Legislators Call for USDA Examination of Livestock Industry Consolidation’s Impact


.S. Representatives Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) and Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) have jointly introduced a bill aimed at directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct a comprehensive study on the repercussions of industry consolidation within the meat supply chain for producers.

The proposed legislation, known as the Livestock Consolidation Research Act, also mandates that the USDA’s Economic Research Service compile a detailed report assessing how consolidation affects new entrants to the market, their access to vital resources, and the purchasing power of consumers.

This comprehensive study would encompass an analysis of the beef, dairy, pork, and poultry sectors.

Representative Feenstra expressed the frustrations of Iowa farmers who currently grapple with market conditions that disadvantage family-owned farms and small producers. He stated that this bill is intended to shed light on the industry’s realities and eradicate any discriminatory practices that may be harming producers.

Representative Slotkin, with personal ties to the meat industry from her upbringing, pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the vulnerabilities of a heavily consolidated meatpacking sector. She believes that the proposed legislation will play a crucial role in safeguarding the interests of farmers, ranchers, and consumers, ensuring they are not left unprotected in the face of industry changes.