The next Farm Bill should contain its first Competition Title to ensure fairness of competition in livestock markets, according to the Western Organization of Resource Councils.
WORC Livestock Committee Chair Mabel Dobbs says only four companies control cattle, hog and poultry markets, making them uncompetitive and unfair for producers.
"These companies use secret deals and captive supplies to lower the price paid to family farmers and ranchers – a cost that WORC estimates at $1 billion or more a year," Dobbs says.
The reforms backed by WORC and other groups include:
- Ending packer control of livestock markets by setting limits on packer ownership of livestock and having firm, negotiated prices for captive supply contracts.
- Ensuring fair poultry contracts and markets through fairness standards for contracts and bargaining rights for contract farmers.
- Keeping producers and consumers better informed through improved Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting and implementation of Country-of-Origin Labeling.
The Competition Title is endorsed by WORC and other groups including Farmers Union, R-CALF USA, Organization for Competitive Markets, Sustainable Ag Working Group, and Center for Rural Affairs.
"This platform can restore competition to livestock markets and bring back profits to family-based producers and the rural communities where they live and work," Dobbs says.
A copy of the Competition Title is available at www.worc.org or by contacting Jeri Lynn Bakken of WORC at 701-376-7077.