The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has submitted a request to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for an investigation of Marfrig Global Foods’ “near-acquisition” of U.S.-based National Beef Packing Company, according to a release from the group.
Last week, the Brazilian-based Marfrig Global Foods announced that it had raised its stake in National Beef Packing Company from 51% to 81.7%. This is an increase from 2018, when it acquired its majority stake, however, this new announcement means that the U.S.-based company will be almost entirely owned by the Brazilian company.
USCA is opposed to the increasing consolidation of the meat-packing sector and foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural interests, it says in the release. It is seeking investigation into the acquisition by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and demands a full review of Marfrig Global Foods’ acquisition of U.S. companies and calls for those outcomes to be “explicitly written out and publicly published.”
"Today, nearly 30 million acres of U.S. agricultural land is held by foreign investors. Once Americans lose out on that capacity - whether it be land, feedlots, meat processing facilities, or other resources - it may be that we will never have the opportunity to buy it back,” says USCA President Kenny Graner. “In short, the growing trend of foreign interests acquiring U.S. agricultural resources jeopardizes the ability of our nation to feed itself. In our view, this is a direct threat to our democracy.”
"We urge Secretary Mnuchin and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to fulfill President Donald Trump's campaign promise to put America first by ensuring the long-term sustainability of America's farming and ranching families," Graner concluded.
Marfrig Global Foods initially acquired its 51% stake in National Beef Packing Company in 2018, ruffling the feathers of its investors who said that the “fine print” in the deal meant that Marfrig’s financial leverage would remain elevated even after the recent sale of assets aimed at reducing debt load.
To date, U.S. Premium Beef, which owns 15% of National Beef Packing Company, has not sold any of its shares.
To read the full statement sent to Secretary Mnuchin, click here.
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