HURON, S.D. — After hearing the news that a federal judge in Minnesota ordered a class-action lawsuit against JBS, Tyson, National Beef, and Cargill to proceed, South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke said after decades, finally a judge, “gets it.”
“This judge gets it,” explained Sombke, a fourth-generation Conde farmer. “My entire farming career, we have been fighting for fair prices. Every time we would try to prove price fixing, the previous judges always found a reason to protect the meat processing industry. So, they continued to get richer while family farmers and ranchers continue to lose profits.”
Getting fair prices for farmers has been a front-and-center focus of South Dakota Farmers Union member-driven policy for decades. South Dakota’s members were among the members who voted it into the National Farmers Union policy.
National Farmers Union is among the plaintiffs alleging that America’s four largest beef packers conspired to suppress the price of cattle and increase the price of beef.
“We are pleased the effort to restore pricing transparency and competitiveness to the cattle markets is moving forward in the courtroom. This case is nearly two-and-a-half years old, and we look forward to the next step in the litigation,” said Rob Larew, President, National Farmers Union in a September 29 news release.
The case now enters the discovery phase of the trial, where evidence and information will be presented to demonstrate how packers violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and the Commodity Exchange Act.
“As the case moves to discovery, Farmers Union will continue to hold the packers accountable. Malfeasance in the cattle markets has been very damaging to independent farmers and ranchers, and we look forward to continuing to advocate for our members in the courtroom,” Larew said.
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