by Ben Nuelle
Senator Chuck Grassley re-introduced legislation to ban packer ownership of livestock Tuesday. He says he’s advocated for a ban on packer ownership of livestock for a long time.
In a prepared statement speaking to reporters, Grassley says he continues to see consolidation of livestock.
“Over the last several years, Tyson has purchased Hillshire brands. JBS purchased Cargill Pork. Smithfield which is by far the largest pork producer in the world was sold to the Chinese. In the beef industry, packing plants in have closed in West, Texas and Dennison, Iowa which has further concentrated power in this industry.”
Grassley says he’s tried to bring up this legislation with every farm bill.
“I’ve been successful on some farm bills but not recently and you always get a big push back from people that are free market by ideology. You obviously get a big push-back from the packers themselves and some farmers that contract are used by the packers to give a farmer’s point of view on this.”
He says he started legislation to ban packer ownership of livestock because he heard from a CEO of a major packing company.
The CEO said the reason they own livestock is to offset market price swings to make sure their cost of purchasing livestock stays low. Grassley says since then concentration has gone up.