DALLAS CENTER, Iowa — Sen. Chuck Grassley has a beef with big meat processors because of rising costs for consumers. On a call Wednesday, he suggested Iowans skip the middle man and buy local to save money.
“Don’t buy from JBS and Tyson. Go to your local markets and local kills,” Grassley said. “I could go to the Cedar Falls locker to buy my meat instead of getting Tyson Foods from some other supermarket.”
Grassley is attempting to counter large meat processing companies by co-sponsoring the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. The bill, which is still in a Senate committee at last check, would require meat packers to disclose any contracts they have with meat producers in order to eliminate the possibility of collusion.
There are nearly 20,000 farms with beef cows in Iowa, according to the Iowa Beef Industry Council. That number includes Brewer Family Farms of Dallas Center, a fifth-generation farm that sells meat from lockers located on its property.
“We can market directly to the consumer. You can come out here and see how they’re raised,” said Emily Wynn of Brewer Family Farms. “My dad and my brother are out here every day taking care of them, and every farmer across Iowa is doing the same thing.”
Brewer’s listed price for ground beef online is $5 a pound, which is at the lower end of prices when compared online with larger stores.
“We’ve had this meat our entire lives. We think about how much we love it and how passionate we are it, so we get to tell everybody else our story,” Wynn said. “They get to enjoy the same home-raised beef that we’ve enjoyed for years.”