Ranch Group Urges FTC, DOJ to Investigate Vertical Integration of Cattle Feedlots

As the beef sector focused on a congressional hearing Tuesday, one group urged the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to investigate vertical integration in feedlots. R-CALF this week announced formal comments submitted to the federal government on the issue. The organization says that while beef packer concentration has plateaued since 2009 at the four-firm level of between 83 percent and 86 percent, it is now evident that major concentration and vertical integration efforts are underway in the feedlot sector of the live cattle industry. The group says the structure of the beef packing industry is now being pushed upstream into the live cattle supply chain. In its comments, the group urged the agencies to investigate to determine the degree of buyer power the concentrated beef packers exercise over those feedlots – in particular, the 77 largest feedlots. The agencies asked for public comments to help them improve enforcement of U.S. antitrust laws regarding both horizontal and vertical mergers.

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