The Livestock Marketing Association welcomes the expansion of an investigation into the beef markets. 

The association this week called for the investigation of beef packers to be comprehensive and expeditious. 

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the association says the investigation should “consider all potential anticompetitive” issues. 

The association has supported USDA’s investigation into beef pricing margins, which was opened in August 2019 following a beef processing plant fire. 

The cattle market in the wake of COVID-19 has responded similarly to how it did after the Holcomb plant fire. 

Once federal, state, and local authorities began instituting recommended and mandatory economic shutdowns in early March 2020, the cattle industry experienced a sharp decline in fed cattle and feeder cattle prices. 

At the same time, boxed beef prices skyrocketed, and consumers emptied meat cases. The combination of these factors resulted in significant packer profit margins. 

All the while, livestock producers continue to receive a shrinking portion of the retail beef dollar paid by the American consumer.