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Should we use Antitrust Policies on Big Agriculture?

AAEA members release new research in AEPP

“Big Ag” is getting a big bad rep in the media in needing to break it up with antitrust law, researchers want to provide people with some context as to what antitrust policy was created to do and how it has been historically implemented.

In the new Applied Economics Perspectives & Policy article “Should we use antitrust policies on big agriculture?” Jason Winfree and Philip Watson from the University of Idaho discuss some of the potential problems of using antitrust law to break up big agriculture.

Watson says, “The implications are that it would likely be counter productive to use antitrust law to break up big ag for the purposes of raising prices to protect small famers. Antitrust policy is specifically designed to protect consumers from high prices that can sometimes result from market power. However, there is little evidence that big ag is resulting in higher prices and there is more evidence to the contrary that big ag is resulting in lower prices. For some, this is the problem; that food prices are too low and this is hurting small producers. However, there are better policy tools to assist small farmers than using antitrust to break up big ag for the purpose of raising prices.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190