ACTION ALERT: Competitive Livestock Markets for Family Farmers and Ranchers

Update (05/25/2007): The subcommittee passed an amendment that would prohibit mandatory arbitration measures in livestock and poultry contracts by providing that arbitration could be used to resolve a contract only if both parties agree to arbitration voluntarily after a contract dispute arises. The subcommittee did not vote on two other amendments key to competitive market reform. One amendment requires 90 days written notice to a producer before cancellation of a production contract. The other amendment improves Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting. Subcommittee Chair, Rep. Boswell (D-IA) did not offer his entire Competitive and Fair Agricultural Markets Act (H.R. 2135) as an amendment.

Current co-sponsors of H.R. 2135 include House Agriculture Committee members Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Steve Kagen (D-WI), and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND). Other members co-sponsoring the bill include Rep. Bruce Braley (IA), Barbara Cubin (R-WY), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and David Loebsack (D-IA). If you are a constituent of of these co-sponsors, please contact and thank them for their support of the bill.

We expect this issue to re-emerge in the full committee, and we continue to urge you to contact key targets including Representatives Smith (NE), Gillibrand (NY), Holden (PA), Baca (CA), Donnelly (IN), Costa (CA), and Mahoney (FL). Tell them to sign as as cosponsors of H.R. 2135. See below for more information and links to alerts containing contact information.

The following is a Nebraska Alert. You can find a national alert here (pdf).

Call Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE 3rd District) and urge him to support the Competitive and Fair Agriculture Markets amendment this Thursday.

The Competitive and Fair Agricultural Markets Act (H.R. 2135) will help restore competition and fairness to livestock markets and address the unchecked market power of packers and poultry processors that has allowed them to manipulative livestock markets and discriminate against small and mid-sized family farms and ranches. Livestock Subcommittee Chair Leonard Boswell will offer the bill as an amendment to the livestock sections of the farm bill on Thursday, May 24th.

Please call Rep. Smith – (202) 225-6435 – and leave a message.

Urge him to support Rep. Boswell’s Livestock Market Competition amendment on Thursday, May 24th.

Let him know you support open and competitive livestock markets.

Rep. Boswell’s amendment prohibits mandatory binding arbitration clauses, requires clear disclosure of risk, and prohibits confidentiality clauses in contracts with packers and processors; closes poultry loopholes in Packers and Stockyards Act to provide full authority over all poultry cases; and requires that USDA define the legal term “undue preference” to strengthen the law and stop price discrimination against small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers.

The Competitive and Fair Ag Markets Act has been co-sponsored by Representatives Barbara Cubin (R-WY), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Bruce Braley (D-IA), David Loebsack (D-IA) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE 1st district).

For more information visit

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