Yesterday, Farm Action Fund leaders travelled to Missouri’s state capitol to offer support to Republican state representative David Gregory in his call to investigate meatpacker abuses. Rep. Gregory has been making the case that large meatpacking corporations are coordinating widespread beef price-fixing and collusion. The results of meatpackers’ schemes are rising prices for consumers and low compensation for those selling cattle.
In his recently filed petition to subpoena evidence, Rep. Gregory and 25 other state representatives ask the Special Committee on Government Accountability to take action. The impact of meatpacking corruption is manifold, acknowledges Rep. Gregory: “Missouri farmers and cattlemen are being harmed by the low live cattle price while the meatpackers are enjoying an all-time high price for their beef products.” Meanwhile, “anybody that enjoys a cheeseburger or any type of other beef product—steak, you name it—they’re going to be affected and they are going to be affected with higher prices,” Gregory tells FOX 2 Now St. Louis.
Wes Shoemyer, a farmer, former Democratic member of the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri State Senate, and board member of Farm Action Fund, stated: “This is an issue across political party lines, across state lines, and across the meatpacking industry. Meatpackers are reaping record profits while farmers and ranchers are barely making ends meet and many consumers are struggling to afford food. Meatpackers have been getting away with this criminal behavior for too long and I stand with Representative Gregory in his effort to put a stop to it.”
Webster Davis, a Missouri farmer and Farm Action Fund’s Senior Policy Advisor, added: “Price-fixing and collusion have been ongoing issues in meatpacking, and it’s gotten even worse during COVID-19. The federal government has shown that they’re willing to issue these packers a slap-on-the-wrist fine at best. It’s time for states to use their power to stand up to meatpackers and protect their state’s beginning and established farmers and ranchers, consumers, and economies. Our research shows that establishing fair markets for Missouri’s cattle producers would increase their profits by $1.8 billion, and circulate an additional $12.6 billion in Missouri’s economy. Rural Missouri deserves better than a handful of meatpackers cheating them out of income and economic development opportunities.”
Farm Action Fund will continue to encourage Representative Gregory to take action on this issue. Using this momentum, we plan to call on additional states and provide their legislators with the political muscle needed to take on the big meatpackers. We are also calling on any farmers and ranchers who have been harmed by these packers to reach out to email@example.com and share their story. All identifying information from these communications will be kept confidential. Farm Action Fund will continue to fight side by side with farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and ultimately all those who eat, for an inclusive economy where all have the right to share in the prosperity they’ve helped build.
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