Farm Action Supports Justice Department’s Consent Decree in Wayne-Sanderson Merger Lawsuit

Today, Farm Action expressed strong support for the Justice Department’s commitment to antitrust enforcement in a public comment on the proposed consent decree with Cargill, Sanderson Farms, Wayne Farms, and others.

Farm Action’s comment commended the consent decree for protecting the public interest and encouraged the court to swiftly accept it. “The consent decree enforces the law against brazen violations that have gone unchecked for decades,” the comment said. 

The comment illustrated how the “tournament system” — the dominant payment method for poultry growers — is fundamentally anticompetitive, and praised the consent decree for ending this “unjust payment system that Sanderson and Wayne have used to deprive poultry growers of their independence and extract untold wealth from rural communities.”

“Most importantly,” Farm Action’s comment concludes, the consent decree “vindicates the will of Congress, and the public it represents, that farmers and ranchers should not be ‘submerged’ into ‘cogs in the wheel’ of giant corporations with distant headquarters,” which prioritize excessive profit above all else. 

“Global monopolists have taken advantage of lax antitrust enforcement for too long, exploiting farmers and illegally colluding to steal the wages from America’s workers,” said Farm Action President Joe Maxwell. “We applaud the Justice Department for putting a stop to the abuse and taking a critical step toward restoring competition in poultry markets.”

By proposing the consent decree, the Justice Department has embraced a whole-of-government approach to antitrust enforcement, as directed by President Biden in his 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.

Farm Action’s comment is part of an ongoing campaign to strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act, a 100-year-old law to protect livestock and poultry producers from unfair monopolistic market practices.

Media Contact: Dee Laninga,, 202-450-0094