Billings, Mont. – Yale Law School has invited R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard to submit an academic paper on antitrust issues in the U.S. cattle industry and participate in the school’s upcoming conference, “Big Ag & Antitrust: Competition Policy for a Humane and Sustainable Food System.” The virtual conference will take place online on Saturday, January 16, 2021 from 9:15 am – 5:00 pm EST.
According to its Website, the conference is intended to discuss what kinds of reforms are needed in antitrust enforcement and regulations to improve America’s food system. It is intended to serve as a focal point for academics, enforcers, policymakers, practitioners, and journalists.
Bullard was invited to submit an abstract that was ultimately selected by the conference’s organizers. His abstract described how he would update his earlier paper, “Under Siege: The U.S. Live Cattle Industry,” which was published in the 2013 South Dakota Law Review. His law review article cautioned that without rigorous antitrust enforcement and other legal actions to protect market competition, the cattle industry as it is known today will be lost for future generations.
Bullard’s abstract stated that conditions in the U.S. cattle industry have worsened since his 2013 article. “In 2015 the nation experienced an inexplicable, long-term cattle-price collapse while consumers continued paying record and near-record beef prices. Since 2017 beef prices have reached new historical highs, while cattle prices trended downward, a phenomenon evincing a disconnect between the value of the raw product (i.e. cattle) and the value of beef. In 2019 a beef packer’s temporary shutdown caused another inexplicable, nationwide price collapse. And, in 2020, for the first time in recent memory, consumers could not buy the beef they needed for their families because grocery store beef counters were bare.”
The virtual conference will consist of a keynote welcome address and six hour-long panels, with each panel featuring three speakers and a moderator. The conference is free and open to the public and will be recorded over Zoom. The public can register for the conference here: registration link.