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President Biden signs new executive order encouraging competition in several industries

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - President Joe Biden signed a wide-ranging executive order Friday, aimed at some of the most concentrated industries in America. The order includes 72 initiatives across more than a dozen agencies to promote competition, including in the agriculture industry.

President Biden says the order promotes competition to lower prices, to increase wages, and to “take another critical step toward an economy that works for everybody.”

Some members of the South Dakota Farmers Union say the executive order will be a huge benefit to smaller and local meat producers.

“Four meatpackers control 85% of the market, so they’re looking at expanding that to more regional and local production to create more competition in the market, making a healthier market,” said Hank Wonnenberg, a member of the South Dakota Farmers Union.

The order also issues new rules to define when meat products can have a “Product of the USA” label.

“A lot of people who aren’t familiar with agriculture just assume that means the meat their buying was grown in the United States, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that at all, it just means it was inspected by federal inspectors upon arriving in the United States,” said Wonnenberg.

The USDA also announced they will use $500 million to expand meat and poultry processing capacity.

Congressman Dusty Johnson has been fighting for additional processing capacity at the meat processor level for years, and both announcements today are steps in the right direction.

“This is a big development; this is the kind of thing we’ve been fighting for a long time; we had introduced the butcher block act and what the administration has done is really incorporate our plans and putting $500 million into the street is going to help small meat processors compete more against the big boys,” said Rep. Johnson.

Even with these announcements, Rep. Johnson says more work needs to be done to help the meat market.

“I don’t want to celebrate to much this executive order, there’s some good news, there are some things we’ve been pushing for a long time but there is still a lot of ground we got to travel, we know that in rural America this marketplace is not as healthy as it should be,” said Rep. Johnson.

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