butcher carving beef
Close up of meat processing in food industry (Photo by rtem / Shutterstock.com)

Press Release provided by the US Cattlemen’s Association

On Friday, the Department of Justice issued civil subpoenas to the four biggest beef processors, JBS USA Holdings Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., Cargill Inc. and National Beef Packing Company. The move comes as the Department ramps up its examination into anticompetitive practices in the U.S. livestock industry. Just on Wednesday, four poultry industry executives were indicted on charges they conspired for several years to rig bids and fix chicken prices.

How did we get here?

On April 8, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on April 8 said USDA would investigate cattle pricing throughout the pandemic, in conjunction with its continuing probe related to last year’s Tyson plant fire.

On May 5, 11 state attorneys general, including from major cattle-producing states such as Nebraska, Iowa and Colorado, urged U.S. Attorney General William Barr to examine competition in the beef industry, warning in a letter about the potential impact to consumers and cattle producers.

On May 6, President Trump said in a briefing with Mr. Perdue that he had asked the Justice Department to look into the issue.

We’re proud to say it is the support from folks like YOU that created the momentum for this federal investigation. USCA members have called, emailed, and written their elected officials on this issue to keep it at the forefront of political priorities. Our policy committees drafted and submitted formal letters on behalf of the association to Congress and the Administration requesting these investigations (and that doesn’t count the endless behind-the-scenes phone calls!).

We are now seeing those efforts pay off, as these companies will have to provide answers as to how they conduct business. In short, this is a big moment for the U.S. cattle industry.

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