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HPPR Economy and Enterprise

US Ag Secretary Asks For Investigation Into Beef Pricing Margins Following Tyson Fire

Tyson employs 3,800 people in Finney County. The plant is temporarily closed while repairs are made to a portion damaged by fire earlier this month.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it will begin investigating beef prices. The action comes after a fire shut down production at a Tyson meatpacking plant in western Kansas.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue released a statement Wednesday directing the agency to investigate beef prices.

“As part of our continued efforts to monitor the impact of the fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kan., I have directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition or other unfair practices. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action,” Perdue’s statement read.

The Holcomb, Kan., Tyson beef plant processed about 5,600 cattle per day … and it’s now all being trucked to Tyson plants in Texas and Nebraska.

The fire created uncertainty in the market, sending the price of cattle down while boxed beef prices spiked.

Perdue’s statement also read: “USDA remains in close communication with plant management and other stakeholders to understand the fire’s impact to industry. I have spent this summer visiting with cattle ranchers across the country, and I know this is a difficult time for the industry as a whole. USDA is committed to ensuring support is available to ranchers who work hard to the feed the United States and the world.”