R-CALF USA endorses House moratorium bill
Billings, Mont. — R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued the following statement regarding today’s introduction of The Food and Agribusiness Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2018 by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Senate version of the bill in late August. Booker previously introduced the act in the U.S. Senate.
“The U.S. cattle industry is in dire need of the updated and rigorous antitrust enforcement required by Representative Pocan’s moratorium bill.
“Over the past three decades the U.S. fed cattle market has become one of the most highly concentrated markets in agriculture, with only four packers controlling 85 percent of the market. This has severely eroded our cattle industry’s competitiveness.
“Two decades ago the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) concluded it could not determine if the U.S. cattle market was competitive in light of the then ongoing structural changes and increased use of marketing agreements and forward contracts by the highly concentrated packers.
“But nothing was done to restore competition and many more mergers and acquisitions have occurred since then.
“This summer, GAO (Government Accountability Office) investigators found that the average cattle feedlot has only two packers to sell to, and that competition was so lacking in some areas of the country that fed cattle prices were reduced.
“The future of the American cattleman rests on whether Congress will take immediate steps to require vigorous enforcement of our antitrust laws. The Pocan moratorium bill is the vehicle Congress must support to make that happen.” F
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