MSGA Supports Investigation by Department of Justice Into Cattle Markets
HELENA, Mont. (March 20, 2020) – On March 19, 2020, U.S. Senator Steve Daines, along with other U.S. Senators, sent a letter to Attorney General Barr and Assistant Attorney General Delrahim. The letter urges the Department of Justice begin an investigation into the continued allegations of price fixing within the cattle market and to examine the current structure of the beef meatpacking industry for compliance with U.S. Antitrust law.
In the letter, Senator Daines references the fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kansas as the first allegation which prompted an investigation by USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division and explains that the continued effect of diverging profits and losses along the supply chain compared to high end-consumer prices further demonstrate this ongoing issue.
Our cattle producers have been operating at a significant net loss since this initial incident and have also been subject to an ongoing inverse relationship between live weight and retail prices to consumers. This warrants a review and MSGA supports a continued investigation by the Department of Justice into these allegations.
In August of 2019, MSGA sent our own letter to Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, in support of having the USDA thoroughly investigate for any evidence of price manipulation, collusion or other unfair practices. As the situation is being worsened due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it is important to make sure our cattle producers can continue to operate their businesses while they perform the crucial job of feeding the U.S. population.
MSGA would like to commend Senator Daines for his actions to protect Montana cattle producers during this trying time.
We will continue to support measures that protect our members and Montana cattle producers as we move forward.
–Montana Stockgrowers Association