Beef Buzz News
Cong. Frank Lucas Suggests Meat Packing Industry Has Become Too Concentrated
Fri, 29 May 2020 10:27:50 CDT
During an Oklahoma Farm Bureau webinar this week, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) said he expects changes in the meat packing industry following the coronavirus pandemicís impact on producers and consumers. Todayís Beef Buzz features some of the more interesting comments from Cong. Lucas, who is not shy about speaking his mind in supporting animal agriculture.
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes With Cong. Frank Lucas
Speaking about some of the lessons learned from the pandemic, Lucas said four companies controlling 80 percent of the processing is a problem.
Lucas quoted from accepted agricultural economics principles.
If they (companies) are not rational in how they treat their suppliers, they are going to pay a price, Lucas said. He noted it is acceptable for companies that have a product and a window of opportunity to maximize returns.
Itís called enlightened self-interest, Lucas said. But, when you go past enlightened self-interest, thatís called greed and it will generate a response, Lucas said.
The response from Congress is a pile of bills addressing the situation.
Lucas went so far as to suggest some people in Congress believe processing plants have moved beyond greed into the murky waters of stupidity.
The industry is going to be changed and if they didnít see this coming, theyíre foolish, Lucas said.
The Oklahoma congressman and rancher quoted President Teddy Roosevelt more than 100 years ago that when 51 percent of the packing was done by four entities that was too much concentration.
I am working on legislation to address what is the upper limit any one entity should control when it comes to the industry, Lucas said.
Obviously four controlling 80 percent is too much, he said. Congress has the authority to limit how much of a particular industry any one can control.
In the purest economic sense, maximizing efficiency is the reason for increased concentration. Cong. Lucas said we might have exceeded that axiom with the current situation.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more comments from Cong. Frank Lucas.
The Beef buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for todayís show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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