R-CALF USA was pleased to learn that a court in McCurtain County, Okla., ruled in favor of some poultry producers in their allegations of deceptive and coercive business practices on the part of Tyson Foods Inc. (Tyson).

The damages, according to media reports, totaled about $4.8 million in actual damages, about half that much in punitive damages and included $125,000 to each of the 10 poultry growers for mental anguish. Tyson officials, through a formal statement, indicated an appeal was likely.

“We certainly are pleased that the courts are beginning to recognize how the unbridled monopsony power wielded by multinational packers is disrupting market competition and forcing tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers out of business,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

R-CALF USA has long been an advocate of true competition and transparency in the livestock markets and has repeatedly prepared data for the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to show how the multinational packers abuse market power to increase their own profits while driving down the price of live cattle, which results in losses to independent U.S. cattle producers.

“Hopefully, this decision in Oklahoma will help build momentum in Washington, D.C., to finally take steps to restore competition in our livestock markets,” Bullard concluded. “We think this is good step in the right direction and we will continue to work with USDA and the Justice Department on behalf of U.S. cattle producers.”