Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is about to be immortalized by Hollywood as the 1990s nemesis to American agriculture, but moviegoers may be confused when they realize this villainized company is once again prospering at the expense of family farmers. ADM is the infamous U.S. agribusiness that had been found guilty of criminal price fixing in the 1990s. Fifteen years after its executives were jailed and the company was fined $100 million dollars ADM is again making huge profits, generating $70 billion in annual sales. Despite these staggeringly high profits, ADM’s criminal past, and accusations of current child labor trafficking in Africa, this gigantic agribusiness still benefits from U.S. tax credits and farm subsidies. To read Ian Griffith’s story about the ADM’s return to American farming please click here.
A driving force behind these subsidies is the push for the now controversial use of corn crops as biofuel. Recent research has shown that biofuels “cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these ‘green’ fuels are taken into account”. * Click here for more information on these biofuel greenhouse gas findings.
However, ADM is refusing to step away from producing lucrative biofuels crops even as more and more family farmers continue to lose their businesses. Please click here for more information on about how biofuel and biotech industries are hurting family farmers.
Unfortunately ADM is only one example of mega corporations taking over agriculture in the United States–see Oxfam America’s article on “Saving the Family Farm”. Consumers have to make sure they are supporting truly independent family farmers. In order to slow this corporate farming takeover consumers should look for labels such as Animal Welfare Approved, which ensures that family farmers grew and harvested the products you purchase.
*Rosenthal, E. (2008, February 8). Biofuels deemed a greenhouse threat. Retrieved September 4, 2008 from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/science/earth/08wbiofuels.html