Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) Thursday praised President Donald Trump’s call for an investigation into possible anticompetitive behavior in the beef industry. Last month, Grassley lodged a similar request with the Departments of Justice and Agriculture.
“While consumers are facing record-level prices at the meat counter, America’s Beef producers are being forced to sell their cattle to meatpackers at a loss, if they can sell them at all. Consolidation in the meatpacking industry has exacerbated the market pain on both sides of the supply chain, and producers and consumers need to know whether unfair business practices by packers are to blame.
“I’ve called on the Trump administration to look into unfair or anticompetitive practices and I’m grateful that President Trump has made this issue a priority. USDA is looking into unfair pricing practices. DOJ must also examine if any collusion within the packing industry has taken place in violation of our antitrust laws,” Grassley said.
Grassley has long raised concerns about consolidation in the meatpacking industry and pressed USDA to protect independent producers. Today, four major companies, Tyson, Cargill, National Beef and JBS, collectively control more than 80 percent of the market, intensifying the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry and risking permanent harm to America’s beef producers.
Grassley recently joined a conference call with Iowa cattle producers who voiced concerns about unfair practices and market manipulation by meatpackers. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also recently called for an investigation into the business practices that lead to unfair marketplace for beef producers.