North Dakota Delegation Urges DOJ to Investigate Acquisition of Lamb Processing Facility
Delegation Expresses Concerns with Consolidation of Livestock Processing Industry
WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and Representative Kelly Armstrong today urged the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division to open an investigation into the acquisition of Mountain States Rosen (MSR), a lamb processing facility in Greeley, Colo. by the American subsidiary of Brazilian JBS. The delegation raised concerns with reported plans by JBS to close the facility and destroy its equipment, actions that would significantly hamper the ability of North Dakota’s lamb producers to get their product to market.
“We urge DOJ to immediately open an investigation into the acquisition and request that JBS cease any plans it may have to shutter the lamb processing facility,” said the delegation. “If the acquisition goes through, North Dakota’s sheep ranchers may be irreversibly harmed.”
The full text of the delegation’s letter can be read below:
Assistant Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20530
RE: Proposed Acquisition of Mountain States Rosen by JBS USA Holdings, Inc.
Dear Mr. Delrahim:
We are writing to associate ourselves with the comments from our colleagues in the Senate and House regarding the acquisition of Mountain States Rosen (“MSR”) lamb processing facility in Greeley, Colorado by JBS USA Holdings, Inc. (“JBS”), the American subsidiary of Brazilian JBS S.A. The acquisition is taking place this Friday, July 31, and we are concerned this action will cause severe harm to the domestic lamb industry. We call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to immediately open an investigation into JBS’ acquisition of the MSR lamb processing facility.
MSR is a cooperative owned by 149 sheep ranching families in 11 western states. It is the second largest lamb packaging plant in the United States, processing approximately 350,000 lambs annually, which accounts for about one-fifth of the entire domestic lamb market.
It is our understanding that JBS is considering a complete shutdown of all lamb processing and may permanently destroy all of the lamb processing equipment at the site following the acquisition. This is alarming, given that JBS is a direct competitor of MSR and the largest importer of lamb in the United States. The proposed acquisition highlights the increasing consolidation of the U.S. livestock processing industry. As you know, the DOJ sent civil investigative demands to JBS S.A. regarding price discrepancies in the U.S. beef processing market.
Sheep ranchers from 15 states, including North Dakota, depend on this facility to process their livestock. If this acquisition proceeds and the lamb processing facility is shuttered, it will create even more uncertainty for our nation’s sheep producers, who are already facing challenges caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Eliminating a major domestic processor such as MSR could lead to approximately 15-20 percent of the U.S. lamb supply not finding a processor when they are ready for market.
For these reasons, we urge DOJ to immediately open an investigation into the acquisition and request that JBS cease any plans it may have to shutter the lamb processing facility. If the acquisition goes through, North Dakota’s sheep ranchers may be irreversibly harmed.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, or should you need additional information.
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