SD cattle producers hold ‘eye-opening’ meeting with DOJ officials


by: Eric Mayer, KELOLAND TV

Sep 21, 2022


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Doug Sombke has met with many politicians and government officials since he started farming in 1980.


His latest trip to Washington D.C. has left the President of South Dakota Farmers Union hopeful for meaningful action to aid farmers, producers and rural America. Sombke, who manages corn, soybeans and cattle over 2,500 acres near Conde in Spink County, was one of 44 South Dakotans who spoke directly with U.S. Senators, U.S Representatives and government officials with the Surface Transportation Board, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Department of Justice and Federal Trade Association. 


“It was really, really good that we connected with them, because they had not heard directly from farmers and ranchers like that,” Sombke said. “We felt that there was a lot more response to what we were presenting and what we’re asking.”


With midterm elections approaching, Sombke said he understands the political divide will still make action difficult, but he was encouraged by the amount of interest shown for agriculture and rural Americans. He specifically said elected officials without many ties to the agriculture industry were concerned about how the issues impact consumers in their home states and districts.  


“It’s good for the consumers, too,” Sombke said. “You know what it’s like to go to the grocery store. The sad thing is farmers are not even getting 7% of that back.”


Sombke said one of the most “eye-opening” meetings came with members of the DOJ’s antitrust division. He noted in many agriculture industries, including the cattle and beef industry, 30 and 40 years of consolidation has harmed fair competition. In the U.S., 26 major plants process 80-85% of the beef in the USA. Those plants are owned by four main companies — JBS, Tyson, Cargill and National Beef...


Action on antitrust ...


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