Today, President Biden convened a roundtable with farmers, ranchers, an impartial poultry processor, and members of his Cabinet to debate the necessity for larger competitors in beef, pork and poultry processing and to announce the Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain. The President, Secretary Vilsack, and Attorney General Garland defined the steps the Administration is taking to extend processing choices for farmers and ranchers, create fairer and extra aggressive markets, deliver down costs for shoppers, and guarantee farmers and ranchers get a honest worth for their product.
The President highlighted the sturdy financial system going into 2022 and defined that beneath his July Executive Order on Promoting Competition within the American Economy, the Administration has been centered on tackling the shortage of competitors in agricultural markets. He defined that simply a small handful of corporations management the bulk of the markets for beef, pork, and poultry, enabling them to squeeze farmers and ranchers whereas additionally elevating costs on shoppers. He additionally thanked bipartisan members of Congress working collectively on laws to extend transparency within the cattle market.
Secretary Vilsack offered particulars on the Administration’s $1 billion funding of American Rescue Plan Funds to finance and help impartial processing initiatives that can give farmers and ranchers extra and higher choices. He additional described the Department of Agriculture’s dedication to work in live performance with the Department of Justice and different enforcement businesses, together with new rulemakings beneath the Packers and Stockyards Act, and new guidelines to guard shoppers from confusion over whether or not merchandise labeled “Product of USA” are actually made right here at dwelling.
Attorney General Garland spoke to the Justice Department’s dedication to extend competitors throughout industries, together with within the agricultural sector, and to implement federal legal guidelines robustly and vigorously. He described a new joint initiative with the Department of Agriculture to raised coordinate the 2 businesses’ federal enforcement efforts, together with the launch of a new joint portal inside 30 days the place farmers and ranchers can lodge considerations about potential violations of the Clayton Act, Sherman Act, or Packers and Stockyards Act. Garland additionally described the Department’s dedication to supporting the strongest doable whistleblower protections.
Roundtable individuals described how lack of competitors within the meat and poultry provide chain impacts their companies and their lives, and the challenges they face as a result of a few giant corporations dominate the processing markets. The farmers and ranchers defined that they’re usually on the mercy of simply a few consumers who decide the worth they obtain, and that whilst these conglomerates elevate costs on the grocery shops, they push down costs for farmers and ranchers, taking wealth out of rural communities and hurting shoppers.
The impartial poultry processor additionally described the dominant poultry manufacturing mannequin during which giant, built-in corporations dictate the phrases of restrictive contracts that go away growers with little management over their very own operations and laden them with debt, and how help for various enterprise fashions and market buildings can serve shoppers, staff, and producers.
Participants defined the start-up prices and challenges to impartial processing and advertising, and how USDA funding to help the meals provide chain will assist impartial processing operations begin up, broaden, and develop—whereas creating extra competitors and choices for producers and shoppers.
Attorney General Garland urged individuals and farmers and ranchers to make use of the brand new joint internet portal to confidentially share doable anticompetitive practices and actions they’ve confronted. President Biden closed the assembly by reiterating the Administration’s whole-of-government-commitment to sort out competitors points throughout industries. He thanked individuals for their exhausting work and suggestions.
Click right here to learn the total reality sheet on the Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain, and click on right here to study different Biden-Harris Administration initiatives to spice up competitors throughout the financial system.
Attendees at immediately’s assembly included:
Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
Attorney General Merrick Garland
National Economic Council Director Brian Deese
Scott Blubaugh, President, Oklahoma Farmers Union
Kelsey Ducheneaux-Scott, Director of Programs, Intertribal Agriculture Council
Corwin Heatwole, CEO, Farmer Focus
Brent Johnson, President, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
Handy Kennedy, Jr., Owner, HK Farms