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Governor Reynolds Among 6 Governors Seeking Public Info on DOJ Probe of Meatpacking Industry

This May 20, 2020, photo provided by Smithfield Foods shows some of the measures the company says it has taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus inside its plants. Workers inside its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pork processing plant wear protective gear and are separated by plastic partitions as they carve up meat. (Photo courtesy Smithfield Foods via AP)

(Radio Iowa) Iowa’s governor has joined with the governors of Montana, Oklahoma, Nebraska and the Dakotas in calling for a public update on any federal investigation of the meatpacking industry.

Governor Kim Reynolds and the five other governors have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The group says decades of consolidation have led to anticompetitive behavior from the four major meatpackers that threatens the existence of independent cattle producers. Tyson, J-B-S, Cargill and National Beef control about 80 percent of the beef market. Reports from June of last year indicated the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice had initiated a civil investigation of those meatpackers. The Republican governors, including Reynolds, are asking the Biden Administration’s Justice Department to provide regular updates to the public, where appropriate.

President Biden has appointed a commissioner to the Federal Trade Commission who is well known for her criticism of anti-competitive practices in the poultry industry. The FTC also has the power to file lawsuits over monopolies.

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