AFBF WELCOMES MOVE TO BLOCK PURCHASE OF NATIONAL BEEF
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomed the move made Monday by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file a civil anti-trust lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago to block JBS-Swift & Co.'s proposed acquisition of National Beef Packing Co.
"The American Farm Bureau did not take a position on the proposed acquisition, but is pleased that the Department of Justice thoroughly reviewed the proposal and is taking action. It proves that the system works," said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a cattle and rice producer from Columbus, Texas.
AFBF met with DOJ officials earlier this year, pointing out concerns with the acquisition. In a March 10 letter to Douglas Ross, DOJ's special counsel for agriculture, Stallman asked DOJ for a thorough review and analysis of the proposed acquisition. AFBF raised concerns that the merger could potentially cause market manipulation and put downward pressure on prices received by producers.
In its lawsuit, DOJ contends that the combining of JBS-Swift and National Beef, the third and fourth largest U.S. beef packers, respectively, would result in lower prices paid to cattle suppliers and higher beef prices for consumers.
Stallman said the acquisition would make JBS-Swift the largest American beef processor by a significant margin and remove an important independent bidder from the feed cattle market.
The attorneys general of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming are joining the lawsuit.