Cattle Farmers Call for Fair Market Policies
Calls are growing louder for changes within the beef industry to create fairness for farmers and ranchers struggling to compete with larger operations. A group of producers says it has solutions for policymakers to consider.
This week, a livestock committee with the North Dakota Farmers Union approved a series of recommendations that range from breaking up consolidated meat-processing firms to reinstatement of country-of-origin labeling.
Cattle farmer Travis Bruner says they want to feel like they're not being shut out by a system working against them.
"We feel like there is neglect being had towards the producers," says Bruner. "And it's all going in advantage of the packing plants and the large corporations. "
Bruner says a key component of a fair market would be increasing capacity for local and regional meat slaughter facilities.
"You spread the slaughtering out amongst multiple facilities," says Bruner. "Not only will that create a better supply and more even supply, it's gonna create some demand. And then this price thing will follow through to be a little more true to what it should be."
Producers say the larger companies use situations such as the pandemic, along with a 2019 Kansas plant fire, as an excuse for paying even less for livestock, while driving up costs for consumers.
Last month, the Justice Department subpoenaed the nation's four largest beef processors. That came on the heels of indictments against several poultry executives over price-fixing concerns.