Missouri’s junior senator says four companies process 85 percent of all beef in the United States, and he’s calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch an antitrust investigation into the meatpacking industry.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley made his comments during a Wednesday interview with Missourinet, saying farmers need help. He says Missouri farmers and ranchers have approached him, especially in the last few months, saying they are desperate to have more options when it comes to selling their livestock.
“Right now the meatpacking industry has become too consolidated,” Hawley says. “We’ve got just one or two or three companies who control the whole thing.”
Hawley serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is the U.S. Senate’s chief oversight committee.
Hawley says four companies … Tyson Foods, Cargill, JBS, and Smithfield Foods … process 85 percent of all beef in the United States. He says Tyson, JBS, and Smithfield control 63 percent of the nation’s pork processing.
He’s calling on the FTC to “ask probing questions” about the major meatpacking firms’ conduct, pricing and contracting.
Hawley is teaming up with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), in his call. Senators Hawley and Baldwin have written a two-page letter to the FTC, saying the closing of three pork plants due to COVID-19 has resulted “in the shutdown of a staggering 15 percent of America’s pork production.”