Thune, Johnson Lead Colleagues Urging DOJ Investigation

5/17/2021

Rapid City, SD

Washington, D.C.

Today U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) announced they have sent a joint letter, along with several colleagues, urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to continue the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the nations four biggest meat packers.

“We were able to sit down with Sen. Thune last week and articulate how important this is to South Dakota’s beef producers.” Said SDSGA Executive Director James Halverson.  “And we’ve continued to work with Congressman Johnson on this issue as well.  We think there is a real potential to rein in these out of control oligarchies during this session.” 

In 1902 “The Big Six” beef packers controlled about 50% of the nation’s beef packing capacity. The Roosevelt Administration then brought a successful lawsuit against the “beef trust” opening the door for other antitrust cases.  Today only four meat packers control about 85% of the nation’s beef packing capacity. 

“If anyone believes there is actual competition among the “big four” today,” continued Halverson, “They are being duped.  Consumers and producers alike are not getting a fair price whether buying or selling. This investigation must continue and bring to light the backdoor collusion that is crippling our producers and swindling consumers. We have also called for Senate and House hearings on the issue”

“It is critically important the producers have fair and transparent markets for the commodities they produce,” the members of Congress wrote. “We urge the DOJ Antitrust Division to continue vigilance and where possible, provide updates and findings.”

The South Dakota Stockgrowers continue to push for the DOJ investigation as well as hearings in the U.S. House and Senate Antitrust Subcommittees. 

The letter was also signed by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), Liz Cheney, (R-Wyo.), Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa), Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), and Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.).