Last week, we all heard the news about President Joe Biden earmarking another $1 billion in funds to help invest in small meat packers, allowing to build more competition in the marketplace. He also spoke to more enforcement of the Packers & Stockyards Act. The legislation is well over 100 years old, and some argue that it hasn’t been well enforced for several decades. So, what does this latest news mean for producers?
United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sat down with me to discuss the administration’s plans for these newest initiatives.
Audio: Full Interview with U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Secretary Vilsack talked about what this latest initiative from President Biden will do, and how it will work with programs that were started over the past year to help small packers grow and become competitive.
Vilsack said these efforts are to help the producers, the consumers, and the food system. With only the “big four” holding 85% of the market share, they dictate prices.
Attorney General Merrick Garland was also a part of the roundtable discussion last week, and the Justice Department will have a key role in determining any violations by these big four to the Packers & Stockyards Act. There has been some reluctance by producers to believe that anything can be done to help release the stranglehold that the marketplace is under. Vilsack talked about how the Packers & Stockyards Act works, and what avenues are available to make a change.
The Secretary and I talked much more in-depth about last week’s announcement. You can watch the video of our interview here, or you can listen to the full interview above.