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Austin is an expert on agricultural and antitrust policy. During the 2020 presidential campaign, he advised candidates Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg on agricultural policy before ultimately serving as Co-Chair of the Biden campaign’s Agriculture Antitrust Policy Committee. He is a Fellow of the Thurman Arnold Project at Yale University, an initiative that brings together faculty, students, and scholars to collaborate on research related to competition policy and antitrust enforcement. He is also a Senior Fellow at Data for Progress and serves on the Board of Directors for Common Good Iowa, Craigardan, and the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project. In 2022, The Advocate named him one of its "Champions of Pride.”


He is currently working on his debut book, which is scheduled to be published in 2024 by Island Press. The book, tentatively entitled Barons, will profile a series of powerful magnates to illustrate the concentration of power in the American food system.


His past publications include an article in Vox profiling one of the country’s most powerful hog barons and an article in The American Conservative arguing that the country’s food and agriculture policy has caused the offshoring of the American food system. He has also published articles in Buzzfeed News, Fast Company, and Forbes, among many other publications. In addition, he authored a report on “America's Concentration Crisis,” which was discussed extensively by David Leonhardt in a New York Times column and tweeted out by Senator Bernie Sanders and David Axelrod.


He also has a strong track record of organizing conferences and other forums to push the conversation forward on agriculture policy. He recently worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to organize a conference and publish a compendium at Yale Law School entitled “Reforming America’s Food Retail Markets,” which explored competition issues in the nation’s food retail industry. He previously spearheaded other conferences at the Yale Law School, including “Big Ag & Antitrust: Competition Policy for a Sustainable and Humane Food System.” He also created & organized the "Heartland Forum" in Storm Lake, Iowa, the first candidate forum during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary process, which focused on the impacts of economic concentration in rural America.

Austin is a 7th generation Iowan. His mother Kathy managed a beauty salon in his hometown of Cedar Rapids before opening her own bakery. His father Scott delivered and merchandised beer for a local, family-owned beer distributor. Austin’s passion for agriculture comes from spending weekends working with his Grandpa Frerick.

He has held a job since the age of 12, when he started working at the Cedar Rapids Gazette as a paperboy. He attended Grinnell College on merit scholarships and Pell Grants. While in college, Austin wrote two theses on corporate power in Iowa’s slaughterhouse communities. After being the first in his family to graduate from college, Austin attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school on a full academic scholarship. He has since held positions at the Congressional Research Service and at the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis, where he published research on executive compensation, pharmaceutical corporate charity abuses, and the growth of concentration in the American economy.

For speaking inquiries, please reach out in the contact form below. Recent engagements include: Craigardan, Drake University, Illinois Farmers Union, Iowa Farmers Union, Kansas Farmers Union, MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service), Warren Cultural Center, Wisconsin Farmers Union, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Yale School of the Environment, and Yale Law School.

In The Press

In The Press

Global Competition Review (March 2023)

Quoted in “Agriculture Department Says Intellectual Property Consolidation May Harm Competition” by Anna Langlois

The Hill (January 2023)

Quoted in “Business Groups Challenge New Rule Protecting ‘Temporary Streams’” by Saul Elbein

Grassland 2.0, UW-Madison (January 2023)

Quoted in “Just Transitions to Managed Livestock Grazing: Needs and Opportunities for Change in the Midwestern United States” by Erin Lowe & Ana Fochesatto

Supermarket News (December 2022)

Quoted in “Could tech antitrust concerns affect Kroger-Albertsons approval?” by Mark Hamstra

Civil Eats (November 2022)

Quoted in “Biogas Expansion May Compound Worker Risks” by Kari Lydersen


Global Competition Review (September 2022)

Quoted in “Biden Admin Seeks to Bolster Packers and Stockyards Act” by Anna Langlois

Buzzfeed (August 2022)

Referenced in “These Photos Show Just How Miserable The Mass Flight Delays And Cancellations Have Become” by Adolfo Flores & Kenneth Bachor

Politico (August 2022)

Quoted in “Amazon sees opening in baby formula industry shake-up” by Meredith Lee & Marcia Brown

Inside Climate News (July 2022)

Quoted in "Senate Democrats Produce a Far-Reaching Climate Bill, But the Price of Compromise with Joe Manchin is Years More Drilling for Oil and Gas" by Marianne Lavelle & Nicholas Kusnetz

Modern Retail (July 2022)

Quoted in "‘A small indulgence:’ Keurig Dr. Pepper partners with Intelligentsia in a bid for premium products" by Melissa Daniels

The Hill (July 2022)

