Feenstra introduces bipartisan Livestock Consolidation Research Act

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) recently proposed a bipartisan bill that would require the administrator of the Economic Research Service (ERS) to conduct research on consolidation and concentration in America’s livestock industry.

“Competition is vital to a functioning and fair economy,” Rep. Feenstra said. “In my conversations with producers — especially Iowa cattlemen — there is frustration that the current marketplace, with such few players, can harm and push out family farms and small producers.”

Rep. Feenstra on Aug. 25 signed on as the lead original cosponsor of the Livestock Consolidation Research Act of 2023, H.R. 5289, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI).

If enacted, H.R. 5289 would direct the ERS to draft a report about how consolidation has affected new market entrants, access to resources, and consumer purchasing power, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers that notes the study would encompass the beef, dairy, pork, and poultry industries.

“I’m excited to work with Rep. Slotkin to introduce the Livestock Consolidation Research Act to study the impact on our family farms, communities, and businesses of consolidation throughout the meat supply chain,” said Rep. Feenstra. “This legislation will help us understand what is truly happening in the industry and root out any discriminatory practices.”

According to the text of the bill, the ERS report on consolidation and concentration in the livestock industry should specifically include changes in the size and location of ranches, farms, processing facilities, and packers throughout the United States; and the impact of the changes on farmers, ranchers, and downstream consumers, including financial impacts, market entry impacts, access to resources and inputs, and dietary impacts.

“As large corporations have captured more and more of the livestock industry, family-owned farms have been feeling the pressure,” Rep. Slotkin said. “This legislation will make sure we’re taking a hard look at the impact of consolidation, so we can ensure farmers, ranchers, and consumers aren’t left unprotected.”