Sen. Lee Leads Letter Asking Justice Department to Immediately Investigate Meat Processing Plant Merger

July 30, 2020

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), five other senators, and six members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Justice Department Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim Wednesday, asking him to immediately open an investigation into the acquisition of a Mountain States Rosen (MSR) lamb processing facility in Greeley, CO.

“MSR is a cooperative owned by more than 145 American families. Reports tell us that its Greeley facility is the second largest lamb packaging plant in the United States, processing approximately 350,000 lambs annually, over 6,000 per week, with an annual capacity of nearly 800,000. MSR accounts for about one-fifth of the entire U.S. lamb market,” the letter reads.

“We understand that [the current buyer] is not the first potential buyer to express interest in the MSR facility. An earlier interested buyer intended to continue operating MSR’s Greeley facility and even expand its capacity. However, it appears that after submitting a winning bid during bankruptcy proceedings, JBS is preparing to completely shut down all lamb processing at the site. It is our understanding that JBS intends to permanently destroy all of the lamb processing equipment as soon as this week,” the letter continues.

“We urge you to immediately open an investigation into this acquisition and demand that JBS cease from any irreversible actions that might harm the ability of American sheep ranchers to get their products to market until the Department can determine how best to protect competition in this significant part of America’s food supply,” the letter concludes.

Senators joining Sen. Lee on the letter include: Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mitt Romney (R-UT), John Thune (R-SD), Michael Rounds (R-SD).

Representatives signing the letter include: Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and Liz Cheney (R-WY).

You can read the full copy of the letter here.