President Biden Allocates $1 Billion To Help The Struggling US Meat Industry - Plant Based News
POTUS Joe Biden will funnel $1 billion into helping the meat processing industry. - Media Credit: Wikimedia Commons

President Biden Allocates $1 Billion To Help The Struggling US Meat Industry

It comes as independent farmers are witnessing a dip in profits, while meat prices for consumers rise

By

3 Minutes Read

A newly published statement from the Biden-Harris Administration reveals that the US is setting aside $1 billion for the country’s meat industry. It’s part of the government’s efforts to shake up the sector and give more market control to independent meat producers. And in turn, the administration hopes, lower the prices of animal protein for consumers.

A handful of mammoth companies are currently in control of various US meat markets. Four meatpacking companies control 85 percent of the beef market, the release reveals. 

Similarly, four meat processing giants control 70 percent of the pork sector, while four firms run 54 percent of the poultry market. 

“When dominant middlemen control so much of the supply chain, they can increase their own profits at the expense of both farmers—who make less—and consumers—who pay more,” the Biden-Harris Administration statement says. 

Fifty years ago, hog farmers received 40 to 60 cents on each dollar spent on pork. Now, they are given 19 cents. 

Along the same vein, ranchers got more than 60 cents per dollar five decades ago, and now bag around 39 cents. 

And prices are rising for families too. Meat is now the largest contributor to the increasing cost of groceries in the US.

In an effort to combat the “urgent” issue, the Biden-Harris Administration is putting forward $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funds. 

The hefty sum will be used to help smaller operations grow their meat processing capacity, create new jobs, increase training and wages for meatpacking jobs, provide technical assistance, and back private lenders investing in independently owned companies.

The funding includes hundreds of millions of dollars in grants. 

Adobe Stock The Biden-Harris Administration aims to help the meatpacking sector, among others.

The wrong direction

But not everyone will be optimistic about the plan. Didier Toubia is the CEO and co-founder of cultured meat start-up Aleph Farms. He maintains that the food system should be evolving away from conventional meat, which has become “controversial” due to its impact on the planet and its links to animal exploitation.

“Concerns over animal welfare, climate change, overconsumption, and health issues related to animal proteins have increasingly brought criticism to the way meat is produced in industrialized systems,” Toubia said to FoodIngredientsFirst.

He also commented: “More than breaking up monopolies, real change in our food system will be achieved as we incorporate a wider variety of healthy, sustainable food choices, especially those that use less of our limited natural resources.

“Cultivated meat production can and should be incorporated into existing agricultural and meat production systems.”

Cultured meat, a product of cellular agriculture, can be created without slaughtering animals. Further, the technology requires far fewer resources.

Toubier says cell-based meat can lower greenhouse gas emissions by 92 percent, land use by 95 percent, and water use by 78 percent. 

Plant-based push

Other opponents of animal agriculture argue that animal protein should be scrapped altogether, with vegan and vegetarian food taking center stage. 

Ipsos Retail Performance – a leading retail analytics firm – found that veganism is now a “mainstream part of the American diet.”

The company discovered that the number of Americans who consider themselves vegan has skyrocketed by more than 3,000 percent over the past 15 years. In 2004, just 290,000 people were adhering to a plant-based diet. Now, that figure has jumped to roughly 9.7 million people. 

And more people are becoming curious about the trend. A survey conducted by YouGov at the end of last year found that nearly a third (31 percent) of Americans are interested in adopting a fully plant-based diet. 

A separate survey found that 49 percent of Americans are open to swapping out animal products in favor of plant-based alternatives. 

The figures are higher among some demographic groups. Out of the Asian American participants, 71 percent said they “strongly” or “somewhat agree” that they’re willing to make such changes.

Millions around the world trust Plant Based News for content about navigating our changing planet & our role in it.

Our independent team of journalists and experts are committed to making an impact through a wide range of content—and you can help by supporting our work today.

heading/author

The Author

Jemima Webber

Jemima is the Head of Editorial of Plant Based News. Aside from writing about climate and animal rights issues, she studies psychology in Newcastle, Australia (where she was born).

More by Jemima Webber iconography/arrow-right

heading/comments

Leave a Comment

Plant Based News Comment Policy

In short:- If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems. Please read our Comment policy before commenting.

Comments [0]  
buttons/scroll-to-top/scroll-to-top-small-active
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x