Thune Urges Department of Justice to Investigate Price Manipulation in the Beef Market

  Thune Urges Department of Justice to Investigate Price Manipulation in the Beef Market “The widening gap between cattle producer and packer profit margins raises serious concerns about potential instances of price manipulation and other unfair practices within the beef industry, especially considering that four meat packing companies control more than 80 percent of the beef supply in the United States,”  

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today urged Attorney General William Barr to investigate price manipulation and other anticompetitive activities in the beef market. Thune’s request comes as cattle producers in South Dakota and across the country are facing significant market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, Thune sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to request that USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division investigate the cattle market volatility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which Perdue announced yesterday USDA would pursue.   “The widening gap between cattle producer and packer profit margins raise serious concerns about potential instances of price manipulation and other unfair practices within the beef industry, especially considering that four meat packing companies control more than 80 percent of the beef supply in the United States,” wrote Thune. “With these concerns in mind, I respectfully request that the DOJ Antitrust Division investigate the cattle market volatility following the Tyson plant fire and during the COVID-19 pandemic to determine if any anticompetitive behavior has occurred.”