Walter Schweitzer is the newly-elected president of the Montana Farmers Union (and yes, he's also the brother of former Democrat Governor Brian Schweitzer). He joined us on Montana Talks- Montana's leading statewide radio talk show- to talk about the cattle markets, and what many believe is market manipulation by the major meat packers.

Concerns about market manipulation mounted following a fire at a packing plant in the summer of 2019. Concerns have grown here in Montana amidst the coronavirus crisis, as ranchers see beef fly off the shelves at grocery stores, yet ranchers aren't seeing higher prices for their cattle.

Montana's US Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jon Tester (D-MT) have called on the Justice Department to investigate the packing companies. Last week, Roll Call noted that Iowa Senator and Judiciary Committee member Chuck Grassley is following suit:

In the last three weeks, live cattle futures have dropped three-and-half percent on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That may be understandable in a normal situation, but this is happening while American consumers bought 77 percent more meat year over year in the month of March. The spike in grocery buying has caused higher beef values for the big four meat packers and a decrease in the value for Iowa farmers.”

 

What did Montana Farmers Union President Walt Schweitzer have to say about that and the ag markets as a whole? Click below for the full audio of Walt Schweitzer on Montana Talks with Aaron Flint.