Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., says there is a continued need to restore transparency and competitiveness in all our markets, including the sale barn. He introduced the Livestock Marketing Fairness Act Wednesday saying that packers who own herds shouldn't be able to manipulate prices and that now is the time for Congress to rein in anti-competitive meat packers and give ranchers an honest chance to make a living.
"Our independent ranchers are out there working hard every day, and they deserve a fair shake at the stockyard," said Senator Tim Johnson, D-S.D. "We need to pass this bill and stand up for their interests."
The bill would amend the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 to end certain anti-competitive forward marketing contracts. Among the changes are requiring forward contracts for cattle, hogs and lambs be traded in public; require marketing agreements to have a firm base price derived from an external source; exempts producer owned cooperatives, packers with low volumes and packers who own only one processing plant; and ensures that trading is done in quantities that provide market access for both small and large livestock producers.
R-Calf USDA has voiced their approval of the bill.
"The U.S. cattle industry is the last frontier for the concentrated meatpacking industry, as it is the only major livestock sector not vertically integrated from birth to plate," said R-Calf USA Marketing Committee Chair Dennis Thornsberry. "We want to encourage each and every R-Calf member to contact their Senators to ask that they support this important bill, which ultimately will benefit communities all across rural America. We cannot sit idly by without taking action to prevent our industry from becoming vertically integrated just like the hog and poultry industries have."