NFU President Roger Johnson took his argument to consumers Tuesday in a Huffington Post opinion-editorial about the proposed merger between Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands Co., which he said will hurt consumers, farmers and ranchers alike.The U.S. Department of Justice is considering the merger of the largest meat company in the nation, Tyson Foods, and the 11th largest meat company, Hillshire Brands Co.
Johnson said that for grocery shoppers, the proposed Tyson-Hillshire merger means “Big Meat” would have even more control over prices.
“We are told time and again by multinational companies proposing mergers that consumers will benefit from better prices,” Johnson wrote. “But we’ve seen how well that concept works in the real world, as anyone who has flown lately, or purchased prescription medication, or felt the sting of “Too Big to Fail” banking, or dealt with a cable company can attest.” “The scale and scope of this merger will substantially reduce competition in the meat sector, which is already very concentrated,” he said.
Only four companies slaughter and process nearly 81 percent of the cattle nationally, and in the pork sector, the top four firms control 65 percent of hog sales, Johnson said.
“Over the decades, we’ve heard the same tired propaganda: That consolidation helps everyone,” he said. “But a century of broken promises and a little common sense tells us differently.”
“Mergers help the big get bigger and leave the small guys helpless to their whims. The DOJ needs to say no to this latest power grab,” he wrote.