April 29, 2022

 

US cattle ranchers say beef pricing bill fails to bring more competition to beef industry

 

 

US cattle ranchers said a new beef pricing bill (S. 4030), which aims to bring more competition to the beef industry, does not do enough for smaller ranchers to compete against the major players, Bloomberg Government reported.

 

The new measure has divided Republicans and is opposed by major meatpackers.

 

US lawmakers have argued that high beef prices in the country that have surpassed the general inflation rate is caused by a concentration in the meatpacking industry, where four major companies have 85% market share combined.

 

Cattle producers and meatpacking CEOs were called to testify before the US House Agriculture Committee about their alleged anti-competitive practices in cattle markets.

 

Darvin Bentlage, a fourth-generation cattle farmer from Missouri, said an earlier legislation proposed by US Senator Chuck Grassley (S. 949) was more effective. Grassley's proposal required a minimum 50% of a meatpacker's weekly livestock to be bought through cash market sales, which allowed farmers to get a fair cash basis price.

 

Shelly Ziesch, a fourth generation cattle farmer, said the updated version of the measure, introduced by Grassley and US Senator Deb Fischer can't hurt. She was one of the witnesses at a US Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on cattle pricing.

 

Fischer said her proposed law will help boost competition in the cattle sector, but some senators were unconvinced. US Senator Cory Booker said he wants to make the bill stronger.

 

-      Bloomberg Government

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