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Tester Defends Cattle Producers From Price Gouging Corporations

In his continued push to support Montana cattle producers and combat anti-competitive practices in the meat processing industry, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., reintroduced his Meat Packing Special Investigator Act to fight consolidation and enforce the nation’s anti-trust laws. The bill is co-led by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).

“Folks in Washington don’t understand that the deck is stacked against Montana’s cattle producers,” Tester said. “As the Senate’s only working farmer, I’ll take on anyone to make sure that Montana’s family farmers and ranchers get a fair chance to compete in the marketplace. For too long, massive multi-national conglomerates have run the tables on our producers - who produce the best beef in the world - and our bipartisan bill will give them the chance to compete on a level playing field.”

“Sen. Tester continues to be a champion for Montana’s family farmers and ranchers, and his Meat Packing Special Investigator Act will finally put some much needed competition back in the marketplace,” said Montana Farmers Union President Walt Schweitzer. “Montana ranchers produce a premium product, but multinational corporations have been rigging the game against them for years. Thank you Sen. Tester for doing what’s right and fighting to keep Montana’s number one industry strong.”

“What good is a law if there is no sheriff,” said Richard Liebert, director, Montana Cattlemen’s Association. The Packers and Stockyards Administration has been downgraded and defunded to the point that it is toothless. This bill by Senator Tester restores the ability for the Department of Agriculture to investigate and prosecute violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act. This is great idea. We need a sheriff and he needs to round up a posse.”

“Information moves quickly in agriculture,” said Fred Wacker, natural cattle rancher and feeder past president of Montana Stockgrowers Association. “It is imperative that we have the ability to monitor accuracy and fairness in the livestock business. I support Sen. Tester for introducing the Special Investigator bill to provide fair competition with our industry.”

The bill would create the “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which would be comprised of a team of investigators, with subpoena power, responsible for targeting and preventing anti-competitive practices amongst large players in the meat and poultry industries.

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