Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association frustrated by silence on DOJ investigation into packers

The Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association says the Department of Justice continues to remain silent on its investigation into the nation’s largest meat packers. “It’s extremely frustrating. We’re frustrated within the NC shop and we know our members are frustrated because they’re just looking for answers.”

Ashley Kohls, vice president of governmental affairs, tells Brownfield her organization was the first to ask the DOJ for an investigation in April of 2020. “We’ve tried multiple times to communicate directly with the DOJ to get a status update. Everybody is asking for a status from the DOJ from folks like Nebraska Cattlemen all the way up to the Senate level and everybody in between,” Kohls says.

The DOJ launched an investigation in May 2020 into the nation’s four largest meatpackers to find out whether or not anti-competitive practices have contributed to a persistent imbalance in the cattle markets.

She says she hopes that the DOJ will provide a timeline on what to expect at some point. “We would like to know sooner rather than later if they’re finding things,” she says. “But we’re also very cognizant of the fact that they need to do a deep dive. If there’s something to be found, we would like them to find it. Pushing them to expedite things is kind of a double edge sword for us.”

Kohls provided an update to producers at the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Midyear Meeting Thursday in Fremont.

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