Friday, May 01, 2020

State Rep. Humphrey requests AG investigate beef industry, packing over market manipulation

Humphrey Requests AG Investigation of OK Beef Industry

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, last week met with Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter regarding his request of an investigation into the Oklahoma beef industry. On Tuesday, he sent a follow-up letter expressing appreciation for Hunter’s quick response to his initial request and commending Hunter’s staff for how quickly they addressed his concerns.

Humphrey said Hunter’s staff directed him to webinars and Zoom meetings presented by leading powerbrokers in the beef industry. After listening to hours of discussion, he wrote Hunter to report back his conclusions.

“First, it is very important to know and understand that COVID-19 did not create the crises now presented within the beef industry,” Humphrey wrote. “The virus merely accelerated and exposed multiple factors pertaining to market manipulation within the industry. The beef packing industry is a critical component of an extremely complex beef market network. Many organizations designated to represent beef producers may have acquired an unbalanced perspective of the importance of the packers verses the producers. These organization have used their potential to peddle influence on behalf of the packing industry to establish an unfair, and I believe, an unlawful market advantage. This type of manipulation will result in the eradication of the present beef producer model and lead to a commercialization of the beef industry, which has already materialized in the pork and poultry industries.”

Humphrey said webinars hosted by special-interest groups discussed price setting, markets, risk factors and profits. He said he believes all buyers and sellers understand these fundamental components and risk. Producers also recognize import and export market demands.

“However, I witnessed little discussion on a multitude of external factors, which has detrimentally impacted the production of beef,” Humphrey wrote.

Humphrey said these factors include:

  1. Government regulations and legislation resulting in fewer packers creating monopolies and establishing an unfair advantage for corporate packers.
  2. Illegal collaboration between market monopolies resulting in the erosion of stable pricing and the inability for producers to impact price setting.
  3. Foreign influence in ownership of American markets and cheap imported beef, which fails to meet U.S. meat standards. 
  4. Unfair competition with foreign producers, which destroys the market, requiring expensive and unfair requirements for U.S. producers and no standards for foreign producers.
  5. Labeling of American-raised beef informing and allowing consumers choice in beef consumption.
  6. Reducing government restrictions on processing and sales of beef at local markets.

Humphrey said other significant factors are being reported in the United States food chain.

“Recently, I received a presentation that U.S. officials are working on presenting potential alternative food markets,” Humphrey wrote. “These alternative markets reportedly introduce depopulating or disposal methods. These methods are plowing under vegetables crops, euthanizing chickens, aborting sows and burring feeder pigs, dumping milk and preparing to depopulate fat cattle ready for harvest. We are obliterating the United States food chain, and yet we are purchasing foreign foods and beef. We have a huge supply and demand. We can feed the world, yet we are destroying our harvest and our beef. While destroying our produce, meats and beef industry, we are purchasing imported beef that is less regulated, less safe and is often a poor quality product. It is time we all wake up and realize what is at stake.

“Yes, we need corporate packing plants, but we must also offer regional markets to supply and provide beef to our local communities and markets. We must end foreign control of our food markets, stop the monopolies and allow the United States consumer a choice to purchase U.S. products by requiring country of origin labeling.”

Humphrey ended his latest letter by encouraging the attorney general to act on his request for an investigation of the beef industry and to forward his correspondence to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

“Please encourage him to take action to protect our great nation and our state,” Humphrey concluded. 


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