Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is applauding the Biden Administration’s efforts to combat anticompetitive practices in the meatpacking industry.
Up to $800 million in loans and grants will aid small-scale beef, pork, and poultry plants while setting up a new hotline for whistleblowers. Grassley, a Republican, says his response to the move is “Hallelujah.”
“The big four packers control 85% of the daily slaughter,” Grassley says. “They can and, in fact, do abuse the market power while the retail price of meat has gone up, independent producers are getting less and less.”
Grassley says he fully supports administration efforts to bring fair prices to both producers and consumers, though he recognizes it will also take legislation. Grassley says he has a bi-partisan bill in the works.
“It’s called the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act,” Grassley says. “It’ll create fair market conditions for independent producers and reign in some of the bad behavior of the big packers.” If the administration wants a solution for small producers and for consumers, Grassley says the president should endorse the bill and lobby for its swift passage.
Iowa Senator, Joni Ernst, also says she is happy to see the Biden Administration take action to combat anticompetitive practices in the meatpacking industry. “That is good. We’re glad that the administration is finally moving forward. That is an issue that so many of us have been raising here in Congress,” she says.
Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, is hoping this leads to some good results. “I look forward to working with them on these issues, and I am glad that they have finally, finally engaged in the area of agriculture, Ernst says.
Ernst supports Senator Grassley’s cattle price bill. She says this reform isn’t just for cattle producers and farmers. “Everyone who enjoys eating is impacted in one way or another by what the administration will be doing by engaging in these discussions,” according to Ernst. “So, it is time that the administration really focuses — not just on our meat processing across the United States, but also agriculture as a whole.”
Ernst says inflation has impacted the dollar and our ability to purchase good, wholesome food, and supporting agriculture is key to making sure we have a good supply.
(Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson also contributed to this story.)