Quoted in “Equilibrium/Sustainability — Predator fish penetrate last precarious preserve” by Saul Elbein


Forbes (June 2022)

Quoted in "Why The California Furor Over Humanely Raised Pork Matters Everywhere" by Errol Schweizer

Cedar Rapids Gazette (June 2022)

Profiled in “Molly Donahue, Austin Frerick vie for Iowa Senate District 37 seat to represent Cedar Rapids metro” by Marissa Payne


The Advocate (June 2022)

Profiled in “Meet Our Champions of Pride for 2022” by Jacob Ogles


The Hill (May 2022)

Quoted in “Five things to watch for in next year’s ‘climate’ Farm Bill” by Saul Elbein


Daily Yonder (May 2022)

Quoted in “Rural Iowans Rebuke Republican School Voucher Bill” by Bryce Oats


Scarlet & Black (March 2022)

Profiled in "Austin Frerick `12 launches state senate campaign" by Nina Baker

Wisconsin Examiner (February 2022)

Quoted in "Wisconsin Farmers Union takes on monopolies, lobbies for change" by Ruth Conniff

CBS: La-Crosse, Wisconsin (February 2022)

Quoted in "Wisconsin Farmers Union film decries monopoly control of food chain, erosion of family farms" by Mike Tighe

The American Prospect (February 2022)

Quoted in “Rollups: The Big Tech Monopoly Down on the Farm” by David Dayen

Yale Daily News (February 2022)

Quoted in "New Haven and Yale community discuss rising meat prices" by Sanchita Kedi

Cedar Rapids Gazette (January 2022)

Profiled in "Cedar Rapids native announces run for open Iowa Senate seat" by James Q. Lynch

The Hill (January 2022)

Quoted in "Small ranchers say Biden letting them get squeezed" by Saul Elbein

Harvest Public Media (January 2022)

Quoted in "The feds are pledging $1 billion to put small meatpackers on better footing against the big guys," by Seth Bodine

The Counter (January 2022)

Quoted in "Can $1 billion really fix a meat industry dominated by just four companies?" by Jessica Fu

Quartz (January 2022)

Quoted in "Can the White House actually do anything about high meat prices?" by Michelle Cheng

The Hill (January 2022)

Quoted in "Biden meatpacking reforms lack punch, say critics" by Saul Elbein


FERN's Ag Insider (January 2022)

Quoted in “U.S. will vigorously enforce fair-play laws in meatpacking, says Biden” by Chuck Abbott


Reuters (January 2022)

Quoted in “Biden unveils plan to boost competition in U.S. meat industry” by Leah Douglas

Global Competition Review (January 2022)

Quoted in “Biden Administration Directs Funding to Open Up Meatpacking Market” by Ben Remaly

New York Times (December 2021)

Quoted in “As Prices Rise, Biden Turns to Antitrust Enforcers” by Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport

Civil Eats (December 2021)

Quoted in “Taking Stock And Looking Forward: Food System Overhaul” by The Civil Eats Editors

NPR – All Things Considered (December 2021)

Quoted in "Corporate donations to agriculture schools can put educators in an awkward spot" by Seth Bodine & Katie Peikes (reprinted in Investigate Midwest & Civil Eats)

Investigate Midwest (October 2021)

Quoted in "The Iowa Farm Bureau is a small nonprofit. It’s sitting on a huge business empire." by Sky Chadde, Eli Hoff & Mark Ossolinski (reprinted in The Counter & Daily Yonder).

Des Moines Register (September 2021)

Quoted in "Why labor and food supply problems might mean no bagels or costly coconut milk in Iowa restaurants" by Elle Wignall

The Guardian (August 2021)

Quoted in “Meat wars: why Biden wants to break up the powerful US beef industry” by Sarah Mock


The Counter (August 2021)

Referenced in “Tyson has a stranglehold over Arkansas’s poultry industry” by Olivia Paschal


Union of Concerned Scientists (August 2021)

Referenced in “Tyson Spells Trouble for Arkansas” by Rebecca Boehm

National Geographic (August 2021)

Quoted in “California voted to improve pig welfare. The pork industry is facing a reckoning.” by Natasha Daly

Chicago Crusader (June 2021)

Referenced in “Will veterans and their family farms disappear from rural America?” by Brett Copeland

Tampa Bay Times (June 2021)

Referenced in “Here’s what to read from the left and the right | Column” by Jim Verhulst

Des Moines Register (May 2021)

Quoted in "How a four-story Iowa hen house prompted alarm about giant hog-raising facilities" by Donnelle Eller

Boise State Public Radio (April 2021)

Quoted in “Rupert Farmers Allege Harm By Big Ag Companies In Antitrust Case” by Rachel Cohen

The Counter (February 2021)

Quoted in “Information on factory farms is spotty at best. The government has been hogtied from doing more.” by Madison McVan


Yale Daily News (January 2021)

Quoted in “YLS, SOM co-host first conference on Big Agriculture by Julia Brown

Daily Yonder (January 2021)

Quoted in “Anti-Corporate Ag Conversation Moves to a Friendlier Venue: Yale University” Bryce Oates

Harvest Public Media (December 2020)

Quoted in "From 'Feed The 9 Billion' To 'Trade Not Aid', Farmers Will Likely Reinvent Themselves Again" by Amy Mayer

Civil Eats (September 2020)

Quoted in “Iowa Farmers Face Climate-Fueled Destruction, While the Industry Says it’s ‘Just Weather’” by Aaron Calvin

MIT Technology Review (August 2020)

Quoted in “The FBI’s decades-long fight against industrial espionage hasn’t really worked” by Mara Hvistendahl

Washington Post (August 2020)
Featured in “‘Iowa’s Katrina’: Help is slow to come for storm-battered state, local officials and residents say” by Annie Gowen and Frances Stead Sellers

Lake Placid News (March 2020)

Featured in "ON THE SCENE: Food justice is at a crossroads"

Civil Eats (February 2020)

Quoted in by “The Farm Bureau Takes a Step to Shore Up the Struggling Dairy Market” by Lela Nargi

Associated Press (December 2019)

Quoted in “Buttigieg leads 2020 rivals in Wall Street contributions” by Alexandra Jaffe

Bloomberg Law (November 2019)

Quoted in “Turkey Remains Rare Meat Not Embroiled in Antitrust Probes” by Victoria Graham

Civil Eats (September 2019)

Quoted in “A Political Movement for Food Systems Change Takes Hold in the Midwest" by Charlie Mitchell


Washington Post (September 2019)

Quoted in “Power Up: Democrats are not only itching to break up Big Tech. Big Ag is also a focus of antitrust plans” by Brent Griffith


Civil Eats (April 2019)

Quoted in “At the Heartland Forum, Presidential Hopefuls Address Rural Ag Issues Head-On” by Julia Poska


Bloomberg Law (March 2019)

Quoted in “Pharma-Funded Charities Will Be Under Congress’s Microscope” by Jacquie Lee

Des Moines Register (March 2019)

Quoted in “EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Warren lays out plan to target corporate agriculture, support family farms” by Brianne Pfannenstiel and Kim Norvell


HuffPost (March 2019)

Quoted in “Does America Want Walmart Milking Its Cows?” by Arthur Delaney


Iowa Starting Line (March 2019)

Referenced in “2020 Dems’ First Big Iowa Cattle Call Is All About Rural America” by Robert Leonard


C-Span Washington Journal (March 2019)

Interview on “Austin Frerick on Agriculture and Rural America” with Jesse Holland


U.S. House Ways & Means Committee (March 2019)

Research cited in “Health Subcommittee: Promoting Competition to Lower Medicare Drug Prices


The Washington Monthly (March 2019)

Referenced in “Joe Biden Needs to Catch Up to His Rivals on Antitrust” by Martin Longman


Wisconsin Farmers Union (January 2019)

Panelist on “Competition and Concentration” at the Wisconsin Farmers Union State Convention


Inside Climate News (December 2018)

Quoted in “U.S. Taxpayers on the Hook for Insuring Farmers Against Growing Climate Risks


HuffPost (December 2018)

Quoted in “New Farm Bill Won’t Save Small Farmers” by Arthur Delaney


New York Times (November 2018)

Research cited in “Corporate Giants, Hurting the Economy” by David Leonhardt


The Intercept (November 2018)

Quoted in “Attacking Monopoly Power Can Be Stunningly Good Politics, Survey Finds” by David Dayen


Building Local Power (August 2018)

Interview on “Running for Congress on an Anti-Monopoly Platform” with Stacy Mitchell


The Intercept (August 2018)

Referenced in “Tom Carper and the Rise and Fall of the Delaware Way” by Ryan Grim and David Dayen


Dissent (July 2018)

Profiled in “Trust the Base” by Mark Egerman and Sean McElwee


Civil Eats (July 2018)

References in “In Farm Country, Grappling with the Taboo of Talking about Climate Change” by Bryce Oats


Mother Jones (June 2018)

Quoted in “A Democrat in Farm Country Hopes to Beat One of Congress’ Biggest Racists” by Brian Barth


Washington Post (April 2018)

Research cited in “Mother, wife,  million- dollar patient” by Carolyn Y. Johnson


Bleeding Heartland (April 2018)

Quoted in “IA-03: Austin Frerick, EMILY's List endorse Cindy Axne” by Laurie Belin


Iowa Starting Line (April 2018)

Profiled in “More Long-Shot Candidates Should Run Like Austin Frerick” by Pat Rynard


Bleeding Heartland (March 2018)

Quoted in “IA-03: Frerick ends campaign, Greenfield has petition problems” by Laurie Belin


KCCI-Des Moines (March 2018)

Interview on “KCCI Close Up: Third District Congressional Candidates” by Steve Karlin and Stacey Horst

Creston News Advertiser (March 2018)

Profiled in “Heating Up: 3rd District Democrat congressional race expected to be close” by Alex Felker

Guthrie Center Times (February 2018)

Quoted in “Frerick Campaign Unveils Iowa Farm Bureau’s Climate Change Conflict of Interest

Des Moines Register (February 2018)

Quoted in “3rd District Democrats agree on the issues, but offer contrasts on experiences, approach” by Jason Noble

Grinnell College Scarlet & Black (February 2018)

Profiled in “The Grinnellian candidate: Austin Frerick launches local Congressional campaign” by Seth Taylor

Iowa Starting Line (February 2018)

Interviewed in “Ep11: 3rd District Democratic Primary & Interview with Austin Frerick” by Pat Rynard


Bleeding Heartland (February 2018)

Quoted in “Austin Frerick highlights another Iowa Farm Bureau conflict of interest” by Laurie Belin


Civil Eats (February 2018)

Profiled in “Food and Farm Policy Brings First-Time Candidates to the Campaign Trail” by Leah Douglas

Bleeding Heartland (January 2018)

Quoted in “Austin Frerick highlights Iowa Farm Bureau's conflicts of interest” by Laurie Belin

The New York Times (December 2017)

Quoted in “Mr. Mnuchin’s Magical Math on Taxes” by the New York Times Editorial Board

The New York Times (November 2017)

Quoted in “Ahead of Vote Promised Treasury Analysis of Tax Bill Proves Elusive” by Alan Rappeport


The Washington Monthly (November 2017)

Referenced in “The Democrats Confront Monopoly” by Gilad Edelman


WHO-Des Moines (November 2017)

Interviewed on “The Insiders: November 19th Edition, What are Congressional Candidate Austin Frerick’s Political Plans?” by Dave Price

[Part 2]

Earlham Advocate (November 2017)

Quoted in “Frerick of Winterset Releases the Rurally Good Deal to Revitalize Struggling Rural Communities


The Intercept (October 2017)

Profiled in “Anti-Monopoly Candidates Are Testing a New Politics in the Midterms” by David Dayen


Iowa Starting Line (September 2017)

Quoted in “Austin Frerick Proposes Farm Bill Plan To Save Leopold Center” by Pat Rynard


KMA-Shenandoah (September 2017)

Profile in “Frerick's campaign focuses on corporate monopolies” by Mike Peterson


University of Wisconsin-Madison (September 2017)

Profiled in “Alumnus Frerick seeking U.S. House seat in Iowa


Des Moines Register (August 2017)

Profiled in “Democrat Austin Frerick is running for Congress in Iowa's 3rd” by Jason Noble


In These Times (August 2017)

Profiled in “They’re Hollowing Out Rural Communities”: Why We Need to Oppose Corporate Consolidation” by Emeline Posner


Bleeding Heartland (August 2017)

Quoted in “Austin Frerick launches Democratic campaign in IA-03” by Laurie Belin


Des Moines Register (August 2017)

Referenced in “Upcoming mergers benefit America's farmers” by Don Racheter


Bleeding Heartland (August 2017)

Quoted in “IA-03: Austin Frerick welcomes fight with the Koch Brothers” by Laurie Belin


Bleeding Heartland (July 2017)

Quoted in “Meet Austin Frerick, who may run for Congress in IA-03” by Laurie Belin


University of Wisconsin-Madison (December 2012)

Profiled in “Frerick pursues variety of policy experiences


The Harkin Institute (March 2022)

Author of “Piloting a New Way Forward: Using Farm Bill Pilots to Guide Future Ag Policy” with Kody Craddick

The Milkweed (August 2021)

Author of “Highly Significant: Lina Khan’s U.S. Senate Confirmation as FTC Chairperson


The American Conservative (June 2021)

Author of “The Outsourcing of America’s Food

Vox (April 2021)

