Meat Institute Says Biden Plan Won’t Help Producers or Consumers

(Meat Institute)

The Biden Administration’s $1 billion Action Plan unveiled Monday to aid farmers, ranchers and consumers would do none of the above, according to the North American Meat Institute.

The Meat Institute’s president and CEO Julia Anna Potts said the Biden Administration “continues to ignore the number one challenge to meat and poultry production: labor shortages.”

“For the third time in six months, President Joe Biden and his Administration announced the same plans to spend $1 billion to fund government intervention in the market in an attempt to increase prices livestock producers receive while blaming inflation on private industry,” Potts said.

She also said the Biden Administration has “refused to engage with the packing and processing sector they attack, going so far as to hold a roundtable on meat packing without a single beef or pork packer present. Press conferences and using taxpayer dollars to establish government-sponsored packing and processing plants will not do anything to address the lack of labor at meat and poultry plants and spiking inflation across the economy,” said Potts. “The Administration wants the American people to believe that the meat and poultry industry is unique and not experiencing the same problems causing inflation across the economy, like increased input costs, increased energy costs, labor shortages and transportation challenges. Consumers know better.”

Potts also noted cattle producers are currently seeing higher prices “because packers have processed the backlog of animals in the system.”

Last week cash fed cattle prices moved $3 to $5 higher and $4 to $7 per cwt. higher dressed, with live prices mainly at $140 to $141, with a top in Iowa of $145.

The Meat Institute says the White House believes industry structure is keeping cattle prices low, “conveniently ignoring the fact the beef industry has changed little for almost 30 years.  Prices reflect supply and demand in a healthy market,” the statement read.

The Meat Institute says Biden’s new Action Plan raises several questions, including:

  • How much extra packing plant capacity does the administration think is needed? 
  • How high should cattle prices be right now? 
  • How long will the government sponsored processors receive government money? 
  • How much will the government sponsored processors be required to pay employees? 
  • There are many small and medium sized packers in the market today that have never received government support – how will they be affected by the influx of government-sponsored competition? 
  • When will these new plants come on-line? 2024-2025?  What impact will that have now?
  • Where are the target areas these plants are needed?
  • Will the new plants have sufficient labor?

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