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Sale of Iowa Premium faces a challenge from R-CALF USA group

April 5, 2019
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

An organization billed as "fighting for the independent U.S. beef producer" asked U.S. Attorney General William Barr to block the sale of Iowa Premium at Tama to National Beef Packing Company on Friday, March 29.

R-CALF USA reported in a news release a nine-page objection had been submitted stating in part,"that National Beef's acquisition of Iowa Premium will substantially reduce competition for fed cattle regionally as well as nationally, thus harming independent U.S. cattle producers and will also likely substantially reduce competition for boxed beef, which will harm American consumers."

National Beef announced on March 11 its intent to acquire Iowa Premium the Tama plant operation.

Article Photos

Iowa Premium at Tama which employs 850 in beef production.
-News-Herald file

The News-Herald has sought reaction from Iowa Premium and National Beef but had received no replies at press deadline.

Jeremy Edwards, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice Offcie of Public Affairs said the office "has no comment" in an email to The News-Herald Wednesday.

The announcement noted "the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.:

The letter is reported to claim National Beef, hadquartered in Kansas City, is a member of what iss termed "The Big Four" meat packers cartel which R-CALF USA says contols 85 percent of the U.S. fed cattle market.

It goes on to charge the Iowa-Minnesota cattle market is "last bastion of robust regional competition for fed cattle and the "Big 4 cartel" will "limit access to the marketplace unless producers become certified under the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program"

IowaPremium reopened the Tama beef plant, known locally for many years as "Tama Pack" in 2014 after reportedly upwards of $50 million was spent by Sysco Foods to modernize and enlarge the facility. The plant employs more than 850.



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