Tester, Grassley, Rounds reintroduce Meat Packing Special Investigator Act | TheFencePost.com

Tester, Grassley, Rounds reintroduce Meat Packing Special Investigator Act

Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., last week reintroduced their Meat Packing Special Investigator Act to fight consolidation and enforce the nation’s anti-trust laws.
The bill would create the “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” within the Agriculture Department, which would be comprised of a team of investigators, with subpoena power, responsible for targeting and preventing anti-competitive practices amongst large players in the meat and poultry industries.
“Folks in Washington don’t understand that the deck is stacked against Montana’s cattle producers,” Tester said.
“I’ll take on anyone to make sure that Montana’s family farmers and ranchers get a fair chance to compete in the marketplace. For too long, massive multi-national conglomerates have run the tables on our producers — who produce the best beef in the world — and our bipartisan bill will give them the chance to compete on a level playing field.”
“Increased consolidation and anti-competitive tactics by meat packers continues to create unfair markets for meat producers and consumers alike,” Grassley said.
“In the last few years, we’ve seen settlement after settlement from major packers accused of distorting the market. It’s time we beef up tools to protect farm families and folks at the meat counter.”
“Anticompetitive behavior in the meat packing industry hurts both consumers and producers,” Rounds said.
“Unfortunately, packer concentration in the beef industry is more consolidated today than it was when the Packers and Stockyards Act was first signed into law over 100 years ago.
“For years, the gap has widened between the price paid to cattle producers for their high-quality American products and the price of beef at the grocery store. Meanwhile, the four largest beef packers, who control 85 percent of our beef processing capacity, have enjoyed record profits. This has resulted in an average of nearly 17,000 cattle ranchers going out of business each year since 1980.
“This bipartisan legislation seeks to address these anti-competitive practices that threaten the nation’s food supply and run family ranches out of business,” Rounds said.
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