The Daily Meal’s 2013 list of America’s 50 Most Powerful People in Food is littered with celebrity chefs, restaurateurs, journalists and CEOs, but they saved a spot for the family farmer, ranking #50.
The list is ranked according to each individual’s power to affect what, how, where and why consumers choose what they eat. They’re people who create demand for certain crops and the way they’re harvested and sold.
Some people on the list, including celebrity chefs and restaurateurs, set food trends with the recipes they feature. Others on the list, including Mike Duke, President and CEO of Walmart and David Dillon, Chairman and CEO of The Kroger Co. made it for their roles in the supply field.
The most interesting ranking set the family farmer at the last spot on the list. The Daily Meal acknowledges distributors, retailers and chefs wouldn’t have food to use if it weren’t for the hard work of farmers growing crops and raising livestock.
The Daily Meal writes the small-scale independent operators who actually get their hands dirty in American soil ought to be number one on the list. While the lists states no one should have more influence on America’s food than family farmers, it adds individual farmers are “increasingly powerless” and reliant on, but also limited by, government programs.
The list explains 87 percent of American farms are individually owned and that individuality means they’re unable to lobby for interests as effectively as the three percent of farms that qualify as agribusinesses.
The Daily Meal’s summary of the family farmer infers the website would like to see America’s farmer’s higher on the list, writing they’d “love to see family farmers back where they belong.”
Recent consumer interest in GMOs, organic food and pesticides helps explain why Monsanto’s President and CEO Hugh Grant ranked second on the list.
Other noteworthy names on the list include Cargill Chairman and CEO Gregory Page and Tyson President and CEO Donnie Smith. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was on the 2013 list at number 10, eight spots lower than the number two ranking he had last year.