Vilsack talks meat prices on MTP Daily; NCBA issues mixed statement
Following the White House meeting on the meat industry earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday on “Meet the Press Daily” that lowering meat prices “will take a little time. I think you’re going to see localized price reductions, but in order to stabilize this, we have to readjust the market. People are eating more at home than they ever have. And that has caused a slight disruption in the market. That’s why it’s important for us to expand capacity, processing capacity, so that we can get a fair price for farmers and a better price and choice for consumers.”
Asked if immigration plays a role, Vilsack said, “You can talk to farmers across the country and they’ll tell you about a deep concern about a broken immigration system and their inability to actually get a workforce that is stable. … I believe that everybody in this country who is focused on this understands and appreciates that our immigration system is broken and needs fixed. I think there a lot of folks who understand what needs to be done in order to fix it. I think what we need is the political will and courage on the part of some in Congress to get it done. There’s no question that farmers understand the need for farm work modernization act. … I would sincerely hope this is the year when members of Congress could find that courage to do so.”
Meanwhile, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the largest organization of beef producers, issued a mixed statement on the White House meeting that promised aid to medium-sized meat processors and stricter enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
“The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association appreciates the Biden administration’s announcement of an additional $500 million in funding for expanded small, independent meat processing facilities, which will strengthen the business climate for American cattle producers and help alleviate the choke point in the beef supply chain,” said Ethan Lane, NCBA vice president of government affairs. “We are concerned by the administration’s unclear position on the Packers and Stockyards Act and await further details on their plan to exercise greater enforcement power. NCBA is committed to ensuring that cattle producers have the ability to realize higher profits for their cattle and make the marketing decisions that are best for their business.”
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