Friday, July 31, 2020

JBS acquires Mountain States Rosen lamb plant: Rancher seeks anti-trust intervention

The impending purchase and transformation of the nation’s second largest lamb processing facility has sheep producers nationwide wondering whether they will get their lambs sold this fall. Brazilian beef packing giant JBS recently acquired Mountain States Rosen, a bankrupt lamb packing plant across the road from a JBS beef processing plant in Greeley, Colorado. JBS has said it plans to use the processing plant to grind hamburger and cut steaks, which leaves the current industry with about 350,000 more lambs than available processing facility. With about 3,500 of their own lamb carcasses sitting in limbo right now, the Jorgensen family of Mt. Pleasant, Utah said their 2020 lamb crop – their sole source of income – could soon become a liability. About half of U.S. lamb is marketed through food service and because of the economic shutdown, that market has fallen apart, leaving Jorgensen and many others unable to sell as much lamb as usual. Carson Jorgensen raises sheep in central Utah on private and federal land along with his grandparents, parents, brother, their wives and children. After learning of the plant’s sale on Saturday, Jorgensen has in recent days sent letters to Vice President Mike Pence, his Utah Congressional delegation, and congressional representatives from Montana and Wyoming, to help them understand the grim situation sheep producers face with the sudden disappearance of 20 percent of their sheep slaughter capacity. Jorgensen’s ranching friends across the country are also contacting their congressional delegates...MORE

Sen. Lee Leads Letter Asking Justice Department to Immediately Investigate Meat Processing Plant Merger

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), five other senators, and six members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Justice Department Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim Wednesday, asking him to immediately open an investigation into the acquisition of a Mountain States Rosen (MSR) lamb processing facility in Greeley, CO.

“MSR is a cooperative owned by more than 145 American families. Reports tell us that its Greeley facility is the second largest lamb packaging plant in the United States, processing approximately 350,000 lambs annually, over 6,000 per week, with an annual capacity of nearly 800,000. MSR accounts for about one-fifth of the entire U.S. lamb market,” the letter reads.

“We understand that [the current buyer] is not the first potential buyer to express interest in the MSR facility. An earlier interested buyer intended to continue operating MSR’s Greeley facility and even expand its capacity. However, it appears that after submitting a winning bid during bankruptcy proceedings, JBS is preparing to completely shut down all lamb processing at the site. It is our understanding that JBS intends to permanently destroy all of the lamb processing equipment as soon as this week,” the letter continues.

“We urge you to immediately open an investigation into this acquisition and demand that JBS cease from any irreversible actions that might harm the ability of American sheep ranchers to get their products to market until the Department can determine how best to protect competition in this significant part of America’s food supply,” the letter concludes.

Senators joining Sen. Lee on the letter include: Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mitt Romney (R-UT), John Thune (R-SD), Michael Rounds (R-SD).

Representatives signing the letter include: Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and Liz Cheney (R-WY).
You can read the full copy of the letter here.

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