The meat industry has long been dominated by a few big players, a system that has been exposed in the recent past both by pandemic-related shortages and the litany of investigations, lawsuits and prosecutions in many different sectors. This executive order is the beginning of the Biden administration’s efforts to craft a potential industry fix.

According to the White House fact sheet about the executive order, four large meatpacking companies control more than 80% of the beef market. In the last five years, farmers’ share of the price of beef has dropped by more than a quarter — from 51.5% to 37.3% — while the price of beef has risen, the agency says, citing USDA data.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to Iowa on Friday to talk about the executive order.

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