Trump asks DOJ to investigate meat packers


President Donald Trump told reporters that he has asked the Justice Department to look into allegations that U.S. meat packers broke antitrust law because the prices paid to farmers and ranchers has fallen even as meat prices rise.

“I’ve asked the Justice Department to look into it. ... I’ve asked them to take a very serious look into it, because it shouldn’t be happening that way and we want to protect our farmers,” the president said at a White House event attended by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Several plants across the country have closed temporarily or are operating at less than full capacity which has reduced the markets for farmers and ranchers to sell their livestock to.

Trump recently labeled meapacking plants “critical infrastructure” that must stay open.

USDA reported the Choice beef cutout price on Wednesday at $449.18 per cwt., up $20.19 from Tuesday, and up $71.73 per cwt. (+16%) since Friday’s (May 1) close. Meanwhile, cash fed cattle prices were reported at $95.18 on Wednesday (May 6) by USDA.