Beef Buzz News
Texas A & M Ag Economist Bart Fischer Says Investigation Into Meat Market Collusion is Underway
Thu, 07 May 2020 10:31:57 CDT
As the former chief economist of the House Agriculture Committee and now Co-Director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A & M University, Bart Fischer has been hearing a ton of concern about the current economic crisis in the meat industry. He discussed some of the more common themes during his appearance on a recent Oklahoma Farm Bureau webinar. (Photo of Fischer courtesy of Oklahoma Farm Bureau.)
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes With Bart Fischer
Fischer said the two most often repeated themes involve meat packers and price spreads, and meat imports.
On today’s Beef Buzz we’ll review Fischer’s thoughts about possible collusion in the meat markets.
“People are hurting, their livelihoods are hurting, and they want answers,” Fischer said.
They claim there is market collusion and they want an investigation to see if meat packers are doing something wrong.
Fischer said the USDA is investigating, which started after the plant fire in Holcomb, Ks., last year.
Our antitrust laws are the envy of the world, Fischer said. Add to that other agriculture specific rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act, we do have a tremendous amount of authority that’s there.
The timing is lousy as this is happening in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, forcing plants to temporarily close and creating a system backlog.
From an economic standpoint, you have this perfect storm, Fischer said, where the plant is demanding less and putting downward pressure on the price.
It’s incredibly unfortunate that it is happening now, but it is also just purely supply and demand fundamentals driven, Fischer said.
“I am not saying there is not collusion there but a lot of this can be explained by fundamental supply and demand and economics,” Fischer said.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more comments from Bart Fischer regarding meat market collusion.
The Beef buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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