Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced his plans to press for more competition in ag during the farm bill debate next year. He plans to introduce several pieces of legislation early next year that will outline his plans for the farm bill. Grassley says they include:

  • Ban on packer ownership of livestock. This would prevent meat packers from assuming complete control of the meat supply by preventing packers from owning livestock.
  • Limit on mandatory arbitration agreements. This would be similar to previous legislation Grassley introduced that amended the Packers and Stockyards Act to prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses from being included in contracts between livestock producers and packers.
  • Review of agribusiness mergers. This would change the way the Justice Department reviews agribusiness mergers. It would also enhance USDA's ability to address anti-competitive activity in the industry.
Grassley says, "Concentration is one of the most important issues in ag today. Vertical integration leaves the independent producer with even fewer choices of who to buy from and sell to. And it hurts the ability of farmers to get a fair price for their products."
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent