Big poultry processor to pay $75 million to resolve antitrust lawsuit

Three months after a plea agreement with the government that included a $110.5 million fine, Pilgrim’s Pride, the second-largest U.S. poultry processor, said on Monday it would pay $75 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by its customers. Other price-fixing claims are pending in the …

Dean Foods seeks to get back money paid to dairy farmers before bankruptcy

Hundreds of dairy farmers nationwide fear they could owe substantial sums to the bankrupt dairy processor Dean Foods after the company sent out letters attempting to claw back payments made to farmers in the months preceding the company’s Chapter 11 filing last year. Dean’s actions have been harshly criticized by farm groups and, for some, underscore the dangers of a heavily consolidated dairy industry that leaves farmers with few processing options. (No paywall)

Lawmakers seek USDA aid for sheep ranchers

The USDA needs to step in to help sheep ranchers in the West following the bankruptcy of the second-largest U.S. sheep processor, said leaders of the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.

Indictments could be a sign of increased antitrust enforcement in farm sector

After years of failed attempts to draw attention to market concentration in the meat sector, farmers are cautiously optimistic about federal investigations into alleged antitrust violations in the chicken and beef industries. And grand jury indictments of four chicken industry executives could be a sign of more antitrust action to come, says a former attorney at the Department of Justice. (No paywall)

Poultry execs indicted for price fixing

A federal grand jury indicted four poultry industry executives on a charge of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens, announced the Justice Department on Wednesday. The charges were the first in "an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price-fixing, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the broiler chicken industry," it said.

Dairy Farmers of America wins bid for Dean Foods

The milk cooperative Dairy Farmers of America has entered into an agreement to buy most of milk processor Dean Foods’ assets as part of the latter’s bankruptcy proceedings. If approved, the $433 million deal will make DFA both the largest milk supplier and the largest milk processor in the country.

Meat prices spike, cattle prices fall, and ranchers and lawmakers see market manipulation

Wholesale beef prices have jumped to record levels, as shoppers stockpile meat in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. But this run on beef isn’t helping cattle ranchers. On the contrary, cattle prices have plummeted since January, putting many ranchers on the brink of collapse. “It’s never been worse. The futures market is crashing … and box beef prices are skyrocketing. It’s nuts,” says rancher Mike Callicrate of St. Francis, Kansas. (No Paywall)

DOJ probes Dean Foods/Dairy Farmers of America proposed merger

The Department of Justice is looking into the potential antitrust implications of a proposed deal between bankrupt milk processor Dean Foods and the giant dairy cooperative Dairy Farmers of America (DFA). According to a Monday report in the Wall Street Journal, the department is investigating …

Lawsuit alleges turkey companies conspired to keep prices high

A new class-action lawsuit brought by two food distributors alleges that the country's top turkey companies conspired for most of the past decade to raise turkey prices. The allegations mirror those brought in recent years against beef, pork, and chicken companies, and all revolve around the use of reports on industry production and pricing made by a secretive data company called Agri Stats.(No paywall)

Poultry companies subpoenaed in DOJ investigation of chicken industry

Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Perdue Farms have all been subpoenaed by the Department of Justice in the agency’s grand jury investigation into the poultry sector. FERN broke news of the investigation in June. The Wall Street Journal reports that the three poultry companies will cooperate …