Keith Ellison, Minnesota farmers push for investigation into beef industry price fixing

Ellison joined AGs from 10 other states in calling for the Department of Justice to investigate.

Minnesota cattle farms and Attorney General Keith Ellison are pushing the Department of Justice to investigate price fixing by major meat packing companies.

In a letter to United States Attorney General William Barr, Ellison, along with attorney generals from 10 other states, called for an investigation into market manipulation in the cattle industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the letter, an environment like the beef industry – largely controlled by four major corporations – is often perfect for price fixing and manipulation. This means cattle farmers and ranchers will receive less for their livestock even as consumer prices stay the same.

Consumer demand for beef has remained steady, according to the letter, but the amount farmers and ranchers are receiving has hit an 18-year low, the letter states.

Four meat companies control 80 percent of U.S. beef processing. These companies are JBS, Tyson, National Beef and Minnesota-based Cargill.

“In short, with such high concentration and the threat of increasing consolidation, we have concerns that beef processors are well positioned to coordinate their behavior and create a bottleneck in the cattle industry – to the detriment of ranchers and consumers alike,” the letter reads.

The Minnesota Farmers Union also called for an investigation into possible market manipulation.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The union added that the poultry and pork industries are subject to similar issues. These farmers are further harmed by outbreaks at plants of major manufacturers like the JBS pork plant in Worthington and Tyson Foods in Iowa.

These outbreaks have forced farmers to euthanize thousands of animals, the union stated.

“We’ve witnessed effects of market concentration seeing the closures of a few pork and poultry processing plants leaving huge gaps in our supply chain, in addition to causing farmers immense financial pain. We need a more diverse, flexible and resilient food system that’s fair for everyone,” the union said in a release. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 5.09.01 PM

Defense witness: Cause of Floyd's death 'undetermined'

Dr. David Fowler, former Maryland chief medical examiner, said there were a number of possible factors that could have led to George Floyd's death.

Jorge Polanco

Red Sox sweep Twins in Wednesday's doubleheader

The Red Sox defeated the Twins 3-2 in Game 1 and 7-1 in Game 2.

Minnesota Wild

Wild score 3 power play goals in win over Coyotes

Mats Zuccarello scored twice in a 5-2 victory.

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 2.38.15 PM

Viral drone video of Bryant Lake Bowl to be auctioned off as NFT

Non-fungible tokens are the latest craze in consumer finance.

kimberly potter

Here's what the manslaughter charge against Kim Potter says

Activists are calling for more serious charges against the former officer.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz criticized for comments on 'thoughtful' use of tear gas

The governor is under fire for comments he made Tuesday as protests continue over the police killing of Daunte Wright.

Andrelton Simmons

Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons placed on COVID-19 list

Simmons is reportedly experiencing mild symptoms.

Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 8.53.07 PM

Kim Potter to be charged with second-degree manslaughter in Daunte Wright's death

Potter was a 26-year veteran officer before she resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Tuesday.


Keith Ellison

Minnesota high schoolers will be reimbursed for canceled European trips

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced a settlement with the travel company Friday.

Keith Ellison

AG Ellison announces $81 million settlement with tobacco companies

Ellison's 2018 lawsuit alleged that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company failed to make required payments to the state.

Keith Ellison

AG Ellison sues landlords for trying to evict tenant during peacetime emergency

The lawsuit is against two landlords of a Roseville property.

Keith Ellison

Alleged scam charity group banned from soliciting donations in MN

Minnesota AG Keith Ellison joined the FTC and three other state AGs in suing the group.

N95 mask

Ellison to price-gougers: 'My office and I are coming after you'

A Little Canada-based company started selling N95 masks having never sold them before.

Keith Ellison

State officials push for shortened sentences for some elderly inmates

A bill introduced in the state Legislature would allow elderly inmates to apply for shortened sentences if they show evidence of rehabilitation.

Keith Ellison requests House probe into abuse allegation

The Attorney General candidate has been dogged by the allegation during his campaign.