Cattle raisers are afraid of discussing concentration in the meat industry due to possible retaliation from meat processors, according to a letter to a U.S. Senator.
During hearings before the Senate Agriculture Committee, U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) read a letter from Brenda Masek, president of Nebraska Cattlemen. The letter complains that cattle raisers are not getting their share of the surge in beef prices and states, “None of our producer members we encouraged to testify were willing to put themselves out front for fear of possible retribution by other market participants - an unfortunate reality of today’s cattle industry.”
The committee was holding hearings on the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act, which would mandate price reporting and regional cash trade minimums, among other reforms. It is co-sponsored by Fischer, who expressed a wish to move the legislation out of committee by summer.
However, Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), the ranking Republican on the committee, said that the bill’s provisions would amount to “picking winners and losers” in the beef market, and expressed doubt that the Senate would take up the matter anytime soon.