As large corporate meatpacking plants close across the nation, the pandemic exposes deep cracks in the nation’s monopolistic meat supply. Allowing a handful of multinational corporations to control the meat supply impairs the public safety during our hour of need. The combination — monopolistic control and sick laborers — does not work well to ensure production and public safety in a pandemic.

During his 90-year lifetime, my father farmed in southern Minnesota. He watched as multinational corporations forced independent farmers off the land, replaced by industrial-sized factory farms. As 11 swine factory farms circled our farm within a 3-mile radius, my father frequently proclaimed that, “Small farmers will feed this country when it gets into trouble.” My father was right. The country is in trouble and small farmers are feeding this country—not multinational corporations.

As America slowly emerges from this crisis, we must re-examine the sick dependency upon

corporate titans to feed America and rely, once again, upon small farmers to feed America.

Sonja Trom Eayrs, Maple Grove