White House details plans to address meatpacking profiteering
A cattle industry group says it’s historic to see consolidation and competition in the meatpacking industry elevated to the White House.
Lia Biondo with the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association tells Brownfield last week’s press briefing and report on consolidation in the meatpacking industry outlines how the Big Four meatpackers are generating record profits during the pandemic, at the expense of consumers, farmers, and ranchers.
“We’ve been talking these talking points for over 20 years now and we have never heard something like this coming out of the White House,” she says.
During the press briefing, Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese said beef and pork prices have doubled in the past few months and are largely behind recent price increases at grocery stores.
“Anywhere from 55 to 85 percent of the market is controlled by the top four producers in those industries and when you see that level of consolidation and the increase in prices, it raises a concern about pandemic profiteering,” he says.
Ag Secretary Vilsack outlined steps the administration is taking to make sure producers get fair returns and consumers get fair prices.
“The reality is that today farmers are losing money on cattle, on hogs, and poultry that they’re selling at a time when consumers are seeing higher prices at the grocery store,” he says.
Vilsack says the current regulatory system needs to be strengthened, there needs to be transparent price discovery for producers and labeling for consumers, processing expanded, and there needs to be more resiliency in the food system.