Boswell Breaks with Peterson, Supports Livestock Competition Title in Farm Bill

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John Crabtree,, Phone: (402) 687-2103 ext. 1010
Lyons, Nebraska – Last week, Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, reaffirmed his support for livestock market competition reforms in the Farm Bill. The announcement came after a meeting with representatives of the Center for Rural Affairs and Iowa Farmers Union.
“As the House and the Senate continue to move forward on conference negotiations, I will continue to fight for the family farmer and rancher,” said Boswell.  “I believe that the Senate Competition Title is vital for ensuring market transparency and fair prices for producers.”

Boswell added, “I am specifically supportive of the Senate's inclusion of the ban on packer ownership [of livestock] which would ensure the marketplace works for farmers and processors, the restriction on mandatory arbitration which will guarantee that all parties have the right to be heard in court, and the changes to Country of Origin Labeling which will finally allow for implementation of this vital program.”

Boswell’s announcement demonstrates that House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson’s public statements against inclusion of livestock competition reforms lack unanimity of support among likely House conferees.  Peterson has proposed a study of the impacts of packer ownership of livestock on producers and the industry.

“We applaud Representative Boswell for standing up to Chairman Peterson and the meatpackers and fighting for these reforms,” said John Crabtree, with the Center for Rural Affairs.  “The negative impacts of vertical integration and price discrimination on family farmers and ranchers are well known to everyone.  The Chairman says, ‘wait, let’s study this.’  But by wait, he means never.”

“The final version of the Farm Bill must breathe some life back into our livestock markets and help create a future for family farm and ranch livestock producers by banning packer ownership of livestock and prohibiting price discrimination against smaller producers,” added Crabtree.

Chris Peterson, President of Iowa’s Farmers Union, said, “We must stress the importance of a Competition Title in the Farm Bill for independent producers and contract growers and their access to fair markets and fair market prices.”

The House passed the Farm Bill last July, while the Senate passed its version in December.  It now goes to conference to settle any differences between the two bills, including the inclusion of the Livestock Competition Title in the Senate version.



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