TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – Gov. Kevin Stitt and Blayne Arthur, the Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, sent a letter last week to the U.S. attorney general in support of the investigation into price-setting in the meatpacking industry.
They say the lack of competition in the meatpacking industry means possible “market manipulation” that squeezes profits for Oklahoma’s 52,000 cattle operations.
“The substantial margins between the live cattle prices our ranchers receive and the retail prices consumers pay at the grocery store are a continuing source of concern and frustration for Oklahoma’s beef industry,” reads part of the letter.
Last May, the attorneys general for 11 Midwestern states urged the Justice Department to pursue a federal investigation into market concentration and potential price-fixing by meatpackers in the cattle industry during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Last June, Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, a cattle rancher himself, voiced support for an “investigation into beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition or any other unfair practices.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.