The Senate Ag Committee's farm bill includes a Livestock Title addressing a number of issues including animal health, livestock markets, and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA). Among the provisions are:

  • Creates a Special Counsel on Ag Competition at USDA for enforcement of the PSA and the Ag Fair Practices Act (AFPA). Activities relating to investigations and prosecutions will be combined into one office.
  • Bans packer ownership of livestock 14 days prior to slaughter. The bill prohibits packers to "own or feed livestock directly, through a subsidiary, or through an arrangement that gives the packer operational, managerial or supervisory control over the livestock, or over the farming operation that produces the livestock."
  • Includes the House compromise on mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) with minor changes, and adds macadamia nuts as a covered commodity.
  • Expands provisions of the AFPA to producer members of associations or cooperatives.
  • Allows for the interstate shipment of state-inspected meat.
  • Makes arbitration in livestock and poultry contracts voluntary under the PSA.
  • With some exceptions, requires 90-day notice for contract termination when the producer has made a capital investment of $100,000 or more for the sole purposes of securing the contract.
  • Provides USDA enforcement authority over live poultry dealers under PSA.
  • Requires the USDA Secretary to conduct a study of wholesale pork reporting under the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act.
  • Amends the Animal Health Protection Act to make unauthorized use of information obtained through an animal ID system unlawful. Also establishes parameters on the use of such data by the USDA Secretary.
  • Reauthorizes the National Sheep and Goat Industry Improvement Center, which provides assistance to sheep and goat producers for infrastructure development, business development, production, resource development, and market and environmental research. Provides $1 million in mandatory funds.
  • Includes a Sense of Congress outlining the threat that feral swine pose to the domestic swine population.
  • Authorizes a voluntary national certification program for trichinae testing.
The House-passed farm bill doesn't include a Livestock/Competition Title. The packer ban, Special Counsel and arbitration will be major issues during the farm bill conference committee.