Lummis signs cattle-market letter

WYOMING – On June 1, 28 congressional members, including 16 U.S. senators and 12 U.S. representatives from both the Republican and Democrat parties, along with an Independent, joined the letter authored by U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minnesota, calling for reform of government policies impacting U.S. cattle and beef markets.

U.S. Sen. Cynthia signed the letter on behalf of Wyoming. 

The congressional signers represent 23 states, including many with stronger consumer-oriented constituencies than traditional cattle-related constituencies. Together they are calling upon U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to take action to protect the nation’s cattle farmers and ranchers from going broke due to inexplicably low cattle prices and protect American consumers from paying over-inflated beef prices at their grocery stores.

The letter identifies several factors the government needs to address that includes but goes beyond traditional antitrust concerns. Specifically, the letter asks the government to determine:

  • The impacts of concentration and consolidation in the beef market.
  • The impacts from the lack of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on beef.
  • Antitrust concerns in consumer beef markets and cattle markets.
  • The impacts of imports on the domestic beef supply chain.
  • Impacts caused by an insufficient number of beef processing plants.

The letter raises concerns that U.S. antitrust laws are either not being properly enforced “or they are not capable of addressing the apparent oligopoly that so plainly exists” in cattle and beef markets. The letter states that this is where the congressional signers and Garland need to work together.

“We are grateful to the 28 congressional signers on the Rounds/Smith letter who have identified the key factors hindering cattle farmers and ranchers’ ability to continue providing America’s consumers with an abundant, safe, and affordable supply of beef,” said R-CALF USA President Gerald Schreiber, who added, “Identifying these serious problems is the first step in resolving them.”