U.S. Representatives Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) and Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) recently introduced the Livestock Consolidation Research Act. This legislation would direct the USDA’s Economic Research Service to study the impact of consolidation in the livestock industry on farmers and producers, and subsequently, draft a report about how consolidation has affected new market entrants, access to resources and consumer purchasing power.
This study would encompass the beef, dairy, pork, and poultry industries, including broilers, eggs, and turkeys.
“Competition is vital to a functioning and fair economy. In my conversations with producers — especially Iowa cattlemen — there is frustration that the current marketplace, with such few players, can harm and push out family farms and small producers,” said Rep. Feenstra. “I’m excited to work with Rep. Slotkin to introduce the Livestock Consolidation Research Act to study the impact on our family farms, communities, and businesses of consolidation throughout the meat supply chain. This legislation will help us understand what is truly happening in the industry and root out any discriminatory practices.”
“Growing up, my family was in the meat business, so supporting small livestock producers will always be a priority for me,” said Rep. Slotkin. “As large corporations have captured more and more of the livestock industry, family-owned farms have been feeling the pressure. And as we saw during the pandemic, meatpacking consolidation leaves our food security and national security vulnerable if a producer goes down – not to mention increasing prices for working families. This legislation will make sure we’re taking a hard look at the impact of consolidation, so we can ensure farmers, ranchers, and consumers aren’t left unprotected.”
Earlier this year, Feenstra introduced – alongside U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley – the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act, which would bring much-needed fairness and transparency to the cattle marketplace. Among many provisions, this legislation sets mandatory minimum cash purchases by the Big Four packers and establishes approved pricing mechanisms for fed cattle purchases by covered packers – those controlling five percent or more of fed cattle slaughter. This includes negotiated cash or negotiated grid purchases and purchases at stockyards and through trading systems where multiple buyers and sellers can make and accept bids.
Find legislative text HERE.