October 16, 2013
Eight Senators today sent a letter to Senate Agriculture Leadership signaling their strong objection to language contained in the House version of the Farm Bill that would severely restrict the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ability to ensure fair and competitive livestock and poultry markets under the Packers and Stockyards Act.
Co-authored by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the letter urges Senate farm bill conferees to reject the House language, which would prohibit USDA from doing almost anything to address deceptive, fraudulent, retaliatory, and anti-competitive practices by the highly concentrated meatpacking and poultry processing sectors.
Signers to the Tester-Grassley letter include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Al Franken (D-MN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and John Rockefeller (D-WV).
This fall, NSAC joined nearly 150 groups in a letter opposing this language that was delivered to Ag Leadership, and we continue working to prevent similarly restrictive riders from being hitched onto appropriations bills.
NSAC applauds these eight Senators for standing up for basic contract fairness and competitive markets for poultry and livestock producers of all sizes, and hope that the farm bill conferees follow suit. With several of the major champions of the historic 2008 Farm Bill livestock title appointed as Senate conferees, we are confident the misguided, anti-farmer and rancher House provision will be rejected.
Earlier this week, both the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union also urged the conferees to reject the House provision.
Visit our website for more information on the Packers and Stockyards Act.