U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has been monitoring the impact of a fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kansas.
As a part of that monitoring effort, Perdue says, “I have directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition, or other unfair practices.”
Perdue says if any unfair practices are found, his agency will take quick enforcement action.
The USDA remains in close contact with plant management and other stakeholders to understand the fire’s impact on the industry.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association was pleased with Perdue’s announcement. NCBA President Jennifer Houston says the announcement demonstrates the government’s understanding of the extreme strain placed on the cattle industry by the plant fire in Kansas.
“We encourage USDA to look at all aspects of the beef supply chain and to utilize internal and external expertise in the investigation,” she says. “We believe it adds transparency that will help build confidence in the markets among cattlemen and women.”