Montana Senator Jon Tester and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have coauthored a guest column in US Today headlined “Threat of Meat Shortages is Growing. Senate Needs to Act Now.”
The June 29 op-ed highlights the Senators’ concerns about meat supply during a pandemic that appears to worsening…in Montana, in the US, and throughout the world. The Senators voice concerns about meat packing consolidation and monopoly.
“…it requires only a brief look under the hood of the beef supply chain to diagnose the grave crisis currently facing American farmers and ranchers, and the growing threat of shortages for every American family who buys meat at the grocery store,” the Senators write. “…in recent decades, the packing industry has become dangerously consolidated. Currently, only four large corporations control 80 percent of America’s meat processing capacity, running massive processing plants and industrial feed lots.”
Then came COVID. “…the pandemic, which has exposed the dangers of this consolidated industry by infecting thousands of plant employees, shutting down a quarter of our nation’s meat processing capacity, making it more difficult for families to find meat at the grocery store, and jeopardizing our nation’s food supply chain,” they write.
The two Senators have introduced legislation to stem manipulation of cattle prices by meat packers to help livestock producers obtain more opportunity to get a fair price for their products. The two Senators point out it is not just ranchers impacted by packer monopolies but consumers as well.