Meat & Livestock News

Senator Advocates for Stricter Meatpacking Antitrust Laws

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) recently introduced a federal bill aimed at dismantling large meatpacking and poultry monopolies. This move comes in the wake of Tyson Foods Inc.’s announcement to close two poultry facilities in Dexter and Noel, Missouri, in August.

The proposed “Strengthening Antitrust Enforcement for Meatpacking Act” seeks to amend the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921.

The amendment would set specific market concentration thresholds, enabling federal antitrust authorities to prevent or reverse acquisitions that overly concentrate the meatpacking industry in the U.S. The legislation aims to deter dominant meatpacking entities from acquiring more competitors.

On September 15, via a social media platform, Hawley mentioned a conversation with Donnie King, the CEO of Tyson Foods.

He stated that Tyson might be open to selling its Dexter and Noel facilities to potential buyers, including competitors. “I was pleased to hear this because anything less would be in violation of antitrust laws,” said Hawley.

He further expressed hope that Tyson is actively seeking a sale to preserve jobs in Missouri. Additionally, he mentioned Tyson’s commitment to assisting farmers in continuing their poultry raising operations, including facilitating new contracts with Tyson or other firms.

At the time of reporting, Tyson had not verified this conversation. Following Tyson’s closure announcement, both Dexter and Noel city officials pledged support to residents impacted by the decision.

Earlier in the year, a bipartisan group of senators had reintroduced the “Meat Packing Special Investigator Act.” This act proposes the establishment of the Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.