Beef Buzz News
Congressman Frank Lucas Waits on DOJ Decision on Possible Criminal Wrongdoing by Big Four Packers
Mon, 30 May 2022 09:32:13 CDT
Oklahoma Farm Report's Ron Hays caught up with Congressman Frank Lucas and talked about the Biden-Harris Administration"s plan to strengthen the American food supply chain, level the playing field for growers, and more.
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Congressman Frank Lucas
Lucas says there is some good in the Administration"s plan, but there are some things that may cause some worry as well.
"They have talked about additional monies for the construction of smaller and intermediate packing facilities, and they"ve talked about more dollars into community colleges and other educational institutions to help prepare a better workforce, or a workforce better able to deal with the issues that are going on in the industry," Lucas said.
A recent element the Administration has discussed involving contract issues, Lucas said, has resulted in discussion over poultry contracts including producer"s relationships with poultry companies, price, and how these contracts impact the poultry house owners.
"We will see just in the coming days and weeks what kind of details the USDA is talking about," Lucas said. "Clearly, this is an important part of the food chain and I hope whatever they are trying to do, they are helping the situation, not making it worse. That is just going to take a little more analysis to be sure."
Switching gears from the executive branch to the legislative branch, the House Agriculture Committee, approved a bill to establish a special prosecutor for issues related to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, specifically for packers and stockyards violations.
"The view of most the committee members on my side of the aisle has been that we need to enforce existing authorities under USDA and the anti-trust provisions under the Department of Justice authority," Lucas said. "There is continuing to be an ongoing criminal investigation when it comes to the beef industry, which is frustrating for many of us who would like to see the results, so we know where they are headed."
Lucas said there is a companion bill filed in the senate, but he does not expect it to make it to the president"s desk this year.
"Not so much because congress is not willing to address issues, but because until the DOJ and USDA stuff is all completed, the Department of Justice has existing authority in their investigation to literally file not just civil charges, but criminal charges against the packer industry and their senior management," Lucas said.
Because it is a criminal investigation, Lucas said the Department of Justice doesn"t talk much.
"Whether it is this kind of issue or dealing with organized crime, or a variety of things, they are pretty close-mouthed until they are done," Lucas said.
Unfortunately, in the cattle industry for our beef producers, that silence is getting louder all the time as we wait.
"It"s just maddening," Lucas said. "The Trump people called initially for this effort to begin, and senior officials at the Justice Department have indicated in the Biden Administration that it is ongoing, and they are going to pursue it aggressively, but that is all they will tell us."
Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Ron Hays and Congressman Frank Lucas on the Biden Administration"s plans and their impact on the beef industry.
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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