WASHINGTON, D.C. (WNAX) – Farm state lawmakers including South Dakota Senator John Thune are asking for action to strengthen the integrity of the cattle market and requesting an investigation into the volatility tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thune has asked both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice to look into possible collusion.
Cattle producers have pressed Congress and the Trump Administration for investigations as they charge packers are price fixing and making record profits while they’re losing money. Boxed beef prices recently hit record highs, while cash prices and futures are closing in on record lows. Thune agrees that is a problem.
Cattle producers have also asked the government to break up the monopoly in the packing industry and force more cash cattle to be bought on a negotiated basis.
This is the second investigation that’s been requested in less than a year. Thune has asked USDA to conclude its probe into beef packing margins following the August 2019 Tyson beef processing plant fire in Holcomb, Kansas.