Carter Woodiel, 24 June 2021
STURGIS, S.D. (KBHB) – The Senate Ag Committee held a hearing Wednesday to discuss the issue of cattle market manipulation and anti-competitive practices by the meat packers.
South Dakota Senator John Thune was among those chairing the meeting and hearing input from witnesses – including Justin Tupper – cattle producer and manager of St Onge Livestock Auction.
Tupper testified there is a crisis in rural America.
“We are losing our producers at an alarming rate, all the while watching big corporate packers make record profits with the threat of vertical integration hanging over our head,” Tupper said.
Tupper said producers want the packers to make money because that’s what makes the system work. However, the differential between them and the packers is off.
“Packers have enjoyed unbelievable profits, harvesting around 120,000 head per day, while cattle producers go out of business and consumers pay double or even triple at the meat counter,” Tupper said.
Tupper says producers are not looking for a handout – rather a fair and equitable playing field.