Senators say COVID highlights cattle industry problems
Two U.S. Senators working to improve cattle markets for producers say the pandemic has brought a lot of existing problems into clearer focus.
Senator Jon Tester of Montana, a Democrat, was a guest of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association conversation on Friday, “When you have consolidation in anything – in this case it’s agriculture, processing cattle or hogs – when something goes wrong things go to hell and it goes to hell fast.”
Republican South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds, also a USCA guest, says they pushed for and are watching the Justice Department investigation into anti-competitive practices in the cattle industry closely, “If you do not find evidence of anti-trust activity then what do we have to do to fix our laws? Because if there’s no trust activity going on it’s still not working for our cattle producers. So, we’re going to have to change the laws.”
Tester says the concentration of just four packers is a major issue, “That’s not competition.Capitalism doesn’t work under those circumstances. So on one had the COVID thing has been very, very challenging. On the other hand it’s pointed out where we need to make some changes in our food change.
Senators Tester and Rounds are sponsors, in total, of six bills and one resolution to improve marketing, labeling, and, transportation in the cattle industry.