Montana Senator Says ‘Capitalism isn’t Working’ with Meat Packing
Recently, Montana Senator Jon Tester appeared before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee to advocate for two bills that would restore competition to the meat packing industry.
The two bills, the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act, and the Meat Packer Special Investigation Act would help restore competition to the agricultural marketplace.
Tester made this statement on the senate floor.
“Capitalism isn't working,” began Senator Tester. In this particular instance, because of concentration and consolidation in the industry, consumers are paying higher prices, because without competition they're set without regard to have what people can afford. Because we've seen a mass exodus off the land, rural America is drying up. On the other side of the equation, we see consumers that are being treated unfairly in the marketplace because there's no competition. Today we can address both of those issues with these bills.”
Tester recently appeared on the MSNBC News program, ‘The Last Word’ to address the issue of competition in the agricultural marketplace.
“There's a bumper sticker that says ‘If you eat, you're involved in agriculture’,” he said. “I can tell you that that is a fact, and in this particular case, this is a bipartisan bill. Chuck Grassley and Deb Fischer and Ron Wyden and I have worked on this bill. Both these bills are good pieces of legislation that are done in a bipartisan way, and I'm going to tell you, the meetings that I have been in with Senators Grassley and Senators Fischer and Wyden, they have stepped up to the plate, you wouldn’t know that one of them was a Democrat and one was a Republican.”
Tester said the bills are advancing through the Senate and he hopes for a quick hearing and passage.
“They are concerned about this issue,” he said. “They're looking at it from a rural perspective and from a consumer standpoint, and they're saying this is the right thing to do. It's been a pleasure to work with those folks. It's in the AG Committee now. Chairman Stabenow did a great job in the hearing we had a couple of days ago, and we're going to get this out of committee, and we're going to get it to the Senate floor, and hopefully we're going to get it passed because it's the right thing to do.”
Tester said the rest is up to the U.S. Senate.
“Rural America is important in this country and if we have the kind of leadership we need, and we've seen good leadership out of the President as you pointed out with that that editorial, but the bottom line is if we do nothing we're going to have the same result.”
Tester said that transparency is critical for ensuring that Montana ranchers are getting a fair price at the farm gate, and that consumers are getting a fair price at the grocery counter.