The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) has voiced its opposition to the proposed sale of Sanderson Farms to Cargill and Continental Grain.
The organization revealed its opposition on its Twitter feed on August 24. The tweet read: “Farmers Union members have long pursued an open + competitive marketplace where family farmers thrive. That’s why our full board voted unanimously to go on record in opposition to Cargill buying Sanderson Farms.”
In another tweet that appeared on August 17, prior to the vote, MFU, without specifically mentioning the Sanderson Farms deal, stated: “Consolidation has forced too many families to pack up + leave their farms. Each time this happens, that’s one less family to send their children to the local school, shop at the local grocery store, attend the local church. The entire rural community loses.”
Cargill, Continental Grain and Sanderson Farms announced on August 9 that an agreement had been reached between the three companies in which Cargill and Continental Grain would form a joint venture to purchase Sanderson Farms and merge it with Wayne Farms, which is owned by Continental Grain.
Sanderson Farms is the third largest poultry company in the United States, while Wayne Farms is the seventh largest. The proposed deal is expected to close by the end of 2021 or early in 2022.
MFU never specifically mentioned Continental Grain in its tweets, placing its focus on Cargill, which is headquartered in Minnesota. The company’s corporate office is in Minnetonka.
According to a report from Albert Lea Radio, a motion made by Lac Qui Parle County Farmers Union President Doug Peterson to send a letter to Minnesota’s congressional delegation to express MFU’s opposition to the proposed transaction passed unanimously.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has already gone on record to express his skepticism of the proposed deal. He recently wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division, urging the agency to thoroughly scrutinize the pending transaction.
“I am concerned that continued mergers and acquisitions in an already concentrated poultry industry will increase consolidation, frustrate competition and reduce marketing options. I also am concerned about the impact on consumer choice and price of poultry products,” Grassley wrote.