Vilsack Addresses USDA Investment in Smaller Packing Plants, Antitrust Enforcement in Packing Industry


By Chris Clayton, DTN/Progressive Farmer



Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opened up the daily press briefing on Wednesday, Sept. 8, at the White House to talk about the Biden administration's work to address rising meat prices at grocery stores.


The secretary spoke to the White House press corps about some of the actions USDA is doing to invest $500 million into smaller packing plants and address antitrust enforcement in the packing industry. He also talked about the need for legislation "to make cattle markets more transparent and fair."


Vilsack was joined in the White House briefing with Brian Deese, the director of the White House National Economic Council.


Looking at the question of rising grocery prices, Deese told reporters that beef, pork and poultry amount to roughly half of the increase in food prices at grocery stores since December 2020 (pre-pandemic). Since then, beef prices have increased 14%, pork prices by 12.1% and poultry by 6.6%.


Deese then highlighted a topic that has been repeatedly highlighted in the agricultural press, but hasn't extended out to larger media...