White House is looking for resilience in the supply chain
White House is taking another step to combat what is called " a lack of competition in agricultural markets", with a special focus on the meat market, where large corporations are dictating prices. Biden administration has announced an Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain, where independent farmers and ranchers are called to discuss ways to boost competition and reduce prices in the meat-processing industry. The plan will be presented place during an online meeting that the White House said will be held “with family and independent farmers and ranchers to discuss his administration’s work to boost competition and reduce prices in the meat-processing industry, where corporate consolidation has led to rising prices for consumers and lower earnings for farmers and ranchers.” The White House said, “The meat producers will talk about the challenges they have faced as large conglomerates have absorbed smaller processors. The attorney general and the secretary of Agriculture will also attend and explain the steps the administration is taking to increase processing options for farmers and ranchers and to create fairer and more competitive markets. Vilsack will continue his aggressive work to tackle the causes of the higher prices American families have been facing.
“The president will explain that under his July Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, the administration has been focused on tackling the lack of competition in agricultural markets. A small handful of meatpackers control the majority of the markets for beef, pork, and poultry, enabling them to squeeze farmers and ranchers while also raising prices on consumers.”
Antitrust actions remain in focus in the USA. Agriculture remains one of the focal points for the Biden administration on this front, with today’s virtual meeting aimed at discussing the administrations’ efforts to boost competition and reduce prices in the meat processing industry. The officials will listen to complaints about consolidation in the industry while launching a new portal to allow farmers and ranchers to report unfair trade practices by meatpackers.
"Dominant corporations in uncompetitive markets are taking advantage of their market power to raise prices while increasing their own profit margins. Meat prices are a good example," White House said in December. In a press release last month, the White House noted that "November Consumer Price Index data demonstrates that meat prices are still the single largest contributor to the rising cost of food people consume at home. As we noted in September, just four large conglomerates control approximately 55-85% of the market for pork, beef, and poultry, and these middlemen were using their market power to increase prices and underpay farmers while taking more and more for themselves. New data released in the last several weeks by four of the biggest meat-processing companies—Tyson, JBS, Marfrig, and Seaboard—show that this trend continues. (Other top processors are private companies that don’t report publicly on their profits, margins, or income.) According to these companies’ latest quarterly earnings statements, their gross profits have collectively increased by more than 120% since before the pandemic, and their net income has surged by 500%. They have also recently announced over a billion dollars in new dividends and stock buybacks, on top of the more than $3 billion they paid out to shareholders since the pandemic began."
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