U.S. President Joe Biden held an online meeting, Monday with independent farmers and ranchers to discuss initiatives to reduce food prices by increasing competition within the meat industry. U.S. President Biden aims to reduce meat prices in the industry.
President Joe Biden has announced a plan to lower meat prices at the grocery stores and help family farmers in the process. He is aiming at meat and poultry companies, charging they control too much of the market. This comes as the Biden administration is slammed over rising costs across the board. In the middle of a windy snowstorm, President Biden made his way back to the White House facing another storm of a much different variety- Inflation.
He blames big meat and poultry companies for charging too much and for hurting farmers and ranchers. But the meat industry is firing back saying the white house is trying to blame the meat industry for inflation and is ignorant when it comes to agricultural economics and the fundamentals of supply and demand.
Biden says “ four big corporations control more than half of the markets in beef, pork, and poultry. President Biden met with farmers and ranchers virtually and announced a plan for what the white house calls a more competitive, fair resilient meat and poultry sector.
He adds “ To bring in more competition and dignity for more farmers, ranchers, and customers, we are going to invest in new and innovative small businesses and meat processors, the lifeblood of our economy “. He believes that when it is done the farmers and ranchers will have more options beyond giant processing conglomerates.
There is also a plan to strengthen rules to protect farmers, ranchers, and other producers. For example, the Department of Agriculture is rewriting the rules under the Packers and Stockyard Act which was a law back in the 20s. He added that that law was needed at that time, to protect the farmers and ranchers from abuse. He accuses that the last administration weakened the law-making possible for the present abuse.
The United States government under Biden will enforce existing competition laws vigorously and fairly. The new White House Competition Council chaired by the Head of the National Economic Council and all other officials will make sure that antitrust laws are enforced across the board. Along with that, the Justice Department and USDA announced a joint initiative to make it easier for farmers and ranchers to report potentially illegal practices in the agricultural sector.
Greater transparency is being brought to the industry. Biden says that a free market isn’t truly free without transparency around prices. He adds that to ensure fair prices, as well as transparency, the Department of Agriculture has been taking steps since last august.
Using money from the American Rescue plan, the administration will invest one billion dollars to expand independent processing capacity. This is aimed at providing producers with an opportunity to have ownership in processing facilities.
A hundred million dollars out of this is going to be utilized to reduce the cost of inspections for existing small and very small processing facilities. This is going to help to maintain the capacity.
Along with that 32 million dollars in grants were awarded to 167 existing facilities to modernize their operations to allow them to expand their opportunities beyond the state border to engage in interstate commerce. This is going to expand market opportunities and income opportunities for these processors.
A 100 million dollar loan is available to loan guarantees, to address the middle-level supply chain challenges that this industry faces. Building Cold storage, warehousing, and also allowing these facilities to expand these operations will boost the sector.
An 800 million dollar commitment of grants and loans are announced to address capacity workforce and innovation challenges the industry faces. 275 million dollars will be provided in grants for expanded facilities and new construction of infrastructure. A 150 million dollar of this resource is going to be made available under request for proposal. This will be made available to projects that are just about ready to get going, but just need a little bit of help to accelerate the implementation plan. It is believed that these 150 million dollars will help at least 15 new projects. 225 million dollars will be available for products and projects that are just getting started, that are on the infant’s stage
He adds that these are major issues and everyone should come together to achieve this in a bipartisan way.
“Farmers and ranchers deserve a fair share, American families facing high prices at grocery stores deserve a fair price to put food on the table. Rural communities see more good jobs when there is more competition “. Biden said.
Meanwhile, on another storm front, we see covid 19, the rapidly spreading omicron variant. the cases are twice as last year, leaving the nation once again in limbo.