The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today released the following statement in response to a U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service report on Agricultural Competition and the first in a series of rules changes the Administration is proposing under the Packers and Stockyards Act:
“Despite what the White House says, the meat and poultry industry proved to be remarkably resilient during the pandemic,” said Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the Meat Institute. “Following the challenges of the spring of 2020, the industry acted immediately to reduce cases of COVID associated with workers in meat and poultry facilities reducing case rates to well below national averages even during the Delta and Omicron surges. (go here for actual reported case rates)
“USDA’s own data tells us that in both 2020 and 2021, throughout the pandemic, regardless of slowdowns in processing, there was record beef production. This is resiliency by definition.”
“In the beef and cattle markets, once packers processed the backlog of cattle due to pandemic slowdowns, prices for producers rose to seven year highs in 2021, and now in 2022 prices are 17.5 percent above 2021 prices.
“Unfortunately, due to the Biden inflationary economy, producers don’t benefit as much from higher prices because they struggle with high input costs for feed, fuel, and fertilizer.
“The Biden Administration is once again blaming businesses for higher consumer prices when its own policies have created inflation throughout the economy.
“Industry concentration is not the reason for higher consumer prices for beef, as the Meat Institute has proved time and again, the four firm concentration ratio has been in place for nearly 30 years holding prices low for consumers.
“While the Meat Institute supports transparency in meat and poultry markets, we are still reviewing the rule proposed today. And we remain concerned about further government intrusion in the market through possible proposed rules mentioned in the Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making.”
About North American Meat Institute
The Meat Institute is the United States’ oldest and largest trade association representing packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal, turkey, and processed meat products. NAMI members include over 350 meat packing and processing companies, the majority of which have fewer than 100 employees, and account for over 95 percent of the United States’ output of meat and 70 percent of turkey production.  USDA Livestock Slaughter 2020 Summary, Record High Red Meat Production for 2020; USDA Livestock Slaughter 2021 Summary, Total Red Meat and Beef Production at Record High in 2021