Recently, senators Mike Rounds, Republican from South Dakota, and Tina Smith, a Democrat from Minnesota, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland regarding the state of the U.S. meatpacking industry. They asked him to enforce or examine America’s antitrust laws to restore fairness in the marketplace for cattle producers and are asking their colleagues in both the House and Senate to sign the letter. The Hagstrom Report says the letter was released last week by R-CALF USA, which is launching an effort to get 200 members from both chambers of Congress to sign the letter. Producers want to know why boxed beef prices are rising while the prices they get for their cattle are stagnant.
During an R-CALF USA Facebook Live event held last week, Rounds said it’s vital for producers to let consumers know about the industry’s issues. He’s also asking R-CALF members to put the letter out in front of consumers outside of their home states. South Dakota is one of nine states where livestock outnumber people. Rounds said those states support more market transparency, but those same states make up just five percent of the country’s population. Rounds says meatpackers currently sit in the middle of the situation, noting that the industry is controlled by only four companies.
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