Smith Leads Missouri Delegation in Fight to Return Fairness to Meat Markets
Would empowers cattle producers by giving them the tools they need to compete for fair prices; help consumers.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO), joined by Missouri Reps. Graves, Luetkemeyer, Hartzler, Long, and Wagner introduced the Feed America by Incentivizing Rural (FAIR) Meat Packing Act to ensure a level playing field for Missouri cattlemen and to return to fair prices for both cattlemen and families. The FAIR Meat Packing Act creates two incentives to facilitate the formation of small and mid-sized meat processing facilities allowing cattle producers to compete for better prices in the marketplace.
“Our cattle producers are some of the hardest working men and women in the country” Said Rep. Smith “They deserve access to fair markets. Unfortunately, if the big meat packers continue to control the prices this will never be the case. This legislation gives cattle producers the tools they need to form their own processing facilities and take on the big packers. Ultimately this will help producers get better value for their cattle and bring down prices for end consumers who were being gouged at the meat counter by the larger producers.”
“It became beyond apparent this year that the bottlenecks in the food supply negatively impacted both consumers and producers. We must maintain our smaller processors to ensure we minimize supply disruptions especially during black swan events.” Said Charlie Besher, Missouri Cattlemen Association Region 3 Vice President from Patton. “I want to thank Congressman Smith for always putting Missouri farmers and ranchers first.”
Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, during one of the most difficult and uncertain times for producers and consumers alike, the price of meat soared in grocery stores across the country. Meanwhile, during that same time, producers saw the price of cattle fall to historic lows. Already struggling with a collapsing supply chain, this phenomenon pushed many producers to the brink of survival.
To combat these trends, Rep. Smith introduced legislation, supported by a President Trump Executive Order, to hold accountable those who intentionally manipulate the supply of goods and services deemed vital and necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of others. He also pushed for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the large beef packers and has worked closely with the Trump Administration to fully investigate cattle market manipulation.
As a fourth-generation family farm owner, Rep. Smith understands the challenges that Missouri producers face every day to stay in business. This summer, during his annual agriculture stops throughout Southern Missouri, Rep. Smith met and spoke directly with cattle producers to hear their ideas and concerns. Rep. Smith also visited the Joplin Regional Stockyards with Reps. Hartzler and Long to better understand the crucial links in the food supply chain. The consistent message Rep. Smith heard from cattlemen was that the playing field has to be leveled. Missouri cattlemen produce the finest beef in the world, but without competition in the marketplace, they’ll never get the prices they deserve. Rep. Smith’s bill would ensure that competition exists.
“I want to thank Reps. Graves, Luetkemeyer, Hartzler, Long, and Wagner for joining me in this effort. A thriving agriculture economy is essential for the success of farmers, ranchers and small businesses across Missouri.” Said Rep. Smith “This bill will give Missouri cattle producers the tools to ensure the long-term growth and prosperity of this essential industry.”