U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement after the Senate Agriculture Committee agreed to hold a hearing on June 23, 2021, to examine the cattle market, including potential manipulation by meatpackers. This hearing announcement follows a letter that Thune sent to Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Boozman requesting a hearing to consider the challenges facing the livestock industry and the numerous bills that have been introduced that seek to improve the situation. Thune will question hearing witnesses on possible manipulation in the cattle markets and advocate for increased transparency for ranchers and consumers.
“South Dakota cattle producers are some of the hardest working people I know, and they have faced significant hardships that are jeopardizing their ability to stay in business,” said Thune. “I’m glad to see that the Senate Agriculture Committee agreed to my request and is holding a hearing on this important issue next week. We need to hold the highly concentrated meatpacking industry accountable to both the producers who supply them and the consumers who depend on them, and this hearing marks significant progress. While this hearing is a step in the right direction, Justice Department leaders shouldn’t take their foot of the gas. They should continue their investigation, and I will continue urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing as soon as possible, too.”
Thune also recently sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin urging the committee to hold a hearing to look into possible improper and anti-competitive activity in the cattle market. Thune has repeatedly called for the U.S. Justice Department to investigate this matter and recently urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to prioritize this investigation.