Stockyards, beef, cattle, COOL, CattleTrace, Kansas City, Packers & Stockyard Act; "Big Four"
While the Kansas City Stockyards themselves are gone, just like in the early 20th Century, a beef monopoly has once again found its way into the industry, and a way around the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 and is again suffocating the industry. While at the time of the act’s passage in 1921 five companies controlled the market, today the market is even more consolidated in the “Big Four,” as the four biggest meat packing companies in America are commonly known (Cargill, Tyson, JBS and National Beef/Marfrig), and are again arguably stifling the free-market. If Americans do not act quickly to address this extreme consolidation, then the free-market, independent cattle rancher will soon face the same fate as the Kansas City Stockyards, and soon, like the Stockyards, will simply be history and a distant memory. This is not only bad news for the American rancher, but is even worse news for the American consumer, as the consolidation creates food security and food safety issues, as highlighted by the recent events of 2020-2021 surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ballard, H. L. (2022). The Broken Beef Cattle Industry: COOL, COVID and CattleTrace. Journal of Food Law & Policy, 18(1). Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/jflp/vol18/iss1/6
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