Oklahoma Lawmakers Sign Letter to Attorney General- Calling on Justice Department to Provide Update on Cattle Market Investigation


Oklahoma Farm Report

09 Jun 2021


Representative Mike Guest (R-MS-3) and Representative Darren Soto (D-FL-9) have led a bipartisan group of 52 lawmakers in pushing the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to complete their investigation into the meatpacking sector, and whether or not anticompetitive practices have contributed to a persistent imbalance in the cattle markets. The letter, dated June 8th, includes the signatures of four of the five members from the Oklahoma House delegation, including former House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas as well as Congressman Tom Cole, Congressman Markwayne Mullin and Congresswoman Stephanie Bice.


This letter is the latest result of a recent groundswell of bipartisan, bicameral attention into the need to return market leverage to the side of cattle farmers and ranchers and address the startling price disparity between live cattle and boxed beef.


The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association issued a statement on Tuesday evening, thanking the Oklahoma lawmkaers for being a part of this latest effort to call on DOJ to respond to Congress and the cattle industry about where they are in this investigation. Here is their full statement:


“OCA appreciates the lead of 52 United States Congressional leaders including Oklahoma Representatives Bice, Cole, Lucas and Mullin calling upon the Department of Justice to conclude and communicate their investigation into the potential market manipulation of the four largest meatpackers. In an April 21, 2020 letter, OCA called upon the USDA and DOJ to complete their investigation into the potential market misconduct of the four largest meatpackers in the United States. The DOJ has still not completed or communicated progress in their launched investigation. It is long past time for a report from DOJ as they have had ample time to investigate. Oklahoma is blessed with congressional leaders who recognize the challenges faced by our beef cattle producers and seek positive and proactive solutions to those challenges.”


Last week, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association- with the support of 39 state cattle groups(inlcuding OCA)- called yet again for a swift conclusion to DOJ's investigation into the packing sector.


"Market volatility leaves our producers with extreme uncertainty, and this lack of stability and profitability is problematic for the entire beef supply chain," said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. "The growing motivation in Congress to hasten the conclusion of the DOJ investigation and take action on the issues plaguing our industry's marketplace is the result of grassroots consensus among cattle producers. Across the country, in sale barns and state affiliate meetings, we're hearing the same frustration from our members - no matter how the pendulum swings, the leverage always seems to be on the side of the packers. We thank Rep. Guest and Rep. Soto for adding their leadership to this critical effort at a time when cattle producers need stability."


You can click on the PDF link below for the complete letter or read it here: