Press Release

Open Markets Calls on DOJ to Block Slaughterhouse Roll Up

Deal Would Destroy Last Competitive Market for Cattle in America

Washington, D.C. — As lawmakers’ calls to break up big agribusiness monopolies grow, Open Markets, Food & Water Watch and the Organization for Competitive Markets called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to block the proposed acquisition of Iowa Premium by National Beef.

“True open and competitive cattle auctions are disappearing as ranchers become more beholden to powerful corporations,” says Claire Kelloway, Food & Farming researcher at Open Markets. “This merger will shrink the number of cattle buyers in the Upper Midwest at a time when ranchers are already suffering alleged price manipulation by dominant beef packers.”

The acquisition of Iowa Premium would wipe out a rare regional and independent buyer of cattle from small feedlots in the Upper Midwest at a time when the “Big Four” beef packers — Tyson, Cargill, JBS and National Beef — slaughter over 80 percent of beef nationally. By eliminating Iowa Premium, the merger would give the Big Four packers even more power to manipulate cattle auctions and depress prices, at a time when they’ve already been accused of price-fixing.

Open Markets, FWW, and OCM strongly support the call to halt this merger by the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF), who have emphasized the harm it will cause to American ranchers.

Read our full letter here.

To learn more about the “Big Four” packers, see Open Markets Institute’s report Food and Power: Addressing Monopolization in America’s Food System and our coverage on the Food & Power newsletter.

Press Contact: Stella Roque at Open Markets Institute, [email protected]