A proposed 8,000-head-per-day beef processing facility in South Dakota is joining a packed roster of planned and existing plants that could be forced to compete for shrinking cattle inventories in the years ahead.
Even as some states and USDA invest millions of dollars in expanding medium and small-scale meat processing, a new economic analysis cautions against seeing this development as insulation against the next “black swan” event, which is how the researchers describe the pandemic.
The House this week is expected to clear President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan after Senate Democrats fought off GOP attempts to gut the package in a marathon debate that went all night Friday to nearly noon on Saturday.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts has been involved in just about every consequential piece of agricultural legislation in the last four decades. But the bill he thinks may have the most lasting impact is the 1996 farm bill known as Freedom to Farm (or “Freedom to Fail” by its detractors). The bill formally ended the system of production controls and commodity subsidies first imposed during the Depression.
Since COVID-19 disrupted the meat supply chain in the spring, there has been a growing consensus between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill that the meat processing industry needs more competition, but that comes with a few barriers.