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NFU: Dept of Justice Moves to Block JBS-Swift’s National Beef Purchase

NFU: Dept of Justice Moves to Block JBS-Swift’s National Beef Purchase

Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008 9:11 pm

WASHINGTON (Oct. 21, 2008) – National Farmers Union President Tom Buis commented today on the Department of Justice’s decision to file a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the proposed acquisition of National Beef Packing Company by JBS Swift & Co. “The action by the Department of Justice signals that there is a strong case that this merger could economically harm farmers, ranchers and consumers. This is the right move to make. Without free, transparent and fair markets, both producers and consumers will lose,” Buis said. JBS-Swift announced last March plans to acquire both National Beef and Smithfield Beef Group LLC. At the time, NFU urged Attorney General Mukasey to conduct a thorough and comprehensive anti-trust investigation. Through this investigation, the Justice Department determined the proposed deal would result in lower prices paid to cattle suppliers and increased beef prices for consumers. “Independent cattle producers have witnessed the economic devastation caused by rampant consolidation in the beef markets,” Buis said. “It is the Department of Justice’s role to ensure that mergers and acquisitions do not result in less competition in the marketplace. Without competition it is unlikely farmers and ranchers will receive a fair price for their livestock. According to the department’s announcement, the proposed acquisition of National Beef will give JBS-Swift the ability to slaughter more than 40,000 head of cattle per day, which is more than one-third of U.S. fed cattle packing capacity. Posted 10.23.08

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