Last week Attorney General Hector Balderas announced a multi-pronged investigation to review unfair and anti competitive practices in the national cattle industry that he says are harming the backbone of New Mexico’s economy — family-owned farms and ranches that have been in operation for generations.
Balderas discussed the launch of the investigation, believed to be the first of its kind by a state attorney general, alongside ranchers and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association in Las Cruces and Albuquerque.
“My office will review current federal regulatory schemes and use the full force of New Mexico law to investigate giant, out of state corporations that are reaping record profits at the expense of New Mexico consumers and family businesses,” Balderas said. “We will hold any party who harms our families, ranchers, and farmers fully accountable for their actions.”
Balderas is extremely concerned about the possibility of those businesses being threatened, especially by harmful regulatory practices and corporate entities that have no meaningful ties to New Mexico and no interest in the well-being of New Mexicans.
“New Mexican families are under attack. Our economy is among the worst in the nation, and our families are struggling to make ends meet. We can no longer sit idle while large, out of state corporations unfairly conduct business at the expense of our families’ grocery budgets,” Balderas said. “New Mexicans have seen their paychecks stagnate, as the price of everyday items like beef and milk continue to rise, only to the benefit of the corporations’ bottom line. This is unfair, and these out of state businesses must be held accountable.”
The Attorney General recently became aware of the possibility of such harm from federal regulations and four mega meatpacking corporations that collectively process approximately 80 percent of all the beef slaughtered in the U.S.
The cattle and calf industry is one of the top two commodities for cash receipts in New Mexico, with a significant influence on the state’s cultural identity. The New Mexico dairy industry includes approximately 325,000 milk cows, included in the total of almost 1.4 million dairy and beef cows in New Mexico.
Balderas will update the public in the coming weeks on the status of this investigation.