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Producers Divided On Government In Livestock Markets

by 5m Editor
11 June 2007, at 10:29am

US - With a handful of Senate bills of late that address concentration in livestock markets, producers were in Washington recently to speak their piece to the Senate and House ag committees.

While all acknowledged concentration in the industry, they differed on what should be done about it.

The National Farmers Union, American Farm Bureau Federation and R-CALF USA sat squarely on one side of the issue, while the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council and American Meat Institute sat squarely on the other.

The crux of the matter is whether the government should get involved. NFU, AFBF and R-CALF say yes, the other groups say no.

The Senate bills proposed would ban packer ownership of animals, reform the Captive Supply Act regarding formula pricing, strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act by establishing a department to investigate mergers and sales, and increase competition and transparency among packers.

A University of Missouri study commissioned by NFU found the top four beef packers dominate 83.5 percent of the market, four pork packers control 66 percent of that market and the top four poultry companies process 58.5 percent of the broilers in the United States. Tyson Foods is listed in the top four of each of these categories. In addition, the study found the retailing industry has been gradually increasing its degree of concentration, with the top five companies controlling 48 percent of U.S. food retailing, compared to 24 percent a decade ago.

Source: Bismarck Farm & Ranch Guide

5m Editor