GREELEY, COLO. – JBS USA confirmed reports that the company is no longer a dues-paying member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). The news came in the wake of the NCBA joining a consortium of ranchers and producer organizations lobbying for more transactional transparency in the beef market.

JBS said the company suspended its NCBA membership about a year ago but its communication with the organization has since been productive.

“We continue to support U.S. producers through our daily participation in cash cattle markets and through state producer associations,” a company spokesperson said. “We suspended our dues as part of our annual review process to determine the benefit and effectiveness of our trade association investments. We remain involved in many NCBA activities and meet with them often at varying levels of our organization.”

With the ire of beef producers on the rise over the disparity in lower prices being paid by packers and processors for cattle while retail prices for beef have continued to surge higher, congressional leaders sent a request to the US Department of Justice to update its investigation into possible antitrust activities among the “big four” beef companies, including JBS, National Beef, Tyson Foods and Cargill.

“It is critically important that producers have fair and transparent markets for the commodities they produce,” said the letter, which was penned by Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and signed by 14 other members of Congress. “We urge the DOJ Antitrust Division to continue vigilance and where possible, provide updates of findings,” it said.

As legislative alternatives are being considered by lawmakers, JBS maintained its role is to follow the lead of other stakeholders.

“We have taken no position on any of the proposals offered by producers or Congress as we believe any changes to how cattle are marketed or sold in the US should be determined solely by producers,” according to JBS.