Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced legislation making it unlawful for a meat packer to own or feed livestock intended for slaughter. The move is an effort to combat vertical integration and anti-competitive behavior in the livestock industry to protect family farmers in Iowa and other states.
"This bill is about protecting Iowa family farms," Braley said. "The increasing consolidation of the meat packing industry has put downward pressure on livestock prices, which in turn hurts Iowa farmers. Now, meat packers have been looking towards vertical integration to stifle competition.
"This bill is a common sense step to protect free market competition in the livestock industry. It's important to have this debate now with the Farm Bill reauthorization coming up later this year."
The bill is similar to legislation introduced in the Senate last month by Iowans Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin.
The Packer Ban bill excludes single packers and pack entities that are too small to participate in the Mandatory Price Reporting Program. The bill also exempts farmer cooperatives where the members own, feed, or control the livestock themselves.