Wesley Batista, President and CEO of JBS Swift USA, based in Greeley, Colo., will speak at MSGA’s 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Billings Holiday Inn Grand Montana, Dec. 11-13. Convention attendees will have the opportunity to hear Batista speak and ask him questions at the end of the Opening General Session on Friday, Dec. 12.
JBS Swift USA is a division of Brazil’s JBS S.A., currently the world’s largest beef producer and exporter with a daily slaughtering capacity of 65.2 thousand head of cattle and the largest global exporter of processed beef. The company’s operations include 22 plants located in nine Brazilian states, six plants located in four Argentine provinces, 16 plants in the U.S., 10 in Australia and 10 in Italy. After purchasing Swift & Co. last year, JBS USA became the third-largest beef processor in the U.S., behind top-ranked Tyson Foods and second-ranked Cargill.
“We appreciate Wesley Batista taking the time to travel to Billings and speak to our cattlemen,” said Errol Rice, MSGA’s executive vice president. “MSGA, first and foremost, supports free and fair competition in the marketplace and this is a great opportunity for MSGA members to hear directly from JBS Swift regarding the details of their increased ownership in the U.S. packing and cattle feeding industries.”
Last week, JBS completed its purchase of Smithfield Beef and Five Rivers Cattle Feeding. The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently blocked JBS’s attempt to purchase National Beef Packing Co. of Kansas City, Mo.—a move that would have made JBS the largest beef processor in the U.S. The DOJ and attorneys general for 13 states filed suit against JBS S.A. and National Beef. The suit claimed the deal would put 80 percent of domestic fed cattle packing capacity in the control of the top three packers in the country. The lawsuit said the buyout would hurt packers because it would likely lessen competition. This would result in higher prices for consumers and lower prices paid to ranchers and feedlots, the suit claimed.
“We disagree with the Department of Justice’s decision to try and block this transaction,” Wesley Batista said in a press release. “This transaction is highly pro-competitive and will generate significant efficiencies and synergies that will benefit our cattle suppliers and our beef customers. We believe the government’s case is misplaced and we look forward to defending this matter in court.”
Batista’s speech at MSGA’s convention will set the stage for MSGA’s committee meetings.
“MSGA has long valued the process of due diligence,” said Rice. “Our members will be closely monitoring and evaluating the impacts on the beef industry as a result of JBS’s recent acquisitions. MSGA members will also be closely evaluating the civil antitrust lawsuit filed to prevent JBS from acquiring National Beef Packing Co., LLC.”
MSGA’s 124th Annual Convention will feature committee and business meetings, Cattlemen’s Colleges, the Women of the West Fair, a 95-booth Trade Show, and the Grand Finale Banquet. For more information please visit www.mtbeef.org , or contact Rose at MSGA (406) 442-3420.