The US government is aiming to dilute the power of large meat processing companies by awarding grants worth $59m to independent operators.
The grants will go to five independent processors to help create new plants, expand facilities, and introduce environmentally-friendly processes as part of efforts to increase competitiveness and improve prices for farmers and customers.
Four large meat-packing companies – Cargill, JBS, Tyson and National Beef Packing – control 85% of the beef market in the US, according to the White House. The top four poultry processing firms control 54% of the market, and 70% of the pork market is controlled by the four largest processors.
Overall US food prices have gone up 10.1% over the past year and meat, poultry and fish have gone up 4.2%, according to the Department of Labor.
The White House said “When too few companies control such a large portion of the market, our food supply chains are susceptible to shocks.
Secretary for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Tom Vilsack, said “For too long, American farmers and ranchers have been asked to produce more to meet increasing demand across the country and around the world, while they and the rural communities they come from have struggled to see their fair share of the benefits.
The Biden administration said it was working with Congress to promote enforcement of competitiveness rules and increase transparency in meat supply chains.