U.S. Department of Justice approves JBS merger with Smithfield and blocks merger with National Beef

by Errol Rice, MSGA Executive Vice President

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil antitrust lawsuit yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago to block the proposed merger of JBS Swift and National Beef Packing Company LLC. Montana’s Attorney General Mike McGrath is joining the Department’s lawsuit. The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is uncertain as to who requested McGrath to join the case.

The members of MSGA have long felt that free market forces are the best options for cow/calf producers to discover profitability. MSGA supports free and fair competition in open markets for our cattle and beef. MSGA appreciates the DOJ’s attention to the balance of competition within the beef industry. MSGA has from the beginning supported DOJ’s efforts to monitor, evaluate and if necessary act upon these acquisitions.

MSGA members are hoping to further their knowledge of the merger by inviting current acting CEO of JBS Swift Wesley Batista to the MSGA annual convention in December. If confirmed, Batista will speak at the convention’s opening general session.

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