In this file:
· Nebraska Senator Wants More Transparency in Beef Pricing
· Grassley Praises USDA Report on Need for Price Transparency in Beef Market
· Alabama AG Commissioner Pate: Cattle, retail beef prices disconnect still plagues marketplace
· Transparency, fairness key to cattle market success, say Iowa ag leaders
Nebraska Senator Wants More Transparency in Beef Pricing
via KMA Land (IA) - Jul 24, 2020
(Washington, D.C.) -- Both the USDA and the Department of Justice are conducting investigations into pricing in the beef industry.
Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer is a member of the Senate Ag Committee and an active cattle rancher. Beef’s price volatility picked up after the 2019 fire that damaged a processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas. She says it’s only gotten worse as COVID-19 picked up steam in 2020.
“We saw something I think we really hadn’t seen to this extent before with the pricing issue. It’s not a new issue but producers were very, very concerned over what they felt was a greater extent of, I guess you could say, manipulation by the packers on the prices that were being paid. When you have four big packers that control over 80 percent of the markets, there’s going to be some issues there.”
She says, given everything that’s happened over the past year, that beef producers have been “pushed too far.” Fischer wrote a letter to USDA back in April and asked them to expand their investigation beyond the Holcomb fire and into the potential unfair market practices happening during COVID-19.
Fischer and several of her colleagues wrote a second letter to the U.S. Justice Department about the same topic.
“I wrote a letter and had 18 of my colleagues sign-on, both Republicans and Democrats, where we asked the Department of Justice to open an investigation into any kind of suspected price manipulation behavior that is out there within the cattle industry as well. With the Department of Justice investigations, obviously, you don’t hear about those until they are ready to bring out their conclusions.
She talks about the ideal outcome of these investigations for U.S. cattle producers.
“The ideal outcome is more transparency, to be able to know with a little more clarity how the market is working, and to make sure that it’s working in a way that’s fair, in a way that’s more open and transparent so people can market their cattle and make those decisions that affect their families and their businesses.”
Fischer says pricing has been a topic of conversation for a long time in the beef industry...
Grassley Praises USDA Report on Need for Price Transparency in Beef Market
AJ Taylor, KIOW (IA)
July 24, 2020
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a longtime farmer and member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry today praised a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) review of market disruptions in the cattle industry, and called on Congress to enact price transparency measures to improve fairness for consumers and independent producers. The report examined the market impact of an August 2019 fire at a Tyson’s processing facility and the disruptions from closed processing facilities during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The cattle market industry is broken. Years of rampant consolidation by meatpackers has led to unfair access for producers and easily-disrupted meat supply for consumers. The ongoing pandemic has only intensified this reality. During my 99-county meetings, Iowans regularly decry these unfair and uncompetitive market realities. Thankfully, the Trump Administration has created a roadmap that can return transparency and fairness to the cattle market.
“As USDA continues to investigate market manipulation and unfair practices, today’s report lays out steps we can take to fix this marketplace. Congress has a responsibility to heed the advice of this report and take action to restore cattle price transparency when we reauthorize Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting requirements.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to see President Trump and Secretary Perdue take this issue seriously, when so many others before them ignored it. We must continue to investigate anticompetitive actions by corporate packers who value profits over the economic livelihoods of farmers, ranchers and rural America. In the meantime, the considerations outlined in this report are a good place to start. I will continue to be a voice for independent producers who, for generations, have raised quality meat for the country and world,” Grassley said.
Grassley has long raised concerns about consolidation in the meatpacking industry and pressed USDA to protect independent producers. After years of consolidation, four major companies, Tyson, Cargill National Beef and JBS, collectively control more than 80 percent of the market, intensifying the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry and risking permanent harm to America’s beef producers. Grassley recently called on the Justice Department and USDA to investigate possible anticompetitive behavior in the beef industry and praised President Trump’s engagement on the issue.
In May, Grassley introduced bipartisan legislation (S.3693) that fosters efficient markets and increases competition and transparency among packers that purchase cattle. Senator Grassley first introduced this bill in 2002 and reintroduced every Congress until 2009...
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Alabama AG Commissioner Pate: Cattle, retail beef prices disconnect still plagues marketplace
Jeff Poor, Yellow Hammer News
Jul 23, 2020
Questions remain about the dissonance between the market price for cattle and beef prices on the shelves at retailers, as cattle prices remain low and consumer beef prices are at highs.
Earlier this year, businesses were forced to shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That sent market demand into a tailspin, including the demand for cattle. However, beef prices remained high and increased in some cases. It led to the industry groups aligned with the cattlemen, including those in Alabama, to question those market dynamics.
During an interview with Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate explained the cattlemen were still dealing with these issues.
“That’s still working its way through the system,” Pate said. “We actually Senator [Richard] Shelby and Senator [Doug] Jones and asked them if they would join in with Senator [Chuck] Grassley from [Iowa] and Senator [Mike] Rounds from South Dakota. They were asking the Department of Justice to investigate the meatpackers and just see because a lot of time it is just very non-intuitive — you have increased prices at the grocery store and the prices the cattlemen are getting are really depressed. Actually, that has continued...
Transparency, fairness key to cattle market success, say Iowa ag leaders
By Natalina Sents, Successful Farming
Agriculture.com - 7/23/2020
Following Wednesday’s release of the Boxed Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report by the USDA, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association president Dick Godfrey released public statements.
“The USDA report highlights the need for increased price discovery and transparency in the cattle marketplace. Transparency and fairness are essential to a healthy and competitive market. I will continue to work with Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and our congressional delegation to ensure that these recommendations are given fair consideration during the reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting act,” says Naig...