For Immediate Release: January 26, 2021
Contact: R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard
Phone: 406-252-2516; firstname.lastname@example.org
Billings, Mont. – Yale Law School released presentation videos from its January 16 virtual conference titled, “Big Ag & Antitrust: Competition Policy for a Humane and Sustainable Food System.” Nearly 1,000 people registered for the conference that included a keynote address from Christopher Leonard, author of the 2014 book, The Meat Racket. Leonard’s suggestion for needed antitrust enforcement in U.S. livestock industries is to end what he called the failed “consumer welfare experiment.” Leonard explained that antitrust enforcers should cease ignoring antitrust violations based on the erroneous belief that harms to livestock producers can be offset by benefits to consumers.
Following Leonard were panelists who each presented their original papers on antitrust issues, including R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard who presented his research paper, “Chronically Besieged: The U.S. Live Cattle Industry.” Bullard explained how the U.S. cattle industry’s potential for rebuilding Rural America’s economy is thwarted by an ongoing disconnect between the value of cattle and the value of beef.
Bullard presented a chart viewable in the first panel of presenters’ video showing the inverse relationship between retail beef prices paid by consumers and cattle prices paid to producers. The chart reveals that during the past three years, retail beef prices trended upward while cattle prices trended downward.
Restoring competition for beef derived exclusively from U.S. cattle with a new mandatory country of origin labeling law for beef; and restoring competition in the cattle market by passing legislation to require packers to purchase at least 50% of their cattle needs in the competitive cash market were Bullard’s two “triage” recommendations for policymakers.
The conference was held to discuss what kinds of reforms are needed in antitrust enforcement and regulations to improve America’s food system. It was co-hosted by the Thurman Arnold Project at Yale School of Management and the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only lobbying and trade association representing U.S. cattle producers. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. Visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516 for more information.