New initiatives tighten anti-trust laws and protect North Dakota’s cattle producers

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Early July, President Biden signed an executive order on promoting competition in the American economy.
The order concentrates on promoting competitive markets through 72 initiatives directed at more than a dozen federal agencies.

It’s a big sweeping order that covers a lot of areas, but North Dakota Farmers Union says it’s going to be good news for farmers, ranchers, and the marketplace.

It bolsters NDFU’s efforts to break up the four meatpacking companies that control more than 80-percent of cattle slaughter in the country.

The order issues new rules under the 100-year-old Packers and Stockyard Act that will protect cattle producers from some of the worst abuses in the livestock industry.

Matt Perdue, NDFU Governement Relations Director say, “When President Biden signed the Executive Order last Friday, really that was a big signal that this administration intends to enforce it’s anti-trust laws. You talk about the Packers and Stockyards Act rules. Rules that deal with providing undue preference, the law requiring a very high bar to prove competitive injury based on anti-competitive practices from the packers.

The order will make it easier for cattle producers to bring claims against packers and adopts anti-retaliation protections.

The anti-trust order takes it one step further by asking the Department of Justice to tighten merger guidelines to prevent multi-national companies from monopolizing the livestock industry.

Perdue explains, “The packing industry is heavily consolidated, and that robs producers from opportunities, and really prevents the development of local and regional supply chains, and so we want to make sure we are doing all we can to break up that consolidation, and investing more in local and regional slaughter facilities, local and regional ag processing, so we can create supply chains that connect producers to consumers right here in North Dakota.”

NDFU says the executive order coupled with the USDA’s commitment to invest $500 million for new independent packing infrastructure signals a new beginning for market fairness in the livestock industry.

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