South Dakota Farmers Union Supports Reintroduction of Meat Packing Special Investigator Act


HURON, S.D. – South Dakota’s largest family farmer and rancher organization supports reintroduction of the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act by U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

“South Dakota Farmers Union’s member-led policy supported this Act when it was first introduced in 2022 and we appreciate the Senators’ diligence in re-introducing this Act in the new Congress,” said Doug Sombke, SDFU President and Conde crop and cattle farmer. “Laws are in place that should work for family farmers, ranchers and consumers and protect them from corruption in the meat packing industry. But these laws are not being enforced. This Act would ensure the laws in place will be enforced.”

Specifically, the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act would create the “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which would be comprised of a team of investigators, with subpoena power, responsible for targeting and preventing anticompetitive practices among large players in the meat and poultry industries.

Sombke said this is important for all Americans, pointing to the current meat counter price hikes as the reason consumers should also be concerned about enforcement of anti-trust laws.

“When we consider the fact that recent supply chain challenges did not impact the profits of multi-national meat packers – the need for a department focused on enforcing anti-trust laws becomes evident,” Sombke said.

Sombke added, “While the Big Four are turning record profits, consumers are having a tough time paying for the protein they need to feed their families,” said Sombke, referencing the four corporations which control 85 percent of the nations’ beef processing. “And our family farmers and ranchers do not have security in knowing they will receive a fair price for the livestock they raise.”

Sombke said South Dakota Farmers Union members are hopeful the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act will be supported by all Senators.

“This Act would help provide fair markets for farmers, ranchers and consumers. It is quite simply, the right thing to do,” Sombke said. “We also need to remember, three of the Big Four packers are not U.S.-owned. This means their record profits are leaving our country.”

The Meat Packing Special Investigator Act is also supported by the National Farmers Union policy. In March, members of South Dakota Farmers Union will engage in policy discussions during the National Farmers Union Convention held in San Francisco. All delegates must be actively engaged in farming or ranching.