Wyoming Attorney General Urges USDA to Strengthen Competition in Meatpacking

January 3, 2022

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Led by Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a bipartisan coalition of 16 attorneys general has sent a letter drafted in close coordination with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, with recommendations to improve competition in the livestock industry. According to the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, the letter raises concerns about the increasing concentration in meatpacking and offers solutions to aid USDA in efforts to strengthen enforcement under the Packers and Stockyards Act.

The Packers and Stockyards Act, which dates to 1921, was intended to address unfair, deceptive, and anti-competitive practices in meat markets. Over time, however, corporate consolidation has led to less competition for producers’ livestock and poultry. In 1977, the four largest beef packers only accounted for 25 percent of the market, but as of 2018, the four largest packers controlled 85 percent of the market. The four largest processors of pork in 1976 controlled 33 percent of the market, while in 2018, the largest four processors accounted for 70 percent of the market. The result weakened prices, forced many producers from the market and reduced the number of livestock farms and ranches. The full media release from the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office can be viewed below.

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Last modified: January 3, 2022

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