Taking the Good with the Bad

Earlier this year Brazilian meatpacker JBS (the largest beef packer in the world) announced their intention to purchase both National Beef and the Smithfield Beef Group (which includes Five Rivers Feeding with the capacity to feed 800,000 head of cattle at one time). This would have reduced the U.S. cattle market from five major packers to three and would make JBS the largest U.S. beef packer with nearly 35% of the cattle slaughter market, followed by Tyson and Cargill. The top four packers JBS, Tyson, Cargill, and National together slaughter more than 85% of U.S. cattle.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Justice recently gave their imprimatur to the sale of the Smithfield Beef Group (Nations fifth largest beef producer) to JBS. 
 
There is good news, however.  The Justice Department and 13 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Chicago, seeking to stop JBS’s proposed acquisition of National Beef Packing.
 
Thousands of citizens took action against these mergers and encouraged the Justice department to stop this irresponsible consolidation of the beef packing industry.  The Center for Rural Affairs helped over two thousand individuals voice their concerns and opposition to these mergers (view petition at http://www.cfra.org/JBS).

Mergers such as these not only hurt livestock producers, they hurt rural communities as well.

National Beef has announced that they will vigorously oppose the government’s suit.  We hope, for the sake of cattle producers, consumers and rural communities, that the Justice Department proves worthy of its name and win the day over National and JBS.

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