Boosting Ag Competition
As you’ve heard, the USDA and Department of Justice have created a joint panel to hear and investigate complaints of anti-competitive practices, especially in the meatpacking industry currently controlled by just a handful of large companies.
But that was just one aspect of a sweeping plan rolling out in 2022
President Joe Biden talked about four actions to boost competition in agriculture and fight unfair practices.
Biden:” We’re going to invest 1 billion dollars in new and expanded meat and poultry processing capacity.”
The two other elements of the administration’s plan were previously-announced initiatives to spend $1 billion to increase the number of independent processors and to toughen USDA’s fair-play rules governing meatpackers.
A bill to create a cattle-contract library passed the House of Representatives in December The bill would make the terms of contracts that packers offer to producers public. It would require regular reports from USDA on the number of cattle committed to packers in future months. Backers say both of those provisions will help farmers and ranchers know if they are being offered a fair price and determine the best time to send stock to market.
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation was pleased by the moves saying, “We must get to the bottom of why farmers and ranchers continue to receive low payments while families across America endure rising meat prices.”