Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) is trying to level the playing field between cattle producers, packers, and consumers.
During a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Tuesday, Hyde-Smith stressed that American cattle producers deserve to compete in a fair marketplace.
The committee conducted a hearing to receive testimony on the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2022 (S.4030) and the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022 (S.3870). At the hearing, William “Ricky” Ruffin of Ruffin Farms in Bay Springs testified on behalf of the United States Cattleman’s Association.
“Producers are such hard workers and all we ask for is a fair market that we can compete in,” said Hyde-Smith. “An increasingly consolidated industry structure has given rise to anticompetitive practices that harm independent cattle producers, especially the small, mom-and-pop operations.”
“Something in the system is broken. Meatpacking companies are bringing home tremendous profits while producer earnings are declining. The ‘Big Four’ have increased gross profit shares by 120 percent while net income has surged by 500 percent. How do we explain these skyrocketing profits, while input costs are rising?” she said.
Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of S.4030 and S.3870, both of which were drafted to address the significant difference between the prices received by farmers and ranchers for their cattle in relation to the prices paid by consumers for beef products.
Administration witnesses at the hearing were Andy Green, senior advisor for Fair and Competitive Markets at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Bruce Summers.