House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway of Texas sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today, urging him to work with university policy research centers to analyze issues related to the cattle industry, especially in light of the recent and ongoing stress related to COVID-19.
In the letter, Peterson and Conaway call on USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist to evaluate cattle market structure, price discovery, price reporting, purchasing mandates, and barriers to entry in the packing sector.
The letter also specifically asks for the analysis to address the following questions:
- How did the sector get to its current structure and what are its advantages and disadvantages for producers as well as consumers?
- Is the current capacity sufficient for the industry to thrive and grow?
- What are the impediments to expansion for both new and existing firms of varied sizes?
- Are there policy options to expand capacity or increase price discovery regionally or nationally, and would those options address current concentration and supply chain vulnerability concerns?
- What common success factors for small to medium packing plants, including producer-owned processing can be documented, and is there a set of generalizable strategies for success?
House Agriculture Committee