Americans are paying too much for meat — not because the fundamental economics of pork, poultry, or beef have changed, but because a handful of corporate monopolies control every aspect of the industry. Four firms control 54% of the poultry, 66% of the hog and 85% of the cattle markets. They use this stranglehold to drive up grocery bills, to depress workers wages and dictate rules to farmers, and to bully and cajole Washington into ever-weaker workplace protections and food industry oversight, which has left our food supply chain vulnerable to cyberattacks and market shocks.
Government has the power to fix this. Multinational corporate meatpackers can be broken up. The 100-year-old Packers & Stockyards Act was originally intended to protect poultry and hog farmers and cattle ranchers from unfair, deceptive, and monopolistic practices in the meat market. But for the last few decades, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, USDA has not fully enforced these important protections for farmers and ranchers, which has enabled rampant consolidation.
Robust competition policy and serious enforcement will play a key role in dismantling the meatpacker cartel. Join the American Economic Liberties Project and the National Farmers Union on November 1 at 12 pm ET to discuss how we got here, why we must act now, and what concrete steps we can take to revive competition in American agriculture.
Sarah Miller, Executive Director, American Economic Liberties Project
Keith Ellison, Attorney General, Minnesota
Bill Bullard, CEO, R-CALF USA
Sarah Lloyd, Dairy Farmer and Wisconsin Farmers Union Board Member
Mike Callicrate, Farmer-Rancher and Family Farm Advocate
National Farmers Union Remarks
Patty Edelburg, Vice President, National Farmers Union
Andy Green, Senior Advisor for Fair and Competitive Markets, USDA