From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The economic survival of family farmers and ranchers in California and throughout rural America depends, however, on access to markets for their crops and livestock that are based on fair competition - a fair shot for ordinary folks who work hard and do a good job.
Unfortunately, livestock markets don't work that way anymore. If you raise cattle or hogs, then you sell into a dysfunctional market where packers hold all the cards and routinely discriminate against smaller farmers and ranchers by offering huge, volume-based premiums to large factory farms (and deep discounts to smaller farmers and ranchers).
A small hog farmer in Iowa marketing 3,500 hogs annually and receiving a conservative, small-volume discount of 6 cents per pound would endure a yearly loss of $52,500 - simply for being small.
A small California rancher who feeds a couple thousand head of cattle would experience even greater losses.