Statement of the American Meat Institute on Senate's Adoption of a Revised Ban on Packer Ownership, Feeding and Control of Livestock

AMI is disappointed in the Senate's adoption today of a revised version of the packer ownership ban it passed in December. This revised version does nothing to clarify whether packers could contract with producers for hogs, cattle and sheep.

If adopted in the final Farm Bill, this amendment would force massive asset divestitures by hundreds of companies, flooding the livestock market and driving down livestock prices. It would jeopardize thousands of contractual arrangements between livestock farmers large and small and their meatpacking customers. And it would halt the flow of specialized meat products to domestic and international supermarket and restaurant customers.

This amendment is a classic case of 'ready, fire, aim.' There is no evidence that such a massive and unprecedented government intrusion on private industry would in any way help anyone. Sen. Craig's proposed study at least would have given everyone an idea of where such a massive intrusion might have an impact - positive or negative.

It is our hope that Farm Bill conferees will have the foresight to prevent this from happening by removing the packer ownership ban from the final Farm Bill.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory and public relations services, conducts scientific and economic research, offers marketing and technical assistance and sponsors education programs.