Cattle Market Reform Gains Some Momentum

Cattle market reforms to help independent producers get better prices may be gaining some momentum in Congress.

President Biden, during his State of the Union speech, called capitalism without competition “exploitation,” including in the meatpacking industry. “Small businesses and family farmers and ranchers, I need not tell some of my Republican friends from those states, guess what, you’ve got four basic meat packing facilities—that’s it. You play with them, or you don’t get to play at all.”

A message Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s been making to Biden and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack for months, and whose cattle market reform bill may now get a boost Hill Democrats.

Grassley on Montana Senator Jon Tester; “He told National Farmers Union that he had talked to Schumer about it, and Schumer decides floor action, that we get some time on the floor for that, plus another bill that Tester has.”

Tester is a cosponsor of Grassley’s bill to set regional thresholds for levels of negotiated cattle sales with packers.

Biden’s Justice Department is looking into packer pricing and also going after recent ocean shipper practices. Biden; “During the pandemic, about half a dozen or less foreign-owned companies, raised prices by as much as one-thousand percent, and made record profits. Tonight, I’m announcing a crackdown on those companies overcharging American businesses and consumers.”

Dairy industry groups claim disruptions in the export supply chain cost over $1.5 billion last year in higher costs and lost sales from last-minute changes and unwarranted charges and fees.

The Ocean Shipping Antitrust Enforcement Act just introduced in the House would repeal some antitrust exemptions for ocean carriers.

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