MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota District Court judge dismissed a multidistrict price-fixing lawsuit on Aug. 17 against meatpackers Cargill, JBS S.A., Swift Beef Co., National Beef Packing Co. and Tyson Foods Inc.

The meat processors faced allegations from beef producers who claimed the companies conspired to manipulate the price of fed cattle bought in the United States.

The class of ranchers who indirectly sold cattle to processors alleged that the companies violated the Sherman Act and the Packers and Stockyards Act. Allegedly, their conduct created a collapse in fed cattle prices in 2015, which subsequently caused a drop in prices of cattle.

Judge John R. Tunheim dismissed the case because the “plaintiffs failed to establish antitrust standing.” According to the court documents, the ranchers did not adequately explain the causal connection between manipulating fed cattle prices and lower cow-calf prices. With many stages in the beef supply chain, the judge did not think causation could be clearly attributed.

“Moreover, there is a significant lag between when plaintiffs sell calves and when defendants purchase the cattle, which the court finds weighs against standing in this case,” Tunheim said.

The court is currently declining beef producers the ability to amend their complaint. The producers must write to the court outlining the basis for amendments if they wish to pursue the suit.