In this file:

 

·         Op-Ed: Cattle Market Reform Necessary for a Sovereign, Secure Food System

·         Fox News: Fewer meat packers threatens our national security

 

 

Op-Ed: Cattle Market Reform Necessary for a Sovereign, Secure Food System

 

Oklahoma Farm Report

22 Jun 2022

 

Miller currently serves as president of the U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA)

 

The following is an editorial written by Dr. Brooke Miller, President of the US Cattlemen's Association- offering his support of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act.

 

"More than one hundred years have passed since the last major regulatory action on the U.S. meatpacking industry. The Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 was enacted at a time when the National Packing Company, a conglomeration of three of the largest meat processors at the time, controlled 45 percent of the nation's total slaughter capacity, and 97 percent of slaughter capacity in the West.

 

Today, the "Big Four" meatpacking corporations – Tyson, JBS, Cargill, and National Beef Packing – control around 85 percent of U.S. steer and heifer slaughter, more than twice the market share that spurred Congress to action in 1921.

 

"The game has changed, but the rules have remained the same. Without bold action, the United States risks losing its independent livestock producers.

 

"U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, Chuck Grassley, and Jon Tester's Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act would be the first time in over one hundred years that a referee, with a whistle, would be placed back on the playing field. And for each violation of the Act, packers would pay a $90,000 fine.

 

"Under the bill, USDA would establish 5-7 regions covering the continental United States based on similar fed cattle purchases. Packing companies controlling five or more percent of fed cattle slaughter in these regions would then be required to participate in the cash market. The bill would establish minimum levels of purchases through approved pricing mechanisms like negotiated cash, negotiated grid, at stockyards, and through trading systems where multiple buyers can make and accept bids.

 

"The initial established mandatory minimum may not be less than the average of that region's negotiated trade for the two-year period of 2020-2021. However, this is just the floor of what USDA can establish – USDA can choose to set minimum purchase levels higher. In fact, they are required to consider a number of factors including the proportion of negotiated purchases in that region relative to the number of AMAs that use negotiated purchases to determine their base price.

 

"The bill would also require USDA to review levels of cash sales not more than two years after passage, and then periodically after that. If anything changes after the bill passes, there is a built-in mechanism to quickly make it right...

 

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http://www.oklahomafarmreport.com/wire/news/2022/06/01683_OpEdBrookeMiller06220222_044541.php

 

 

Fox News: Fewer meat packers threatens our national security

 

By Rep. Abigail Spanberger and USCA President Brooke Miller, United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA)

via USCA – June 19, 2022 

 

(JUNE 19, 2022) – Over the last year, meat prices have gone up by 15 percent for Americans — meaning higher prices for the beef they’ll grill, smoke, and barbeque this summer.

 

That’s not the fault of America’s ranchers, and it’s certainly not the fault of the truck drivers working overtime to haul meat to the supermarket. A wide range of factors is causing price increases — but one factor is staring us in the face: consolidation in the meat packing industry. 

 

The four big meat packers are raking in record profits, while the average cattle producer’s share of the retail value of beef has decreased: from more than 50 cents on the dollar in 2015 to less than 37 cents on the dollar last year. This loss means that many ranchers are being forced to shut down their operations — abandoning a way of life that has often been in their family for generations. Since 1980, 40 percent of U.S. cattle producers have gone out of business while consolidation in the meat packing industry has climbed to over 80 percent.

 

Meanwhile, Cargill reported the biggest profits in its 156-year history. Tyson saw a double-digit profit increase last quarter, and National Beef’s profits more than doubled in the third quarter of 2021. We’re witnessing a textbook case of multinational corporations ripping off hardworking Americans. 

 

But consolidation in the meat industry isn’t just impacting beef prices and boxing out farm families from success — it also poses a real threat to America’s national security. If present trends continue, in the not-too-distant future, Americans will rely on foreign-owned corporations to feed their families. 

 

Last year, we saw how a cyberattack against JBS — a major, Brazilian-owned processor — jeopardized the nation’s meat and poultry supply chain. When JBS slaughterhouses were taken offline, our country’s meat supply was thrust into days of uncertainty. In a matter of minutes, we saw consolidation’s vulnerabilities.

 

And through it all, the U.S. Beef Division of JBS saw record net revenues — up 101 percent in 2021. Yet little was done to hold them accountable for leaving the industry so vulnerable. What will happen when another major processor is confronted by an even more powerful cyberattack?

 

We come at this issue from two very different backgrounds. One of us is a former federal law enforcement officer and CIA case officer, and one of us is a fourth-generation Angus cattle rancher. As Virginians who care about the families, producers, and consumers we represent, we both agree that we need a referee on the playing field — someone who can blow the whistle on illegal, anti-competitive, or deceptive activity.

 

That begins by enforcing the laws on the books. 

 

The U.S. House is considering the “Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act” — bipartisan legislation I (Congresswoman Spanberger) was proud to introduce, and legislation I (U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Miller) am proud to endorse. 

 

The “Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act” would establish an Office of the Special Investigator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate violations of our existing antitrust laws within the meat industry. This team would not be toothless — they would have access to investigators with real power, including through subpoenas and litigation. Through these tools, USDA would have greater abilities to secure our nation’s food supply, combat illegal and monopolistic consolidation practices, and hold these big processors accountable.

 

This bill is not about adding burdensome regulations, as some wrongly accuse — it’s about following the rule of law. And if meatpackers are abiding by the law, they should have no concerns if we embrace the concept of “trust but verify.”

 

A new bill would provide enforcement for antitrust rules in the beef industry. Pictured: British Blue pedigree beef cattle in upland pasture. (Photo by: Wayne Hutchinson/Farm Images/UIG via Getty Images)

 

This idea wasn’t concocted in a think tank. Rather, it echoes what small livestock producers have wanted for 100 years.

 

Since the advent of the “Packers and Stockyards Act” — a 1921 law meant to crack down on price manipulation and prevent monopolies from manipulating livestock markets and unfairly sticking higher costs on the American people — producers have wanted fairness and security. This bill finally provides the enforcement mechanisms necessary to deliver on the promises first made to cattle ranchers a century ago.

 

In the U.S. Senate, Sens. Jon Tester, Chuck Grassley, and Mike Rounds are leading the charge on a companion bill. In the U.S. House, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks is co-leading the effort. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue. 

 

For those of us who care deeply about America’s national security, this bill is a winner. For those of us who understand the challenges facing America’s farm families, this bill is a winner. And for those of us who want to do everything in our power to lower costs for American families, this bill is a winner. 

 

We look forward to moving the “Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act” forward, because there’s nothing more American than hamburgers, free enterprise, and competition.

 

 

Brooke Miller is president of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.

 

Democrat Abigail Anne Davis Spanberger represents the 7th Congressional District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives. She is is a former American federal law enforcement agent and former CIA operations officer.

 

source url

https://uscattlemen.org/fox-news-fewer-meat-packers-threatens-our-national-security/