Senator Josh Hawley last week introduced the Strengthening Antitrust Enforcement for Meatpacking Act. The Missouri Republican’s bill would empower antitrust enforcers to break up giant meatpacking and poultry monopolies.
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said his group “applauds Senator Hawley’s novel approach to addressing the untenable market concentrations faced by America’s cattle and sheep producers.”
The bill would establish two thresholds for determining the market concentration in the meatpacking industry. Using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, or HHI, which is a measure of market concentration presently employed by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, the bill would prohibit a merger or acquisition by a meatpacker if the HHI would exceed 1,800, or if a proposed merger or acquisition would increase the meatpacker’s current HHI Index by 100.
The current guidelines consider an HHI below 1,500 to be unconcentrated, an HHI between 1,500 and 2,500 to be moderately concentrated, and an HHI above 2,500 to be a highly concentrated market. The Hawley bill would prohibit mergers currently considered moderately concentrated.