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New web site focuses on agribusiness

(Wednesday, June 4, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release.

Contact: Ben Lilliston, 301-270-4787, blilliston@iatp.org

Minneapolis - A new web site by the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy focuses on the practices of agribusiness firms including their role in the marketplace and the political arena.

The site, http://www.agribusinesscenter.org , culls information on the world's largest agribusiness firms from news reports, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, company reports, advocacy groups and legal documents. It will look in-depth at the role agribusiness plays in the areas of consumer prices, environmental protection, labor rights, market concentration, and political influence.

"From the food on our dinner table, to the environment, worker safety, and the farm economy - agribusiness-related companies are playing a larger role in our everyday lives," said IATP President Mark Ritchie. "In the future, as more of our energy and industrial raw materials come from agriculture, these companies will become even more important in the national and international sphere."

The site is designed to be a tool for reporters, researchers and advocacy organizations to better understand how agribusiness companies operate. The site launch contains short features on the impact of the recent mad cow case in Canada, a ground-breaking legal case involving beef concentration, and agribusiness' influence on federal trade advisory committees. Visitors of the agribusiness center will find:

  • News ticker a daily ticker of stories related to agribusiness.
  • News features More in-depth information on new reports, legal actions, or bills/legislation related to agribusiness.
  • Agribusiness Center Update a periodic news bulletin of what's new on the site.
  • Company Profiles The project will begin with in-depth profiles of many of the largest agribusiness companies, including products, staff, and campaign contributions.

"A few agribusiness companies have a big say in what type of food we eat, the type of farms that cover rural America--and, increasingly, the world. The companies also determine the international trade policies our government pushes," says IATP Trade Director, Sophia Murphy - author of a recent paper on trade rules and market power. "Many of these companies have numerous subsidiaries, partnerships, and trade associations, making them hard to monitor. This site will be a useful one-stop shop for people around the world to get the full story on these companies."

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.