Twenty-one senators have signed a letter to the USDA in support of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration's proposed livestock and poultry competition rule released in late June. Cattle producers and farm advocates who have long pressed for increased oversight of the meatpacking, hog processing and poultry integrator industries expressed support for the letter from the senators.

"Independent livestock producers welcome the support for the rule by these senators," said Mabel Dobbs, a rancher from Weiser, ID, with the Western Organization of Resource Councils. "These rules are the first step toward leveling the playing field between producers and the packers."

The senators' "Dear Colleague" letter to USDA comes on the heels of increasingly vehement opposition to the proposed rule by the meatpacking and processing companies. The proposed rule would restore necessary balance between cattle and hog producers and the packers that buy their livestock, and would also prohibit some of the most egregious practices that are now common in the contract poultry industry.

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BEEF Daily Editor Amanda Nolz recently had a conversation with a South Dakota feedlot operator who had some concerns about the proposed rule. Read their conversation here.