HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii Attorney General Holly T. Shikada urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve competition in the meat processing industry by moving forward with a $500 million investment.

The $500 million investment will be used to support new competition entrants in meat and poultry processing, as explained in a letter of other recommendations. The letter was from Shikada and 16 other attorney generals to the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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Shikada said in a statement that improving competition in the meat processing industry will help Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and consumers.

“The Packers and Stockyards Act should help ensure fairness and integrity for Hawaii’s farmers and ranchers,” Shikada explained.  “This, in turn, will benefit Hawai‘i’s consumers by making prices more affordable and providing producers with the ability to get the best price for their product.”

The Packers and Stockyards Act was addressed in President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.

According to the Biden Administration, 85% of the beef market is controlled by four large meatpacking companies and 54% of the poultry market is controlled by the top four processing firms.

Dominant middlemen controlling the supply chain results in an increase of their own profit at the expense of farmers and consumers.

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The letter to Vilsack also included asking the USDA into using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to establish a grant that antitrust enforcers can use to investigate and bring actions in agriculture markets.