RAPID CITY, S.D. – President Joe Biden met with ranchers and farmers on Monday ahead of a new plan to target large-scale meatpacking companies, pushing to help independent producers become more competitive.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, top meatpacking and poultry processing firms in the country own at least half, and in the case of beef over three-quarters, of their respective markets.
However, those companies largely determine prices which often ends with smaller profits for the producers and higher costs for consumers.
“Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism, it’s exploitation. That’s what we’re seeing with meat and poultry in those industries now,” President Biden said. “Small independent farmers and ranchers are being driven out of business, sometimes businesses that have been around for generations.”
As prices continue to rise for consumers, President Biden is preparing to address the issues large companies are causing.
“Their profits are up 300 percent relative to before the pandemic, their profit margins are up 50 percent and so what we really need to do is what the event was about,” White House Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Bharat Ramamurti explained. “Bringing more competition to this industry in giving farmers and producers more options to sell their products, which will end up providing a better price for them and a better price for the consumer.”
The new plan calls for expansion of independent processing and more support for workers including diversifying packing and processing options, developing safer workplaces, increased training and more.
“Within 30 days there will be a one-stop shop website where folks can come and register their complaints,” Ramamurti explained. “And then we’ll make sure the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture can actually review those complaints and work with each other to determine whether there’s a case to be brought based on that information.”