U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report on its investigation into cattle market volatility during the coronavirus pandemic and following a 2019 fire at a Tyson Foods beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas. The report provides an analysis on cattle market conditions and considerations for improving the cattle market. The investigation into potential violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act is ongoing.
“South Dakota’s cattle producers are facing extreme volatility in the cattle market, and I remain concerned about potential anticompetitive activity in the highly concentrated meatpacking industry.” said Thune. “I look forward to reviewing the considerations provided in this report, and I will continue to press the Department of Justice to conclude its investigation into potential price manipulation and other anticompetitive activities in the meatpacking industry.”
On April 8, 2020, Thune urged USDA to take further action to strengthen the integrity of the cattle market by requesting that USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division investigate the cattle market volatility due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to conclude its investigation into beef pricing margins after the Holcomb, Kansas, Tyson plant fire. The following day, Thune urged Attorney General William Barr to open an investigation into the beef industry.