Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Mike Conaway (R-TX) wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on Aug. 7 urging him to analyze issues relating to the cattle industry.
“At the same time that some industry segments have experienced meat shortages, others have experienced high prices at the consumer level and demand disruptions at the restaurant level. Meanwhile, prices received by ranchers have declined,” the pair wrote. “This situation has led to questions arising regarding the vulnerability of the beef supply chain the level of concentration in the industry.”
The letter calls for the USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist to look into market structure, price discovery, price reporting, purchasing mandates and barriers to entry in the packing sector. It suggests that the USDA engage university policy research centers, private industry members and industry associations to do the research. The letter also requests the policy centers provide quarterly briefings to the House Agriculture Committee.
“From a legislative perspective, we see this as an opportunity to fully examine and bolster the beef sector,” the letter concludes.
Peterson is the House Agriculture Committee Chairman and Conaway is the ranking member of the Committee. You can see the full letter here.