U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Jon Tester (Mont.) on Thursday introduced the Livestock Marketing Fairness Act. The proposed bill targets unfair meat packer practices that negatively influence and impact independent ranchers and farmers.
The Livestock Marketing Fairness Act would put ranchers and farmers on equal footing with packer-owned herds by amending the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 to end certain anti-competitive forward marketing contracts and ensure that ranchers have full access to the marketplace.
In recent years, the meat packing industry has become increasingly concentrated with only a handful of firms controlling the majority of the domestic cattle and hog slaughter. As a growing number of large packing operations own their own livestock or control them through forward contracting agreements, these firms are able to buy from themselves when prices are high and buy from others when prices are low.