USD law professor shares thoughts on cattle market investigation

VERMILLION, S.D. (WNAX) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is continuing its investigation into cattle markets and pricing. Also, President Trump has called for the Justice Department to do an antitrust investigation of the cattle markets.

University of South Dakota law professor Thomas Horton worked in the past at the Department of Justice. He says the concentration problem in the packing industry has gotten severe and warrants an investigation.

Horton who’s tried antitrust cases both for and against the United States says any investigation needs to take a close look at all the internal pricing discussions.

He says usually the memoranda that investigators should look at are contained in the files of the packing companies themselves which will provide a lot of information as to how and why pricing was set.

Horton says for an investigation to be successful, those conducting it need to get into the trenches and talk to all of those involved. He says it’s critical to get depositions from ranchers, meat packers, ag economists and ag consultants and get past the surface of what is happening.