Last week, the White House hosted a press conference featuring Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and Brian Deese, the Director of the National Economic Council, to discuss the meatpacking sector. Both Vilsack and Deese talked specifically about the impacts of a highly concentrated meatpacking sector for American producers and consumers. A White House release outlined how the Big Four meatpackers are generating record profits during COVID-19 and doing so at the expense of consumers, farmers, and ranchers.
U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Brooke Miller says that the White House seeing the need for increased competition in the marketplace is a testament to the many agricultural producer and consumer voices who’ve been advocating for change. “COVID highlighted what we already knew to be true,” Miller says. “A lack of transparency and true price discovery hurts independent producers and processors and inflates beef prices at the retail counter.” The USCA says this is an important first step towards addressing the problem of concentration in the meatpacking sector. “We look forward to working with the USDA, including the new advisor for Fair and Competitive Markets, to investigate illegal and anti-competitive practices in the cattle marketplace,” Miller adds.