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Cattlemen group urges Trump administration to stop beef packer sale

R-Calf USA is urging the Trump Administration to block the proposed sale of the nation’s fourth largest beef packer, National Beef Packing Company, to Brazilian-owned Marfrig Global Foods.

In a letter the group sent on May 3, to  U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the organization stated they would like the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, to review the sale.

“The committee has already blocked China from acquiring a semiconductor facility here in the United States, it held hearings when China came in and bought the largest pork producing facility here, Smithfield Farms,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. “Now, we think the Trump Administration should reject this proposal on the grounds that it does threaten our economic and national security.”

Bullard continued that the food processing sectors in the U.S. should be viewed as part of America’s critical infrastructure. Not to be sold off one piece at a time.

If the sale goes through, Marfrig would become the fourth largest beef packer in the U.S., where JBS another Brazilian owned company is number two. According to Bullard the Brazilians would then control almost 40 percent of the fed cattle market

“We believe that both of these companies have a history of dealing in anti-competitive conduct, such as lowering the price of cattle they pay to producers,” he said. “Bringing the two of them to America would give them the opportunity to exploit U.S. cattle producers on one end of the supply chain and consumers on the other.”

R-Calf USA contends that both JBS and Marfrig are state-controlled enterprises controlled in whole or in part by the Brazilian government, which is providing resources to the companies so Brazil can become a global, beef packing powerhouse.

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