The Ohio Farmers Union and other family farming boosters are urging Congress once again to look out for smaller producers in the nation’s meat production system.
At issue is a proposed amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, set to move to the floor of the U.S. Senate next week, which would ban meat packers from owning the livestock they process for more than fourteen days. OFU signed on to a letter sent to Senate agricultural staffers and senators laying out the case for the so-called “Packer Ban.”
Sponsored by Food and Water Watch, the letter was signed onto by OFU and 107 other organizations nationwide.
From the letter:
Mega-meatpackers such as Tyson, Cargill, JBS and Smithfield Foods use packer-owned livestock as a major tool for exerting unfair market power over farmers and ranchers. This practice fosters industrial livestock production and freezes independent farmers out of the markets. Packer ownership of livestock has been proven to artificially lower farmgate prices to farmers and ranchers while consumer food prices continue to rise.
By prohibiting direct ownership of livestock by major meatpackers, a ban on packer ownership would reduce the anticompetitive effects of captive supplies, which packers use to manipulate markets, and would help increase market access for America’s independent producers who currently experience significant market-access restrictions due in large part to packer ownership of livestock.
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