Senate Ag Committee Pass's Packer Ownership Bill

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The U.S. Senate Ag Committee yesterday passed an amendment to its version of the Farm Bill that would prohibit packers from owning livestock for more than 14 days before slaughter. There was no debate on the measure, which passed on a voice vote as part of a package of 32 other provisions.



Under the proposed amendment to the Packers and Stockyards Act, processors could not, "own or feed livestock directly, through a subsidiary, or through an arrangement that gives the packer operational, managerial, or supervisory control over the livestock, or over the farming operation that produces the livestock." NCBA and KLA oppose this amendment, which would limit marketing options for producers selling cattle.



Such language was not included in the House version of the Farm Bill. The Senate proposed a similar provision in the 2002 Farm Bill, but it was stripped out before the legislation was approved.



The Senate Ag Committee today will continue debate on livestock issues, including an amendment that would substitute “unfair” for “competitive injury” as the threshold for determining anti-competitive activity under the Packers and Stockyards Act. NCBA and KLA support an alternative amendment that would study the issue to determine the appropriateness of the language change and identify any unintended consequences prior to implementation.
 
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10/28/2007 12:11:00 PM


U.S. Cattlemen’s: Senate Agriculture Committee Completes Work On Farm Bill



USCA (October 26, 2007) - the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee completed its work on the Farm Bill on Thursday, October 25. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) is pleased with provisions in the Livestock Title, and thanks Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) along with members of the Committee for their support of the bill.


Key provisions include:



-Banning packer ownership of livestock more than 14 days before slaughter;

-Creation of an Office of Special Counsel at USDA that would enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act and Agriculture Fair Practices Act;

-House compromise on country of origin labeling;

-Allowing the shipment of state inspected meat.


Jess Peterson, USCA Director of Government Affairs said the bill will now go to the floor of the full Senate where challenges are likely. “USCA continues to work within the competition coalition to build support for floor amendments that will come up," said Peterson. "The Farm Bill will be on the floor late next week and into the following week. It is expected that amendments to the Farm Bill package clarifying language in the Packers and Stockyards Act, addressing provisions that enable packers to circumvent antitrust laws will be introduced. It is also expected that Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) will introduce the Captive Supply Reform Act from the Senate floor as an amendment to the Farm Bill package.”



USCA Marketing Chairman Allan Sents urged producers to remain engaged in the process saying, “Now more than ever producers need to make calls to their Senator urging support for competition reform, and to oppose any amendments that weaken these measures. For the first time in over 80 years the cattle industry has the opportunity to increase transparency in the marketplace, and cannot afford to wait another century for reform.”
 

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