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Affordable food, profitable farms: A win-win, Brunswick Beacon

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced a bold partnership with attorneys general in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The partnership will address anti-competitive market forces in agriculture that artificially drive up the cost of food for American families and reduce revenue for farmers.

Agriculture is big business in North Carolina, accounting for one in every five jobs. Nonetheless, consumers and our farmers face economic challenges as agricultural mergers create huge businesses pricing products – particularly meat and poultry – out of reach of our hardworking families and squeezing out family farms.

This new partnership is part of President Biden’s effort to promote competition; it includes guidance for agribusiness mergers and provides funding for expanded meat and poultry processing facilities. It also includes anti-trust and consumer protection provisions to curtail price-fixing and price-gouging.

This should be welcome news for North Carolina and Brunswick County farmers and consumers, but anything proposed by President Biden triggers immediate MAGA Republican backlash. Howling "government overreach," Congressional MAGA Republicans claim that the plan would limit economic growth. Rather than supporting consumers and the farmers who put food on our tables, these Republicans side with big business that puts money in their pockets.

This isn’t the first case of Republicans thwarting consumers’ and farmers’ interests. North Carolina farmers are struggling to find seasonal workers and the government’s H-2A Visa program could allow them to bring in foreign workers, but North Carolina’s MAGA Republicans continue proposing tougher anti-immigration measures that block this pathway. This leaves rotting crops, higher food costs, and lost profits so that politicians can score cheap talking points.

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “We Ain’t Gonna Work on MAGA’s Farm No More.” Let’s replace these obstructionist Republicans with legislators who understand that making America “great” means protecting our farmers and our families.

Kristine Garrity



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