ICA Submits Comment on USDA Investment in Meat Processing

| September 1, 2021

Contact: Anna Hastert, Director of Communications, 515-296-2266

On Monday, August 30, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association submitted comment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the Biden Administration’s investment of $500 million to meat and poultry processing infrastructure. 

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association used this request for information as an opportunity to highlight several issues within the meatpacking industry, including: lack of competition, consolidation, and demand for skilled labor. 

“The oligopsony in the beef meatpacking sector must be addressed immediately, and adding new competitors to the market may assist in providing opportunity for independent cattle producers.” 

“As USDA evaluates proposals for funding within this sector, it's important that an emphasis be placed on adding competition that will ultimately soften the unintended market forces that have strengthened due to consolidation within the beef packing sector over several decades.” 

“Our industry does not operate seasonally—we produce cattle and beef throughout the year. We need an H-2A program that aligns with our industry; the program should be year-round with consideration to lift the cap on visa holders.”

Additionally, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association recognized our own state’s investment in processing through the Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Fund and program administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Iowa’s daily slaughter capacity is significantly less than our fed cattle production. The demand for additional packing capacity is needed at both local and regional levels. Joint efforts by state and federal governments to improve meat processing infrastructure will provide the best possible outcome for all sectors of the beef supply chain. 

Read the full comment here.

About the Iowa Cattlemen's Association: The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 8,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.” www.iacattlemen.org.