LINCOLN, NEB. – The Nebraska Farm Bureau is encouraging the U.S. Department of Justice to utilize all its authorities and undertake a “full investigation” to monitor and address any potential price fixing or market manipulations in U.S. cattle markets to ensure the cattle meat packing industry is in compliance with the federal antitrust laws targeted to maintaining a competitive marketplace. In an April 14 letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson pointed to the alarming disparity between farm-level prices received by farmers and ranchers for cattle and wholesale prices for beef following the fire and subsequent closure of a beef processing plant in Kansas and the current COVID-19 outbreak, where cattle producers have experienced sharp declines in market prices while large margin increases occurred in the meat packing sector.
Price disparity and volatility is critically frustrating for cattle producers who have seen the prices received for their commodities fall off a cliff at a time when meat counters and store shelves across the country have been less than fully stocked.
Nebraska Farm Bureau’s letter to the Attorney General comes on the heels of a letter from Nebraska Farm Bureau to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, where the organization encouraged USDA to work with both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure all anti-competition laws are being rigorously followed.
For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.