Proposed Pork Consolidation Worries Senator

Jul 28, 2015

The potential for further consolidation in the nation’s pork industry could have financial implications for both farmers and consumers. That’s why Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says the Justice Department needs to scrutinize the proposed JBS purchase of Cargill’s pork unit. Currently the two companies rank third and fourth among the nation’s largest pork producers.

“You have the possibility of reducing competition, and in doing that you have a threat to independent producers,” Grassley said. “Reduced marketing opportunities for farmers and the subsequent impact it could have on pork prices for consumers is of great concern.”

As chair of the senate judiciary committee, he has formally requested that the Justice Department review the proposal.

“If the JBS Cargill deal is finalized the four largest pork processors will control roughly 71% of the processing capacity in the country,” Grassley said.

Grassley says that could hamper marketing opportunities for Iowa’s independent hog producers and eventually affect the cost of retail meats such as ham, bacon and pork chops.

JBS is the world’s largest meatpacker, according to the Wall Street Journal, and the proposed acquisition is expected to carry a price tag of $1.45 billion.