US president Joe Biden this week accused the large US meat processing corporations of being a “textbook example” of using their consolidated power to increase prices to consumers, while squeezing out competitors and exploiting farmers and ranchers.

In a roundtable event on Monday with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and attorney general Merrick Garland, representatives of the farm organisations and an independent poultry processor, a $1bn package was announced to encourage the development of independent processors.

The North American Meat Institute which represents processors, dismissed the initiative for not including processors and described it as the third time this market intervention was announced.

It highlighted labour shortages, increased transport and labour costs as the issue, along with rising cattle prices.