01.03.22

Daines Statement on Effort to Increase Transparency in Cattle Markets Following His Push

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines released the following statement after the Biden administration announced steps to increase transparency in cattle markets and released an “Action Plan” to address unfair practices. Daines describes the action, which comes after years of his work on the issue, as a positive step with more action needed.  

“Montana ranchers must be able to compete on a level playing field. I have long worked to address the unfair practices of the largest meat packers that are hurting Montana ranchers. While this is a welcome step forward from the Administration, we must continue to fight to ensure ranchers are treated fairly in the marketplace and that packers are held accountable. I’m calling on President Biden to ensure a full and thorough investigation into the packers and allegations of price fixing and market manipulation and to work with me to pass my bills that will strengthen Product of the USA labeling laws, increase transparency in the cattle market, and create a special antitrust USDA investigator. Montana ranchers produce the best beef in the world, they deserve to be recognized for it, and I will continue to work to ensure they can compete fairly,” Daines said.

Daines is leading efforts in Congress to support Montana ranchers and has introduced or cosponsored:

 Background: 

In December 2021, Daines joined a bipartisan effort to help support Montana ranchers by calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately suspend fresh beef imports from Brazil. 

In November 2021, Daines helped introduce the “Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act” to return fairness to the cattle marketplace.

In October 2021, Daines cosponsored legislation to establish a special investigator at USDA regarding competition in cattle markets and ag more broadly.

In August 2021, Daines introduced the “USA Beef Act,” to ensure only beef products from cattle born, raised and slaughtered in the United States can use the “Product of USA” label.

In June 2021, Daines urged the Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate allegations of price-fixing and market manipulation within the cattle market and the beef meatpacking industry and ensure antitrust laws are enforced.

In March 2021, Daines cosponsored two bipartisan bills to increase transparency in the cattle market and cut red tape for Montana’s ag and livestock haulers, the “HAULS Act” and the “Mandatory Negotiated Cash Trade Bill.”  

On July 22, 2020, Daines issued a statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of a report and update on the ongoing investigation into allegations of price-fixing and market manipulation within the cattle market and the meatpacking industry. 

In July 2020, Daines brought USDA Under Secretary Northey to Montana to hear directly from Montana farmers and ranchers in a roundtable discussion. 

On July 15, 2020, Daines sent a letter urging the USDA and the DOJ to actively coordinate and expand the scope of their efforts in the ongoing investigations into allegations of market manipulation and anti-competitive behavior by meat packers in the cattle industry.  

In July 2020, Daines led a roundtable discussion with USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach with some of Montana’s cattle industry leaders to discuss the important and ongoing investigations into meat packers and allegations of market manipulation and price fixing in the cattle markets. 

On May 12, 2020, Daines joined a letter in support of efforts by attorneys general across the country calling on the DOJ to move quickly in its investigation of 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.

On March 19th, 2020, sent a letter calling on the DOJ to investigate the ongoing allegations of price-fixing and market manipulation within the cattle market and the beef meatpacking industry. 

In September 2019, Daines sent a letter to the USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue urging a swift, thorough and transparent investigation into the impact of the fire that occurred at a Tyson Food beef processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas.

 

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Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler