Senate Panel Receives Testimony on Two Bills that Address Price Disparity between Producers and Consumers

042622 Ag Hearing Cattle Prices
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Addresses Fairness for Cattle Producers, Consumers.
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Questions Mississippi Producer on Negative Trends Hurting the U.S. Cattle Industry. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today stressed that American cattle producers deserve to compete in a fair marketplace as the Senate Agriculture Committee began a review of legislation to address the growing price disparity between producers, packers, and consumers.

The committee conducted a hearing to receive testimony on the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2022 (S.4030) and the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022 (S.3870).  At the hearing, William “Ricky” Ruffin of Ruffin Farms in Bay Springs testified on behalf of the United States Cattleman’s Association.

“Producers are such hard workers and all we ask for is a fair market that we can compete in,” said Hyde-Smith.  “An increasingly consolidated industry structure has given rise to anticompetitive practices that harm independent cattle producers, especially the small, mom-and-pop operations.”

“Something in the system is broken.  Meat packing companies are bringing home tremendous profits while producer earnings are declining.  The ‘Big Four’ have increased gross profit shares by 120 percent while net income has surged by 500 percent.  How do we explain these skyrocketing profits, while input costs are rising?” she said.

Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of S.4030 and S.3870, both of which were drafted to address the significant difference between the prices received by farmers and ranchers for their cattle in relation to the prices paid by consumers for beef products.

Administration witnesses at the hearing were Andy Green, senior advisor for Fair and Competitive Markets at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Bruce Summers.