Grassley Questions Witnesses, Calls out Large Meatpackers on Unfair Practices at Judiciary Committee Hearing
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa),
Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned witnesses at
the hearing to address competition in the American food supply chain. Two
Iowans testified at today’s hearing: Jon Schaben of Dunlap, owner of Dunlap
Livestock Auction and member of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association; and Shane
Miller of Sioux City, group president of Fresh Meats at Tyson Foods.
Grassley questioned Miller on how the
large meatpackers, including Tyson Foods, can justify paying cattle producers low
prices while they make large profits and consumers are paying more.
Grassley has long worked to address
anticompetitive practices in the livestock industry. Last month, Grassley
introduced bipartisan legislation to
create the “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” within
the USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division. Grassley also led efforts to combat
corporate consolidation and protect the livelihood of family famers. He joined
a bipartisan group of colleagues in
demanding the Department of Justice investigate whether the control large
meatpackers have over the beef processing market violates U.S. antitrust laws
and principles of fair competition.
Today, only four meatpackers – JBS, Tyson,
Cargill and National Beef – control more than 80 percent of the cattle market.
These companies hold a tremendous amount of market power. Independent cattle
producers in Iowa and across the country need a free and fair market. The
amount of cattle traded on the cash market in the early 2000’s was more than 50
percent, but today it has dropped to only 20 percent.
Grassley’s opening remarks can be
found HERE and
photos from the hearing can be found HERE.