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Sun May 5, 2019, 05:50 AM

Lawsuit alleges four major packers colluded to fix prices for fed cattle, inflate profits

SCOTTSBLUFF — A 121-page class action lawsuit filed last week in federal district court in Illinois, alleges that the nation’s four largest beef packers in the United States have engaged in a conspiracy to depress the price of fed cattle in order to inflate their own margins.

The complaint was filed Tuesday by the Scott+Scott Law firm on behalf of the Billings, Montana-based Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA), and four cattle-feeding ranchers from Kansas, Wyoming, Iowa and Nebraska, including local feedlot owner Charles “Chuck” Weinreis.

R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard said in a telephone interview Thursday that the suit alleges that Tyson Foods, Inc., JBS S.A., Cargill, Inc., and National Beef Packing Company, LLC. — who together purchase and process more than 80 percent of U.S. fed cattle — have engaged in a conspiracy to artificially depress cattle prices and have been doing so since at least Jan. 1, 2015, and that the conspiracy continues to the present. By doing so, the suit says, the packers violated prohibitions in the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, The Clayton Anti-Trust Act, The Packers and Stockyards Act, and the Commodity Exchange Act.

“Because this is a private action, (R-CALF) and the producers are doing this ourselves, as opposed to relying on the government which has chosen not to act,” Bullard said.

Read more: https://www.starherald.com/farm_ranch/lawsuit-alleges-four-major-packers-colluded-to-fix-prices-for/article_e45d6d0d-b2fb-5a4b-9d4d-6026ea9ef5c2.html
(Scottsbluff Star-Herald)

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