Hyde-Smith stresses need for fairness for U.S. cattle producers
Senate panel receives testimony on two bills that address price disparity between producers and consumers.
By Anne Summerhays
On Tuesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held 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). U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) stressed that American cattle producers deserve to compete in a fair marketplace.
Senator Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of both bills, S.4030 and S.3870, which seek to address the growing price disparity between producers, packers, and consumers.
“Producers are such hard workers and all we ask for is a fair market that we can compete in,” Hyde-Smith said. “An increasingly consolidated industry structure has given rise to anticompetitive practices that harm independent cattle producers, especially the small, mom-and-pop operations.”
The “Big Four” meatpackers control 55% to 85% of the hog, cattle, and chicken markets. The four major meat companies in the U.S. include: Cargill, Tyson Foods, JBS, and National Beef Packing.
“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?” Hyde-Smith continued.
At the hearing, William “Ricky” Ruffin of Ruffin Farms in Bay Springs testified on behalf of the United States Cattleman’s Association.
Ruffin said that without bold action, the United States risks losing its independent livestock producers, which represents a significant loss to the security of our nation’s food supply.
“The two bills before us today, the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act Of 2022 and the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022, are worthy examples of what a grassroots movement—by producers, for producers—can accomplish,” Ruffin said in his testimony.
“USCA stands with county, state, and national producer associations across the U.S. in supporting these historic pieces of legislation.”