Leveling the playing field for farmers.
During a trip to Council Bluffs, Friday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA is making a significant investment to expand processing capacity and increase competition within meat and poultry.
It comes in the form of $500 million dollars in new funding and will also aim to make agricultural markets more accessible.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association thanked Secretary Vilsack for taking "vital steps" in strengthening the supply chain.
However, not everyone agrees with the Biden Administration's actions.
The North American Meat Institute issued a statement, saying the move won't help consumers.
A Statement by Mark McHargue, President, Following USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack's visit to Council Bluffs, Iowa
“Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) is always grateful for opportunities to directly engage with our nation’s leaders and decision-makers, and today’s meeting with Secretary Vilsack is absolutely no exception. NEFB has always promised to work with leaders from either political party to advance policy that benefits the economic future of Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. Today, I participated in an event with Secretary Vilsack who highlighted an executive order that intends to, among a host of other things, increase competition within the agricultural marketplace, provide a monetary boost to expand meat processing capacity, and encourage policy changes to eliminate some limitations on what machinery repairs farmers and ranchers can make themselves.”
“As with any executive order or piece of legislation, NEFB will thoroughly examine and study the proposal announced by the administration and the subsequent regulations which will be released. While NEFB is happy to see the administration’s focus on the livestock industry and livestock markets, the Biden administration must ensure the proposed regulations do not limit the critical types of contracts and marketing arrangements available to our state’s livestock producers. While we agree that more price transparency and more competition in these markets is needed, USDA must ensure that any rule offered does not create unintended consequences that are ultimately paid for by our nation’s farm and ranch families.”
“We are very pleased to see the announced plan to offer $500 million to help expand regional meatpacking capacity and an additional $100 million to cover USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service overtime expenses for smaller meat processing facilities. While not a silver bullet, expanding our nation’s meat processing capacity, especially within the beef sector, would go a long way toward alleviating the current processing bottleneck, which has led to lower prices for cattle producers and higher prices for consumers at grocery stores. We would encourage the Biden administration as well as Congress to continue to think creatively about solutions to the current capacity issues.”
“Lastly, NEFB is encouraged to see the administration work to address some of the concerns Farm Bureau members have had over their limited ability to repair their agricultural equipment. At the same time, as with any issue, NEFB members have pushed for a private non-government solution to this issue; like what has been done within the automotive industry. Technological advances in agricultural equipment have aided both producers and consumers, and equipment dealerships continue to be a welcomed partner in our rural communities. NEFB will remain engaged with both the Federal Trade Commission as well as our nation’s agricultural equipment manufacturers to work out a final commonsense solution on this important issue.”