WASHINGTON — “‘American exceptionalism’ is the notion that the U.S. occupies a special niche in the world in terms of its political, economic and historic development. Consistent with this notion is the unparalleled productivity and efficiency of America's food and agricultural system, as evidenced by the enviable bounty of our nation's Corn Belt,” said J. Patrick Boyle, president and chief executive officer of the American Meat Institute, in a guest editorial in today’s The Des Moines Register.

Highlighting the efficiencies in U.S. agriculture that have contributed to phenomenal growth in the meat and poultry sectors, this guest editorial was published just days before the first in a series of joint public workshops to discuss competition and regulatory issues in agriculture. The workshops are being hosted by the Departments of Justice and Agriculture.

“This success story is testament to the hard work, innovative spirit and collaborative efforts between livestock producers and meat processors. Parties in the food supply chain work together to achieve mutually beneficial success and assure customers' satisfaction,” Mr. Boyle wrote.

Cooperative arrangements generally referred to as marketing agreements have emerged as one of the most effective ways to enhance product safety, ensure consistent products and manage risks, while also benefitting the consumers, he said.

Consolidation is phenomenon that has happened industry-wide in agriculture, he said. “Consolidation among livestock producers and retail grocery customers has increased significantly,” Mr. Boyle added. “Today, there are 65,000 hog farms in America, down from 1 million 40 years ago. The largest operations — those with 50,000 head or more — market 57% of the hogs. The top-five grocers accounted for 40% of total sales in 2000. By 2008, it had risen to 55%.

“As America continues to expand its production and becomes even better at producing for the rapidly growing world population, it's good to know that we have a proven production system in place that will ensure stability and prosperity for generations of producers to come,” Mr. Boyle concluded.

Clickhereto read the entire editorial.