Farm Bureau Calls On DOJ For Update On Meatpacker Investigation
February 9, 2022 | View PDF
Bozeman, MT - The American Farm Bureau Federation has sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking the Department of Justice to provide an update on its investigation into the meatpacking industry. The Department of Justice began an investigation after excessive volatility in the live and fed cattle markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“With over 80% of the fed cattle market controlled by only four major packing companies, we are concerned about the control these firms have,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall wrote. “We look forward to hearing from the Department of Justice regarding their investigation, so we can update Farm Bureau members and assure them that adequate government oversight is being conducted in the nation’s cattle markets, and that the markets remain fair for businesses, farmers and American families.”
In April 2020, Montana Farm Bureau, along with 26 other state Farm Bureaus, sent a letter to then-Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting his attention on two important matters: relief to cattlemen seeing increasingly volatile markets and investigating any price manipulation that may be occurring in the cattle industry. The letter resulted in President Trump calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the meatpacker pricing activity. Additionally, Secretary Perdue and the USDA expanded their existing investigation into pricing practices in the beef industry.
“The fact that Montana Farm Bureau is two years into asking for additional details and results of this investigation shows not enough has been done to examine our concerns,” noted MBF President Cyndi Johnson. “We’re pleased to see American Farm Bureau asking the DOJ for an update, and eagerly await the latest report. It’s time our cattle producers have an answer.”
Farm Bureau has asked for a written update on the volatility in the live and fed cattle markets within 90 days.