Author of “The Hog Baron” with Charlie Mitchell

Cedar Rapids Gazette (April 2020)

Author of “Meat Supple is at Risk; More Family Farms are the Answer” with Charlie Mitchell

[reprint from The American Conservative, April 2020]

The American Conservative (April 2020)

Author ofMultinational Meat Farms Could Be Making Us Sick” with Charlie Mitchell

Data for Progress (October 2019)

Author of “Memo: Voters Support Overhauling America's School Meal Programs


Data for Progress (October 2019)

Author of “Memo: Restoring Independence and Fairness to Agriculture Under a Green New Deal” with Charlie Mitchell


Cedar Rapids Gazette (June 2019)

Author of “To revive rural Iowa, we must fix our broken food system

[reprint from The American Conservative, February 2019]


The Progressive Populist (April 2019)

Author of “Fixing Our Food System — and Reviving Rural America — Means Breaking Up Big Ag

[reprint from The American Conservative, February 2019]


Civil Eats (February 2019)

Author of “Fixing our Food System -- and Reviving Rural America -- Means Breaking Up Big Ag

[reprint from The American Conservative, February 2019]


The American Conservative (February 2019)

Author of “To Revive Rural America, We Must Fix Our Broken Food System


Forbes (January 2019)

Author of “Green New Deal Needs To Include Agriculture Technology


Daily Yonder (January 2019)

Author of “Speak Your Piece: Coastal Donor Democrats Need to Wake up about Rural Voters” with Matt Barron


Buzzfeed News (November 2018)

Author of “Democrats Can Win Back Rural America, But First They Need To Understand What Bled It Dry” with Sarah Miller


Fast Company (October 2018)

Author of “Should we break up the tech giants? Not if you ask the economists who take money from them" with Matt Stoller


Forbes (September 2018)

Author of “From The Dairy Crisis To Rising Interest Rates, An Agricultural Economist Answers


Forbes (August 2018)

Author of “Twenty-First Century Home Economics: Edible Schoolyard


Forbes (August 2018)

Author of “Ethanol: A Bridge To Nowhere For America's Corn Farmers?


Civil Eats (July 2018)

Author of “The Farm Group that’s Part of Rural America’s Crisis

[reprint from Des Moines Register, June 2018]


Des Moines Register (June 2018)

Author of “Iowa Farm Bureau is a suburban insurance company pretending to be the voice of farmers


SlowFoodsUSA (March 2018)

Author of “To Save Rural Iowa, We Need to Make Healthy Food a Right


FoodTank (January 2018)

Author of “To Save Family Farms, We Must Oppose Monsanto-Bayer Merger

[reprint from the Des Moines Register, July 2017]


Des Moines Register (November 2017)

Author of “Beer giants threaten craft breweries


In These Times (July 2017)

Author of “To Save Rural Iowa, We Must End Monsanto’s Seed Monopoly

[reprint from Des Moines Register, July 2017]


Des Moines Register (July 2017)

Author of “To save rural Iowa, we must oppose Monsanto-Bayer merger


Des Moines Register (April 2017)

Author of “Chasing service jobs won't save midsize cities. Education and manufacturing innovation can.


Bleeding Heartland (March 2017)

Author of “The human cost of Big Pharma's greed: Overcharging the Hepatitis C cure


National Tax Journal (December 2016)

Author of “Have Excess Returns to Corporations Been Increasing Over Time?” with Laura Power


U.S. Department of the Treasury (November 2016)

Author of “Have Excess Returns to Corporations Been Increasing Over Time?” with Laura Power

[reprint from National Tax Journal, December 2016]


Tax Notes (November 2016)

Author of “The Cloak of Social Responsibility: Pharmaceutical Corporate Charity


Tax Notes (October 2016)

Author of “Executive Pay Excess Raises Fiduciary Concerns: The 162(M) Provision


Bleeding Heartland (October 2016)

Author of “Why Iowans need job-protected paid leave


Bleeding Heartland (September 2016)

Author of “Failing Iowa’s Children: The Shortcomings of Welfare Reform and the Path Forward


Bleeding Heartland (June 2016)

Author of “Big Meat, Small Towns: The Free Market Rationale for Raising Iowa’s Minimum Wage


Des Moines Register (April 2016)

Author of “Reinvestment in higher education should be fair, simple


Bleeding Heartland (April 2016)

Author of “Disheartened in the Heartland: Iowa’s Disinvestment in Higher Education


Des Moines Register (December 2015)

Author of “Iowa should lead effort to ban non-competes



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© 2022 by Austin Frerick.

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