The United States Department of Agriculture is requesting public comments “on how to invest an estimated $500 million of American Rescue Plan funds to improve infrastructure, increase capacity, and hasten diversification across the processing industry.” The funding is part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. The USDA will consider all comments received by August 30, 2021, while comments submitted after that date will be considered “to the extent practicable.”
USDA Seeks Input on $500 Million Investment to Enhance Competitiveness in Meat and Poultry Industry
Pilgrim’s Pride Fined Over $107 Million in Price-Fixing Criminal Case
Pilgrim’s Pride has pled guilty to conspiring to fix the price of chicken products sold for food and has been fined $107,923,572.
Hawaii Considers Bill to Prevent Anti-Competitive Practices in Meatpacking
Hawaii Senate Bill 692 would establish a number of reporting requirements and safeguards to prevent anti-competitive practices in the meat processing industry, including requiring that lessees and operators of state-owned meat processing facilities limit slaughter and processing to 50% of their own meat products and annually report their efforts to ensure facility operation is in the best interest of the state and its food security, sustainability, and safety goals; prohibit lessees and operators of state-owned meat processing facilities from making or giving unreasonable or undue preference or advantage to any person or locality; and forbidding lessees and operators of state-owned meat processing facilities from holding more than 70% of meat packing capacity statewide.
USDA Publishes Final Packers and Stockyards Act Rule
The United States Department of Agriculture has published its final rule designating criteria for determining whether an undue or unreasonable advantage has been given under the Packers and Stockyards Act, as required by the 2008 Farm Bill. The rule requires the Secretary to consider whether the preference or advantage in question cannot be justified on the basis of a cost savings related to dealing with other producers, justified on the basis of meeting a competitor’s prices, justified on the basis of meeting other terms offered by a competitor, or justified as a reasonable business decision. The rule is effective January 11, 2021.
JBS Settles Price Fixing Suit
Plaintiffs are seeking approval of a preliminary settlement with JBS over claims the company conspired with other producers to fix prices of pig products.
Pork Producer Reaches Settlement in Antitrust Class Action
JBS has informed a federal court in Minnesota that it has reached a settlement with a class of purchasers accusing the company of conspiring with others to raise the price of pork by reducing supply.
Pilgrim’s Pride Announces Settlement in Price Fixing Probe
Chicken company Pilgrim’s Pride has announced that it has reached a settlement with the Department of Justice in the department’s investigation into price fixing in the chicken industry. The company will pay over $110 million.
More Poultry Executives Indicted for Price Fixing
Six more executives in the poultry industry have been indicted with price-fixing in the chicken industry.
Cattle Antitrust Litigation Dismissed
A federal judge in Minnesota has granted defendants’ motion to dismiss in a consolidation of several class actions alleging the nation’s largest meat packers conspired to fix the price of cattle.
Federal Grand Jury Indicts Chicken Executives for Price Fixing
The Department of Justice has announced that a federal grand jury in Colorado has returned an indictment against four executives of major chicken producers for conspiring to fix prices.