Antitrust lawsuit involving “Big 4” meatpackers will proceed

A federal court in Minnesota has denied a motion by the nation’s four-largest meat packers to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit alleging price-fixing.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard tells Brownfield his organization originally filed the suit two and-a-half years ago, and Wednesday’s ruling means the case can proceed.

“So importantly in this process, the court has determined that we have plausibly plead a conspiracy by the Big 4 packers to suppress the price of cattle while increasing the price of beef.”

R-CALF’s antitrust action alleges JBS, Tyson, Cargill, and National Beef violated the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 as well as the Packers and Stockyards Act and Commodity Exchange Act.

Bullard says the Biden administration is calling for the same enforcement.

“So our lawsuit leads the national effort to finally impart reforms in what is now a dysfunctional marketplace for both cattle producers and consumers.”

R-CALF USA supports the so-called 50-14 bill introduced in the Senate by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley over Nebraska Republican Deb Fischer’s Cattle Market Transparency Act because Bullard says Fischer’s bill is watered down and would not make any corrective actions in the marketplace for several years.

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