WASHINGTON- Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a new piece of federal legislation last week that would “break up giant meatpacking and poultry monopolies.”

Hawley proposed the Strengthening Antitrust Enforcement for Meatpacking Act after Tyson Foods Inc., announced plans to shut down two poultry facilities in Dexter and Noel, Mo., in August 

According to Hawley’s legislation, the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 would be amended to establish specific thresholds for market concentration, allowing federal antitrust authorities to prohibit or unwind acquisitions that concentrate meatpacking in the United States. 

Hawley’s proposed law said it would discourage concertation by “disincentivizing entrenched meatpacking interests from buying up more competitors.”

On Sept. 15 Hawley stated on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that he spoke with Donnie King, chief executive officer of Tyson Foods. Hawley said that Tyson would be willing to sell its facilities in Dexter and Noel to interested parties, including a competitor.

“I was glad to hear it, because anything less would violate antitrust laws,” Hawley said. “I hope Tyson is actively pursuing a sale that will save these jobs in Missouri. Second, he told me Tyson would help any farmer who wanted to keep raising chickens to do so, including helping them get new contracts with Tyson or other companies. We will hold him to these commitments.”

Tyson did not confirm the conversation at the time of publication.

Following the initial announcement of the closure, city officials in Dexter released a commitment to residents affected by the decision by the meat producer. Noel city officials have made similar pledges.

In February, a group of bipartisan senators reintroduced the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act that would create the Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters within the US Department of Agriculture.