Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today made the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $650 million investment to expand meat processing capacity and help small processing plants weather pandemic-related disruptions. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also announced initiatives to strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act to fight unfair practices in the industry. Bringing more fairness and transparency to the cattle market is a top priority for Grassley.
“I’ve long been actively engaged in working to fix the anticompetitive practices in our farm economy and I’m glad the Biden administration is particularly beefing up enforcement and expanding transparency in the livestock markets. This builds on the work I’m doing with my colleagues in Congress to reform the cattle market through legislation and hearings. For years, I’ve raised concerns about the lack of transparency that’s making it hard for farmers to get a fair price for fattening cattle and for consumers at the grocery store,” Grassley said. “I applaud Secretary Vilsack for his effort today so competitive markets work for all Americans.”
Grassley has long worked to address anticompetitive practices in the livestock industry. Last month, Grassley introduced bipartisan legislation to create the “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” within the USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division. Grassley also led efforts to combat corporate consolidation and protect the livelihood of family famers. He joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in demanding the Department of Justice investigate whether the control large meatpackers have over the beef processing market violates U.S. antitrust laws and principles of fair competition. And in 2016, he led a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on consolidation and competition in the U.S. seed and agrochemical industry.
Grassley has been a strong advocate for the cattle industry over his 40 years in the United States Senate. He introduced bipartisan legislation to foster efficient markets while increasing competition and transparency among meat packers who purchase livestock directly from independent producers. Grassley also called on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee hold a hearing to examine cattle markets, transparency and prices from the cattle producer to consumer.