DURANT, Oklahoma (KTEN) – Prices for beef, chicken and pork continue to rise in the market due to a lack of competition in the meat packaging industry.
“There is a huge lag,” said Jeff Hazaleus, owner of Durant Stockyards.
This disconnect is between ranchers and meat packers.
“The farmers and ranchers who don’t even make a living – barely trying to get by – who own the cattle for a year, and the packers only own them for a few days, and they make $ 700-800 profit on them, ”says Hazaleus.
The Big Four US meat packers now have about 60 percent of the market. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the four companies managed to oust smaller competitors.
Since then, prices have risen 14 percent for beef, 12 percent for pork and 6 percent for poultry.
“We looked at the meat the other day and it was $ 20 a pound for a steak, and it’s crazy,” said Kayla McCauley, a resident of Texas. “It’s been $ 10 a pound forever. “
“We ate less meat, but we also bought more canned and other meats,” added Judy Walker.
President Biden and the US Department of Agriculture have been notified of the price hike and are taking action to crack down on illegal pricing.
“Let’s find the things that we can agree on as groups, and bring that to them and say, ‘Here are what problems we have,’ Hazaleus said. ‘They’re going to take us more seriously if we’re all together. together on issues we can agree on. “
The president is working with Congress to make livestock markets more transparent and fairer.