R-CALF USA has accomplished a lot in its 11 years but still has plenty of work to do to achieve market fairness for independent cattle producers, according to Bill Bullard, chief executive officer of the advocacy group, which wrapped up its national convention Saturday in Rapid City, S.D.

The highest priority this year for the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America will be to battle what Bullard calls anti-competitive practices of the big meatpackers, including purchasing their own “captive supplies” of cattle to manipulate prices.

As part of that effort, R-CALF will push for enforcement of the Packers & Stockyards Act, which regulates livestock and poultry markets. R-CALF, and its local affiliate here, the S.D. Stockgrowers Association, may have an ally in J. Dudley Butler, the new administrator of the U.S. Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

Butler spoke to the Stockgrowers Association convention here last fall and promised to tighten up market rules to protect independent livestock producers from concentrated markets.

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