NCBA is in regular contact with USDA as the government’s investigation continues into beef pricing margins following the fire at the Tyson beef processing plant near Holcomb. USDA initially intended to conduct an audit of information from the agency’s Market News Service, but expanded the investigation of cattle and beef markets to include retail data. Regulators with the USDA Packers & Stockyards Division are trying to determine if there is evidence of illegal price manipulation, collusion or restrictions on competition that occurred in the marketplace following the fire. U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said if any unfair practices were discovered, quick enforcement action would be taken.
USDA Undersecretary Greg Ibach told NCBA the data collection process could take a month or more, with results of the full investigation expected toward the end of this year or in early 2020. NCBA and KLA support the investigation and are encouraging USDA to take a thorough, but expeditious, look into how markets reacted following the fire. Producers with information pertinent to the investigation should contact the Packers & Stockyards Division office in Denver at (303) 375-4240.
NCBA also continues to work closely with USDA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to identify any market participant trying to illegally capitalize on the situation.