SASKATOON, Sask.—“Amid record-high demand for food, farmers’ economy-topping efficiency gains, record-low costs per unit of production, and food consumption outstripping production, farmers have posted their second-largest losses in history. And agribusiness corporations have posted their largest profits. These facts are compatible with only one explanation of the farm crisis: the rewards of farmer productivity, efficiency, and cost-cutting are being seized by more-powerful players in the agri-food chain. Farmers are being plundered and liquidated.” So concludes The Farm Crisis and Corporate Profits, a report published today by Canada’s National Farmers Union.

The Farm Crisis and Corporate Profits names the dominant agribusiness corporations from one end of the agri-food chain to the other. It lists their profits and Return on Equity rates for 2004. The report finds that in that year, over 75% of those corporations posted record or near-record profits. In 2004, farmers posted near-record losses. The report goes on to examine the many mechanisms that agribusiness corporations use to capture more and more of the revenues and profits from the agri-food chain.

“Everyone in the food chain is making record-high profits except farmers. In our report, we document a huge transfer of profitability from family farmers to the dominant agribusiness corporations. It’s not just that we’re suffering and they’re taking record profits: we’re suffering because they’re taking record profits,” said NFU President Stewart Wells.

NFU Director of Research Darrin Qualman said that “As you move down the list of the 75 companies detailed in our report, the profits are amazing. Single companies make more than all the farmers in Canada combined. There has never been more profit made in food—money on both sides of the farmers, the input side and the processing and retailing side. With so many taking so much profit out of the system, farmers should consider the possibility that the farm crisis is a case of agribusiness eating farmers’ economic lunch and leaving them to starve financially.”

The NFU’s 16-page report is available at


For More Information:

Darrin Qualman, NFU Director of Research:

(306) 652-9465 or (306) 492-4714 or (306) 227-2273

Stewart Wells, NFU President:

(306) 773-6852