USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) released the 1997 data on 4-firm concentration in the meat industry last week. NMA has tabulated the summary information in the charts to the right. Please note that the GIPSA data for 1980 through 1990 are based on firms’ fiscal years as reported to GIPSA. Data for 1991 through 1997 are based on calendar year Federally-inspected slaughter. The four firms in each class are identified next to the chart to which they apply. Firms do not appear in the order of their predominance.* That is proprietary information.

While the 4-firm concentration remains relatively steady on beef, it is interesting that it has backed off slightly on hogs from a 1996 high point. This may be more a function of consolidation through acquisition and subsequent reorganization by one major firm. As far as sheep/lamb is concerned, the range has not changed much for the past ten years, and in fact the 4-firm ratio is lower today than it has been since 1990. The peak was 1994.

A summary percentage of all the data is available, as well as data describing 8 firm, 20 firm and 50 firm penetration levels for some species. For a copy send a self-addressed/stamped (55¢) envelope to Ira Perez at NMA-West, 1970 Broadway Suite 825, Oakland, CA 94612.