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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is looking into major meatpacking companies after cattle ranchers accused them of using the coronavirus crisis to drive down the price of cattle and raise the price of packaged beef.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association asked the USDA to investigate “whether inappropriate influence occurred in the markets,” NCBA President Marty Smith wrote in an April letter to President Trump.
Smith also referenced an August 2019 fire at a large packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, his group says resulted in a similar price disparity.
NCBA says the big four packing companies, Cargill, National Beef, Tyson Foods and JBS, control a majority of the market.