrate production, while expanding, and thus steadily decrease both the number of farms and the percentage of independent farmers. This is essentially an anti-monopolist criticism.

As production continues to concentrate and is coupled with increasing reliance on technology, farmers complain about their increasing remoteness from centers of population or production. Fox example, farm machinery repair services, which were once as close as 2 miles away, are increasingly as far as 40 miles away.

Robert A. Rohwer asks, "Are we starting a new serfdom with CEOs as the lords? Are we creating a vise whose jaws are corporate control? Corporations will soon collect all the windfalls of agriculture and corporate decisions will dominate all aspects of the field. My son and daughter are mere employees, tied to the land, swamped in debt, and diminished in their entrepreneurship. We are moving towards industrialized agriculture."

See also: list of literature regarding rural economics, hog lot, rural sociology



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