Cattlemen Form Listening Group to Hear Antitrust Concerns
The Colorado Cattlemens’ Association has put together a team of industry professionals with the aim of recommending solutions to concerns about anti competitive practices by meatpackers.
State Attorney General Phil Weiser co-signed a letter with 10 other Attorneys General asking the Justice Department to investigate possible antitrust practices.
The AG’s letter said that four of the largest beef processors control 80 percent of the U.S. beef processing. Meatpackers see good profits while cattle ranchers often struggle to survive.
The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Terry Frankhauser says they want to hear from ranchers before making any recommendations.
Frankhauser: “What we’re not interested in seeing happen is a rush to solution when that solution is questionable. One of the first things that’s already come out of our first listening session was a real concern over this 50% CashTrade, 14 days prior to harvest. I would say that we do think change is probably necessary at some levels but to say that we know the answer to that arbitrarily we’re not there yet. We need to go through a transparent process before we jump to conclusions to say here’s the fix. I would not believe that anybody off the cuff knows what the solution to this issue is.
Frankhauser says they are also working with noted CSU Economics Professor Steve Koontz to get more clarity on beef marketing agreements to see what the right solution might be.
Legislation could be on the table but, some experts raise concerns about flexibility which could be useful when market conditions change again down the road.