To address the consolidation within the meatpacking business, USDA is strengthening the Packers and Stockyards Act. In addition, there will be more focus put on price discovery, country of origin labeling and expanded packer capacity by supporting small meat processors. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said packers are making record profits while farmers and ranchers are losing money. “I remember talking to a producer the other day in Council Bluffs and he said ‘I don’t get this, Mr. Secretary, I just sold my cattle and lost $150 a head, but the processor made $1,800 a head.’ How can that be?” When asked if that is price gouging, Vilsack said “I don’t know what you call it, but what I do know is that our job is take make sure the farmer gets a fair price and when I go to the grocery store and I’m in the checkout line, I’m paying a fair price.”
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