The Kansas congressional delegation sent a letter last week calling on U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to provide an update on the ongoing investigation of the packing industry. The investigation was initiated following the August 2019 fire at the Tyson processing plant in Holcomb, then broadened to include the initial market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter, signed by U.S. Sens. Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran and U.S. Reps. Tracey Mann, Ron Estes, Jake LaTurner and Sharice Davids, pointed out the USDA report released last summer only focused on supply and demand fundamentals and did not address the question of illegal or anti-competitive behavior. It also highlighted the challenging marketing dynamics cattle producers continue to face and the concerns surrounding the historically wide gap between wholesale beef prices and fed cattle prices.
“The bottom line is industry participants need to know if the current situation is simply a matter of supply and demand fundamentals, as referenced in the 2020 USDA report, or if it is a result of unlawful market behavior,” the letter stated.
KLA staff assisted with the drafting of the letter and helped secure support from the entire delegation. KLA is committed to ensuring regulators complete the investigation and, if violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act or other antitrust laws are found, the violators held accountable.