SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Sen. Mike Lee and other Utah senators and representatives such as Sen. Romney, Rep. Curtis and Rep. Bishop sent a letter to Justice Department Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, asking him to immediately open an investigation into the acquisition of a Mountain States Rosen (MSR) lamb processing facility in Greeley, CO.
The letter in part says:
“MSR is a cooperative owned by more than 145 American families. Reports tell us that its Greeley facility is the second largest lamb packaging plant in the United States, processing approximately 350,000 lambs annually, over 6,000 per week, with an annual capacity of nearly 800,000. MSR accounts for about one-fifth of the entire U.S. lamb market,” the letter reads.
“We understand that [the current buyer] is not the first potential buyer to express interest in the MSR facility. An earlier interested buyer intended to continue operating MSR’s Greeley facility and even expand its capacity. However, it appears that after submitting a winning bid during bankruptcy proceedings, JBS is preparing to completely shut down all lamb processing at the site. It is our understanding that JBS intends to permanently destroy all of the lamb processing equipment as soon as this week,” the letter continues.
“We urge you to immediately open an investigation into this acquisition and demand that JBS cease from any irreversible actions that might harm the ability of American sheep ranchers to get their products to market until the Department can determine how best to protect competition in this significant part of America’s food supply,” the letter concludes.
You can read a full copy of the letter here.
JSB USA responded to ABC4 with the following statement concerning Mountain States Rose:
As a part of our continued commitment to invest in the city of Greeley, JBS USA made the decision to acquire the facility previously owned and operated by Mountain States Rosen out of bankruptcy through an auction process. Mountain States Rosen recently filed for bankruptcy in April and liquidated its assets, including the facility in Greeley.
We successfully bid for the facility during a bankruptcy auction on July 16 and anticipate closing in the coming days. While we acquired the facility and certain assets, we did not acquire the business. During this process, we proactively worked with Mountain States Rosen to ensure there would be no disruption to U.S. lamb producers as operations were discontinued. JBS USA offered to continue processing lamb for up to 90 days on behalf of producers, however we were informed by Mountain States Rosen this was unnecessary given the opening of a new lamb processing plant in the region this fall.
We intend to further invest in the Greeley facility and reopen as a value-added beef operation. This action does not eliminate hundreds of jobs, but preserves existing jobs while creating the opportunity for new jobs in our hometown of Greeley. In addition, all former Mountain States Rosen employees have been given the opportunity to apply for jobs with JBS USA.
The acquisition presents an exciting opportunity to provide value-added and premium, retail ready beef products to consumers in Colorado and across the United States.