Corporate Accountability Project


Agribusiness Accountability Initiative (AAI)

AAI is an open forum on the impact of agribusiness conglomerates on farmers and ranchers, labor, consumers, the environment and food security.

AAI is conceived as an open and ongoing electronic forum to address the disproportionate impact of vertically and horizontally integrated agribusiness conglomerates on the livelihoods and food security of small and medium farmers, consumers and communities around the world. We invite you to join us and share advocacy ideas, networks, research and public education strategies.

AAI is co-sponsored by the National Catholic Rural Life Conference and the Center of Concern. To learn more or become involved, contact Judith Pojda.

Why We Need to be Attentive

The tendency toward concentration and consolidation among the handful of global corporations which control agricultural inputs, financing, and processing markets is usually portrayed as the inevitable result of freer markets and more efficient, technologically advanced methods. In fact, the emergence of monopoly power in the agribusiness sector has more to do with political influence and public policy than with free markets. Read more" . . .

Why Corporate Agriculture is a Problem

The industrialization of agriculture is often described as a necessary response to the challenge of feeding a growing and increasingly urban global population. But discussion of higher yields and more efficient distribution systems fails to acknowledge that this model of large-scale corporate agriculture is unsustainable over the medium- and long-term for many reasons. Here are ten of the best. . . Read more . . .

What We Believe is a Socially Just Response

These problems are complex, interlinked and long-standing. By networking with individuals and organizations who are experts on one or more dimensions of the situation, promising alternatives and responses have emerged. The goal of AAI is to bring as many of these various responses together, explore their inter-linkages and synergies, and then mobilize their leverage potential in a coordinated way. The combination of a broad constituent base and a comprehensive approach to the problems of agribusiness concentration is AAI's strength: creating a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

AAI has held more than eight regional forums and one global forum since 2002. Each of its five global regions now has a self-selected steering committee and a facilitator. AAI has a total of 13 working groups focused on research and advocacy concerning the impact of agribusiness concentration on its various stakeholders, but especially on vulnerable populations. To find out how you can participate or contribute, contact the AAI Coordinator.

AAI Resources: Search the AAI Clearinghouse for Articles on Agribusiness

Some examples:

Leveling the Field Series: 5 Issue Briefs Addressing Agribusiness Concentration

  • Corporate Power in Livestock Production: How it's Hurting Farmers, Consumers and Communities – And What We Can Do About It
  • Environmental and Health Problems in Livestock Production: Pollution in the Food System
  • Power Buyers, Power Sellers: How Supermarkets Impact Farmers, Workers and Consumers – and How We Can Build a Fairer Food System
  • Hogging the Market: How Powerful Meat Packers are Changing our Food System and What We Can Do About It
  • Milking the System: How Corporate Power Impacts Dairy Producers, Consumers and Communities – And How We Can Regain Control Over Our Dairy Supply

Agribusiness Influence over USDA Regulatory Policy

The Agribusiness Accountability Initiative (AAI) has released an analysis of how the U.S. Department of Agriculture is serving the narrow interests of large agri-food corporations. AAI working group members released two reports related to this topic:

  • "USDA, Inc.: How Agribusiness has Hijacked Regulatory Policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture" This report examines the industry connections of key agency officials, the role of trade associations in influencing policy, and offers recommendations for correcting this classic example of a "captured" agency.
  • "A Matter of Trust: How the Revolving Door Undermines Public Confidence in Government"”and What to do about it" This report investigates, exposes and seeks remedies for conflict-of-interest issues such as loopholes in revolving door laws (industry-to-government, government-to-industry, government-to-lobbyist), and tightening ethics laws so an to ensure integrity and fairness in federal government policymaking.