Farm Bureau Actions Helped Drive DOJ Beef Packer Investigation
Dear Farm Bureau Member:

I am writing to share progress on an important issue. In April, I sent a letter on behalf of the members of the Nebraska Farm Bureau encouraging U.S. Attorney General William Barr to utilize his authorities to undertake a “full investigation” addressing any potential price fixing or manipulations in U.S. cattle markets. The goal being to ensure the beef packing industry was in compliance with federal antitrust laws targeted at maintaining a competitive marketplace. 

This request was a follow up to a similar ask made to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue encouraging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the significant price spreads occurring between prices paid for cattle and beef prices at the retail level. 

In addition to those requests, I had several conversations with Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson about this issue and the need for action. I’m confident in sharing with you that those conversations were a contributing factor to Attorney General Peterson and 11 other State Attorneys General coming together to call for a similar DOJ investigation . That action seems to have been the final push needed for the DOJ to act. 

Clearly the cumulative work of our members and our organization have made a difference on this important issue, as not only has DOJ initiated an investigation into the country’s four largest meat processors for anti-trust violations, but just last week the DOJ’s antitrust division issued “civil investigative demands,” the equivalent of subpoenas to Tyson Foods, JBS SA, Cargill Foods, and National Beef Inc. As I have stated on numerous occasions , it is important that our nation’s food producers have confidence in the marketplace and know that our nation’s laws are being properly followed and enforced.

With these positive developments I felt it was important to reach out and make sure you were aware of these recent happenings and remind you that your membership and involvement in Nebraska Farm Bureau does make a difference! Just as your organization is making a difference on this critical issue. 

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at or (402) 499-9485 if you have questions or comments. 

Steve Nelson