The Montana Farm Bureau, which along with state Farm Bureaus, had called for investigation into price disparities between prices paid to ranchers and beef prices at the grocery store, was pleased to see the USDA has released a report on the issue. However, the state’s largest agricultural organization is still awaiting the Department of Justice’s report concerning price manipulation by beef processors.

“The Montana Farm Bureau asked USDA to expand an ongoing investigation to include possible market manipulation during the coronavirus pandemic, especially with regard to low prices being paid to cow/calf producers,” said MFBF President Hans McPherson. “It was obvious something was wrong when we saw consumers paying higher prices for meat yet the farmers and ranchers were being paid less. The USDA report is a good first step in understanding what’s going on with beef pricing.”

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall noted, “We appreciate the USDA’s thorough examination of the beef markets and are pleased the USDA responded to our call for an investigation, but it’s important to note the scrutiny of the markets is not concluded. USDA indicates their examination continues and investigations by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as the Department of Justice, are ongoing.”

“We are reviewing the policy recommendations the USDA put forth in the report and look forward to working with them and Congress to ensure markets remain fair for everyone involved,” Duvall concluded.

Click here to view USDA's Report, "Boxed Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report".

Click here to read AFBF's Market Intel Report digest on the issue.