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R-CALF Supports Moratorium on JBS Acquisition of Lamb Processor
North Dakota Ag Connection - 07/31/2020

R-CALF USA said Thursday is extremely concerned to learn of the impending purchase by JBS USA Holdings, Inc. a subsidiary of Brazilian JBS S.A. of Mountain States Rosen (MRS) a lamb processing facility in Greeley, Colo. In a letter sent to the Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, 15 U.S. Senators have signed on to request an investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into the acquisition. R-CALF's board and committee chairs welcome the Senator's letter and hope the DOJ will enforce U.S. antitrust laws and block the proposed acquisition.

R-CALF USA has always been active as a producer group in working to create more competition in the meat protein marketplace. As noted by the Senators, the MRS "facility is the second largest lamb packaging plant in the United States, processing approximately 350,000 lambs annually, over 6,000 per week, with an annual capacity of nearly 800,000." The MSR plant accounts for approximately one-fifth of the U.S.'s lamb processing capacity. Past efforts to consolidate processing capacity in other protein markets suggests JBS's acquisition of this independent lamb processing facility would risk economic ruin for many domestic producers by eliminating marketing opportunities and enabling JBS to congest the processing pipeline.

Furthermore, the U.S. currently imports between 76% to 82% of the lamb sold in the United States. This acquisition would further exacerbate this national food security problem by placing significant control of U.S. lamb processing capacity within the hands of a foreign company whose interests are served by imports of foreign protein into the U.S.

2020 has been a historically challenging year for U.S. meat protein producers. R-CALF USA strongly urge DOJ and the Packers & Stockyards arm of the USDA to halt this move by JBS until a thorough investigation can take place, thereby ensuring that producers are not needlessly exposed to further harm.

Domestic food security, further concentration by JBS, and elimination of a functioning facility for lamb processing are the reasons R-CALF calls for a moratorium on this purchase.


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