Congress Schedules Hearing on Concentration in Agriculture

JBS acquisition will be scrutinized.

A hearing on "Concentration in Agriculture and Examination of the JBS/Swift Acquisitions" has been scheduled before the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee of Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights on Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT.

Among those expected to testify are Douglas Ross, Special Counsel for Agriculture, Department of Justice; Peter Carstensen, Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School; Wesley Batista, CEO of JBS Swift and Company; Steve Hunt, CEO of U.S. Premium Beef; Dillon Feuz, from the Department of Economics at Utah State University and R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

Bullard, who will follow testimony by Batista, is expected to present information regarding likely injury to competition in both the U.S. cattle industry and the U.S. beef industry causing harm to both independent cattle producers as well as consumers if JBS is allowed to purchase National Beef Packing Co., Smithfield Beef Group and Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding.

"R-CALF hopes the Senate Judiciary Committee would take steps to prevent this merger from going through," Bullard says. "At the very least, we would hope that if the merger is not blocked, the Judiciary Committee would do what the Senate and House Ag Committees failed to do, and that is to put in place protections to prevent packers from using packer-owned cattle and other captive-supply cattle to artificially force cattle prices lower."

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