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Tester Says Bills Would Benefit State Ranchers

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., spoke to reporters about how the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act and the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act will benefit the nation’s ranchers. Both bills passed out of the Senate’s committee last week.

During a media conference call on Thursday, June 23, Tester said, “For years, Montana ranchers have told me that it’s becoming harder and harder to make their operations pencil. Generational ranchers are being forced to sell their land or operate at a loss, and a lack of competition in the meatpacking industry is a main reason why.”

The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act will increase transparency in the market and set regional mandatory minimum thresholds for negotiated cattle purchases.

The Meat Packing Special Investigator Act will put teeth back in the Packers and Stockyards Act by creating a team of investigators within the USDA, with subpoena power, dedicated to preventing and addressing anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries and enforcing antitrust laws.

“You’ve heard me talk about these bills, but my Meat Packing Special Investigator Act and my Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act are going to finally put some competition back in the market place,” Tester said. “We don’t want to take down the big packers, but we do want to increase transparency and competition in the market by enforcing existing antitrust laws, so we can get to the core of the problem. We can’t afford to let massive multi-national corporations continue to price gouge consumers while ripping off our family ranchers, and now that these bills are out of committee, we’re one step closer to getting them to the Senate floor for a vote.”

The senator added, “Once passed, these bills will finally be able to ensure that our cattle producers are able to remain viable and folks won’t have to sell the farm to stay afloat. While we’ve seen flooding in much of our state, others are still experiencing severe drought. Many of Montana’s producers are bracing for a difficult harvest, and I’m doing everything in my power to improve market conditions and soften that blow.”

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