Sask. Government ‘stock price concerns’ with SSGA, but points to competition office |

The Saskatchewan government stands in solidarity with ranchers in the province calling for a formal beef price investigation, but says the federal government is better equipped to complete that job.

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Earlier this week, the Saskatchewan Livestock Producers Association (SSGA) called on the provincial and federal governments to “conduct a price investigation to address the significant imbalance in the livestock price markets and beef,” saying ranchers in the province are struggling to the point where some are leaving. the industry as a whole.

“We share the industry’s pricing concerns,” a government spokesman said in a provided statement.

“However, it would be better for the SSGA to discuss its request for an investigation with the Canadian Competition Bureau.”

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According to Statistics CanadaWhile prices for some cuts of meat have fallen in recent months, most have risen significantly in the past decade, in some cases nearly doubling and far exceeding the average annual rate of inflation.

Reached by Global News on Wednesday, SSGA President Garner Deobold said “very little” of what consumers pay at the counter trickles down to the primary producer.

“The grassroots rancher and farmer are definitely fighting right now,” he said.

“This goes back to more than recently, it’s from the last few years for a number of different reasons.”

He said the SSGA is not looking for a “government discount or more regulation,” but rather more transparency about where the money a consumer pays at the grocery store goes and a “more equitable deal.”

“We know what the packers will bid for the cattle, from there it’s more or less exactly what the price is from where the processor takes control of the cattle and where it ends up on the retail shelf,” he said.

“From there to retail, it would be interesting to find out where that money actually ends up.”

If nothing changes, Deobold said, producers will reduce herd sizes or leave the industry altogether. He worries that if that trend were to continue, the industry itself could one day become locally unviable if processors decide to pull out of the area.

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Deobold added that some ranchers have already started converting grasslands to cropland, which could have an environmental impact as sequestered carbon is released while the land is plowed.

He also worries that processors could further hurt growers by limiting capacity at packing plants and allowing supply to pile up on pasture.

The SSGA issued a press release on the matter on Monday and says that at this time it has not had any further meaningful discussions with any level of government.

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The SSGA is not alone in issuing such a call to action.

In late May, US senators introduced a bipartisan resolution directing the Federal Trade Commission to investigate anti-competitive practices and antitrust violations in the US meatpacking industry.

According to Senate documents, “American ranchers receive approximately 39 cents of every dollar a consumer spends on beef today, compared to 60 cents 50 years ago, and between 2015 and 2018 the difference between the cost of beef wholesale beef and the price paid to ranchers increased by 60%, while major beef packers enjoyed record profits.”

That bill has been referred to committee.

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Meanwhile, this year class action lawsuits were filed against meatpacking companies in both Quebec and British Columbia.

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Global News has contacted Canada’s largest meat processors, Cargill and JBS Foods Canada, for comment but has yet to hear back.

Global News has also contacted the Competition Bureau for comment, but did not receive a response in time for the deadline.

The Saskatchewan government added in its response that “we recognize that the livestock sector has faced considerable challenges from circumstances beyond its control, including last summer’s drought, severe weather this spring, supply chain challenges and inflation.” .

“Provincially, we are focused on continuing to support growers through our existing suite of business risk management programs. These programs remain the first line of defense for growers against unpredictable risks and ever-changing market conditions. Additionally, our government responded to last summer’s drought conditions with the Canada-Saskatchewan Drought Response Initiative, and an increase in the cap and cost-sharing formula for water development projects under the Saskatchewan Infrastructure Program. Water for Farms and Ranches”, continues the statement.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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