07.15.20

Daines Leads Ag Roundtable with USDA Under Secretary, Montana Ag Leaders on Montana Ag Issues

GREAT FALLS, MT – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today led a roundtable discussion with USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey and Montana’s ag leaders on important Montana ag issues including market manipulation in cattle markets and available USDA resources for farmers and ranchers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Daines Ag Roundtable Double Photo 

At the roundtable, Daines urged the USDA and the Department of Justice to actively coordinate efforts between the two agencies in the ongoing investigations into allegations of market manipulation and anti-competitive behavior by meat packers in the cattle industry. Daines request was sent in a letter to both agencies today. To read the full letter, click HERE.

Before the roundtable, Daines and Northey toured Ag Trucks and Equipment, a custom farm application equipment manufacturer. Ag Trucks and Equipment’s business operations were kept going because of the help they received through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Daines was instrumental in securing funding for PPP to support Montana small business owners, workers and ag operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Background:   

Daines has been fighting to ensure that Montana farmers and ranchers have the resources they need to keep their ag operations going during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To read about Daines’ COVID-19 related efforts, click HERE

In March, Daines called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the ongoing allegations of price-fixing and market manipulation within the cattle market and the beef meatpacking industry.

In April, USDA announced it was expanding its investigation into the divergence between box and live beef prices. Daines spoke directly with Secretary Perdue about this issue and the need for USDA and DOJ to investigate.

In May, Daines continued the push to urge Attorney General William Barr to conduct a thorough investigation into meat packers and the cattle market. 

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